Auto Notes - May 2016
World car award. Mazda was a big winner at the New York International Auto Show with the fourth generation MX-5 being named the 2016 World Car of the Year. It also won the 2016 World Car Design of the Year award, the first time a Japanese automaker has won that accolade. Other 2016 World Car awards presented at the show included the BMW 7 Series, World Luxury Car; the Audi R8 Coupe, World Performance Car; and the Toyota Mirai, World Green Car.
The all-new MX-5 was a finalist in the World Car of the Year award with the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC after a selection process that included 23 total cars. Established in 2006, the World Car Awards are decided by 73 automotive journalists from 23 countries and awarded at New York show. The Road to World Car began in Frankfurt, Germany in September 2015, followed in November by more than four days of test drives of North American, Japanese, and Swedish cars in Los Angeles, then on to Geneva where the top three finalists were announced. Mazda was a previous World Car of the Year recipient in 2008 with the Mazda 2/Mazda Demio model.
“What a wonderful honor to have the Mazda MX-5 named World Car of the Year,” said Masahiro Moor, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, and managing executive officer of Mazda Motor Corp. “As our iconic MX-5 roadster approaches one million units of production, the award is proof that it is as young, vibrant, fun, and relevant as ever.” While the 2016 MX-5 was the most popular car in New York with its awards, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF (retractable fastback) made its global debut at the show.
Camaro’s debut. The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and its sibling convertible were also introduced at the New York show. Chevrolet officials said the ZL1 will challenge the most advanced sports coupes in the world with its supercharged 6.2-L V-8 engine that produces 650 HP. Designed specifically for the ZL1, the engine can be mated to a 6-speed manual or a new 10-speed automatic transmission. With improved aerodynamics, a lower grille opening creates more airflow on the new model and the hood has a carbon fiber insert and a heat extractor that pulls hot air from the engine compartment, officials said. The 2017 Camaro ZL1 will go on sale later this year with the convertible model available in early 2017.
PHEV intro. Another of dozens of North American and global unveilings at the New York International Auto Show was the introduction of the much-anticipated 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). It offers an efficient 2.0-L gas engine and two high-performance electric motors, advanced safety and convenience features, as well as Mitsubishi’s award-winning Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system.
The S-AWC system on the Outlander is a specialized application of the Lancer Evolution-derived system that was developed specifically for the PHEV model and provides maximum performance, efficiency, tractability, and safety elements for the vehicle’s unique twin electric motor configuration.
“What makes the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV so special is that it offers the best of both worlds with a balance of electric efficiency and long-range practicality,” said Don Swearingen, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America.
50th anniversary. Some of us can remember the first Toyota Corollas sold in the U.S. (1968), but the world’s best-selling car of all time went on sale in Japan in late 1966. Toyota has debuted a 50th anniversary Special Edition of the Corolla, a 2017 model with a refreshed appearance and all-new features, including the availability of the Toyota Safety Sense-P system.
Over its 50-year tenure, the Corolla has sold more than 43 million units worldwide. With a highly successful launch in the U.S., the model reached over one million sales in a four-year period, exceeding the automaker’s production projections at the time. Today, sales of the model are about 1.5 million units a year with production at 16 plants worldwide, including the manufacturing facility in Blue Springs. Miss.