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The 2015 version of the truck was widely panned as an outdated and underpowered entry in the market.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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Volkswagen’s Worldwide Sales Up, But Criminal Charges Could Loom

Volkswagen-TDI

It’s been almost one year since news broke of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. At the time, we wondered how deep this scandal would go and if VW’s TDI plans were irreparable.

So far, Volkswagen has shown no interest in bringing its TDI line back to the U.S., but seems to have been doing just fine without it. Last month CNN said,

Global sales of Volkswagen cars and trucks have eked out about a 1% gain in the first five months of the year, despite the scandal. May sales gains were even stronger, a sign that the automaker is starting to put the diesel scandal behind it. Its U.S. sales have been down 7% in the first half of the year, although the United States accounts for only about 5% of its global sales.

Volkswagen’s outlook isn’t all rosy, though. This week investigators with the U.S. Department of Justice have found evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the case.

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Canine-Friendly Cars for the Dog Days of Summer

Nigel, Erik Ross's Dog

Nigel the terrier loves feeling the wind in his face

We may be CarGurus, first and foremost, but that doesn’t prevent us from being proud pet owners, too. From French Bulldogs and Miniature Pinschers to Labradors and Great Danes, the dogs of CarGurus are a widely varied bunch. My own dog, Taylor, looks enough like a Labrador to keep landlords and kennels at ease, but her mix of breeds puts her solidly in the “mutt” camp. Regardless of size or breed, however, dogs are always a hit at CarGurus. Maybe that’s because dogs have such a social history with the automobile. They chase them, they hang their heads out the windows, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a dog who didn’t get a case of the wiggles every time it hears, “Want to go for a ride in the car?”

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Will Aston Martin Become the Next Porsche?

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Since the days of early James Bond, British automaker Aston Martin has focused on a lineup of handmade performance luxury sports cars that have been called some of the most beautiful in the world.

The trouble with such a niche is money. Even selling cars that can cost $200,000 or more can create a profit problem when selling in low volume. To address that problem, many of the world’s top-end automakers are producing vehicles that appeal to a larger audience.

It all started when Porsche introduced the Cayenne SUV. Now Bentley and Lamborghini are doing the same. For Aston Martin to survive in this new world, it can’t rely on its old strategy and will add seven new models in the next few years, including a luxury sedan and crossover SUV.

For those who believe that’s good news, it gets even better: the United States is a prime market for Aston’s expansion.

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A Whole New Way to Look at Fiat?

Fiat_ads

Fiat has a problem.

Sales in the United States continue to fall as American car shoppers fail to recognize Fiat’s value proposition. Either that, or the marginal reviews of Fiat’s cars to this point have turned buyers off the brand.

Sales so far for the year are down over 16 percent from last year.

Fiat has some great things going for it now, though, including the 500X mini crossover and the 124 Spider roadster.

To help change how Americans perceive the Fiat brand, FCA has launched a series of video ads aimed at giving U.S. shoppers a “Whole New Way to Look at Fiat.” The ads feature innovative camera techniques, but will that be enough to convince people to put Fiat on their lists?

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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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Does the U.S. Have the World’s Best Car Selection?

Ford-Mustang-GT

There was a time when Europe got all the cool cars.

A decade ago, Europe had the small, fast, and efficient cars that folks in the U.S. could only envy from across the Atlantic. Even the domestic Big 3 automakers seemed to send their best metal to Europe while leaving the clunky, fuel-thirsty cars stateside.

Americans became especially jealous in 2008, because the price of gas climbed well above $4 per gallon and Europe’s fuel-sipping diesels and small-displacement motors seemed to taunt our oversized V8 SUVs.

Today it’s a different story. Some of the best cars in the world are available for sale here, including some that people in Europe can only dream of someday owning.

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Can Mazda Become the Next Volkswagen?

2016_mazda_cx-9

Volkswagen has left a gaping hole in the U.S. auto market.

The German automaker’s line of affordable turbodiesel vehicles is mostly non-existent as the fallout from last year’s emission scandal continues to unfold.

Volkswagen’s small and midsize vehicles are no longer certified for sale in the United States, and the company has, thus far, made no effort to attempt recertification. That means buyers will be hard-pressed to find a VW with a diesel engine on dealer lots across the country.

That’s in stark contrast to earlier in 2015, when Volkswagen diesels accounted for about 20 percent of the company’s sales.

Volkswagen proved that a demand for diesel exists in this country and has left an opportunity for another automaker to take the reins and attempt to satisfy whatever hunger might be left for fuel-efficient diesels.

Mazda appears ready to try its hand at becoming that automaker.

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