Auto Notes - November 2017
Reincarnation. Envisage Group Ltd. of Coventry, England, has been commissioned by Jaguar Classic to create nine new XKSS continuation models, replacing those lost in a 1957 fire at the Jaguar Browns Lane factory.
A leading global engineering group, Envisage was chosen for the project because the group’s highly skilled workforce offers rare expertise in handcrafted aluminum forming and body assembly. Using English Wheel metal-forming techniques, Envisage will handcraft the nine monocoque body shells and panels for the complex XKSS models.
Jaguar and Envisage worked together in the 1950s and 1960s when the body specialist produced low-volume Jaguar bodies for such models as the XK120s.
Bye, bye. Each year, automakers have to make decisions about the next model year and determine if a car, truck, van, SUV, crossover, or other vehicle can withstand the future in a competitive sales world. Several models from global manufacturers will not be available in 2018.
Some of the models gone for the U.S. market in 2018 include the 2017 Ford Fiesta subcompact (look for the Ford EcoSport in early 2018); 2017 Chevrolet SS, a sedan with a big engine and well-designed suspension; the 2017 Hyundai Azera in the large car segment with a pleasant design but lacking sales; and the 2017 Chrysler 200 sedan (almost a year since last production), but the 300 remains a player.
Also gone in the U.S. next year are the 2017 Buick Verana sedan; the 2017 Jeep Patriot, a loaded and inexpensive SUV, but Jeep has the Compass and others in the lineup; the 2017 Infiniti QX70, a luxury compact SUV; and two Volkswagens, the 2017 Touareg (there is still the Tiguan and the 2018 Atlas SUV has arrived), and 2017 CC sedan.
Other models that go away are the Nissan Quest, Mitsubishi Lancer, Honda Accord Coupe (sedan remains), as well as the 2017 Dodge Viper (long ago announcing its second demise after the 2017 model year) and 2017 BMW Z4. Both of the latter sports cars will likely hold their value for some time to come.
Hello, newbies. While many models of vehicles go away for 2018, there are plentiful replacements for both the U.S. and worldwide markets. For the North American market, look for a variety of cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs (both re-designed and all-new) for the coming model year, some already in showrooms.
Hot new models include the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV, an AWD offering from FCA US; the 2018 Audi SQ5 3.0T quattro tiptronic SUV; the Toyota CH-R four-door crossover, small but stylish; the 2018 Kia Stinger, a sports sedan that is already doing well; the 2018 Range Rover Velar from Land Rover, an AWD luxury SUV; and the 2018 Lexus LC high-performance sport coupe that will cost close to $100,000.
Also new for 2018 is the American-built 2018 VW Atlas SUV; the 2018 Ford EcoSport subcompact; plus total redesigns on models ranging from the Ford Mustang to the Lexus LS, the GMC Terrain to the Toyota Camry, plus the tech-crazy Honda Odyssey van.
Zero emissions. On Oct. 2, General Motors (GM) made a major announcement about its vision for zero crashes, zero congestion, and zero emissions. “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, GM vice president. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”
In the next 18 months, GM said it will introduce two new all-electric vehicles based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV, adding that they will be the first of 20 new all-electric vehicles that will be introduced by 2023.
The company said the road to zero emissions includes the combination of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
GM has also introduced SURUS, the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure, a fuel-cell powered, four-wheel steer concept vehicle on a heavy-duty truck frame that is driven by two electric motors. With its capability and flexibility, the SURUS can be used in a variety of commercial uses from a delivery vehicle to an ambulance.
World car begins. The journey on the Road to the World Car 2018 awards began in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show and continues this month with test-drives in Los Angeles, then on to the Geneva International Motor Show in early March with the finalists being announced March 28, at the New York International Auto Show.
The Road to World Car involves more than 80 international automotive journalists who test drive and score vehicles in six categories.