Well, now that I’ve got the latest flair up of Mustang fever out of my system let’s get back to a broader view of the automotive landscape. Here are some of the latest items that have caught my interest over the past couple days. As per usual, feel free to click on the links for more info and context.
Australian’s GM brand, Holden, will be shutting down their Elizabeth manufacturing facility by 2016. For those of you unfamiliar with the Holden Brand, they were responsible for the vehicles the recent Pontiac GTO (unavailable in Canada, but you can still see one every so often) and the Pontiac G8. The G8 of course was the too little too late full-size sport sedan that was released a couple years before GM’s excitement brand was cut during the company’s reorganization. The G8 was an amazing car, but it wasn’t enough to save Pontiac from the chopping block. The platform was re-purposed into the Chevrolet Caprice PPV and the upcoming Chevrolet SS. Hopefully, GM will keep this great (if now aging) platform on the road.
On the bright side of things, US car sales are up for November. Trucks and incentives seem to be behind the boon. In fact, November saw US sales outpace their total annual estimate for 2013 by well over 500,000 units. Auto manufacturer stock prices are down a bit though as there is some concern that manufacturers are using incentives to bolster sales (which cuts into overall profits). This is what was a major contributor to the troubles that occurred about 4 years ago. Hopefully though, it just means that consumers are buying more and things are starting to get better.
On the crazy cars of the future front, Volvo is planning a 100 car autonomous driving vehicle test in Sweden for 2017. This, of course, is terrifying. However, if any company’s safety record should inspire confidence in such an undertaking, it would be Volvo. Still, it’s all very unsettling to me.
GM is taking flak for it’s worse than advertised Chevrolet Cruze fuel consumption. Here’s one case study from Alberta. I’m not sure if everyone is aware of this, but fuel economy figures are determined by the manufacturer based on government testing criteria. I’m not sure exactly how they determine if the manufacturers are doing what they are supposed to when they come up with these numbers, but it seems to me like they are left to their own devices. That being said, I still think consumption ratings are useful consumer tools for comparison purposes, since each company has the same opportunity to fudge their numbers accordingly. Just don’t use it as a gauge for what to expect when you drive the car in real life.
Here’s a Consumer Reports first drive review of the upcoming Maserati Ghibli. Here’s the breakdown:
Design by Maserati + Engine by Ferrari + Infotainment by Chrysler = amazing!
My wife is also impressed by the prospect of a sub $100K European exotic. Of course, if we were able to scrape together the money to buy one, we still wouldn’t be able to afford the insurance... but we can dream can’t we?
Oh, one more thing, have you checked out the Subaru Levorg concept? Apparently it’s a preproduction design of a vehicle that is expected to debut in the next year or so. The basic facts as I understand them are it’s a wagon poised between the Impreza and the Legacy; there are two turbo charged four cylinder engine choices, including a 2.0 that puts out 295hp; it has all wheel drive (of course); and it has the dumbest, ugliest, impossible to remember name I have ever heard of. What the hell is a Levorg? Well, apparently it means Legacy, Evolution and Touring... though I’m not too sure how. Now that I have that off my chest, I will say this: they better sell this thing in Canada because I really want one.
So that’s it for now. I’m still working on my review and I will hopefully have it posted soon. I expect lots of feedback from the readership when it comes out so I can hone my skills in a productive fashion. Also, if anyone has any cars they would like featured on the blog, feel free to contact me! The e-mail for the blog is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking for just about anything new or old, as long as you think it’s special and can tell me why. I look forward to hearing from everyone!