Look-a-like: Ford Fusion/Mondeo and…

Normally when you think of Ford Fusion (or Mondeo, as it’s known in Europe) taking design inspiration from another car, your thoughts immediately go to the Aston Martin-esque front grille. And rightly so – Ford’s decision to unashamedly adopt a family grille whose shape is much like that of the British sports car maker has received a lot of press, especially given that Ford used to own Aston Martin. However, this is not the only case of the Blue Oval taking design inspiration from cars produced by a brand it used to own.

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Poll results: Kia Rio, Škoda Kodiaq and VAG crossovers

Here are results of some recently-conducted polls:

1.   New Kia Rio fails to impress

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Audi A4: missed opportunity? [w/ poll]

I usually don’t like to engage in speculation about what could have been, but I recently came across two renderings of Audi A5 sedan and Avant that got me wondering: how much more attractive the uber-conservative new Audi A4 could have been if the brands’s designers had been given a free hand?… Continue Reading …

US is missing out: European 4WD hybrids

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The hybrid trend may have started in Japan, but it is really US customers that were first to wholeheartedly embrace the technology, making the Toyota Prius the giant success that it is today. Ever since it became clear that the technology had the power to lure customers into the showrooms, and, more importantly, open their wallets wider than they would for conventionally-powered cards, carmakers have been trying to offer hybrid cars of their own. Some, though surprisingly few, have taken on the Prius directly (the poor Honda Insight, now Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Nero). Others, primarily Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus, have made good money of offering hybrid options on their luxury cars – a bandwagon that the German luxury brands have belatedly caught onto. Others still have tried to offer hybrid versions of mainstream cars, mostly meeting with moderate to no success (Honda, Ford, Nissan, VW). But the one niche that has not yet truly been tapped in the US, unlike in Europe, is that for smaller cars where a hybrid drivetrain can be used to give normally FWD cars a second set of driven wheels.… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Mercedes-Benz GLS and…

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When the first-generation Mercedes-Benz GL-Class made its debut in 2006, many (rightly) viewed it as a super-sized version of the brand’s own ML-Class, designed to appeal to the US market hungry for large, 7-seat SUVs. But then as the second-generation model was facelifted in 2015, the company renamed it as the GLS, reflecting its new naming nomenclature, but also its desire for the model to be viewed as the “S-Class SUV”, and a genuine competitor to rivals such as Range Rover and even Bentley Bentayga. Now, the finer points on whether the GLS fulfills that brief have been debated elsewhere, but what always undermined the model’s luxury aspirations is the second-generation’s uncanny resemblance from the rear to an altogether less luxury model…… Continue Reading …

Snap poll: which French family chariots do you prefer?

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Following our snap poll last week on which of the VAG crossovers our readers preferred, this week I thought we’d jump off from the debut of the newly crossover-ized Peugeot 5008 and ask our reader the question: which of the French family chariots do you prefer?

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I’m going to India, what do you want to know about it?

I will be travelling to Mumbai India tomorrow for an innovation workshop with Mahindra, one of the biggest Indian automakers and #3 best selling brand in India. It is also the owner of SsangYong and Pininfarina. After the workshop, I’ll be spending some personal time in India, and I’m wondering if there’s anything you, my readers, would like to know about India’s car market or automotive culture

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Photo credit: Cory Doctorow, Wikimedia Commons

Of course I’ll be taking a lot of pictures of the street scenes, as I’ve done before in my ongoing car cultures series. Do you want me to test drive some local cars, and which ones? Or do something crazy like road tripping in a local Indian car? Or do you want me to try and get an interview with someone from the local automotive industry? Or perhaps some of my readers from India can give me some advice of interesting places to see or cool things to do, automotive related of course.

Let me know what you think, and I’ll try my best to satisfy your needs. I’ll be back in two weeks time. Until then, Kriss will try to keep the site up-to-date with some of his articles.

European car sales analysis July 2016 – models

Opel_Astra-2016-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeAfter discussing the July 2016 European car brand sales ranking, we’ll zoom in at which models were popular in July. One of the most significant developments in the models ranking is the 10.000 unit loss of the Volkswagen Golf, which means sales of the traditional leader are down by more than a fifth of the same month last year. And we won’t have to go far down the ranking to find one of the culprits of this demise: the Opel/Vauxhall Astra scores its highest ranking since 2007 with a fourth place and a more than 26% increase over the previous generation last year. That puts the Renault Clio, impressively #2 in June, back down into 5th place. Despite the huge loss for the Golf, its top ranking is in no way under threat, as it still sells 50% more than its closest competitor: its little sibling VW Polo. The Nissan Qashqai is the best selling crossover again after the Renault Captur snuck ahead in June, but the new Volkswagen Tiguan is closing in at #16, with sales stable on the very impressive end-of-life sales of the previous generation. The Volkswagen Passat is back into the top-10 despite sales still down more than 22%, while the Skoda Octavia is out of the top-10.… Continue Reading …

European car sales analysis July 2016 – brands

European-car-sales-graph-July_2016After 33 months of non-stop growth, the European car market’s recovery has come to an end in July 2016, with sales down 2,6% for the month, at 1.147.258 units. After showing impressive growth in the first half of the year, even the Southern European countries see their recovery stall, with increases of just 3% in Italy and 4% in Spain. Surprisingly, UK sales are stable at +0,1% while the German car market contracts 4% and France is down even harder at -10%. Year-to-date, we’re still in positive figures at +7,3% to 9.174.057 sales, although we may finish the year in the red if this trend continues as expected, spurred by the Brexit vote.

Volkswagen_Touran-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeIf Volkswagen Group was the biggest gaining manufacturer as recently as two months ago in April, its fortunes have changed suddenly, as it is the biggest losing manufacturer in July, down almost 27.500 units of volume on the same month last year. That means VW Group accounts for 89% of the entire market’s lost volume this month. But wait, there’s another big loser in the continent, as PSA lost over 16.000 sales as well, while 13 other manufacturers lose less than 2.000 units and just 8 gain volume this month. The biggest volume gainer is Tata Motors at +4.190 units thanks to gains of both Jaguar and Land Rover, followed by Hyundai-Kia and FCA. Relatively, Tata Motors is the fastest growing manufacturer as well, with a gain of almost 33%, followed by SAIC MG and Suzuki, while Aston Martin, Tesla and Lotus all lose more than 37% on last year.… Continue Reading …

US sales: August 2016, models

Honda CR-V

After discussing the US auto brand sales ranking for August, let’s zoom in on the models.… Continue Reading …