Keeping automotively informed

I have an RSS feed set up on the right to Autoline Detroit, which is a great place for automotive news. Also, Autoblog, Jalopnik, Automotive News, Wards, and Bloomburg have great automotive news as well.

Cadillac…no longer caught up

So… I read today that Cadillac is attempting to distance itself from GM.

THANK GOODNESS!

For some reason I believe that Cadillac has been misunderstood by the general public for the past 10 years and even more so in the past 3.

If you look at the sheer price, power, performance, and luxury offered by the Cadillac vehicles, no other vehicle really compares…at least what you get compared to what you give for it.

Cadillac’s are not just old peoples cars, and they are not just gangsta whips. I feel that those associations are fair, and that it adds to the diversity of America, but there is an image, more like an aura around Cadillac’s, that screams Americas finest.  

I think that the GM image has hurt Cadillac. Maybe more in a small way, but still, it has done some damage none the less and especially since taking government loans. I do realize that it is not all happy feelings, as they have not completely cut ties, and they are still supplied by all things GM. But still, I see this as a glimmer of hope that maybe, one day soon, Cadillac will be a free, privately owned car company, competing on the world class stage, and winning!

With all this in mind, I urge you to stand up and support Cadillac and help it gain some independence. While that seems almost oxymoronish due to the present circumstances, every little bit helps!

A Corvette Conceptualized

“The Chevrolet Corvette is a uniquely American invention. It’s the quintessential sportscar from the land that brought us baseball and apple pie. Interesting, then, that General Motors would choose to seek out design studies from its various styling studios from all around the globe, particularly those in Europe.

According to AutoWeek, though, that’s just what GM’s vice president of global design, Ed Welburn, did late last year when the time came for The General to start drafting proposals for the next-gen Corvette. Why would GM consider looking at European design flavors for its oh-so-American, V8-powered, rear-wheel drive sportscar? Demographics. According to Welburn, “We have challenges in the States with the Corvette. The average age of the customer is really rising.”

That average age, for those keeping track, is 54 years-old (so says the Power Information Network). And it seems that the import-favoring younger generation in America isn’t all that interested in the current ‘Vette, a fact that has undoubtedly played a part in the Corvette’s 48-percent sales decline in 2009 over the previous year.

One thing’s for certain – its certainly not the Vette’s all-conquering performance that’s holding it back. Perception seems to be a bigger problem. “We have to develop a design that feels trimmer, meaner, to go along with the incredible performance that the car has,” said Welburn, referring to the notion that many believe the current Corvette looks too big despite being roughly the same size as the benchmark Porsche 911. We might also suggest that GM needs to gag the beancounters who will undoubtedly threaten to nickel-and-dime the quality out of the next Vette’s interior.

Whatever the case, Welburn knows the car can’t stray too far from its heritage. “It can’t mutate into something that gets so far away from Corvette that it is no longer a Corvette,” he said. It seems the future may hold very interesting things for the iconic Corvette within the next two or three years. We anxiously look forward to seeing what Chevrolet manages to cook up.” by Jeremy Korzeniewski

So I came across this article on Autoblog about how GM is looking to European design studios to design the next generation Corvette. The article talks about how statistically the average age of Corvette buyers has gone up to 54 years of age. It also emphasizes that people think the Corvette is a “big” car compared to its target competitor, the Porsche 911. They say that the design needs to display the power that is under the hood, and currently, it just isn’t doing that.

Well…here is what I think.  The average age of the buyer is rising because those who can truly afford a Corvette, would be those people who are 54 and above. Seriously, it’s a $48,930 base price car! And who really gets the base model? Not to mention, it’s not a practical family vehicle, so there would be no actual need for a younger buyer to purchase a Corvette. Although I would if I could. I’m single and 21, but I’m a poor college kid who is a car freak.

In regards to the size…the wheel base is the only thing larger on the Corvette than the Porsche. (unless, the Corvette is counting mirrors into the overall width, which Porsche is not. See what I mean by clicking on these links. Porsche 911Corvette) In either case, this is no excuse. Why people think the Corvette is bigger than a Porsche is beyond me.

Finally, I think that if they want to display in design what is under the hood, than they need to do something radical to the Corvette. Similar to what was done in 1963 when they came out with the “Stingray.” Now, what I am about to purpose to you however might shock you, but hear me out.

They need to make the Corvette mid engine.

No, I am not anti American, and please don’t call me a Corvette hater, or some radical against American car ingenuity. Seriously. If GM is going to European design studios to come up with a fresh new design to capture the true performance of the car, then why not just take a simple European hint, leave, and tweak it the way we Americans would like it? Do what we do best…and innovate!

The Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Lamborghini Murcielago, are all iconic European mid engine cars. For goodness sake, the Porsche 911 is a rear engine car! And that’s their target competitor? Take that and run with it.

As far as design, yeah, they need to go with a radical new look…and a mid engine design would be perfect to resurrect a new style of “Stingray.” The use of a back window on a mid engine Vette would be little to none, which would provide perfect styling elements to create a “split window” as they did in 1963. That was a bold and radical design which no one saw the Corvette going and it produced some of the most iconic Corvettes that are still highly regarded to this day. I just wish GM would think outside the box and go for it today.

Concerning Toyota

Is it the end of Toyota? Well, it might not be yet, but it is right around the corner. Those who drank the cool aid for the past number of years, buying into all the hype Toyota had to offer, those people I have a feeling are split into two groups. There are those that are scared to death of their Toyota vehicle. Who are parking it in the yard to rust away and purchasing a new vehicle within hours of the latest recall. Or there are those who are going to hang onto their Toyota, hoping that the company will pull through and their reputation will be revived by their loyalty.

 Sorry to say, I believe the latter are going to be a rare breed heading into this new decade. Especially in the time where Toyota no longer has the hottest new hybrid on the market, or cheapest econo car available. Also, if I might add, these other options are much more pleasing in appearance than anything Toyota has to offer.

 In today’s world, it is becoming all too often that number one falls hard. Like Tiger Woods, Toyota is feeling the heat of the United States media. While this is a public relations nightmare, it is proving that free enterprise is needed to make the world go round. Unfortunately we need to get gm out of government control in order for me to feel more stable about free enterprise in the car market. The sad part is that gm is producing world class vehicles. Why couldn’t they have done that while they were independent of the government control? That will be another blog for another time.

 Right now Toyota is limping on the shoulder of the road, playing devil’s advocate with itself as to whether or not it should give up or keep moving.

 My assignment in class last week was to come up with a way to solve Toyotas P.R. fiasco and to get future Toyota owners to feel confident in purchasing a Toyota and to get current owners to keep their vehicle. Being the most car passionate person in the class, I thought long and hard. If my career depended on it, could I save the company? Well, my team and I thought of a way we could.

 When a person buys a new Toyota, and within 6 months finds a problem with it, they can take it to the dealer to receive a 25 dollar gas card and get the problem fixed for free. One problem per vehicle.

 In order to keep current owners, we provide them with a guarantee to fix all the cars problems for the next 5 years, for free. That does not include basic tune ups. Also, we begin to disperse confidence to owners through the mouths of the dealers. While cars salesman have a bad reputation, at least at the dealer level, there is human interaction. Everyone knows that no matter what a president of a company says, the people don’t feel properly represented. Therefore if a dealer is working one on one with people face to face, securing that confidence no matter what the cost, even if it means going against normal company policy, than that’s what it’s going to take.

 That might seem absurd, be we are living in extreme days. At this point, what does Toyota have to lose? Nothing. And if you can’t lose anything, you have everything to gain. In Toyotas case it’s even harder because they have to gain it back. Do I think they can? Give them 7 years, and they will be back up in the ranks.

Drive Your Ride

Lately I have been thinking about what my generation, those who are around 21 years old, what we will value in a vehicle when we become of age to collect. I have been watching the 2010 Barrett-Jackson auction as much as I can through my busy schedule and just this morning, while getting ready for church, I was watching “My Classic Car,” the final push to write about the value of cars to a younger generation.

I have seen many iconic cars sold on Barrett-Jackson, and have watched so many shows that focus on pristine show cars; flawless in every way, with a history a mile long of celebrities who might have owned them, or the vehicles accomplishments on a track. Those are the vehicles that sell for high dollar amounts, and I believe that those are the types of vehicles that will continue to sell when I get older.

This gets me into thinking about the story behind a car. All those show cars, that have never really been driven anywhere, or done anything stupendous on the track, they don’t capture attention as the ones that have done such things or conquered a spectacular feet.

I am saddened to hear that cars have been tucked away for 5, 10, 20 years, in hopes to be an investment. Sure, when they come to auction in their condition, we marvel at it, but there is nothing about it that makes you stop and say “now that’s a car that I can tell a story about.” Those types of cars will just go on to sit another 10 years in a garage, to never be enjoyed.

I would look for a car that has been loved. One that has been driven for the purpose it has been built. I predict that when I get older, the cars that are battered, rusted slightly, and have a 10 mile long list of owners and accomplishments will be the cars that sell for the highest amount. Those who truly value a vehicle know that every car has a story. Some deserve a story, some earn a story, but either way, give each vehicle that chance. Drive your ride.

Will We Answer The Call?

What do you think of when you think of the automptive world? What thoughts do you hold concerning American vehicles VS. Asian vehicles? Well I say it is about time we started approaching the subject head on.

The year is 2009. The Global econony is struggling to get back on its feet as corporations scavenge for whats left of the automotive market. People today more than ever are looking for wise investments that serve their purpose and their wallet as they try to aquire a new vehicle. But where to start? Should they listen and take advantage of the incentives offered by our government. CASH FOR CLUNKERS! GET MONEY BACK FOR A NEW VEHICLE!! There it is! In bold letters proclaiming the mighty deal that our governement was willing to offer. But the question is, how did America benefit? Two stories to be told. One man used his cash to buy another car under the required amount of MPG number that the government requested, and the other man used his money to buy a reliable imported car form the asian market. Wait…were they supposed to spend their money on the 2009 malibu or the late 2010 production of the volt? Oh well. NEWS UPDATE: KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE AUTOMOTIVE WORLD.

We as American car enthusiasts have the ability to speak out more than ever. With the downsizing of the markets and the cut of production and cost we will see the American automotive world catering more towards public ratings and the voices of the spectators. The marketing teams will now be working overtime as they search to find standing ground in a very unbalanced market. American automaking hasn’t stood a chance against the low prices and the high production standards of the imported vehicles that over run our dealerships. So what do we do about it? Give incentives to support the asian market even more? No, we raise production standards and increase practical vehicles that will sell to a larger audience. GM has made a good start with hybrid technology and MPG numbers so why not expand now when it is critical for America to be back and known it the automotive market?

Many would cringe at my words due to the idea of putting more money into an already barely surviving market. But my thought is that without a loss at first the companies wont be around long enough to see a profit. Americans will have to be won over by preformance, reliabilty, and practicality of American vehicles or we will continue to remain under the shadow of the asian automotive market.

This has been Josh sub-blogging for Brentton. Let us know what you think in the reply box down below. It is time for car enthusiasts to answer the call. How will we shape the future of the American market?

                                                                                                                                                               -Josh

In the time of XTS

After a stunning debut of the Cadillac XTS Platinum concept, the brand has fully emerged itself into my daily talk of world changing automobiles (it had been before, this car just helped it brew over), and more importantly, American iconic automobiles. While some reviews were mixed about the unveiling of the XTS,

“And yesterday Cadillac pulled the wraps of a concept car of heroic proportions; this is the XTS”                                      John McElroy- Autoline Detroit

 “The XTS is easily more elegant than the new A8 from Audi and the 7 Series from BMW in the flesh, and its interior is equal to if not better than any mainstream premium luxury car in the world today. It’s that good.”                                Peter DeLorenzo- The Autoextremist

“We also thought the XTS was significantly better looking in person than in the preview pictures that broke last night.” Jonny Lieberman- Autoblog

“We can’t quite say that we like it — it’s a bit too large and a lot too bland — but it looks significantly better in person than it does in pictures.”                                                                                                                                                                                         Sam Smith- Jalopnik

I say it is a phenomenal step for Cadillac. This vehicle, along with the CTS-V sedan and coupe, are going to put America back on the world stage for superior automobiles. The XTS is not a vehicle that will replace the old peoples generation of vehicles, like the STS and DTS. No, honestly, the times are changing, and the younger generation is beginning to take note on what a fine automobile is. I am 21, and I find the XTS awfully appealing, and why not? It’s American for one. Two, it’s got an aura about it, screaming large and in charge, and what young adult now days doesn’t want to have that space, that object that tells their peers that they are a force to be reckoned with? Three, it’s a car that has the best of both worlds. While I am not a huge hybrid fan, putting it in this car doesn’t phase me. I want this car to get the fuel economy, it’s HUGE! If I want a car for performance, I’ll go buy the CTS-V! But that’s not the goal of the XTS and I’m ok with that. Still, it has power. More than my 1998 Regal, and any power more than that is a step up for me.

I tend to agree with McElroy and DeLorenzo. The Cadillac XTS is a look into the future of what fine American automobiles will be and who will buy them. Once GM decides to build it, then it will be what fine American automobiles are. I wouldn’t want to wait till I’m 50 to own this thing. It appeals to me now and I’d get it if I could!