We all know how bad cars in America became after Nixon won a second term. From that point until the end of Reagan’s second term, cars built here in America were, to most of the country, lacking in performance, quality, and innovation. I understand the sentiment. Looking into the cars built during the era, we see engines strangled by emissions regulations, stylists stymied by big safety bumpers and lighting changes, and salesmen who were stuck with cars that Americans didn’t want. I do not want to go into any of that today, however. The reason? I think the Malaise Era of the USA deserves another look, from a more universal perspective. Read the rest of this entry »
The recession had a serious effect on the American automobile market. We all know what happened to the Big Three. However, there are a few small Japanese companies that are definitely worth mentioning because they seem to hang on either by a thread, or by a sizable rope, in the US domestic market. Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki, and Mitsubishi are the four non-major Japanese players in the US market. Well, they were. One of these four announced late on November 5, 2012 that they were pulling their automotive arm from the US market. So, allow me to say…and then there were three. But soon, I think there will be two. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in the 1970s, Cadillac and Lincoln were facing an onslaught of luxury imports. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Jaguar were all moving in on their sales and they needed to adapt to the newbies, which were just as luxurious (if not more) for a decent price, with better economy and reliability. Both brands went to the drawing board, and within two years of each other debuted a new, smaller model which was designed to give an owner the same experience as the bigger cars, but with a nod to better economy and practicality. Read the rest of this entry »
Jaguar’s been one of the few companies in the past couple of years that hasn’t made a huge mistake with the models they sell. Yes, their product line isn’t as diverse as the competition, but what they have invested in is paying dividends, and the new F-Type is proof that their current focus is one I’m going to keep a close eye on in the near future. From the styling to the engine options revealed recently, I’m unashamed to say that I love this car even before I’ve seen it in the flesh.
So, Maybach, as of six days ago, is on its way out, according to Daimler-Benz. Although the cars are pretty overwhelming to behold and definitely showstoppers, I’m not shedding that big of a tear. Yes, I finally got to drive one a few months back, and yes, I did enjoy it. But, when I look at just how the marque has performed in the market over the past decade, my general feelings about the brand have become more evident. Mercedes-Benz was very ambitious in launching the Maybach name, but not every name can be successful, and here are my thoughts on why I don’t think it succeeded. Read the rest of this entry »
As many a car enthusiast is well-aware, the statute of limitations on any car imported to the United States expires after 25 years, which includes safety and emissions regulations, structural requirements such as bumper heights, and many other limitations. They are known as the “gray market” limitations and have created a black market for a good many cars that are not sold on the US domestic market. Currently, Homeland Security funds, which could be better spent elsewhere to perhaps secure our borders or possibly fight terror threats, get spent to keep a few cars out of the ports. Read the rest of this entry »
While the rest of the world makes sports cars, Toyota is seemingly pretending to make one. The FT-86 has been on the mind of every gearhead in the world since at least 2008, but since then, Toyota has been constantly tossing the concept into a microwave and pressing Reheat for every car show since. Not many specifications have hit the press, and although a tie-up with Subaru has been announced, not a whole lot is really known for sure about it. What is going on here? Is Toyota afraid to release this car? Or will they ever release it? Or is this just a hoax (Just kidding.)? Read the rest of this entry »
Wagons have a pretty colored history here in America. For ages and ages, they were the ride of choice for the American mom, with long wheelbases, huge interior room, smooth styling, and excellent visibility. However, starting before the beginning of the SUV craze, wagons somehow became uncool among America’s mainstream car buyers. Read the rest of this entry »