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Found 28 results

  1. EV-curious. That’s what I would call myself. Someone that is interested in EVs but just hasn’t found the right one. There are many aspects of an EV that is appealing to me. Instant torque, quick acceleration, the ability to charge at your house or apartment, and the continuation of creating semi-autonomous driving. It’s all so exciting! I’m ready to go out and trade in my 2016 Volkswagen GTI for one now! Or am I? Let’s take a quick look at a small field of electric vehicles, starting with the brand new 2020 Porsche Taycan. The release of the 2020 Porsche Taycan is a feat in and of itself. The car itself is downright sexy, is has a handsome interior, and performance that is pure Porsche. Over 700 HP for the Turbo S model is impressive. It also costs what you would expect an electric super-Porsche would be since the range topping Taycans are coming out first. These are the Turbo and Turbo S which cost over $150,000. After these come onto the market, less expensive and less powerful versions will come. Would this be the car that I will buy? Sure, once I get that CMO position at a major company. This is a dream electric car, but not one that I would consider just yet. What about an attainable electric car? There are a few on the market that cover the bases. Vehicles like the Hyundai Kona Electric, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and others have good to respectable range, decent features, and are not the most expensive vehicles. Average prices of $40,000-$45,000 is a bit steep, but electric cars usually command a premium over gasoline vehicles. They also have good driving aids such as blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, something that my current car has and is top priority for me. They’re all very good cars but with flaws such as build quality and designs that keep me from considering one. My problem is simple: performance. Electric cars have instant torque at 0 RPM and can be extremely fast. These EVs just don’t cut the mustard for me since they are more about range than blistering speed. For around $45,000, I can get a gas-powered car such as a Genesis G70 3.3T that is faster, has better range, and the safety features I want. Let’s continue from good electric vehicles to “the best”. Right now, you are probably thinking: “Anthony, you are forgetting the king of electric vehicles. They are synonymous with electric cars and have a huge cult following.” Guess who that is? Yes, that is of course Tesla. You can’t write about electric cars without talking about Tesla. They are a very S 3 X Y R brand indeed. The Model S introduced expensive but seriously quick electric vehicles. The X brought us an odd but much-needed crossover. The 3 is the bread-and-butter maker with a starting price around $40,000, and acceleration that beats almost all vehicles in its class. The Y hasn’t come out yet but is a crossover version of the 3, and the Roadster is a $250,000 supercar. Even though there are three models currently available, I will focus on the Model 3 Performance since that is the one I am most interested in. There is a lot to like about the Model 3 Performance. It has “performance” in its name and with 450 HP, it is one of the quickest sedans I’ve ever driven. The instant torque from the motors is intoxicating and it handles well for a heavy vehicle. Does it tick all the boxes to convert to a Tesla-fanatic? No. Why? The interior. I am not a fan of controlling absolutely everything with a touchscreen and not having my speedometer in front of me. The Model 3 Performance can have semi-autonomous driving, but it is a $7,000 option. Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system is standard and is regarded to be one of the best, if not the best driver-assist system. Tesla has sold over 250,000 Model 3 vehicles and it is a genuinely amazing feat for a young company. The range is good at over 310 miles. Pricing starts at $55,000 and is fully-loaded around $64,000. If you are okay with the minimal interior and styling, get yourself a Model 3. I personally am not a fan of either of those, so onward we go. This brings me to a car I am waiting for: The Polestar 2 fastback. Polestar used to be a sub-division of Volvo, like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. You can still get Polestar-tune Volvos, but Polestar has branched out into their own brand. The Polestar 2 is their first all-electric car. It has over 250 miles of range, 400 HP, and most import to me, gauges that are straight in front of the driver. The design is bold yet looks like an even more modern version of a Volvo. Since Polestar is a sporty company, the performance upgrades include upgraded shocks, brakes, and bigger wheels with Swedish gold seat belts. You get this package mainly for the gold seat belts. Is it pricey at over $60,000? Yes, but it feels justified for the 408 hp and range of 275 miles. 0-60 is said to be around 4.7 seconds but I suspect it will be lower. Will they sell Tesla Model 3 numbers of them? I highly doubt it since they area new brand, but it should be a great competitor to the Tesla Model 3. I like the concept of electric vehicles. I know that one day, there will be one charging at my house. Am I ready for an electric car? Yes. Is there any on the market that jumps out at me and gives me the satisfaction I have for my current car at a reasonable price of around $40,000 new? No. Do not get me wrong; there are electric cars that make sense for a multitude of situations. Range and charging are getting better, more features are getting added, and manufacturers are creating electric-only ranges of vehicles that will bring down the costs of more performance-oriented vehicles. I can go in-depth about certain electric cars in a future article. For now, I think I will keep my car and wait until something really catches my eye. That, or wait a few years and hope the Porsche Taycan depreciates enough that I can buy one. View full article
  2. EV-curious. That’s what I would call myself. Someone that is interested in EVs but just hasn’t found the right one. There are many aspects of an EV that is appealing to me. Instant torque, quick acceleration, the ability to charge at your house or apartment, and the continuation of creating semi-autonomous driving. It’s all so exciting! I’m ready to go out and trade in my 2016 Volkswagen GTI for one now! Or am I? Let’s take a quick look at a small field of electric vehicles, starting with the brand new 2020 Porsche Taycan. The release of the 2020 Porsche Taycan is a feat in and of itself. The car itself is downright sexy, is has a handsome interior, and performance that is pure Porsche. Over 700 HP for the Turbo S model is impressive. It also costs what you would expect an electric super-Porsche would be since the range topping Taycans are coming out first. These are the Turbo and Turbo S which cost over $150,000. After these come onto the market, less expensive and less powerful versions will come. Would this be the car that I will buy? Sure, once I get that CMO position at a major company. This is a dream electric car, but not one that I would consider just yet. What about an attainable electric car? There are a few on the market that cover the bases. Vehicles like the Hyundai Kona Electric, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and others have good to respectable range, decent features, and are not the most expensive vehicles. Average prices of $40,000-$45,000 is a bit steep, but electric cars usually command a premium over gasoline vehicles. They also have good driving aids such as blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, something that my current car has and is top priority for me. They’re all very good cars but with flaws such as build quality and designs that keep me from considering one. My problem is simple: performance. Electric cars have instant torque at 0 RPM and can be extremely fast. These EVs just don’t cut the mustard for me since they are more about range than blistering speed. For around $45,000, I can get a gas-powered car such as a Genesis G70 3.3T that is faster, has better range, and the safety features I want. Let’s continue from good electric vehicles to “the best”. Right now, you are probably thinking: “Anthony, you are forgetting the king of electric vehicles. They are synonymous with electric cars and have a huge cult following.” Guess who that is? Yes, that is of course Tesla. You can’t write about electric cars without talking about Tesla. They are a very S 3 X Y R brand indeed. The Model S introduced expensive but seriously quick electric vehicles. The X brought us an odd but much-needed crossover. The 3 is the bread-and-butter maker with a starting price around $40,000, and acceleration that beats almost all vehicles in its class. The Y hasn’t come out yet but is a crossover version of the 3, and the Roadster is a $250,000 supercar. Even though there are three models currently available, I will focus on the Model 3 Performance since that is the one I am most interested in. There is a lot to like about the Model 3 Performance. It has “performance” in its name and with 450 HP, it is one of the quickest sedans I’ve ever driven. The instant torque from the motors is intoxicating and it handles well for a heavy vehicle. Does it tick all the boxes to convert to a Tesla-fanatic? No. Why? The interior. I am not a fan of controlling absolutely everything with a touchscreen and not having my speedometer in front of me. The Model 3 Performance can have semi-autonomous driving, but it is a $7,000 option. Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system is standard and is regarded to be one of the best, if not the best driver-assist system. Tesla has sold over 250,000 Model 3 vehicles and it is a genuinely amazing feat for a young company. The range is good at over 310 miles. Pricing starts at $55,000 and is fully-loaded around $64,000. If you are okay with the minimal interior and styling, get yourself a Model 3. I personally am not a fan of either of those, so onward we go. This brings me to a car I am waiting for: The Polestar 2 fastback. Polestar used to be a sub-division of Volvo, like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. You can still get Polestar-tune Volvos, but Polestar has branched out into their own brand. The Polestar 2 is their first all-electric car. It has over 250 miles of range, 400 HP, and most import to me, gauges that are straight in front of the driver. The design is bold yet looks like an even more modern version of a Volvo. Since Polestar is a sporty company, the performance upgrades include upgraded shocks, brakes, and bigger wheels with Swedish gold seat belts. You get this package mainly for the gold seat belts. Is it pricey at over $60,000? Yes, but it feels justified for the 408 hp and range of 275 miles. 0-60 is said to be around 4.7 seconds but I suspect it will be lower. Will they sell Tesla Model 3 numbers of them? I highly doubt it since they area new brand, but it should be a great competitor to the Tesla Model 3. I like the concept of electric vehicles. I know that one day, there will be one charging at my house. Am I ready for an electric car? Yes. Is there any on the market that jumps out at me and gives me the satisfaction I have for my current car at a reasonable price of around $40,000 new? No. Do not get me wrong; there are electric cars that make sense for a multitude of situations. Range and charging are getting better, more features are getting added, and manufacturers are creating electric-only ranges of vehicles that will bring down the costs of more performance-oriented vehicles. I can go in-depth about certain electric cars in a future article. For now, I think I will keep my car and wait until something really catches my eye. That, or wait a few years and hope the Porsche Taycan depreciates enough that I can buy one.
  3. The reaction Peugeot’s return to the U.S. Market a couple weeks back falls into three categories. OMG! We're getting exciting French cars again Why is another automaker coming to the U.S.? Split between 1 and 2 I should say that I fall into camp three at the moment. Previously, I was in number one when the rumors began to swirl around about PSA Group - parent company of Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall - making a possible return in late 2014. The dreams about possibly seeing a small number of Citroen and DS vehicles running around the U.S. sparked some joy. Peugeot was nowhere to be seen in my fantasy as they were seen to be somewhat bland in terms of their design. But once I had my dream play through my head, I began to wonder if this could work out for PSA Group. Despite being seen as the holy grail to many outside automakers, the U.S. is very notorious to break in and keep going forward. Consider these quotes from a 2016 report in Automotive News (Subscription Required). So when PSA made their official announcement in 2016, some of my worries began to drift away. PSA would also conduct extensive research into the U.S. marketplace to determine which brand would take the charge. The end goal was to possibly have a brand in the country by 2026. Possibly is the keyword as they made clear that could pass on this idea if various conditions weren't met. Since that announcement, PSA has been making some inroads into this plan, Establishing a North American office and bringing in Larry Dominique (formerly of Nissan and TrueCar) as the head Launching a ride-sharing and car sharing app in various U.S. cities Starting to develop vehicles for the U.S. The most recent announcement of Peugeot as the lead brand surely disappointed some folks as the likes of the C4 Cactus and DS5 would not arriving. But the decision does show the amount of thought and work that has been happening behind the scenes. Still, PSA Group and Peugeot still have a tough hill to climb. Reading through the comments on the article written by Drew, there are two common issues pointed out. One is how Peugeot doesn't have anything unique in their lineup. Two is how Peugeot could be entering a marketplace that is possibly on the verge of a recession. Let's begin with design. Out of all of the brands under the PSA umbrella, Peugeot plays it very much safe in terms of design. While the brand has been taking some risks in the past few years (especially with their interiors) they are no-where near the likes of Citroen. This difference is very apparent in the history of the two brands, Peugeot producing vehicles that were efficient and simple. But some of those design could jump in terms of elegance. Citroen pushing the envelope with their designs that are either praised or hated. DS falls under this umbrella as well. My hunch is that PSA figured that sending either Citroen or DS would be problematic because they might not appeal to consumers, and just sit on lots. The second reason does hold slightly more water. Signs are beginning to appear that the U.S. economy could be heading towards a recession - a key item being pointed at is the drop in new car sales. If Peugeot was to enter at the present time, the consequences could be severe and put them in a difficult spot. But as noted, Peugeot will not be arriving until 2026. That's over six years away and in that time, the economy could be recovering from the recession in question. Time is also the biggest enemy to Peugeot. In six years time, the U.S. marketplace could be in a completely different state than where it stands now. Crossovers and SUVs dominate the sales charts at the moment, but it might be electric vehicles that become the dominant choice. There are also various regulations that may come into fruition, along with the possibility of new tariffs on vehicles built in Europe. There’s also the issue of trying to stand out in the U.S. marketplace. Consider this for a moment; there are over forty automakers selling just under 300 or so nameplates. With the prospect of more automakers from China expected to arrive in the next few years, Peugeot might be entering a crowded field. Some of their current models have the looks, but can it combat strong competition that has a long history and reputation in the country? One item is very clear, PSA Group isn't stupid. They're taking their time and doing a lot of behind the scenes work before introducing their first models in the U.S. Whether or not this proves to the big success or the white flag being raised remains to be seen. View full article
  4. The reaction Peugeot’s return to the U.S. Market a couple weeks back falls into three categories. OMG! We're getting exciting French cars again Why is another automaker coming to the U.S.? Split between 1 and 2 I should say that I fall into camp three at the moment. Previously, I was in number one when the rumors began to swirl around about PSA Group - parent company of Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall - making a possible return in late 2014. The dreams about possibly seeing a small number of Citroen and DS vehicles running around the U.S. sparked some joy. Peugeot was nowhere to be seen in my fantasy as they were seen to be somewhat bland in terms of their design. But once I had my dream play through my head, I began to wonder if this could work out for PSA Group. Despite being seen as the holy grail to many outside automakers, the U.S. is very notorious to break in and keep going forward. Consider these quotes from a 2016 report in Automotive News (Subscription Required). So when PSA made their official announcement in 2016, some of my worries began to drift away. PSA would also conduct extensive research into the U.S. marketplace to determine which brand would take the charge. The end goal was to possibly have a brand in the country by 2026. Possibly is the keyword as they made clear that could pass on this idea if various conditions weren't met. Since that announcement, PSA has been making some inroads into this plan, Establishing a North American office and bringing in Larry Dominique (formerly of Nissan and TrueCar) as the head Launching a ride-sharing and car sharing app in various U.S. cities Starting to develop vehicles for the U.S. The most recent announcement of Peugeot as the lead brand surely disappointed some folks as the likes of the C4 Cactus and DS5 would not arriving. But the decision does show the amount of thought and work that has been happening behind the scenes. Still, PSA Group and Peugeot still have a tough hill to climb. Reading through the comments on the article written by Drew, there are two common issues pointed out. One is how Peugeot doesn't have anything unique in their lineup. Two is how Peugeot could be entering a marketplace that is possibly on the verge of a recession. Let's begin with design. Out of all of the brands under the PSA umbrella, Peugeot plays it very much safe in terms of design. While the brand has been taking some risks in the past few years (especially with their interiors) they are no-where near the likes of Citroen. This difference is very apparent in the history of the two brands, Peugeot producing vehicles that were efficient and simple. But some of those design could jump in terms of elegance. Citroen pushing the envelope with their designs that are either praised or hated. DS falls under this umbrella as well. My hunch is that PSA figured that sending either Citroen or DS would be problematic because they might not appeal to consumers, and just sit on lots. The second reason does hold slightly more water. Signs are beginning to appear that the U.S. economy could be heading towards a recession - a key item being pointed at is the drop in new car sales. If Peugeot was to enter at the present time, the consequences could be severe and put them in a difficult spot. But as noted, Peugeot will not be arriving until 2026. That's over six years away and in that time, the economy could be recovering from the recession in question. Time is also the biggest enemy to Peugeot. In six years time, the U.S. marketplace could be in a completely different state than where it stands now. Crossovers and SUVs dominate the sales charts at the moment, but it might be electric vehicles that become the dominant choice. There are also various regulations that may come into fruition, along with the possibility of new tariffs on vehicles built in Europe. There’s also the issue of trying to stand out in the U.S. marketplace. Consider this for a moment; there are over forty automakers selling just under 300 or so nameplates. With the prospect of more automakers from China expected to arrive in the next few years, Peugeot might be entering a crowded field. Some of their current models have the looks, but can it combat strong competition that has a long history and reputation in the country? One item is very clear, PSA Group isn't stupid. They're taking their time and doing a lot of behind the scenes work before introducing their first models in the U.S. Whether or not this proves to the big success or the white flag being raised remains to be seen.
  5. This year was to be the final Detroit Auto Show to take place in January before the big move to an indoor/outdoor festival of sorts next June. Despite a number of manufacturers announcing they would not be at the show, there was some hope for there be to a surprise. Something that would allow the current incarnation of the show to go out with a bang. That did not happen. It was thought that Chevrolet would roll out the long-awaited and rumored mid-engined Corvette. But those hopes would be dashed as rumors came out that the project would be delayed up to six months due to a problem with the electrical system. It also gave Toyota a sigh of relief as the Supra wouldn’t be overshadowed by the Corvette - see the Ford GT eating up the attention from the Acura NSX a few years back. Even with the anticipation of the Supra coming to Detroit, there was nothing that could be described as being memorable. Most of the vehicles that were revealed seemed to be somewhat phoned in. We knew a lot about the Supra including how it would look and what would power it before it arrived on stage. CEO Akio Toyoda actually mentioned in the press conference that it was “one of the industry’s worst kept secrets.” The refreshed Volkswagen Passat was eclipsed by news that a second plant and 1,000 jobs would be added at Chattanooga, along with becoming a sponsor for U.S. Women’s, Men’s, and Youth National teams. Infiniti’s QX Inspiration concept didn’t actually appear at the presentation. It was stuck in the lobby of Cobo Hall due to some sort of malfunction. The announcement talking about Ford and Volkswagen’s new alliance? The stage appearance was canceled late on Monday. Instead, we got a conference call and press release providing the details. The big talking point at the show wasn’t about the show. Over the weekend, a water main broke which put most of Downtown Detroit under a boil water advisory. This caused a lot of headaches for visiting media and automotive executives as would have to use bottled water to brush their teeth or wash their hair (this was something I heard a few people mentioned on the show floor). Luckily, I saw this new before heading down to the show and brought a couple liters of water with me to use for tea and brushing my teeth. But the water main break serves as a good metaphor for this year’s Detroit Auto Show. It felt a bit discombobulated with a number of manufacturers being MIA and organizers trying to figure out what to do. There was also a noticeable lack of energy surrounding the show. Going into the media center at Cobo, I was expecting to be filled with various journalists and other media. To my surprise, it looked and felt the second day of the show where there was a surprising amount of open space to sit down and begin working. Being on the show floor was the same story. I was amazed at how easily I was able to get photos of cars that had been unveiled only 20 to 30 minutes without having to fight a number of people to get a decent shot. There is a lot riding on the move to June next year with organizers planning something like the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. There promises to be the ability to ride and drive various new vehicles, self-driving vehicles being demonstrated on public roads, “dynamic vehicle debuts,” and much more. A number of automakers and executives have praised this move. "I always thought it made sense for Detroit to showcase itself when the weather's nice. All the international press comes here in perhaps our worst weather month of the year. I don't know how many rodeos we can have coming down the street in January,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford earlier this week. I wished that shared the same enthusiasm as a number of people with the show moving to June. Call me skeptical or cynical, but I get the feeling that the move will not solve the issue that face a number of automakers; making the case to spend the money to attend another show. A recent piece in Wards Auto says it costs more than million dollars to hold a 25-minute press conference according to sources. “…due to exorbitant rates for sound and video production, lighting, drayage, special effects, food, drink and union labor to set up chairs, lay carpet and build ramps for drive-on vehicle unveilings.” The past few years have seen more and more automakers hold their own events off-site as they are not only cheaper but allows them to control the message. “We can go and create an atmosphere on Sunday night at the Garden Theater for less money and for what we think is an equal or better return on our investment,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of communications at General Motors to Wards Auto. I think back to a conversation I had last year on the show floor with a friend. I was mentioning how I was feeling somewhat bored and he asked how many Detroit Auto Shows I had attended. “I think this is my fourth or fifth,” I said. He paused for a moment before saying that was usually around the time someone begins to feel burnt out and wanting something exciting to happen. This popped into my head while walking around the show on Monday as nothing really grabbed my attention in terms of new debuts. There were some bright spots such as Kia Stinger GT police vehicle from Australia and the Toyota Yaris WRC on the show floor. But aside from these and few other vehicles, I felt a bit down. Maybe I had grown weary of the show itself and the noticeable departures of various automakers only compounded it. Or maybe this was the manifestation of a trend that the auto show I had come to know was coming to an end and was only beginning to realize it. 2020 will be an interesting year to say in the least as organizers begin a new chapter in the auto show’s legacy. Whether it works out or not remains to be seen. Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears View full article
  6. This year was to be the final Detroit Auto Show to take place in January before the big move to an indoor/outdoor festival of sorts next June. Despite a number of manufacturers announcing they would not be at the show, there was some hope for there be to a surprise. Something that would allow the current incarnation of the show to go out with a bang. That did not happen. It was thought that Chevrolet would roll out the long-awaited and rumored mid-engined Corvette. But those hopes would be dashed as rumors came out that the project would be delayed up to six months due to a problem with the electrical system. It also gave Toyota a sigh of relief as the Supra wouldn’t be overshadowed by the Corvette - see the Ford GT eating up the attention from the Acura NSX a few years back. Even with the anticipation of the Supra coming to Detroit, there was nothing that could be described as being memorable. Most of the vehicles that were revealed seemed to be somewhat phoned in. We knew a lot about the Supra including how it would look and what would power it before it arrived on stage. CEO Akio Toyoda actually mentioned in the press conference that it was “one of the industry’s worst kept secrets.” The refreshed Volkswagen Passat was eclipsed by news that a second plant and 1,000 jobs would be added at Chattanooga, along with becoming a sponsor for U.S. Women’s, Men’s, and Youth National teams. Infiniti’s QX Inspiration concept didn’t actually appear at the presentation. It was stuck in the lobby of Cobo Hall due to some sort of malfunction. The announcement talking about Ford and Volkswagen’s new alliance? The stage appearance was canceled late on Monday. Instead, we got a conference call and press release providing the details. The big talking point at the show wasn’t about the show. Over the weekend, a water main broke which put most of Downtown Detroit under a boil water advisory. This caused a lot of headaches for visiting media and automotive executives as would have to use bottled water to brush their teeth or wash their hair (this was something I heard a few people mentioned on the show floor). Luckily, I saw this new before heading down to the show and brought a couple liters of water with me to use for tea and brushing my teeth. But the water main break serves as a good metaphor for this year’s Detroit Auto Show. It felt a bit discombobulated with a number of manufacturers being MIA and organizers trying to figure out what to do. There was also a noticeable lack of energy surrounding the show. Going into the media center at Cobo, I was expecting to be filled with various journalists and other media. To my surprise, it looked and felt the second day of the show where there was a surprising amount of open space to sit down and begin working. Being on the show floor was the same story. I was amazed at how easily I was able to get photos of cars that had been unveiled only 20 to 30 minutes without having to fight a number of people to get a decent shot. There is a lot riding on the move to June next year with organizers planning something like the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. There promises to be the ability to ride and drive various new vehicles, self-driving vehicles being demonstrated on public roads, “dynamic vehicle debuts,” and much more. A number of automakers and executives have praised this move. "I always thought it made sense for Detroit to showcase itself when the weather's nice. All the international press comes here in perhaps our worst weather month of the year. I don't know how many rodeos we can have coming down the street in January,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford earlier this week. I wished that shared the same enthusiasm as a number of people with the show moving to June. Call me skeptical or cynical, but I get the feeling that the move will not solve the issue that face a number of automakers; making the case to spend the money to attend another show. A recent piece in Wards Auto says it costs more than million dollars to hold a 25-minute press conference according to sources. “…due to exorbitant rates for sound and video production, lighting, drayage, special effects, food, drink and union labor to set up chairs, lay carpet and build ramps for drive-on vehicle unveilings.” The past few years have seen more and more automakers hold their own events off-site as they are not only cheaper but allows them to control the message. “We can go and create an atmosphere on Sunday night at the Garden Theater for less money and for what we think is an equal or better return on our investment,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of communications at General Motors to Wards Auto. I think back to a conversation I had last year on the show floor with a friend. I was mentioning how I was feeling somewhat bored and he asked how many Detroit Auto Shows I had attended. “I think this is my fourth or fifth,” I said. He paused for a moment before saying that was usually around the time someone begins to feel burnt out and wanting something exciting to happen. This popped into my head while walking around the show on Monday as nothing really grabbed my attention in terms of new debuts. There were some bright spots such as Kia Stinger GT police vehicle from Australia and the Toyota Yaris WRC on the show floor. But aside from these and few other vehicles, I felt a bit down. Maybe I had grown weary of the show itself and the noticeable departures of various automakers only compounded it. Or maybe this was the manifestation of a trend that the auto show I had come to know was coming to an end and was only beginning to realize it. 2020 will be an interesting year to say in the least as organizers begin a new chapter in the auto show’s legacy. Whether it works out or not remains to be seen. Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
  7. I thought would be it easy. The front headlights on my new-to-me 2011 Ford Fusion were beginning to dim and I figured some new bulbs would solve it. Ordering the bulbs, I began to think this would be an easy process. Just locate the sockets for the bulbs, replace them, put the sockets back into place, and done. Little did I know this would be only a fantasy. Before fully diving into this, I opened up the owners manual to the vehicle to get an idea of what I was getting myself into. It turned out that changing the bulbs is a very involved process. For the driver’s side, you need to remove the air filter box and pipe to get enough room to access the bulbs. My vehicle has two bulbs for the low and high-beams and making sure to pluck out right one will save yourself a lot of pain and suffering. I didn’t realize at the time that rubber covers for the light sockets hint at which bulb is which - smaller one is the high-beam, the larger one is the low-beam. Had I known this, I wouldn’t have spent a good half hour trying to get the high-beam back into place with me a fair amount of swearing and my best impression of Jeremy Clarkson’s “COME ON!” The only thing missing was ‘Yakety Sax’ being played in the background. After that goof, I would pull out the right socket and replace with the bulb with no issue. The same cannot be said for putting the air filter box into place as it took a bit of wrestling to get it back into place and hoping nothing broke. After accomplishing this, my attention turned towards the passenger side which would be even difficult. Here is a photo showing off the passenger side of the engine bay. There are various mechanical parts littered about including the power steering pump and coolant reservoir. Unlike the driver’s side, there is not a part you can remove for easy access from the topside. In the owner’s manual, Ford tells you to take off the wheel well cover to access the bulbs. I would have done this, but I didn’t have the correct tool and was scared of breaking them off if I used something like a crowbar. This would have been the point of giving up, but I decided to see if there was another way. Turns out there was as a YouTube showed you could get some space by moving the coolant reservoir. That’s what I ended up doing and it did take a fair amount of time patience as I was mostly doing this by feel. After putting everything back in its place and checking to see if the lights were working, I felt like I had accomplished something major. Despite feeling sore throughout my body and being a fair bit annoyed at the process to do this, I had gotten the new lights in. It may seem ridiculous, but when you consider that most days I’m sitting in front of a computer, banging out words and editing photos, doing some work with a physical object feels unique. While I was replacing bulbs, the internet blew a gasket when a report came out concerning the upcoming Ford Ranger. Due to the design of the 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder and placement of the oil cooler, the oil filter was placed at an odd angle. The removal procedure involved removing the driver’s side wheel, undoing a number of fasteners and moving the wheel well cover, and then use an “end cap tool” to remove the filter. Since then, Ford has issued a tweet talking through the procedure (see below). Reading through this story after I had finished, I’ll admit I was a bit incensed. For anyone who wanted to do their own oil change, this procedure seemed like madness and would push the small number of those who do this away. But then I thought back to my Fusion with its cramped engine bay and it dawned on me, maybe this was the best option for Ford. Considering how much a new car houses in terms of equipment and parts, offering something akin to the list of steps may be have been the least terrible option. Sure, going through a number of steps just to remove an oil filter seems a bit much. But can you imagine the fallout if Ford just told everyone they needed to their dealer to have the oil change done? *Shudders* Seeing Ford’s response earlier in the week reinforces this thought of mine. I understand cars are only becoming more and more complicated and that shade tree mechanics are either having to go through more hoops to accomplish repairs or throw in the towel. But do I think there is some conspiracy to stop those from doing their own service to vehicles? Nope. I’ll admit that I’m not quite ready to tackle some of the issues that face my vehicle at the moment such as flushing the transmission fluid or replacing various bits of the front suspension. But this experience has made me slightly more confident in undertaking smaller repairs and improvements into the vehicle. It has also caused me to do a bit research into doing various projects so I know what I’m getting myself into so I don’t have as many frustrations. View full article
  8. I thought would be it easy. The front headlights on my new-to-me 2011 Ford Fusion were beginning to dim and I figured some new bulbs would solve it. Ordering the bulbs, I began to think this would be an easy process. Just locate the sockets for the bulbs, replace them, put the sockets back into place, and done. Little did I know this would be only a fantasy. Before fully diving into this, I opened up the owners manual to the vehicle to get an idea of what I was getting myself into. It turned out that changing the bulbs is a very involved process. For the driver’s side, you need to remove the air filter box and pipe to get enough room to access the bulbs. My vehicle has two bulbs for the low and high-beams and making sure to pluck out right one will save yourself a lot of pain and suffering. I didn’t realize at the time that rubber covers for the light sockets hint at which bulb is which - smaller one is the high-beam, the larger one is the low-beam. Had I known this, I wouldn’t have spent a good half hour trying to get the high-beam back into place with me a fair amount of swearing and my best impression of Jeremy Clarkson’s “COME ON!” The only thing missing was ‘Yakety Sax’ being played in the background. After that goof, I would pull out the right socket and replace with the bulb with no issue. The same cannot be said for putting the air filter box into place as it took a bit of wrestling to get it back into place and hoping nothing broke. After accomplishing this, my attention turned towards the passenger side which would be even difficult. Here is a photo showing off the passenger side of the engine bay. There are various mechanical parts littered about including the power steering pump and coolant reservoir. Unlike the driver’s side, there is not a part you can remove for easy access from the topside. In the owner’s manual, Ford tells you to take off the wheel well cover to access the bulbs. I would have done this, but I didn’t have the correct tool and was scared of breaking them off if I used something like a crowbar. This would have been the point of giving up, but I decided to see if there was another way. Turns out there was as a YouTube showed you could get some space by moving the coolant reservoir. That’s what I ended up doing and it did take a fair amount of time patience as I was mostly doing this by feel. After putting everything back in its place and checking to see if the lights were working, I felt like I had accomplished something major. Despite feeling sore throughout my body and being a fair bit annoyed at the process to do this, I had gotten the new lights in. It may seem ridiculous, but when you consider that most days I’m sitting in front of a computer, banging out words and editing photos, doing some work with a physical object feels unique. While I was replacing bulbs, the internet blew a gasket when a report came out concerning the upcoming Ford Ranger. Due to the design of the 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder and placement of the oil cooler, the oil filter was placed at an odd angle. The removal procedure involved removing the driver’s side wheel, undoing a number of fasteners and moving the wheel well cover, and then use an “end cap tool” to remove the filter. Since then, Ford has issued a tweet talking through the procedure (see below). Reading through this story after I had finished, I’ll admit I was a bit incensed. For anyone who wanted to do their own oil change, this procedure seemed like madness and would push the small number of those who do this away. But then I thought back to my Fusion with its cramped engine bay and it dawned on me, maybe this was the best option for Ford. Considering how much a new car houses in terms of equipment and parts, offering something akin to the list of steps may be have been the least terrible option. Sure, going through a number of steps just to remove an oil filter seems a bit much. But can you imagine the fallout if Ford just told everyone they needed to their dealer to have the oil change done? *Shudders* Seeing Ford’s response earlier in the week reinforces this thought of mine. I understand cars are only becoming more and more complicated and that shade tree mechanics are either having to go through more hoops to accomplish repairs or throw in the towel. But do I think there is some conspiracy to stop those from doing their own service to vehicles? Nope. I’ll admit that I’m not quite ready to tackle some of the issues that face my vehicle at the moment such as flushing the transmission fluid or replacing various bits of the front suspension. But this experience has made me slightly more confident in undertaking smaller repairs and improvements into the vehicle. It has also caused me to do a bit research into doing various projects so I know what I’m getting myself into so I don’t have as many frustrations.
  9. For the past month, I have been doing a bit of window shopping for a possible replacement for my current vehicle - a 2006 Ford Fusion with almost 270,000 miles on the odometer. Usually, whenever I go look at vehicles, I tend to have automotive ADD; tending to look at all kinds of vehicles with no set price or type. But this recent excursion caused me to notice that I had unknowingly set my sights on a certain group. All of the vehicles I was looking at were all compact cars and none were crossovers. Why is that? To get to the bottom of this, I began to look at my driving habits when I am not driving a new car for review. For the most part, I tend to drive in a small radius from where I live - about a 20 to 25 Miles. I don’t really carry passengers in my car and the back seat is primarily used for transporting groceries or other items. Plus, I only get about 22 to 24 mpg in mostly city driving. Looking at this information, it makes some sense as to why I happen to be looking at small cars. I don’t take advantage of all the space on offer for cargo and passengers, and it would be nice to get to some higher fuel economy numbers. You might be wondering why am I not considering a compact/subcompact crossover? There are two reasons for this. One is that I find crossovers to be a little too big for my needs and wants. Second is that I can get a better deal on a car than a crossover. For example, I have been looking at various Chevrolet Cruzes and have been surprised how much dealers are marking them down. I have seen price cuts ranging from about $2,000 to $5,000. That means I could get into a decently equipped Cruze for around $20,000 to $22,000. Can’t really do the same when talking about the Equinox. There have been a couple pieces flowing around within the past few months talking about how a number of us tend to buy the largest vehicle we can afford because we tend to think about the extremes that will happen rarely during the ownership of the vehicle. Having a big vehicle for when you decide to move or pick up some large items is a nice thing to have, but how often will that happen for most of us? Twice? Three times? We may think that we are using rational reasoning to try and justify buying something bigger, but the irrational parts of our brains ultimately color the final decision. All of us should buy a vehicle that fits our needs and wants. But that doesn’t always work out. Some of us enjoy driving a bigger vehicle such as a full-size sedan or pickup truck. If you get a sense of joy every time you get in, despite the faults and issues that will come up, then I don’t see any problem. For me, I would enjoy having a full-size sedan such as a Chevrolet Impala because of its comfortable ride and looks. But at the moment, it doesn’t make sense for me. I guess what I am trying to say is the next time you’re deciding on your next vehicle, try your best to keep the needs and wants in check. Don’t fall into those traps of thinking about the extremes. Who knows, you might be like me and find yourself surprised at what you are looking at. Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
  10. For the past month, I have been doing a bit of window shopping for a possible replacement for my current vehicle - a 2006 Ford Fusion with almost 270,000 miles on the odometer. Usually, whenever I go look at vehicles, I tend to have automotive ADD; tending to look at all kinds of vehicles with no set price or type. But this recent excursion caused me to notice that I had unknowingly set my sights on a certain group. All of the vehicles I was looking at were all compact cars and none were crossovers. Why is that? To get to the bottom of this, I began to look at my driving habits when I am not driving a new car for review. For the most part, I tend to drive in a small radius from where I live - about a 20 to 25 Miles. I don’t really carry passengers in my car and the back seat is primarily used for transporting groceries or other items. Plus, I only get about 22 to 24 mpg in mostly city driving. Looking at this information, it makes some sense as to why I happen to be looking at small cars. I don’t take advantage of all the space on offer for cargo and passengers, and it would be nice to get to some higher fuel economy numbers. You might be wondering why am I not considering a compact/subcompact crossover? There are two reasons for this. One is that I find crossovers to be a little too big for my needs and wants. Second is that I can get a better deal on a car than a crossover. For example, I have been looking at various Chevrolet Cruzes and have been surprised how much dealers are marking them down. I have seen price cuts ranging from about $2,000 to $5,000. That means I could get into a decently equipped Cruze for around $20,000 to $22,000. Can’t really do the same when talking about the Equinox. There have been a couple pieces flowing around within the past few months talking about how a number of us tend to buy the largest vehicle we can afford because we tend to think about the extremes that will happen rarely during the ownership of the vehicle. Having a big vehicle for when you decide to move or pick up some large items is a nice thing to have, but how often will that happen for most of us? Twice? Three times? We may think that we are using rational reasoning to try and justify buying something bigger, but the irrational parts of our brains ultimately color the final decision. All of us should buy a vehicle that fits our needs and wants. But that doesn’t always work out. Some of us enjoy driving a bigger vehicle such as a full-size sedan or pickup truck. If you get a sense of joy every time you get in, despite the faults and issues that will come up, then I don’t see any problem. For me, I would enjoy having a full-size sedan such as a Chevrolet Impala because of its comfortable ride and looks. But at the moment, it doesn’t make sense for me. I guess what I am trying to say is the next time you’re deciding on your next vehicle, try your best to keep the needs and wants in check. Don’t fall into those traps of thinking about the extremes. Who knows, you might be like me and find yourself surprised at what you are looking at. Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears View full article
  11. Whenever someone finds out that I'm an automotive writer, sooner or later I will get asked "I'm looking for 'x' vehicle and I was wondering if you could help me out," or some other variation. These are the times where I wish I could make a smoke cloud appear, allowing me to make an escape. But alas, that is only a dream. This is a common thing that a number of us - automotive writers - tend to get whether it is from family, friends, or some random stranger. We want to try and help, but most of the time the suggestions seem to go nowhere. It comes down to various reasons such as none of the ideas are appealing or the person going in a completely different direction (wanted a sedan, now interested in a crossover). But I also believe that we as a group need to take some of the blame as we sometimes try to push someone into a vehicle they are not interested or vice versa. I learned this at an early age when I was trying to push my parents away from leasing a Ford Freestyle due to the poor reviews it got in the automotive press. They ended up with one and I ate my fair amount of crow as I grew to like the Freestyle. Other times, it seems that the suggestions we give out are a bit ridiculous. For example, recommending someone getting a high-performance wagon when all they want is a crossover. I can't help but wonder if some of the suggestions I have heard are due to someone trying to live vicariously through another person. Aside from wishing I could throw on an invisibility cloak whenever this question is asked, I have been trying figure out what could be the best way to help someone while giving myself some plausible deniability. It hit me recently when I was at friend’s birthday gathering. I was chatting with my friend’s dad and he asked me about what car should he recommend to a co-worker. She was looking at a BMW X3 and wanted to know if this was a good choice. Plus, was there any other vehicles she should consider? To get my mind in the right place, I found myself asking a lot of questions. Did she have kids? What are her big considerations? Are there types of vehicles or brands she doesn’t want to deal with? How much does she want to spend? So on and so forth. It was a version of twenty questions where there is no correct answer and somehow less fun. Once I had gotten enough information to get my mind working, I began to recommend a few vehicles that are worth a closer look such as the Audi Q5, Lincoln MKC, and Subaru Outback. I also said the new X3 is quite good and would possibly consider going with a certified pre-owned model for a slightly lower price and warranty. After having this conversation, it hit me: I had figured out a possible fool proof way of offering car advice. It comes down to me taking on the role of a guide where I ask a person what they are and are not interested in, and build out a group of vehicles that I can show someone that possibly fits what they are looking. I don't know what the co-worker ended up choosing and I hope to find out in the near future. So if you want to ask me what car you want to buy, be prepared to answer a lot of questions and not be given a definitive answer. You might be annoyed by this, but the end result is hopefully you finding a car that works. Plus, we might be on speaking terms after this.
  12. Whenever someone finds out that I'm an automotive writer, sooner or later I will get asked "I'm looking for 'x' vehicle and I was wondering if you could help me out," or some other variation. These are the times where I wish I could make a smoke cloud appear, allowing me to make an escape. But alas, that is only a dream. This is a common thing that a number of us - automotive writers - tend to get whether it is from family, friends, or some random stranger. We want to try and help, but most of the time the suggestions seem to go nowhere. It comes down to various reasons such as none of the ideas are appealing or the person going in a completely different direction (wanted a sedan, now interested in a crossover). But I also believe that we as a group need to take some of the blame as we sometimes try to push someone into a vehicle they are not interested or vice versa. I learned this at an early age when I was trying to push my parents away from leasing a Ford Freestyle due to the poor reviews it got in the automotive press. They ended up with one and I ate my fair amount of crow as I grew to like the Freestyle. Other times, it seems that the suggestions we give out are a bit ridiculous. For example, recommending someone getting a high-performance wagon when all they want is a crossover. I can't help but wonder if some of the suggestions I have heard are due to someone trying to live vicariously through another person. Aside from wishing I could throw on an invisibility cloak whenever this question is asked, I have been trying figure out what could be the best way to help someone while giving myself some plausible deniability. It hit me recently when I was at friend’s birthday gathering. I was chatting with my friend’s dad and he asked me about what car should he recommend to a co-worker. She was looking at a BMW X3 and wanted to know if this was a good choice. Plus, was there any other vehicles she should consider? To get my mind in the right place, I found myself asking a lot of questions. Did she have kids? What are her big considerations? Are there types of vehicles or brands she doesn’t want to deal with? How much does she want to spend? So on and so forth. It was a version of twenty questions where there is no correct answer and somehow less fun. Once I had gotten enough information to get my mind working, I began to recommend a few vehicles that are worth a closer look such as the Audi Q5, Lincoln MKC, and Subaru Outback. I also said the new X3 is quite good and would possibly consider going with a certified pre-owned model for a slightly lower price and warranty. After having this conversation, it hit me: I had figured out a possible fool proof way of offering car advice. It comes down to me taking on the role of a guide where I ask a person what they are and are not interested in, and build out a group of vehicles that I can show someone that possibly fits what they are looking. I don't know what the co-worker ended up choosing and I hope to find out in the near future. So if you want to ask me what car you want to buy, be prepared to answer a lot of questions and not be given a definitive answer. You might be annoyed by this, but the end result is hopefully you finding a car that works. Plus, we might be on speaking terms after this. View full article
  13. This would have been my fourth Detroit Auto Show (or North American International Auto Show as some would like you to call it) for Cheers and Gears. But due to a leg injury sustained a couple of weeks before the show, I was unable to make it. Maybe that was a blessing in disguise as I would miss out on dealing with individuals who break out tape measures and clipboards to note every little detail, along with journalists complaining about why the show isn't held during a warmer month. But it would turn out this year’s show would be a bit disappointing. That isn't to say there were not any breakouts. The new Kia Stinger GT looks very intriguing as the new Lexus LS. I'm interested in checking out the new Toyota Camry (bet you weren't expecting that). Volkswagen's I.D. Buzz concept could bring something new in terms of electric vehicles (if it ever gets built). Plus Ford's announcement that the Bronco and Ranger were coming was some excellent news. But everything else landed with a bit of a thud. So how did we end up here? A lot of this comes down to the past few years at Detroit being very bountiful with vehicles that caused jaws to drop and excitement levels to rise. The likes of the Acura NSX, Buick Avista concept, Chevrolet Bolt, Ford GT, and Lexus LC made our souls stir and revel in this magical time. But sooner or later, the well was going to dry up and leave a show that was lacking in spark. At first, I thought it was part of a cycle. You have your high points before falling back down and then rising back up. But the more I thought about it, this might be a sign that the auto show is beginning to fade. The past few years have seen a number of automakers hold events off site before the kick-off of the show. Looking at the various social media feeds on Sunday, I was able to count seven different events. Holding something offsite give an automaker a way of controlling the message. It also gives a bit more time in the spotlight, not having to fight with other automakers for it during a packed press day. There are also more outlets for automakers to show their wares. The week before the Detroit Auto Show was the Consumer Electronics Show. The past few years have seen more and more automakers take part in regards to electric vehicles and autonomous driving. It has also been home for a small number of debuts; Volkswagen Budd-e, Chrysler Portal concept, and Faraday Future. The combination of these two, along with some manufacturers pulling out of Detroit over the past few years resulted in this year's show. Does this mean the Detroit Auto Show is doomed? Not at the moment. This year, organizers took a page from the LA Auto Show by doing more in terms of talking about the future of the automotive industry and mobility with press conferences and talks from various industry folks from Sunday to Tuesday. But the writing is beginning to appear on the wall. Down the road, it seems the auto show will not be the place where news is made. Instead, it will be the place where vehicles are gathered for all to look at. Before that day comes, we might get a couple more high points. View full article
  14. This would have been my fourth Detroit Auto Show (or North American International Auto Show as some would like you to call it) for Cheers and Gears. But due to a leg injury sustained a couple of weeks before the show, I was unable to make it. Maybe that was a blessing in disguise as I would miss out on dealing with individuals who break out tape measures and clipboards to note every little detail, along with journalists complaining about why the show isn't held during a warmer month. But it would turn out this year’s show would be a bit disappointing. That isn't to say there were not any breakouts. The new Kia Stinger GT looks very intriguing as the new Lexus LS. I'm interested in checking out the new Toyota Camry (bet you weren't expecting that). Volkswagen's I.D. Buzz concept could bring something new in terms of electric vehicles (if it ever gets built). Plus Ford's announcement that the Bronco and Ranger were coming was some excellent news. But everything else landed with a bit of a thud. So how did we end up here? A lot of this comes down to the past few years at Detroit being very bountiful with vehicles that caused jaws to drop and excitement levels to rise. The likes of the Acura NSX, Buick Avista concept, Chevrolet Bolt, Ford GT, and Lexus LC made our souls stir and revel in this magical time. But sooner or later, the well was going to dry up and leave a show that was lacking in spark. At first, I thought it was part of a cycle. You have your high points before falling back down and then rising back up. But the more I thought about it, this might be a sign that the auto show is beginning to fade. The past few years have seen a number of automakers hold events off site before the kick-off of the show. Looking at the various social media feeds on Sunday, I was able to count seven different events. Holding something offsite give an automaker a way of controlling the message. It also gives a bit more time in the spotlight, not having to fight with other automakers for it during a packed press day. There are also more outlets for automakers to show their wares. The week before the Detroit Auto Show was the Consumer Electronics Show. The past few years have seen more and more automakers take part in regards to electric vehicles and autonomous driving. It has also been home for a small number of debuts; Volkswagen Budd-e, Chrysler Portal concept, and Faraday Future. The combination of these two, along with some manufacturers pulling out of Detroit over the past few years resulted in this year's show. Does this mean the Detroit Auto Show is doomed? Not at the moment. This year, organizers took a page from the LA Auto Show by doing more in terms of talking about the future of the automotive industry and mobility with press conferences and talks from various industry folks from Sunday to Tuesday. But the writing is beginning to appear on the wall. Down the road, it seems the auto show will not be the place where news is made. Instead, it will be the place where vehicles are gathered for all to look at. Before that day comes, we might get a couple more high points.
  15. The past month at Mitsubishi Motors has been tumultuous with the announcement that they had manipulated fuel economy numbers on a number of small city cars sold by them and Nissan. It would come to light that this manipulation had been going since 1991 on a number of models sold in Japan. Shares in the company dropped like a rock and there were concerns that Mitsubishi Motors would have to borrow money from other companies in the Mitsubishi conglomerate. But soon a white knight would appear, Nissan. The company that first discovered and reported it to Mitsubishi would buy a 34 percent share into the automaker, making it the largest shareholder. Thus, an alliance between the two was created. The two automakers are currently still in the beginning stages of their alliance, but certain things have been made clear of what the two hope to accomplish. The biggest one is to improve the reputation of Mitsubishi Motors in Japan. There is also talk about two working together on electric vehicles and possibly sharing a platform for their next-generation pickups. One of the questions still up in the air is what will the alliance bring to the U.S.? That’s probably way down on the priority list for both companies. But it is something that will have to be discussed sooner or later. At the moment, there seem to be two camps of thought. The first is that Mitsubishi should make an exit out of the U.S. Sales are on the rise for the Japanese automaker, but they pale in comparison with other competitors. Also, Mitsubishi doesn’t have the presence as other automakers when it comes to getting the message out. The second is that Mitsubishi should stay, which for the most part is followed by ‘bring back the Lancer Evolution!’. I hate to be the evil person here, but it isn’t coming back. Stop asking for it. Recently I was going back through some old Autocar magazines and came across an editorial talking about Nissan’s change in strategy for the U.K. and how they are currently reaping the benefits. “I remember when Nissan said it was giving up the ‘boring’ car market and dealing only in what were, at the time, niches. Quirky tall things. Things that didn’t sell in large volumes. That funny Qashqai thing: not quite a car, not quite a 4x4 either. We weren’t long out of the 1990s, a decade in which the list of the top 10 best-selling cars in the UK went something like this: Ford's Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Vauxhall's Vectra, Astra, Corsa, Peugeot 306, Volkswagen Golf, Rovers 200, 400. Family cars all. Straight family cars. Not always a Nissan among them, although the Micra dabbled inside the top 10, because it was, then, a cute supermini. So Nissan got into what were seen as niches. Ballsy move. And it has stayed there.” It was quite the gamble when Nissan made this call in the 2000’s to drop out of some very popular segments at the time to focus on some odd vehicles. But it has paid off as Nissan has become one of the popular brands in the U.K. and two of their vehicles - the Qashqai and Juke - are in the top ten of the best-selling vehicles. This got me thinking, what if Mitsubishi and Nissan were to apply this same strategy for the U.S.? You might think I’m being somewhat crazy with this idea, but what does Mitsubishi have to lose? What could this strategy possibly look like? I think we need to go back to 2015 and look at comments made by Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko for a possible starting point. "We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction. We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.” In 2015, more than 58 percent of Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales were crossovers. That trend is continuing in 2016 as 54 percent of sales through April are crossovers. We know that later this year, Mitsubishi will finally launch the long-delayed Outlander PHEV in the U.S. There is also talk of a small crossover and next-generation Montero/Pajero coming in the next few years. I know crossovers and SUVs aren’t really considered a niche anymore as every automaker has one. But this is an area that Mitsubishi that is quite strong. So what could Nissan bring to the table with crossovers/SUVs? A key item would be electrification. Yes, Mitsubishi does have a fair amount of experience here. But as I mentioned, one of the key things the two automakers are planning to work on together on electric vehicles. They could make some big inroads with building an electric crossover with decent range (200 or more miles). Considering the huge craving for crossovers by consumers, the two could strike something big here. The other item Nissan could bring is new a new platform and/or engines for the next-generation Outlander/Outlander Sport. One complaint about both crossovers are the four-cylinder engines as they don’t have enough power to get either model moving at a decent clip. There’s also the issue of Outlander Sport having a very jarring ride due to the suspension tuning. But this is one part of the Mitsubishi conundrum. The other deals with their other best-selling passenger car, the Mirage. Aside from being the current whipping boy of the automotive press, the Mirage makes up about 38.3 percent of Mitsubishi’s 2016 sales through April. A lot this is due to the low price of the model ($12,995). To capitalize on this success, Mitsubishi will be launching a Mirage sedan later this year. To go back to the comments made by Masuko, “We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. Market.” But the Mirage is proving to be a strong model and one that should be considered a core model. It would be mad for Mitsubishi to drop it. One thing that the Mirage does need is a new engine. The 1.2L three-cylinder does deliver excellent fuel economy figures (37 City/43 Highway), but it is slow. Snails could outrun this vehicle. This is where Nissan could come in by giving the Mirage an engine transplant. The 1.6L four-cylinder from the Versa/Versa Note with 109 horsepower would provide a needed boost in power and wouldn’t affect fuel economy numbers much. Now that I have outlined some key issues and comments, let’s dive into what a smaller lineup for Mitsubishi could possibly look like with some help from Nissan. Mirage/Mirage G4: New engine from Nissan and possibly an improved interior. Lancer: Rebadged version of Sentra and Pulsar Hatchback, or Nissan helps with speeding up development of the next-gen model. Outlander Sport: Electric model possibly joins range. Outlander: Plug-in hybrid model sticks around. Pajero/Montero: All Mitsubishi here. Gas and plug-in hybrid powertrains on offer. Five and seven-seat configurations on offer. Triton/L200: Next-Generation model using Nissan Navara platform. Mitsubishi works on everything else from engines and four-wheel drive system. This is way out as both companies have introduced their latest trucks. Would Nissan be willing to help Mitsubishi with this? That is tough to say at this time since we’re still in the honeymoon period between the two automakers and there are more pressing things to address. There is also the consideration of why Nissan would help a competitor in the market. But Mitsubishi is a small bit player in the U.S. Last year, Mitsubishi only sold 95,342 vehicles. This pales in comparison with the 1,484,918 vehicles sold by Nissan last year. This could help Mitsubishi out with making a case for this idea. The U.S. is way down on the priority list between Mitsubishi and Nissan. But I’m sure the U.S. offices are thinking about what will happen. There are two real choices that are on the table, either leave the U.S. market or take a gamble and change up your lineup somewhat drastically. If I was Mitsubishi, I would push for the latter option by using the niche plan. View full article
  16. The past month at Mitsubishi Motors has been tumultuous with the announcement that they had manipulated fuel economy numbers on a number of small city cars sold by them and Nissan. It would come to light that this manipulation had been going since 1991 on a number of models sold in Japan. Shares in the company dropped like a rock and there were concerns that Mitsubishi Motors would have to borrow money from other companies in the Mitsubishi conglomerate. But soon a white knight would appear, Nissan. The company that first discovered and reported it to Mitsubishi would buy a 34 percent share into the automaker, making it the largest shareholder. Thus, an alliance between the two was created. The two automakers are currently still in the beginning stages of their alliance, but certain things have been made clear of what the two hope to accomplish. The biggest one is to improve the reputation of Mitsubishi Motors in Japan. There is also talk about two working together on electric vehicles and possibly sharing a platform for their next-generation pickups. One of the questions still up in the air is what will the alliance bring to the U.S.? That’s probably way down on the priority list for both companies. But it is something that will have to be discussed sooner or later. At the moment, there seem to be two camps of thought. The first is that Mitsubishi should make an exit out of the U.S. Sales are on the rise for the Japanese automaker, but they pale in comparison with other competitors. Also, Mitsubishi doesn’t have the presence as other automakers when it comes to getting the message out. The second is that Mitsubishi should stay, which for the most part is followed by ‘bring back the Lancer Evolution!’. I hate to be the evil person here, but it isn’t coming back. Stop asking for it. Recently I was going back through some old Autocar magazines and came across an editorial talking about Nissan’s change in strategy for the U.K. and how they are currently reaping the benefits. “I remember when Nissan said it was giving up the ‘boring’ car market and dealing only in what were, at the time, niches. Quirky tall things. Things that didn’t sell in large volumes. That funny Qashqai thing: not quite a car, not quite a 4x4 either. We weren’t long out of the 1990s, a decade in which the list of the top 10 best-selling cars in the UK went something like this: Ford's Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Vauxhall's Vectra, Astra, Corsa, Peugeot 306, Volkswagen Golf, Rovers 200, 400. Family cars all. Straight family cars. Not always a Nissan among them, although the Micra dabbled inside the top 10, because it was, then, a cute supermini. So Nissan got into what were seen as niches. Ballsy move. And it has stayed there.” It was quite the gamble when Nissan made this call in the 2000’s to drop out of some very popular segments at the time to focus on some odd vehicles. But it has paid off as Nissan has become one of the popular brands in the U.K. and two of their vehicles - the Qashqai and Juke - are in the top ten of the best-selling vehicles. This got me thinking, what if Mitsubishi and Nissan were to apply this same strategy for the U.S.? You might think I’m being somewhat crazy with this idea, but what does Mitsubishi have to lose? What could this strategy possibly look like? I think we need to go back to 2015 and look at comments made by Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko for a possible starting point. "We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction. We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.” In 2015, more than 58 percent of Mitsubishi’s U.S. sales were crossovers. That trend is continuing in 2016 as 54 percent of sales through April are crossovers. We know that later this year, Mitsubishi will finally launch the long-delayed Outlander PHEV in the U.S. There is also talk of a small crossover and next-generation Montero/Pajero coming in the next few years. I know crossovers and SUVs aren’t really considered a niche anymore as every automaker has one. But this is an area that Mitsubishi that is quite strong. So what could Nissan bring to the table with crossovers/SUVs? A key item would be electrification. Yes, Mitsubishi does have a fair amount of experience here. But as I mentioned, one of the key things the two automakers are planning to work on together on electric vehicles. They could make some big inroads with building an electric crossover with decent range (200 or more miles). Considering the huge craving for crossovers by consumers, the two could strike something big here. The other item Nissan could bring is new a new platform and/or engines for the next-generation Outlander/Outlander Sport. One complaint about both crossovers are the four-cylinder engines as they don’t have enough power to get either model moving at a decent clip. There’s also the issue of Outlander Sport having a very jarring ride due to the suspension tuning. But this is one part of the Mitsubishi conundrum. The other deals with their other best-selling passenger car, the Mirage. Aside from being the current whipping boy of the automotive press, the Mirage makes up about 38.3 percent of Mitsubishi’s 2016 sales through April. A lot this is due to the low price of the model ($12,995). To capitalize on this success, Mitsubishi will be launching a Mirage sedan later this year. To go back to the comments made by Masuko, “We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. Market.” But the Mirage is proving to be a strong model and one that should be considered a core model. It would be mad for Mitsubishi to drop it. One thing that the Mirage does need is a new engine. The 1.2L three-cylinder does deliver excellent fuel economy figures (37 City/43 Highway), but it is slow. Snails could outrun this vehicle. This is where Nissan could come in by giving the Mirage an engine transplant. The 1.6L four-cylinder from the Versa/Versa Note with 109 horsepower would provide a needed boost in power and wouldn’t affect fuel economy numbers much. Now that I have outlined some key issues and comments, let’s dive into what a smaller lineup for Mitsubishi could possibly look like with some help from Nissan. Mirage/Mirage G4: New engine from Nissan and possibly an improved interior. Lancer: Rebadged version of Sentra and Pulsar Hatchback, or Nissan helps with speeding up development of the next-gen model. Outlander Sport: Electric model possibly joins range. Outlander: Plug-in hybrid model sticks around. Pajero/Montero: All Mitsubishi here. Gas and plug-in hybrid powertrains on offer. Five and seven-seat configurations on offer. Triton/L200: Next-Generation model using Nissan Navara platform. Mitsubishi works on everything else from engines and four-wheel drive system. This is way out as both companies have introduced their latest trucks. Would Nissan be willing to help Mitsubishi with this? That is tough to say at this time since we’re still in the honeymoon period between the two automakers and there are more pressing things to address. There is also the consideration of why Nissan would help a competitor in the market. But Mitsubishi is a small bit player in the U.S. Last year, Mitsubishi only sold 95,342 vehicles. This pales in comparison with the 1,484,918 vehicles sold by Nissan last year. This could help Mitsubishi out with making a case for this idea. The U.S. is way down on the priority list between Mitsubishi and Nissan. But I’m sure the U.S. offices are thinking about what will happen. There are two real choices that are on the table, either leave the U.S. market or take a gamble and change up your lineup somewhat drastically. If I was Mitsubishi, I would push for the latter option by using the niche plan.
  17. Over the past six months and numerous articles with the ‘As the Diesel Emits’ in the title, we are no closer to have a fix for the around 600,000 Volkswagen diesel vehicles with illegal emission software. Instead, we have been treated a first-rate performance of ‘How not to handle a crisis’. From Volkswagen’s delay of admitting the illegal software to CEO Matthias Muller seeming very oblivious to what happening in an interview. It seems the German automaker is getting one black eye after another. The past month or so has seen the crisis cranked up to eleven. New documents revealed that senior managers, including former CEO Martin Winterkorn, were alerted about the U.S. probing some of their TDI models back in 2014 This was followed up by a letter from last year alerting Winterkorn that the Volkswagen did use a defeat device in their diesel models - two weeks before the official EPA announcement. A U.S. Federal Judge has given Volkswagen until March 24th to give an answer on where they stand on a possible fix. Volkswagen of America CEO and President Michael Horn suddenly stepped down from his position. With Horn’s departure, dealers want answers as to what happens next or a mutiny could happen. Ever since this scandal came to light, there has been a question that has been floating around in my head: Does Volkswagen know how much trouble it is in? On the surface, it seems they do and are trying their best to rectify this issue. But dig a little bit further and there are very troubling signs. For example, the Associate Press last week learned from a couple people that Volkswagen’s management in Germany resisted the plan set by Horn to offer $1,000 in gift cards to owners as a gesture of goodwill. Thankfully management relented and the program was instituted. Then there was Volkswagen’s first proposal to fix the affected vehicles in the U.S. which got rejected by the California Air Resources Board as it was “incomplete, substantially deficient and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles” to compliance. Since then, Volkswagen has been working on a new solution to present to CARB and the EPA, though we haven’t heard anything about it. These concerns bring up another question about Volkswagen: Do they know what their place in America is? Last September, Automobile Magazine ran an excellent editorial titled Volkswagen Has Never Understood its Place in the U.S. In the piece, the author argues that Volkswagen is seen by many Americans as something out of the mainstream - original Beetle, Microbus, Golf GTI, and their diesel lineup. Because of this, Volkswagen has a small, but loyal fanbase, But Volkswagen sees themselves as something different; a mass-market brand capable of selling many vehicles around. Except in the U.S. A few years ago, Volkswagen set an ambitious goal of selling 800,000 vehicles in the U.S. by 2018. To achieve this goal, the automaker decided to build vehicles tailored to the marketplace. What we ended up with was a Passat and Jetta that were appealing as stale bread because that is what the company thought would sell. At first, the strategy worked as sales of Volkswagen vehicles increased. But in the past couple of years, sales have dropped precipitously. The company has been scratching their heads as to why this is happening. It goes back to Volkswagen not understanding their place in the U.S. That last sentence can be extended further into the diesel emission crisis. The way Volkswagen has handled this crisis is nothing short of disastrous. If you are a company dealing with a massive crisis, the key thing you should be doing is keeping everyone somewhat abreast of what is happening. Volkswagen has barely done this and has given the impression that they are really not doing anything, despite all of the reports saying Volkswagen is conducting an internal investigation and working on a fix. This one quote from the Automobile Magazine editorial partly sums the predicament Volkswagen finds itself in. “That left the small clique of devoted enthusiasts, folks who bought Volkswagens because they were Volkswagens, and often because they were Volkswagen “clean” diesels. These are precisely the people Volkswagen just kicked in the teeth.” They’re not the only group that Volkswagen has caused pain. Dealers who bought into Volkswagen’s vision of being a mass-market brand and spent close to a billion dollars, only to see sales fall apart are not very happy. There also seems to be a disconnect between dealers and Volkswagen as this quote from Bloomberg illustrates, “The suggestion was startling: Maybe VW should give up on selling cars to America’s masses. It was late January, at the Detroit auto show, and Herbert Diess, the global chief of Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand, was sounding out U.S. dealers as the company grappled with the biggest crisis in its modern history. Perhaps, Diess wondered aloud, VW should stop trying to compete with the likes of Toyota Motor Corp. in America and go back to focusing on higher-end models. “It was near crickets in the room,” said Alan Brown, chairman of VW’s U.S. dealer council.” Volkswagen is now at a crossroads with seemingly everyone angry with them in one form or another. There are so many things the company could have done to be in a better place than they are currently. But the Volkswagen’s mindset and not fully understanding the U.S. put them in a the place where they are now. Whether or not they learn from this experience and make the necessary changes to survive remains to be seen. The one thing we are sure about is that Volkswagen lost a lot of trust from various groups because of this scandal. As anyone will tell you, regaining trust is a seemingly impossible task. View full article
  18. Over the past six months and numerous articles with the ‘As the Diesel Emits’ in the title, we are no closer to have a fix for the around 600,000 Volkswagen diesel vehicles with illegal emission software. Instead, we have been treated a first-rate performance of ‘How not to handle a crisis’. From Volkswagen’s delay of admitting the illegal software to CEO Matthias Muller seeming very oblivious to what happening in an interview. It seems the German automaker is getting one black eye after another. The past month or so has seen the crisis cranked up to eleven. New documents revealed that senior managers, including former CEO Martin Winterkorn, were alerted about the U.S. probing some of their TDI models back in 2014 This was followed up by a letter from last year alerting Winterkorn that the Volkswagen did use a defeat device in their diesel models - two weeks before the official EPA announcement. A U.S. Federal Judge has given Volkswagen until March 24th to give an answer on where they stand on a possible fix. Volkswagen of America CEO and President Michael Horn suddenly stepped down from his position. With Horn’s departure, dealers want answers as to what happens next or a mutiny could happen. Ever since this scandal came to light, there has been a question that has been floating around in my head: Does Volkswagen know how much trouble it is in? On the surface, it seems they do and are trying their best to rectify this issue. But dig a little bit further and there are very troubling signs. For example, the Associate Press last week learned from a couple people that Volkswagen’s management in Germany resisted the plan set by Horn to offer $1,000 in gift cards to owners as a gesture of goodwill. Thankfully management relented and the program was instituted. Then there was Volkswagen’s first proposal to fix the affected vehicles in the U.S. which got rejected by the California Air Resources Board as it was “incomplete, substantially deficient and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles” to compliance. Since then, Volkswagen has been working on a new solution to present to CARB and the EPA, though we haven’t heard anything about it. These concerns bring up another question about Volkswagen: Do they know what their place in America is? Last September, Automobile Magazine ran an excellent editorial titled Volkswagen Has Never Understood its Place in the U.S. In the piece, the author argues that Volkswagen is seen by many Americans as something out of the mainstream - original Beetle, Microbus, Golf GTI, and their diesel lineup. Because of this, Volkswagen has a small, but loyal fanbase, But Volkswagen sees themselves as something different; a mass-market brand capable of selling many vehicles around. Except in the U.S. A few years ago, Volkswagen set an ambitious goal of selling 800,000 vehicles in the U.S. by 2018. To achieve this goal, the automaker decided to build vehicles tailored to the marketplace. What we ended up with was a Passat and Jetta that were appealing as stale bread because that is what the company thought would sell. At first, the strategy worked as sales of Volkswagen vehicles increased. But in the past couple of years, sales have dropped precipitously. The company has been scratching their heads as to why this is happening. It goes back to Volkswagen not understanding their place in the U.S. That last sentence can be extended further into the diesel emission crisis. The way Volkswagen has handled this crisis is nothing short of disastrous. If you are a company dealing with a massive crisis, the key thing you should be doing is keeping everyone somewhat abreast of what is happening. Volkswagen has barely done this and has given the impression that they are really not doing anything, despite all of the reports saying Volkswagen is conducting an internal investigation and working on a fix. This one quote from the Automobile Magazine editorial partly sums the predicament Volkswagen finds itself in. “That left the small clique of devoted enthusiasts, folks who bought Volkswagens because they were Volkswagens, and often because they were Volkswagen “clean” diesels. These are precisely the people Volkswagen just kicked in the teeth.” They’re not the only group that Volkswagen has caused pain. Dealers who bought into Volkswagen’s vision of being a mass-market brand and spent close to a billion dollars, only to see sales fall apart are not very happy. There also seems to be a disconnect between dealers and Volkswagen as this quote from Bloomberg illustrates, “The suggestion was startling: Maybe VW should give up on selling cars to America’s masses. It was late January, at the Detroit auto show, and Herbert Diess, the global chief of Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand, was sounding out U.S. dealers as the company grappled with the biggest crisis in its modern history. Perhaps, Diess wondered aloud, VW should stop trying to compete with the likes of Toyota Motor Corp. in America and go back to focusing on higher-end models. “It was near crickets in the room,” said Alan Brown, chairman of VW’s U.S. dealer council.” Volkswagen is now at a crossroads with seemingly everyone angry with them in one form or another. There are so many things the company could have done to be in a better place than they are currently. But the Volkswagen’s mindset and not fully understanding the U.S. put them in a the place where they are now. Whether or not they learn from this experience and make the necessary changes to survive remains to be seen. The one thing we are sure about is that Volkswagen lost a lot of trust from various groups because of this scandal. As anyone will tell you, regaining trust is a seemingly impossible task.
  19. Last Friday was a trying day for me. I was feeling quite overwhelmed by the large amount of work due the end of the year, along with trying to figure out what the holidays would bring forth. This would be joined by some personal issues that only added to the overwhelmed feeling. I needed an escape. Something that could let me get away from all these issues rolling around in my head, even for a few moments. That's when I made the decision to go out for a drive. I had no destination in mind. I would just drive to wherever the roads would take me. I grabbed the keys to my tester at the time, a Nissan Murano, and just started to drive. I stuck to side roads for this trip and just began to unload my mind. With each passing mile, my mind began to clean up all these thoughts and it was there that I began to have a realization. Back in 1969 and 1970, Oldsmobile came up with a new ad campaign promoting their vehicles as 'Escape Machines'. For example, a print ad for the 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado featured this at the top, "12-hour day. Meetings. Memos. The midnight oil. Wouldn't it be nice to have an Escape Machine?" Oldsmobile was using this as a way to point out their vehicles were perfect to escape the daily grind of work as they were designed and equipped to handle the needs of escape. But now, many of us don't see cars as a means of escape. They are more seen as a tool that will get from point a to point b. Now there are some cars we do see as a means of escape, but they tend to be sports cars with sleek styling and high-performance engines. Here is the thing, any car can become 'Escape Machine'. It isn't the car that classifies it as a way to escape the world for a little bit. It comes down to you, the driver to make that decision. You are the factor that can make the decision into having a vehicle be used as a tool or as something that can take away. As I was wrapping up my drive, I pulled into one of those self-serve car washes to get a picture of the Murano. I posted the picture onto social media with this comment, "Sometimes, it's necessary to hop into your escape machine and drive wherever it takes you to clear or process things in your mind." It just comes down to you to make the decision. View full article
  20. Last Friday was a trying day for me. I was feeling quite overwhelmed by the large amount of work due the end of the year, along with trying to figure out what the holidays would bring forth. This would be joined by some personal issues that only added to the overwhelmed feeling. I needed an escape. Something that could let me get away from all these issues rolling around in my head, even for a few moments. That's when I made the decision to go out for a drive. I had no destination in mind. I would just drive to wherever the roads would take me. I grabbed the keys to my tester at the time, a Nissan Murano, and just started to drive. I stuck to side roads for this trip and just began to unload my mind. With each passing mile, my mind began to clean up all these thoughts and it was there that I began to have a realization. Back in 1969 and 1970, Oldsmobile came up with a new ad campaign promoting their vehicles as 'Escape Machines'. For example, a print ad for the 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado featured this at the top, "12-hour day. Meetings. Memos. The midnight oil. Wouldn't it be nice to have an Escape Machine?" Oldsmobile was using this as a way to point out their vehicles were perfect to escape the daily grind of work as they were designed and equipped to handle the needs of escape. But now, many of us don't see cars as a means of escape. They are more seen as a tool that will get from point a to point b. Now there are some cars we do see as a means of escape, but they tend to be sports cars with sleek styling and high-performance engines. Here is the thing, any car can become 'Escape Machine'. It isn't the car that classifies it as a way to escape the world for a little bit. It comes down to you, the driver to make that decision. You are the factor that can make the decision into having a vehicle be used as a tool or as something that can take away. As I was wrapping up my drive, I pulled into one of those self-serve car washes to get a picture of the Murano. I posted the picture onto social media with this comment, "Sometimes, it's necessary to hop into your escape machine and drive wherever it takes you to clear or process things in your mind." It just comes down to you to make the decision.
  21. For the past week, I have been driving an Infiniti Q50 and for the most part, I have liked it. The model has the makings of an excellent compact luxury car with a powerful V6, expressive exterior, and a nice balance of sport and comfort for the ride. I don't even mind the direct-steer system which replaces many of the mechanical parts for an electrical system that turns the wheel based signals from the input on the wheel. But as I driving the Q50, I felt something was missing. It was only when I writing some notes on it that I figured out what was missing, an identity. Not only for the car, but for Infiniti itself. In psychology, identity is used to describe the items that make a person unique. Our little things and quirks that make us who are. For automakers, figuring out what they want to their identity to be is a crucial piece. Not only does it bring people into your showroom, but it also gives you a selling point. Something you can draw on in your promotions to the final sale. This is a key part for luxury automakers since identity is one of the main selling points. A luxury car is seen as a statement of identity - this is who I am and this is why I drive this car. For many luxury automakers, figuring out their identity is easy. Just off the top of my head, I was able to put an identity for most of the luxury players. Audi: Modern Design BMW: Driving Mercedes-Benz: Quality Jaguar: Luxury and Sport Cadillac: The American BMW Lincoln: American Luxury Trying to define the Japanese luxury automakers has and is still an issue. Lexus is the only one that you could say has an identity - luxury with reliability. Acura is hedging their bets on technology. But Infiniti hasn't been able to come with something they could say 'this is our identity'. Consider when Nissan was launching the brand back in 1989 to 1990. The first commercials showed forests and birds, but nothing about the car. It was hard to tell if Infiniti was a car or a nature preserve. Infiniti did change this with later ads, but there wasn't that hook. Something that could say 'I bought an Infiniti for this reason'. Now it seemed Infiniti was possibly going in the right direction when they brought on Johan de Nysschen back in 2012 to help get the company going in the right direction. Aside from the 'Q' nomenclature, de Nysschen brought a number of changes to the automaker; moving the headquarters to from Yokohama, Japan to Hong Kong; partnering with the Red Bull F1 racing team, setting up a number of studios around the globe, and creating the wild Q50 Eau Rouge which was rumored to go into production. It seemed that company was going in the right direction for creating an identity. Then in 2014, de Nysschen left to take on another automaker - Cadillac. Since then, plans for a high-performance Q50 has been shelved and it seems Infiniti is lost, wondering what their next move should. This isn't a good thing when it seems every other luxury competitor is passing you by. With two new models over the horizon - the Q30 and QX30 - Infiniti should take some time out and figure out who they are. Then they might have a real chance to make a stand in the marketplace. Maybe for some inspiration, they could watch this commercial for the J30 sedan. View full article
  22. For the past week, I have been driving an Infiniti Q50 and for the most part, I have liked it. The model has the makings of an excellent compact luxury car with a powerful V6, expressive exterior, and a nice balance of sport and comfort for the ride. I don't even mind the direct-steer system which replaces many of the mechanical parts for an electrical system that turns the wheel based signals from the input on the wheel. But as I driving the Q50, I felt something was missing. It was only when I writing some notes on it that I figured out what was missing, an identity. Not only for the car, but for Infiniti itself. In psychology, identity is used to describe the items that make a person unique. Our little things and quirks that make us who are. For automakers, figuring out what they want to their identity to be is a crucial piece. Not only does it bring people into your showroom, but it also gives you a selling point. Something you can draw on in your promotions to the final sale. This is a key part for luxury automakers since identity is one of the main selling points. A luxury car is seen as a statement of identity - this is who I am and this is why I drive this car. For many luxury automakers, figuring out their identity is easy. Just off the top of my head, I was able to put an identity for most of the luxury players. Audi: Modern Design BMW: Driving Mercedes-Benz: Quality Jaguar: Luxury and Sport Cadillac: The American BMW Lincoln: American Luxury Trying to define the Japanese luxury automakers has and is still an issue. Lexus is the only one that you could say has an identity - luxury with reliability. Acura is hedging their bets on technology. But Infiniti hasn't been able to come with something they could say 'this is our identity'. Consider when Nissan was launching the brand back in 1989 to 1990. The first commercials showed forests and birds, but nothing about the car. It was hard to tell if Infiniti was a car or a nature preserve. Infiniti did change this with later ads, but there wasn't that hook. Something that could say 'I bought an Infiniti for this reason'. Now it seemed Infiniti was possibly going in the right direction when they brought on Johan de Nysschen back in 2012 to help get the company going in the right direction. Aside from the 'Q' nomenclature, de Nysschen brought a number of changes to the automaker; moving the headquarters to from Yokohama, Japan to Hong Kong; partnering with the Red Bull F1 racing team, setting up a number of studios around the globe, and creating the wild Q50 Eau Rouge which was rumored to go into production. It seemed that company was going in the right direction for creating an identity. Then in 2014, de Nysschen left to take on another automaker - Cadillac. Since then, plans for a high-performance Q50 has been shelved and it seems Infiniti is lost, wondering what their next move should. This isn't a good thing when it seems every other luxury competitor is passing you by. With two new models over the horizon - the Q30 and QX30 - Infiniti should take some time out and figure out who they are. Then they might have a real chance to make a stand in the marketplace. Maybe for some inspiration, they could watch this commercial for the J30 sedan.
  23. Being an automotive writer brings its own set of traps and obstacles that you deal with on a daily basis. Such items include 'What do you think of x car?' (good car) and 'What has been your favorite car you have driven?' (Chevrolet Impala or Lexus IS 350 F-Sport at the moment). But if there is on question that strikes fear into any writer, it's this - I'm thinking of buying 'x type of vehicle', what would you recommend? Why does this question strike fear into us? It could go one of two ways: a person could ignore or go a completely different direction from what was recommended, or the person could follow it to a T and end up disappointed. I think some of this comes down to writers and enthusiasts putting ourselves in a position of knowing what this person needs. That is truly bad idea because you can only know so much about the person. The person you're trying to help has the full picture of their wants and needs. So what do I do in this situation? Before, I would run away screaming. But this got old pretty quickly. Instead I follow this course of action: Ask a lot of questions: I begin with a question period with such things as, What do you during the week? How much are you wanting to spend? Is there a brand you want to avoid? It may seem like an interrogation, but the more information I have, the better I can help out. Make a set of recommendations that I think someone should check out. Wait and see what happens. Other thoughts from the week: New spy shots from this week show Chevrolet is giving the Silverado a refresh late next year.The report says the truck will boast some aluminum - fenders to be the mostly likely candidate. Wouldn't be surprised by this and if GM has any other tricks up its sleeve with fuel economy. [*]This week also saw a report come out that Sergio Marchionne wants to have one more big partner for FCA before he retires. Reportedly Marchionne has his eye on GM for this partnership, although a source has said GM is passing on it. My guess to who might be interested in a partnership with FCA - A Chinese automaker. View full article
  24. Being an automotive writer brings its own set of traps and obstacles that you deal with on a daily basis. Such items include 'What do you think of x car?' (good car) and 'What has been your favorite car you have driven?' (Chevrolet Impala or Lexus IS 350 F-Sport at the moment). But if there is on question that strikes fear into any writer, it's this - I'm thinking of buying 'x type of vehicle', what would you recommend? Why does this question strike fear into us? It could go one of two ways: a person could ignore or go a completely different direction from what was recommended, or the person could follow it to a T and end up disappointed. I think some of this comes down to writers and enthusiasts putting ourselves in a position of knowing what this person needs. That is truly bad idea because you can only know so much about the person. The person you're trying to help has the full picture of their wants and needs. So what do I do in this situation? Before, I would run away screaming. But this got old pretty quickly. Instead I follow this course of action: Ask a lot of questions: I begin with a question period with such things as, What do you during the week? How much are you wanting to spend? Is there a brand you want to avoid? It may seem like an interrogation, but the more information I have, the better I can help out. Make a set of recommendations that I think someone should check out. Wait and see what happens. Other thoughts from the week: New spy shots from this week show Chevrolet is giving the Silverado a refresh late next year.The report says the truck will boast some aluminum - fenders to be the mostly likely candidate. Wouldn't be surprised by this and if GM has any other tricks up its sleeve with fuel economy. [*]This week also saw a report come out that Sergio Marchionne wants to have one more big partner for FCA before he retires. Reportedly Marchionne has his eye on GM for this partnership, although a source has said GM is passing on it. My guess to who might be interested in a partnership with FCA - A Chinese automaker.
  25. The past couple of weeks at the Cheers & Gears Detroit Garage has been interesting for the past couple of weeks. Last week saw a Fiat 500C Abarth and the week before was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR. During a conversation with a colleague of mine, the question was asked which car would I feel more comfortable in pushing. The answer I gave surprised him when I said that I would take the 500. My reasoning for this choice comes down to this; the Lancer Evolution has a lot more exploitation available thanks to computer wizardry and a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine. You can corner much faster and go a lot quicker than in many vehicles, which can make you feel like the greatest driver in the world. But that only happens to be an illusion; the computer, all-wheel drive, and engine can only do so much to keep the vehicle on the road. If you overcook a corner, don't expect the vehicle to save you. Then there is the Fiat 500C Abarth. A small car with a small 1.4L turbo engine and front-wheel drive. The limits in this car are much lower than the Evolution, but I feel that it makes a little bit safer and fun to push. I could press the accelerator further to floor and feel like I'm going quicker when in reality I wasn't. Also I knew that it being front-wheel drive meant I would have a hint of understeer if I pushed, which could mean visiting a ditch or something worse. Keep it steady I told myself driving on a curvy bit of road and the Abarth was fine. I think a lot of this also comes down to knowing my driving habits. I've never been a race track, nor have taken a advanced driving course to improve my skills. The only real skills I have are from driving school and making a number of mistakes in my young age. Maybe that plays into knowing that I don't much of extracting all of the performance of a car - possibly a good thing. Other thoughts from the week: Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen did a reader Q&A on Jalopnik this week and dropped some interesting tidbits: A new V6 engine lineup will be revealed sometime this month, the CT6 will 'eventually' get a twin-turbo V8 engine, and the ELR will be getting some significant updates. I would recommend checking out the Q&A. Sticking on the Cadillac tip, I'm currently driving an ATS coupe with the 2.0L turbo and all-wheel drive. Two things I want say about the vehicle. the 2.0T is so much better than the ATS 3.6 I drove awhile back. Lots of low end punch. Seeing the new Cadillac emblem up close, still don't like it. [*]Chrysler can't seem to catch a break on the nine-speed automatic transmission still. I'm beginning to wonder if it might make sense to kill this current transmission and go back to drawing board. [*]Geneva Auto Show kicks off this week and so far the only vehicle I'm excited by is the Kia Sportspace concept. Hopefully a couple other vehicles can amp up the excitement. [*]Big congrats to one of our members - GMTruckGuy on getting a new GMC Canyon. Sharp color!

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