Auto Notes - February 2016
Top safety picks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has announced its top safety picks for the new year. To qualify for the 2016 Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) designation, a vehicle must earn good ratings in five crashworthiness categories and an advanced or superior rating for front-crash prevention. For the first time, a plus rating was given to a minicar, the 2016 Scion iA.
In total, nine Toyota, Lexus, and Scion models achieved TSP+ status, the most of any manufacturer on the 2016 list. Just a handful of domestic cars and trucks received Top Safety Pick ratings, with the 2016 Chrysler 200 (with optional front-crash protection) the only one given the TSP+ rating.
Final P1. The final chapter in the production of the McLaren P1, a direct descendant of the famous McLaren F1 race car, came to an end recently when the 375th unit was completed. Noted for being the most technologically advanced supercar ever produced, “the P1 has achieved more than we ever expected of it since it was first previewed more than three years ago,” said Mike Flewitt, CEO at McLaren Automotive.
The P1 introduced numerous new technologies to the supercar world, including a combination of a highly efficient 3.8-L twin turbo gasoline engine and lightweight electric motor; weight-savings technology with the extensive use of carbon fiber materials, including a carbon fiber MonoCage chassis; and a groundbreaking RaceActive Chassis Control suspension system.
Facebook Bolt. The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV was unveiled Jan. 6 at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It was the first auto brand to work with Facebook by debuting a vehicle using Facebook Live. Chevrolet’s four million Facebook fans had the first opportunity to experience the new Bolt with a live video of the debut, as well as an immersive 360-degree interior video experience.
Mary Barra, GM’s CEO who was also recently named chairman of the board, delivered the keynote address at the unveiling of the new Bolt.
CES has served as the showplace for innovations and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years, and has become the global stage for next-generation innovations such as the Bolt EV. Toyota and McLaren Automotive, among other automakers, also introduced unique offerings at CES.
Bentley awards. The British luxury brand Bentley claimed a record-setting 18 awards in 2015 from the the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, Italy, and the United States. Four Bentley models received prestigious awards on three continents, with the most-celebrated award winner being the Flying Spur, which garnered six total prizes.
Hot 2015. Total U.S. vehicle sales for 2015 hit a new record at 17.47 million units, breaking the former record of 17.41 million in 2000. Most automakers posted increased sales YTD over 2014, with Subaru posting its best-ever year at 582,675 vehicles sold, up 13.4 percent over 2014.
Ford F-Series truck sales rose late in the year, making the pickups the best-selling trucks in the U.S. for the 39th year. Volvo had a good year in 2015, up 24.3 percent over 2014; Mitsubishi was up 22.8 percent; Tesla rose 26.7 percent; Porsche increased sales more than 20 percent; and the Jaguar Land Rover group was up 26.5 percent, with Land Rover sales accounting for that increase.
Quick Notes. The Mazda MX-5 won the Car of the Year award in Japan with 441 votes from a prestigious panel of judges…Hyundai has assembled a “dream team” of directors for its extensive ads planned for its Genesis and Elantra models during February’s Super Bowl, including Peter Berg, a noted film and television director…MINI USA has announced the route for its legendary biennial cross-country owners rally that kicks off from Road Atlanta in Georgia on July 9 and ends July 23 in Palm Springs, Calif.