Toyota going to kill off Scion, rebadge cars as Toyotas

Scion_xB-2003Toyota has decided to kill off the US-only “youth-brand” Scion and rebadge its current vehicles as Toyotas by August 2016, which means the experiment to lure younger buyers by desperately trying to be hip has failed. Of course, that was something everybody could’ve seen coming from a mile away when the boxy first generation xB was replaced by something that might as well have been the replacement to the Toyota Matrix.

The Scion line-up currently consists of no cars which couldn’t just have been badged as a Toyota and sold in the regular Toyota showrooms in the first place. Except for the FR-S, which is known as the Toyota GT86 in the rest of the world, current Scions are totally forgettable: the IQ has flopped in the US, the tC isn’t halfway as sexy as a coupe should be, the iA is a rebadged Mazda2 sedan with an uglier nose and the iM is a Corolla hatchback in a market that craves crossovers. … Continue Reading …

Chinese automakers suspect in EV subsidy fraud

Zhi_Dou_D2-EV-ChinaUnder pressure because of air quality concerns in its major cities, the Chinese government has heavily subsidized the sales of electric cars since 2010 and forced municipal governments to do the same. These subsidies could slash more than half of the price of the car or even more, as CarNewsChina reports the Zhi Dou D2 EV can be bought for just 49.800 Yuan ($7.560) after subsidies, which total an astonishing 109.000 Yuan ($16.550).

Such a scheme is bound to cause a distortion in the market place, but even worse: cause companies to fraud, and that’s exactly what has happened, according to various Chinese news media. The Economic Observer in Beijing and National Business Daily in Shanghai reported that unspecified domestic automakers have over-reported sales of their plug-in cars in order to wrongfully claim government subsidies. Some of them are claimed to have reported sales of EVs to subsidiary “shell” companies, only to remove the batteries and reuse them in the next production run.… Continue Reading …

Hyundai shows off its Prius-slayer, the Ioniq [w/ poll]

hyundai-ioniq-1-1Hyundai finally released full pictures and details of its new eco-warrior, the Ioniq. Uniquely for a manufacturer, Hyundai plans for the Ioniq to offer a variety of different powertrains, all using the same body:

  • A standard hybrid, to battle the Toyota Prius and its ilk
  • A plug-in hybrid, to battle the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in and similar
  • An electric version, which will compete with the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt

Continue Reading …

Chrysler debuts new Town&Cou… Pacifica [w/ Poll]

Earlier today Chrysler revealed its crucial new model, the Pacifica minivan. “Wait, isn’t this the new Town&Country?” I hear you say? Yes, the name change is pretty surprising, given that the Town & Country and Voyager were pioneers of the segment and enjoy great name-recognition, but Chrysler’s logic is that they’ve become too synonymous with the old-style minivan and were tainted by the lackluster predecessor. Enter the “Pacifica” name, which last served on an upmarket minivan/crossover model, sort of like the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, that Chrysler retired in 2008 after only five years of sales. Such a name change is not unprecedented, but only time will tell if the new name will stick (as it did when Ford replaced the Escort with the Focus) or whether the carmaker will have a change of heart (as Ford had when it replaced the Taurus with the Five Hundred, only to  change the name back a few years later).… Continue Reading …

Look-a-like: Chevrolet Cruze hatchback and…

Chevy Cruze

Chevy showed off its new Cruze hatchback today, and it’s a pretty good-looking car, with styling that manages to strike a good balance between an aggressive front and a family-friendly shape, and has the potential to do pretty well for the brand. However, there is no denying that its overall stance and some of the detailing look a lot like one if its closest competitors in the marketplace…… Continue Reading …

Generation wars: Mercedes-Benz E-class [w/ poll]

 

2017-Mercedes-E-Class-17

Yesterday Mercedes-Benz finally released pictures of its new E-class, and it looks exactly like we expected it would look: a blown-up C-class or, if you’re being generous, a shrunken S-class. In fact, this may be the closest that Mercedes has brought its three sedans since the W202, W124 and W140 of the mid-1990s. … Continue Reading …

Fiat Tipo, the new Dacia? With 2 polls

Fiat_Tipo-2016-sales-forecast-EuropeFiat has just launched its all-new Tipo sedan, built in Turkey and called the Ægea in that market. It replaces the Linea in the South-European markets where compact sedans are still popular. A five-door and station wagon are due later to appeal to the more hatchback-oriented markets. The Tipo will be positioned as an entry-compact “rational / functional” model under Fiat’s dual strategy of functional / rational vs. emotional / aspirational models. That means it will have the size of a compact model but priced between subcompact and compact, like the Seat Toledo and Skoda Rapid. Its styling and features will be no-frills and it will be powered by a “old fashioned” naturally aspirated gasoline engines or turbocharged diesel engines.

Fiat_Tipo-sedan-sales-forecast-Europe-2017For the last few decades, very attempt by Fiat at challenging the Volkswagen Golf and other compact segment leaders have failed miserably, with the Bravo/Brava, Stilo and then again the Bravo all remaining niche players, especially outside of their home market Italy. From that perspective I can understand why Fiat would try an alternative strategy by offering a no-nonsense car for a bargain price, undoubtedly looking at the success of Dacia, but also of the Citroën C4 Cactus, another no-frills compact model that has struck a chord with European buyers.… Continue Reading …

Poll results: Citroën E-Mehari debuts, confuses…

Citroen-E-Mehari-01

The votes are in, and the verdict for the e-Mehari from our readers is a resounding “two thumbs down”!… Continue Reading …

Coach-built special: 600 Royale [w/ video and poll]

s600 royale

You will probably look at the picture above and respond with a collective “huh?” – I know I did. It is not often that you see coach-builders take on storied brands like Mercedes-Benz, but that is exactly what Galpin Auto Sports have done (they also did the Mustang-based, Henrik Fisker-designed Rocket). Inspired by the Mercedes-Benz W111/W112 “Fintail” models, the coach-built special is based on the latest W222 S-class chassis and uses elements from the SLS (front, rear lights) to evoke the S-class’ great-great-grandfather.
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Citroën E-Mehari mystery solved!

Every since Citroën showed off its E-Mehari I’ve been trying to figure out what seems “off” about this car. Sure, its design blends a C4 Cactus front with cues from the original Mehari, but something about it’s specifications, lack of interior shots and the way in which no one expected it made me wonder. Well, the mystery is now solved thanks to our long-time reader Tuga…… Continue Reading …