There was an awful lot that could’ve gone wrong when, almost 20 years ago, BMW relaunched MINI. Yet from the retro-inspired styling to the UK-based Plant Oxford production facility, the modern MINI has in fact been a complete triumph, serving as a masterclass in how to make an old brand relevant to new consumers.
Building cars is a very serious business, but that doesn’t mean those involved can’t also be permitted to have fun every now and again. How else do you think we’d have ended up being able to buy machines as bizarre as the Renault Clio V6 or BMW M4 GTS, the purpose of which is inevitably as much to generate headlines as to boost profits.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of the original Ford Focus. For starters it replaced the Escort, which although somewhat stale by the late 1990s, was still one of the most recognisable cars on the road. Not only that, but the Focus was Ford’s entry into the hugely popular family car segment, a true bread and butter model that it simply had to get right. Continue reading >>>
Japan took the American car industry by storm when it started making and selling cars in the United States. During the 1960s and ’70s, Japanese carmakers Honda and Toyota developed a reputation for quality, reliability, and efficiency and forced the American Big Three to take note. Today, South Korean Hyundai and Kia are doing the same. Continue reading >>>
Confession time: it didn’t come as a complete shock that not everybody in our recent survey about car finance didn’t understand the ins and outs of how it all works. However, we were surprised at the level of confusion around what is for a lot of people the second-biggest monthly outgoing after rent or mortgage.
Going green in our cars means more than just getting better fuel economy. As early as 1998, Chrysler aimed to use recycled materials for the fabric roof liner of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Fast forward to the 2010s and the list of automakers using recycled materials has grown.
Ford stands out when it comes to using recycled materials; in addition to using recycled materials in the wire frame and under the hood, Ford incorporates recycled materials in tactile components of a car’s interior, such as seat cushions and fabric. In 2011, Ford began using soy foam for its seat cushions. Shortly after, the automaker incorporated Repreve fabric, made of recycled water bottles, in the 2012 Ford Focus Electric.
Ford isn’t just focusing its recycling efforts on one or two models. Instead, its efforts span multiple models, from trucks to compact vehicles.
It’s turned its attention to another interior component, with some inspiration from bees. Continue reading >>>
Rarely does a new vehicle debut with less power and capability than the model it’s replacing. Yet the Nissan Kicks compact crossover is hitting the market without all wheel drive and with less horsepower than its predecessor, the Juke.
AWD has become a staple of crossovers from almost all automakers. So, the decision not to offer it as an option is an interesting one. Will the new Nissan Kicks find a fan base in spite of its front-wheel-drive-only architecture and 1.6-liter 125-hp motor? Continue reading >>>
The auto industry is evolving in two ways, both of which spell massive changes for the industry with which we all grew up.
First, the industry has become globalized like never before. American cars are built in Mexico, Japanese cars are made in America, parts are sourced from around the world, and finished cars are exported into global markets.
Second, this global evolution is the continued blurring of the lines between car and tech experience. Rather than cars offering tech products, tech products are becoming cars.
That’s an important distinction from the carmakers of our youth, and one that’s driving a new breed of automaker into the limelight. Chinese automaker Byton is a perfect example. Continue reading >>>