Behind The Wheel News

Porsche, Jeep, Ford, Lexus, and More…

2022 Mazda CX-50
2022 Mazda CX-50

Porsche to Add a New Flagship Model Above the Cayenne

Porsche is once again set to push the boundaries of what defines a Porsche. According to Automotive News, the company — famed for its sports cars and, more recently, sporty crossovers — is developing a new vehicle that is larger, longer and wider than the Cayenne midsize crossover, the brand’s biggest nameplate now. That’s according to U.S. dealers who were shown a rendering of the vehicle at a recent meeting.

Additionally, Porsche is exploring a future beyond the all-in-one dealership as the brand looks to attract the next generation of car buyers. The automaker plans to enlist its U.S. dealers to roll out a boutique retail concept, called Studios, that is less about pushing metal and more about brand-building.

Porsche Cars North America CEO Kjell Gruner told Automotive News on the eve of the recent Los Angeles Auto Show that it’s a retail approach being adopted in varying degrees by luxury automakers, including Tesla, Polestar and Mercedes-Benz.

Jeep Manufacturer Accuses GM of Corporate Espionage

The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks has accused General Motors Co. (GM) of “corporate espionage” in an attempt to block the Wayne County Circuit Court from reconsidering the Detroit automaker’s lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA). The court recently dismissed GM’s civil suit claiming “billions” of dollars in damages after FCA executives bribed United Auto Workers officials in efforts to corrupt three rounds of bargaining to harm and take over GM.

2021 Nissan Rogue
2021 Nissan Rogue

Ford and GM Pickups Best New Electric Entries

Score one for the legacy automakers. Ford Motor Co.’s upcoming F-150 Lightning and the electric Chevrolet Silverado expected in 2023 topped the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T in an Autolist survey on which electric pickups consumers are most interested in buying.

Of those surveyed, 38 percent said they prefer the Lightning, 26 percent said they want General Motors’ Silverado EV, 20 percent prefer the Cybertruck and 11 percent want the GMC Hummer EV. Five percent said they want the R1T, which is the only one of the five that’s already on sale.

Ford and Rivian have scrapped plans to jointly develop an electric vehicle, Ford CEO Jim Farley told Automotive News. Ford already had canceled a planned Lincoln collaboration at the start of the coronavirus pandemic but still intended to work with Rivian on a different vehicle until recently. One factor Farley cited in the decision is the complexity that would be required to marry another company’s electric architecture with embedded software developed in-house by Ford.

A New Electric ‘Muscle Car’ from Dodge on the Horizon

According to Car and Driver, Dodge is preparing to launch an electric muscle car for 2024 under what it’s calling eMuscle. A concept car will be revealed next year. As if that news weren’t enough for diehard muscle car fans, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis confirmed to Motor Authority that production of its Hellcat supercharged V-8 will end the year before the electric car arrives.

Lexus, Honda Earn J.D. Power Value Awards

Honda and Lexus are the brand award winners in the mass market and premium segments, respectively, of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. ALG Residual Value Awards. The awards recognize vehicle models projected to hold the highest percentage of their manufacturer’s suggested retail price following one to three years of ownership. This value retention is a key variable in the lease cost of a vehicle and emphasizes an automaker’s success in the areas of long-term quality and design, as well as the overall desirability of automotive brands and their models. It’s also an important purchase consideration for vehicle shoppers, as it helps forecast a vehicle’s resale value once they sell or trade in the vehicle for a new one.

Mazda’s New Alabama Plant Sends a Message to U.S. Consumers

Mazda boasts a new “pride point” in the USA — its Huntsville, Alabama, plant, which will start producing the made-for-America CX-50 crossover in January. Mazda North America CEO Jeff Guyton told Automotive News that after ending U.S. manufacturing nearly a decade ago as part of Mazda’s breakup with the Ford Motor Co., the Japanese automaker hopes to leverage its new joint-venture factory with Toyota as a brand message when communicating with consumers. A large U.S. factory communicates a permanence in this market, Guyton said.

Mazda to Debut New U.S.-Built CX-50

Mazda North American Operations recently hosted the virtual world premiere of the first-ever Mazda CX-50. A completely new model, CX-50 is the first Mazda vehicle to be built at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama, with production beginning in January.

“This new Mazda vehicle has been developed for North America, particularly to support the active and outdoor lifestyles of customers in this region,” said Jeff Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. “The CX-50 encourages people to immerse themselves in nature without compromising on the premium design and outstanding on-road performance Mazda is known for.”

As a new addition to the Mazda lineup, CX-50 maintains key attributes expected of all Mazda vehicles, including superior driving dynamics and beautiful design. In addition, Mazda has extended this vehicle’s capability to enable drivers to venture farther into the outdoors and various terrains.