cire

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  1. Mazda Takeri Showing Up To The Toyko Motor Show

    Sharp! A nice evolution of the current Mazda6 design featuring the new "Kodo" design language. Fortunately, the current Mazda6 was spared most of the atrocities of the "Nagare" design period. Mazda definitely lost its way for a brief period, but it looks like it is back on track now.
  2. Revealed: Kia Forte (Spectra replacement)

    I have to agree. I can't quite figure out the market positioning for the brands. I thought Hyundai was supposed to be slightly upmarket from Kia, but you can get some features on Kia products that you can't get on their Hyundai platform mates. The new Rio 5-door and new Accent 5-door are definite examples of this. You can add features to the Rio that aren't available on the Hyundai and take the Rio's price much higher than the Accent's price. I'm a little lost on the strategy. I'm a little surprised at how fast Kia is replacing the current Forte. If the new one comes out next year, then the current one will have only had a 3 model year run (2010, 2011, 2012). It may be that this new version might come out in the first part of 2013 as an early 2014 model. At least that would give the current version an abbreviated 4th model year.
  3. MotorAuthority drives the Verano

    I think the article sums up the mission of this car very well: It's simply a small car for people who want a premium feeling ride in a smaller package. It's not meant to be a sports sedan or a fuel mileage champ. One thing's for certain: Darker colors are a better choice for this car because they allow the bling elements to pop. Buick has just expanded the color palettes for the 2012 LaCrosse and 2012 Regal to include "Midnight Blue Metallic". Hopefully, GM plans to offer this gorgeous shade of blue on the Verano as well.
  4. Revealed: Kia Forte (Spectra replacement)

    What a difference a few years and some new entries in the segment make. The current Forte is still a nice looking car, but it seems to have aged very rapidly; especially when compared to the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Elantra. I guess Kia isn't going to rest on its laurels because it looks like a new Forte will debut next year. This new version looks like it might knock the socks off the rest of the segment! Everything looks extremely promising so far. Link: http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2011/08/spy-photos-elantra-based-2013-kia-forte-sedan-testing-in-the-us-five-door-and-koup-confirmed.html, Source: Edmunds Inside Line.
  5. Dodge C Segment Car

    Looks like it's definitely going to be a sedan: Link: http://blogs.insideline.com/straightline/2011/10/spy-photos-dodge-hornet-sedan-goes-back-under-cover.html, Source: Edmunds Inside Line. Actually the overall shape looks good and some of the detailing is awesome (taillights and dual exhaust tips). There was also a recent shot of the uncovered front end: Link: http://www.leftlanenews.com/dodge-hornet.html, Source: Leftlane News. Personally, I can't wait to see this car. It looks rather promising so far.
  6. So... Is Sergio starting to view Chrysler as a mainstream brand since he is worried that certain models will be redundant with Dodge? Is it really necessary for Dodge and Jeep to both offer crossovers? Jeep seems more than capable of handling mainstream utility vehicles. There definitely seems to be redundancy in the product strategies for these 2 brands. Are the Dodge crossovers going to receive sportier styling and handling than the Jeep crossovers? Why would a customer prefer one brand's CUV products over the other brand's CUV products? If this report is indeed correct, Dodge will have a compact sedan and the Charger while Chrysler will have a midsize sedan (possibly "200", if the name is carried over) and the 300. Why? Does Sergio believe that compact sedan shoppers will be drawn to the Dodge brand while midsize sedan shoppers will be drawn to the Chrysler brand? Since Chrysler has covered everything from affordable mainstream to entry luxury, does Sergio think this is the best brand to offer the midsize sedan and minivan? Given Chrysler's history, the new gen midsize sedan and minivan could offer trim levels that cover everything from affordable mainstream to entry luxury. Maybe Sergio feels that he can't really execute this strategy if the 2 products were badged under the Dodge brand. This would definitely eliminate the need to create 2 midsize sedans and 2 minivans. It all sounds half baked and confusing to me. Personally, I would simply make the Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat/Jeep/RAM channel the mainstream outlet in the US. Each brand would specialize in particular portions of the mainstream end of the market. Chrysler would offer mainstream sedans (compact/midsize/large) and MPVs (compact/midsize/minivan). Dodge would become an affordable performance niche brand. Fiat would focus on affordable city cars and small hatchbacks (compact and smaller). Jeep would become the designated mainstream utility brand (CUVs and SUVs). RAM would continue as the truck and commercial vehicle brand. I would group Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Lancia together and launch them as the premium channel through existing Maserati dealerships. Expansion of this premium channel would only happen in or near major metro areas where Maserati currently doesn't exist. Alfa Romeo would handle premium cars (sedans, wagons, hatchbacks, coupes, convertibles) that are midsize and smaller. Maserati would specialize in large premium grand touring cars (sedans, coupes, and convertibles). Lancia would handle premium utility vehicles (CUVs and MPVs; the brand would be unlinked from Chrysler and revert back to its vertical slat shield shaped grille. This strategy would eliminate redundancy and overlap while giving Fiat/Chrysler a relevant and competitive premium channel in the US market.
  7. I don't find either version ugly or hideous, but both versions are much blander than I had expected. For some reason, the front end doesn't seem to gel well with the rest of the body on either version. I'm thinking this may be a better looking car in the metal than it is in pictures. We'll have to see about that one...
  8. Audi gained a lot of recognition for some 20 or 30 years while doing exactly that (in most cases even less than that, merely replicating VW's mechanicals). Lincoln needs consistency more than anything, and also to find a sweet spot in the market. I'd say somewhere between Buick and Cadillac, but closer to Cadillac in pricing. I agree. Lincoln needs to take Buick's product strategy and advance it one level higher. FoMoCo doesn't have the money at the moment to create a brand specific RWD architecture for Lincoln. It will have to upgrade and modify existing corporate platforms to transform Lincoln. If done correctly, I think FoMoCo can transform Lincoln into a relevant premium brand by giving it it's own unique niche in the luxury segment. The resulting vehicles would need to be drop-dead gorgeous, extremely luxurious, and filled with the most technologically advanced powertrains and features that FoMoCo possesses. The exterior/interior designs would need to be completely unique to Lincoln and share absolutely nothing with their Ford brand platform mates. Nothing that the customer sees, touches, or interacts with should remotely hint or suggest that the customer is driving a Ford brand product. The current MKS sedan isn't ugly or repulsive, but I think it does fail to stand out and it just doesn't quite have the goods or looks to play the role as Lincoln's flagship sedan. To me, the overall shape is just a little too Asian in appearance and sort of blends too well into the automotive landscape. I'm not sure if tweaking the design would help it stand out more. Giving it more extroverted design cues might actually hurt more than help. Look what Acura did with the current RL. The current RL was certainly a bland and very nondescript design when it was initially released. Acura tried to give it more "character" when it restyled it with more "interesting" front/rear treatments, but those styling upgrades failed to gel well with the rest of the design. The current MKT is a mess to me. It is simply awkward looking. To me, FoMoCo would need to get rid of the side window kink and hunchback rear to make it even remotely appealing. The rear simply needs to be extensively reshaped to take on a more traditional SUV shape (and yes, I know it's not an actual SUV). The rear side window shape gets smaller while the sheetmetal area gets larger and more bottom heavy in the back; I think this throws off the entire exterior appearance of the vehicle. It looks like FoMoCo is dedicated and committed to repairing and transforming Lincoln. It will be interesting to see what becomes of it.
  9. Mazda Moving On Up?

    Didn't Subaru either declare or actually try to do this a while back and failed? I think it would be sort of interesting if Mazda could form a partnership with Suzuki. Suzuki could be a sportier Japanese mainstream brand while Mazda could morph into more of a sportier upscale Japanese brand.
  10. I'm anxious to see the replacement for the Caliber. The Caliber was a poorly executed hatchback on steroids segment buster that unfortunately resonated with hardly anyone. Dodge really needed a well executed and competitive compact car to replace the Neon; it didn't get that at all in the Caliber. I'm hoping that Fiat makes sure that Dodge gets what it needs in this segment, Daimler AG singlehandedly failed to deliver with this product.
  11. 2012 Buick Verano

    Just a little disappointed in the exterior color choices. I was hoping that the Midnight Blue color that is available for the LaCrosse would be available for the Verano.
  12. 2012 Buick Verano

    Are you sure? The Verano and Astra appear to share the exact same interior (minus the Buick's plood/color schemes), the same greenhouse from the B-pillar forward, identical doors, hood, all hard points between the headlamps and taillamps, mirrors, etc. I agree with you. The Verano is basically a sedan version of the Astra 5-door with Buick specific design elements.
  13. Chrysler 200 - Not Teasing Anymore

    I was thinking the same thing. Black is the only color for this car because it sort of hides or distracts attention from that hideous C-pillar fakeout. I wish Chrysler could have removed it from the "new" 200. Still, it looks like Chrysler has done an admirable job with what it had to work with. I hope the "new" 200 can keep Chrysler afloat until an all new replacement can be brought to market.
  14. Chrysler could have also done a full side window surround that extended around this plastic piece to sort of draw attention away from the fact that this fakeout treatment actually bisects the door cutline instead of flowing off of it. Sometimes brightwork can draw attention away from something that is less than desirable. It would have given this treatment a more finished look also. I guess we need to be content that Chrysler put what effort it could in changing this car. The new front/rear treatments look great. From what I understand, it's suppose to have one heck of an interior upgrade. There's also supposed to be major changes to handling and NVH. Maybe with all these changes, Chrysler can elevate this car from something that people avoid or buy because it's discounted to something that can hold its own in the market until a replacement arrives. I have to admit that the changes Chrysler has made to the front and rear alone have already made me want to at least take a look at this car. That in itself is a major improvement over the current Sebring.
  15. I will consider Chrysler one major miracle worker if it can transform the current Sebring into an acceptable looking vehicle. The new front end is a major improvement over the droopy and disfigured "face" on the current Sebring. The entire front end looked low rent. In addition, the front bumper jutted out below the headlights in a rather odd fashion and the area around the foglights made it look like the entire front end was starting to sag. Chrysler did realize that the hood strakes were a bad idea and had already removed them. The front end on the "new" 200 looks very upscale and clearly elevates the appearance of the car. The new grille and headlight units look awesome. The back of the Sebring fared no better than the front. The taillight shape was a generic looking blob and the placement of the lighting elements within that shape was truly awkward. The rear end of the "new" 200 seems to fix those issues while also serving to make the car look more upscale. I didn't expect Chrysler to change the roofline (this is supposed to be a major update to the current Sebring after all, not a fullscale redesign), but I was hoping that the black plastic triangle would be removed from the C-pillar. It is still there, but it now contains a "200" badge. The reason I think this piece looks so odd is because it doesn't flow off the door cutline. It does flow off the window line, but it necessitates an awkward 2-tone treatment on the back window frame due to the nature of the door design. Other cars that contain this styling "trick" (which I'm not fond of overall) flow the black plastic fakeout off the door cutline so it at least looks a little more natural and integrated into the design (although I think it looks as equally cheap on other cars as well). The "new" 200 would have looked so much better without it, but I guess it would have been too expensive to remove it. Given the short model cycle for the "new" 200, I guess it really isn't worth the expense. I'm assuming the entire car will be revealed at the LA Auto Show. I'm still interested in seeing how the new and improved front/rear restylings gel with the existing middle section of the car.