Major conflicts exist all over the world. Unfortunately, I have my fair share of them. My conflicts include my girlfriend vs. my fashion sense or lack thereof, and my social reputation vs. my car. Since my girlfriend always gets her way in terms of my clothing choices, let’s talk about the latter and more pressing issue. As the title of this post states, I, a self-proclaimed car guy, drive a 2008 Smart Passion ForTwo painted in ULAS J1120+0641 Quasar Yellow. In simple terms, it’s brighter than Sergey Karjakin (pronounced Car-Yack-in, not Car-Jack-In, though my car has experienced both). I guess that’s not that simple, but just know that it’s really, really bright.
Now that my reputation amongst car people has been completely torn down, it’s time to build it back up again with a brief history of the Smart brand. The brand was conceived by Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek. His original goal was to create a car with interchangeable plastic color panels to suit the mood of the owner, similar to his watch trim. Volkswagen was Mr. Hayek’s original partner on the project but dove out early. The project was then picked up by Daimler-Benz, who after losing a large sum of money, bought the Smart brand outright. Two things can be brought up with this history: [keep reading]
Automotive News reported recently that the Wuling minivan in China is selling like bingzis or whatever the Chinese call hotcakes. Translation: this means they’re selling really darn good. Whilst Americans continue to buy up big trucks, SUV’s and crossovers, don’t be surprised if there’s a renaissance of the minivan. But wait, then why would Dodge drop the Grand Caravan or why would Ford stop building minivans in America altogether? To focus on crossovers where there might be more money to be made.
This might be a premature shift in strategy because there’s still a market for the minivan. Sure, the number of people buying minivans has dropped from about 1.3 million in 2000 to 540,000 in 2011, but so far in 2012, AutoData reports 10.6% growth. Two months the L.A. Times reported that fuel efficiency is what car buyers care about most after a Consumer Reports found 37% of shoppers care about fuel economy. Quality of the car, which should probably be more important came in second at a measly 17%. Gas mileage alone is reason enough why minivans should make a comeback, but keep reading for more. [keep reading]
The Detroit News reported the price of gas is dropping (down 3.5% from a year ago) and that is causing the price of small cars to drop too. According to the article, the average price of gas is about $3.71 and if prices stay below $4.00, car shoppers will buy trucks, SUVs and minivans. Even though used car prices are at record highs because of inventory shortages, their prices will decline if gas prices do, in fact, remain stable.
Are you seeing the resemblance? On the top, a 2012 Land Rover Evoque. On the bottom, a 2002 Isuzu Axiom. The Axiom was a failure and blasted by pretty much everyone. The Land Rover Evoque though is being lauded by auto pundits for its looks. It’s amazing how much a difference ten years can make.