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Archive for the ‘Cars Coming Soon’ Category

Lexus and Jeep Ponder Pickups

December 10th, 2015
Maybe it wouldn't look so bad with a Lexus logo

Maybe it wouldn’t look so bad with a Lexus logo

Here are some things we’ve learned about pickup trucks in the last decade:

Tough trucks sell really well.

Luxury trucks don’t sell well.

Tough trucks with hefty doses of luxury sell really, really well.

The first category includes the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500. The second category includes the failed Lincoln Mark LT and the third category includes the GMC Sierra Denali, F-150 Limited, and Ram Laramie Limited.

Those “luxury” trucks can work just as hard, if not harder, than any other truck on the list and routinely sell for $50,000 or more.

So if an automaker known for its luxury sedans came out with a hard-working luxury truck, would it sell?

Probably not. But Lexus might want to try.

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Excessive Bentley Bentayga Makes Other Cars Look Good

December 7th, 2015
Not that you would... but you could

Not that you would… but you could

You know you’re among a different class of buyer when the vehicles on your shopping list cost more than most homes in the United States.

The new Bentley Bentayga is the luxury brand’s first venture into the SUV market. It’s brutish and sleek, powerful and graceful. With a starting price of about $229,000, it’s also wildly expensive and can quickly eclipse the $300,000 mark with the right options ticked.

Buyers will get the world’s fastest production SUV thanks to a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 that makes a mighty 600-hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is estimated at about 185 miles per hour.

We know this vehicle is far from what most people can afford, so why do we bring it up?

Because it makes other cars look darn appealing.

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BMW Moves Closer to Front-Wheel Drive

December 2nd, 2015

BMW 2 Series

I have to wonder if BMW is still the “Ultimate Driving Machine.” The company dropped its legendary tagline in 2006, brought it back in 2012, and uses it sparingly today.

Maybe the company knows it’s becoming just “another driving machine.”

BMW has always been known as a performance-oriented luxury brand with the perfect balance between handling and power. The automaker has traditionally used a rear-wheel-drive setup on all of its vehicles, save for its full-time all-wheel-drive models.

Rear-wheel drive just makes sense given BMWs’ large engines, long hoods, and short rear decks. Power going to the rear wheels enhances every aspect of the driving experience.

But what happens when the engines get smaller and the cars shrink? Rear-wheel drive stops making sense. Welcome to the new generation of BMW.

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A Quarter of All Audis to Be Electric Within 10 Years

December 1st, 2015

audi_a3_e-tron_sportback

The electric revolution got another dose of support late last week.

Considering how much media coverage electric cars get, a person would be forgiven for thinking EVs constitute a somewhat hefty portion of car sales. The truth, however, is that the market for plug-in electric cars in the United States is ridiculously small.

Through the first nine months of 2015, EVs accounted for only .62 percent of new car sales. Yes, the market share for electric cars is currently well below one percent.

That number should rise as more automakers provide more options and as the logistical issues of limited range and a lack of charging stations are addressed.

But who will step up and cater to such a small market?

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The Convertible SUV: Why Does This Keep Happening?

November 25th, 2015

range_rover_evoque_convertible

Who buys a convertible SUV?

The SUV is meant to be a cargo-ready family transport vehicle that can traverse through nearly any weather.

Convertibles are meant to be summertime cruisers for couples on weekend road trips.

No one meant for the convertible and the SUV to hook up and produce a monster. It’s like combining tuna and ice cream, two things that are fine on their own, but together… just… no.

There’s a new convertible SUV about to hit the market, and it’s just as unnecessary as the previous ones.

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Some of Our Favorites from the Los Angeles Auto Show

November 20th, 2015

LA Auto Show logo

Auto-show season has kicked off with the Los Angeles Auto Show. It runs through Nov. 29 at the L.A. Convention Center. The show hasn’t generated a lot of buzz, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t include significant debuts. Here are some notable new cars from the show (in no particular order).

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Karma Automotive Comes Back With Swagger

November 18th, 2015

karma_2015_logo

It’s about time that a little shot of arrogance gets injected back into the auto industry.

There’s been a lot of apologizing lately, with the whole Volkswagen fiasco and an unending string of recalls. Where’s the company that comes in and unapologetically announces its wares and walks with an air of confidence while proudly showing the cars it knows you just have to have?

There’s only one currently doing that. Well, okay, maybe two. We could make the argument that Tesla fits into that description, but today our attention turns to another electric automaker. This one had an epic launch failure in recent years, but its new owners have revamped it into something it knows you want. And if you don’t want it?

This company has absolutely zero cares to give.

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Chinese Buick Envision Seems Headed to U.S.

November 17th, 2015

Buick Envision chinese-spec-rear-three-quarter-02

Yesterday came some praise for the United Autoworkers Union because of its part in steering Ford towards producing a much-hyped new generation of a well-known pickup and SUV in the United States.

Today, the union may have some negative influence on a GM plan to introduce a new, economical Buick CUV to the U.S. market.

Typically the union would be all for a new model, because it would employ people and keep factories moving. This Buick, though, wouldn’t be built in the United States. It would be built in (and imported from) China.

Back in August we reported about the possibility of a Chinese-built Buick Envision CUV being sold here. The UAW lashed out immediately. Cindy Estrada, UAW’s vice president in charge of GM talks, said:

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Ford Bronco, Ranger Coming Back Thanks to UAW

November 16th, 2015

2020 Ford Bronco

I’m generally not a fan of the United Auto Workers union.

I believe that automakers should have the right to hire and fire whomever they choose, whenever they want, while paying whatever wages they deem fair. Without getting into a giant political debate here, I think we can all at least agree that the union has significant control over the actions of automakers.

One positive result from the UAW’s influence is the recent confirmation of a long-standing rumor involving the return of a favorite old workhorse.

Union contract negotiations can get intense and often involve salary increases, bonuses, performance pay, guaranteed work, and increased factory production. Ford’s recent negotiations with the UAW have resulted in something exciting:

The virtual guarantee of a Ford Bronco, along with a new U.S. Ford Ranger.

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Don’t Call it a Comeback: Mitsubishi’s Still Here

November 12th, 2015

mitsubishi-ex-concept

There’s one car company that has been on my “death watch” list longer than any other automaker.

This list has seen the likes of Suzuki and Isuzu die in the United States, as well as Hummer, Pontiac, and Saturn. I’m not 100 percent accurate in my predictions, though, because I also once had Buick and Lincoln on that list. Buick is now firmly off, but I still have some concerns about Lincoln.

The brand that I thought had the highest probability of disappearing is Mitsubishi, which has been in the top spot on my list for close to a decade. The fact that it has outlasted Pontiac still blows my mind.

With very little marketing and a product offering that impresses no one, the little Japanese company still manages to sell a car now and then. And rather than fold and move out of the market, Mitsubishi is preparing to step things up a notch.

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