Remember when American pickups had a single bench seat and vinyl upholstery? When trucks were built to cart heavy stuff, in the bed or on a trailer, and didn’t need to do much more than that? The explosion of the crossover category proves shoppers want cars that deliver more practicality than your average sedan, and given the generally larger profit margins in the truck business, we’re not surprised truck makers want their products to offer more capability, too. That’s why truck lineups are growing, boosting capacities, and adding lots of useful cargo-management, safety, and driver-assistance features—not to mention leather upholstery, heated seats and steering wheels, and plenty of chrome.
The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public this weekend after three days of well-attended press events and unveilings. This week’s debuting AutoMobility LA conference also featured presentations from a wide variety of industry experts and CEOs addressing the futures of the auto business, driving, mobility, and ownership, and kicked off a competition among ten promising auto startups. The car business is never boring, and we know 2017 promises plenty of excitement, there and elsewhere.
The L.A. show effectively kicks off a new model year, but it also sort of wraps up the current one. On AutoMobiltity LA’s first morning, the field of 2017 North American Car and Truck of the Year nominees was narrowed from 30 to 9 finalists. Judged by a group of 60 journalists from magazine, TV, radio, newspaper, and online auto publishers in the U.S. and Canada, the NACTOY awards honor excellence in innovation, design, performance, safety, technology, driver satisfaction, and value.
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The 2015 version of the truck was widely panned as an outdated and underpowered entry in the market.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.
Day Two began with the World Car Awards. Backed by a surprisingly loud, club-ish soundtrack and some odd song choices (maybe intended to help attendees wake up after a very long Day One?), the Toyota Mirai fuel-cell vehicle got the World Green Car Award, the Audi R8 Coupe took the World Performance Car Award, and the BMW 7 Series won the World Luxury Car Award. Mazda managed to take two trophies, as 2016 World Car Design of the Year and World Car of the Year, with its MX-5 Miata, and having driven the car ourselves, we heartily applaud the WCA jurors’ decision.
This has been quite a big week for the auto industry, as manufacturers unveil the first lines of their 2016 portfolios at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The annual auto show has a long history of being one of the most pivotal events of the year for auto manufacturers. This is the time of year to get excited. This is when we begin to have a sense of what is to come in the next 11 months of automobile production and when we get to see in what direction the industry will head. This is one of the biggest events in the auto industry for a reason.
When a Q7 feels small, you know you’re next to a big vehicle.
I forget sometimes just how big some trucks are, especially in areas outside of big cities. Every once in a while I venture into North Idaho and am surprised, each time, by how many pickups fill the parking lots of places like Costco and Walmart. Not just regular trucks like the average F-150, but jacked up rigs that reach a thousand feet into the sky and have tires big enough to flatten a Prius in one revolution.
The purpose of these trucks, I assume, is similar to why peacocks have massive feather displays: an effort to prove masculinity and win chicks. I’m not so sure that works in the human world as well as it does in the animal kingdom, but that doesn’t stop guys from trying.
Not just any truck, though, can qualify to be a massive hogger of rural American parking lots.