May 2015 - Auto Notes

New York hotties. The New York Auto Show each April always provides plentiful debuts of production and concept vehicles and the 2015 show was no exception.

Some of the hot vehicles introduced include the Cadillac flagship CT6; the 363-HP bi-turbo Mercedes-Benz GLE due at dealers this summer; the BMW XM6 sportster with 600-HP and BMW’s xDrive AWD system; the $1 million Bugatti Veyron that can reach 250 MPH; the new Ford GT that will hit the market in 2017; and a stylish Subaru STI Performance Concept.

The 2016 Ford RS European performance car due out in spring 2016 was also on display in New York, along with introductions of the all-new Jaguar XF; Honda Civic Coupe; McLaren 570S, the lead model of the new McLaren Sports Series; Volkswagen GT Sportwagen; plus others from Mitsubishi, Porshce, Nissan, Chevrolet, Lexus, Lincoln, Rolls-Royce, Kia, and Toyota.

Subaru supports parks. Subaru of America announced in April its continued support of the environment and America’s national parks via a multi-year partnership with the National Park Foundation (NPF). The partnership will celebrate the 2016 centennial of the National Parks Service (NPS) and promote the country’s national parks.

Subaru has also donated four Outback vehicles for use at parks and is working with Subaru dealers across the country to volunteer at national parks in conjunction with the “Subaru Loves the Earth” initiative.

“The National Park Service Centennial is a critical moment for America’s national parks,” said Dan Wenk, interim president of the NPF. “By connecting the next generation with our national parks in meaningful ways and sharing a commitment to sustainability, Subaru is helping us build a movement that will help ensure that these special places are protected well beyond the next 100 years.”

Subaru has donated substantial funds to NPF and various “Subaru Loves the Earth” campaigns to protect valued lands in America. NPS has 407 national parks covering 84 million acres that were visited by just under 300 million visitors in 2014.

Lotus sales soar. The U.K.-based Lotus reported in April that its fiscal year 2014/2015 sales were up 55 percent globally over the previous period. The company also said it has appointed 36 new dealers in the past 11 months.

While European, China, and Japan sales posted the highest increases, sales in the U.S. were up 24 percent for 2014/2015. In the U.S., the Evora model is sold as a road car, with Elise and Exige units sold for track use.

While the Elise model currently leads sales worldwide, and has a special 20th anniversary model available, a highly revised Evora 400 will hit the market in August and is expected to boost sales in all markets.

“Our continued expansion demonstrates the customer confidence in Lotus and that our product development strategy is meeting its objectives, while remaining true to our core pillars of efficiency, light weight, high performance, and driving purity in the most desirable packaging,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Lotus Group.

Photo cap: The 20th anniversary special edition Lotus Elise is now in sale. With a Toyota-sourced turbocharged engine, it replaces the Elise S Club Racer model.

Canyon maps you. The all-new GMC Canyon midsize pickup now features the “Canyon Experience” that allows potential drivers to take a virtual test drive using Google Maps and Google Street View when in the early-buying process using a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone.

“When (buyers) visit our site, customers can choose different scenarios for their Canyon test drives – city, shore, mountains, and rural,” said Kenn Bakowski, Canyon marketing manager. “They can even park a Canyon close to their home to see how it looks.”

GMC pickups have continued strong sales in 2015 and posted the strongest first-quarter figures since 2005. The company said that through March, more than 53 percent of buyers of the all-new Canyon have traded in non-GM brand vehicles. Autoweek named the Canyon the 2015 Best of the Best/Truck for 2015.

Mercedes/Nissan truck. In early April, Mercedes-Benz confirmed that Nissan will help develop its upcoming pickup truck due out by 2020. Mercedes-Benz said its truck will share some of the architecture of the Nissan NP300, which is badged as a Navara or Frontier depending on where it’s sold.

The one-ton Mercedes-Benz mid-size pickup will have its own quality and engineering standards consumers expect from a Mercedes-Benz product, the company said. First sales of the new truck will be in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and Latin America.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.