With the exception of a home, a car is the most expensive purchase a person will likely make (and we hope that home and car aren’t the same thing). Considering the improvements in safety, powertrain, and infotainment technologies, it’s not surprising to see vehicle prices rising at or above the rate of inflation. So, with the fiscal scope of a vehicle purchase firmly in mind, we have to ask: why don’t more people share cars? We posted an earlier article about the prevalence of ride-sharing services and their impact on consumer purchasing trends. While Uber and Zipcar have certainly given drivers more ways to get around, car ownership still seems to be the clearest path to unlocking the flexibility and freedom that a set of wheels can provide.
The Jeep Wrangler is an insanely popular car. Not only is it one of the most sought-after used cars on CarGurus, but it also retains its initial value better than any other car on the market. Nevertheless, enthusiasts have been hammering Fiat Chrysler (Jeep’s parent company) to produce new and different versions of the Wrangler for years, and the returns on their efforts have been slow but sure. In 2007, Jeep modified the previously 2-door-only Wrangler and introduced the first 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. At the New England International Auto Show this year, we saw the Wrangler Backcountry: an extra-capable off-roading version of a car specifically designed to be extra-capable at off-roading. Until just recently, however, Jeep has failed to acquiesce to its fan base’s greatest demand: a Wrangler Pickup.
I think it’s safe to say that Toyota and Subaru have started a trend.
By teaming up and bringing back the inexpensive, RWD sports car, the companies may have double-handedly revived a market for fun performance. Now, it’s confirmed that Mazda and Fiat have inked a “Memorandum of Understanding” to develop a roadster based on the MX-5 platform that is expected to see production in Mazda’s Hiroshima factory, with an Alfa Romeo version coming in 2015.