When the Mazda MX-5 Miata was introduced 25 years ago, it made a huge impression and was named “Most Trouble-Free Sports Car” in the 1990 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). By 1991, the small, lightweight roadster won over the hearts of its drivers worldwide and achieved nearly 30,000 registrations in the United States alone. Although Miata volume has steadily declined since its peak, the iconic car remains a fan favorite and holds the title of best-selling two-seat sports car of all time. As evidence the Miata hasn’t rested on its laurels, the roadster has regularly earned recognition as a J.D. Power award winner over the years, including its most recent award in the 2015 IQS Compact Sports Car Segment.
As we make our way through the second half of 2015, Nissan has much to be excited about from a sales standpoint regarding its mid-size Altima model. With nearly 206,000 deliveries through July, the Altima has a 15,631 unit sales lead over the Honda Accord after a 17,244 unit sales deficit just a year ago. The Nissan Altima’s 1.4% year-over-year sales improvement puts the model squarely in second place within the mid-size car segment. Now behind the Toyota Camry, Nissan sedan finally surpassed the Accord, which had sold more often than the Altima for years. Notably, the Accord’s 14% sales drop versus last year contributed to its current third place status. After taking a deeper look into the factors with the greatest effect on these sales trends, it appears the Altima’s sales performance is not as great as it seems at face value.
With the long-lasting success of Honda's S2000 roadster in mind, the automaker has begun to get its groove back by means of its new, Japan-only S660 model. The market, however, is not reacting exactly how the company anticipated.
Due to tepid demand within the U.S. small car market Ford Motor Company recently announced their Focus compact would cease production at its Michigan Assembly Plant in 2018. With the factory suffering from underutilization, the Blue Oval may possibly move future production to another country. Formal labor talks are scheduled to commence between the automaker and the United Auto Workers union on July 23, yet there is speculation the announcement is merely a negotiating tactic employed by Ford to improve its bargaining position. Time will tell whether the announcement is a legitimate factor or not, but a look into the Focus’ manufacturing and market performance suggests the company has concerns ― especially with regards to opportunity cost ― when deciding to produce its compact car in the United States or elsewhere.
With the debut of its fifth-generation Explorer for the 2011 model year, Ford made tremendous strides improving its renowned SUV. Customers were quick to take notice as nearly 82,000 more registrations were achieved in 2011 versus the previous year (+182%). The Explorer went on to perform better each year thereafter with just under 211,000 vehicles registered last year. Ford is now number one in the segment ahead of models such as the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and GMC Acadia. However, with the reveal of the 2016 refresh at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford has shown it’s eager for even greater success over the years to come.
Back in the mid-2000s when the Sony PlayStation 2 was around, a strangely fascinating and critically-acclaimed video game surfaced from the Land of the Rising Sun by the name of Katamari Damacy. In the third-person puzzle-action game, the god-like King of All Cosmos accidentally removes all the stars from the sky and tasks his diminutively-sized son, the Prince, to go to Earth and help rectify the situation. Equipped with a rolling katamari – a magical ball that causes anything smaller than it to stick to it – the Prince is charged with amassing sufficient material to recreate the stars and constellations.
Every year, the Washington Auto Show, also known as the nation’s “Public Policy Show,” holds a number of events that focus on the policies and developments influencing the direction of the automotive industry in America. As the health of the environment plays an ever more prominent role in the determining of emissions standards and related government regulations, green vehicles and technologies are becoming increasingly recognized for their positive impact on society. Consequently, the Green Car Journal holds its annual Green Car Awards program at the D.C. Auto Show to celebrate automobiles that best epitomize environmental performance.
While driving an environmentally-friendly car certainly has its merits, the question remains whether purchasing one makes for a sound financial decision. Knowing that money doesn’t grow on trees, we analyzed the second-hand market performance for the award nominees to help environmentally-conscious buyers identify the winners and losers in green car value retention.
At the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, General Motors debuted a refresh of its Chevrolet Equinox, the highest volume Chevrolet model—excluding the Silverado pickup truck. Consumers looking for major changes will be disappointed, as the mid-cycle update is more of an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” refresh. However, the brand is hoping it mixed things up enough this time around to keep the model fresh over the coming years.
For 2016, the refreshed RDX received more technology, an improved powertrain and enhanced interior treatments. By adding optional fog lights as well as new LED headlights, the updated lighting design keeps with the illumination scheme seen on the rest of the brand’s lineup. Powertrain improvements include a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. Engineers were able to raise the fuel economy of the RDX by utilizing cylinder deactivation technology. The 2016 front-wheel drive model is capable of achieving 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. All-wheel drive versions see one mpg less in both city and highway driving.
Focusing more on the interests of the mainstream buyer, the Chicago Auto Show is the preeminent consumer event of the auto show season. Consequently, automakers were keen on showcasing products that are most impactful for everyday consumers. Crossovers and SUVs from Honda, Acura and Chevrolet stood out from the pack, while concept vehicles from Kia and Mitsubishi hinted at what may be to come in their utility vehicle lineups. Of course, the stars of the recent major auto shows in Los Angeles and Detroit came in full force as well, and we were sure to get another look at some of the most exciting models.
While not the flashiest auto show, Chicago plays an important role for consumers and we were sure to capture the event for you through the digital lens. Be sure to check out our Facebook photo album and Twitter feed to revisit all that transpired.