Are Volvo’s Best Days Still Ahead?

Volvo XC90 R-Design - model year 2016


Growing up, Legos held a special place in my heart and a special corner in the toy closet. I kept them in one large, white-topped Rubbermaid storage bin (lest my parents find one underfoot at the wrong hour of the morning) and can’t fully fathom how many hours I spent digging through piece after piece to find a color-matching, 2×1-size brick. I took great pride in my creations, but even greater satisfaction in dismantling each, pouring the bricks back into my big rubber container, and starting the process all over again.

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Remember the Sparrow? Here’s the Electra Meccanica Solo

electra_meccanica_solo

The promise of an electric car that can travel a hundred miles, be recharged in three hours (on a 220-volt system), and costs just $15,500 is a tempting proposition for some folks.

Make the car a 3-wheeled single seater and the proposition gets a little more convoluted.

Are Americans ready for another 3-wheeled single-occupancy commuter car? A company called Electra Meccanica thinks so, and plans to make its 2017 Solo available in the United States.

But there are some problems.
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Looks Like the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Will Have an Aluminum Body

2017 Jeep Wrangler

2017 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is an unlikely success story. For all intents and purposes, the lumbering fuel-thirsty behemoth shouldn’t have lived through the economic crisis and automotive bankruptcies of 2008 and 2009.

The Wrangler shouldn’t have lasted through the takeover by Fiat or made it through the transition to FCA. During a time when heavy road hogs were getting slashed left and right, the Wrangler powered through thanks to loyal followers who continued to open their pocketbooks.

The Wrangler has proven that neither stumps, rocks, creeks, nor economic recessions can stop the infamous utilitarian 4×4. Its future should be secured for another few decades with the introduction of an all-new generation, which will include a diesel version and the switch to aluminum.

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Mitsubishi: Goodbye to the Old, Hello to the New

mitsubishi-ground-tourer-concept-1

Mitsubishi doesn’t make the news cycle very often, especially when it comes to product-related news. The brand has, unfortunately, had plenty of coverage in recent months regarding its manipulation of fuel-economy results on vehicles in Japan.

Nothing guarantees news coverage like a scandal.

Mitsubishi’s admission of wrongdoing led to a heavy drop in stock value, a billion dollar net loss, and Nissan’s virtual takeover of the embattled company.

Still, though, the company is moving forward with new products while it phases out the old.

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Cadillac CEO Sets Record Straight

Cadillac-Escala-Concept

Sometimes the auto industry’s deepest secrets are revealed in the comment sections of blogs.

If, of course, the president of an auto company wants to correct an ill-informed writer.

That’s what happened last week when the outspoken leader of Cadillac, Johan de Nysschen, read an article on which he couldn’t resist commenting. In the process, he mapped out the company’s product plans for the next few years.

The original article detailed Cadillac’s product delays, changes to the upcoming product line, and the debut of the Cadillac Escala concept.

Evidently, not all of the information presented was correct, and De Nysschen called the writer out.

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Could a Ferrari-Inspired Mazda RX-9 Come to Showrooms?

Mazda RX Vision concept

Mazda RX Vision concept

Let’s count the rumors being addressed in this one delicious and exciting report concerning a new Mazda sports car:

  1. Mazda has perfected the rotary engine
  2. The Ferrari-inspired RX Vision concept hasn’t been forgotten
  3. A car based on that concept could show up at dealers within four years as an RX-9

This is all drool-worthy stuff that will make any car aficionado perk up on a sleepy morning.

Is there a catch? Of course there is. The report is based on more rumors without a credible source, but it’s still just enough to get our rotary-loving engines burning.

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The Automotive Revolution Has Begun

2016-Volvo-xc90-uber

We are in the midst of a technological revolution in the auto industry. The amount of change in the last five years has probably outpaced what we’ve seen in the last 50. The next five years could change it all again.

Remember when seat belts and air conditioning were considered big developments in the car world? Then came cruise control and heated seats. I, for one, lost my marbles when I finally owned a car that could unlock with the push of a button.

Now I don’t even need keys to unlock, or start, my car. Heck, I don’t even need gasoline any more. My Nissan Leaf, though, hasn’t even begun to crack the surface of what’s coming.

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New Nissan Titan: Finally a Worthy Full-Size Competitor

2017_Nissan_Titan

The Nissan Titan has been all but forgotten in the minds of full-size truck shoppers. Last month, the Titan placed dead last in truck sales, if we don’t include the extinct Chevy Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT.

Almost 234,000 trucks were sold in the U.S. in July. The Titan accounted for just 1,143 of those sales, which amounts to a fairly average month when looking at the last six years of Titan sales data.

The 2015 version of the truck was widely panned as an outdated and underpowered entry in the market. Nissan overhauled the truck for 2016 and included a Cummins turbodiesel V8 engine in its Titan XD model, making it the only “light-duty” truck capable of towing more than 11,000 pounds.

So far sales numbers haven’t improved much.

For 2017, though, Nissan will make the standard half-ton Titan available. It won’t knock the Ford F-150 off its perch, but Nissan hopes it will at least move the Titan out of last place.

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Coming Soon: A Ford Without a Steering Wheel

ford-self-driving-car

Fully autonomous cars were once the pipe dream of a utopian future.

Ten years ago, self-driving cars seemed so far-fetched that it wasn’t even worth bringing them up in conversation. We might as well have discussed the feasibility of bubble-powered fighter jets.

Today the reality of an autonomous future is closer than most of us realize.

Many major automakers, led by Tesla, have recently boasted about their autonomous plans and showed off early versions of their technology. Ford has quietly sat on the sidelines. So quietly, in fact, that it’s been criticized for not announcing plans for a self-driving future.

Ford shook things up recently, though, when it finally broke its silence and said it hopes for fully autonomous cars in just five years. The company’s vision brings up some new possibilities that could change transportation as we know it.

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Lotus Prepares New Elise for U.S. Market

Lotus_Elise

For about eight glorious years, U.S. buyers had the privilege of being able to purchase the lightweight Lotus Elise sports car. The car, fully assembled and ready to take on America’s highways and race tracks, was a hit with buyers thirsty for true driving thrills.

The car first became available in the United States in 2004 and offered a unique combination of speed, efficiency, and striking looks at a reasonable price. The Lotus dream in America lasted until 2011, when the British company had to pull the Elise out of the market due to non-compliant airbags.

Today Lotus is preparing for re-entry into the market with a new Elise and, potentially, an SUV.

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