Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Apple Car, More Compact Cargo Vans From Europe, and a Review of the2015 Geneva Auto Show.


Alexander Carabitses

Apple Car

While I've been away, I have definitely missed out on some important events that have taken place throughout the auto industry, beginning with the rumors of Apple producing a car.  As soon as I heard this piece of news, I dismissed it as nothing more than a rumor that would eventually go away, but now that I look at it, I'm not so sure.

The thing is, if Apple made a watch, why won't they build a car, it just seems logical from that sense.  Now granted, the only reason the Apple watch exists is probably because of the Samsung watch thats been out for a while now.  But 10 years ago, no one would have thought that a technology company would be trying to compete with Rolex. So this only brings up the bigger question: with companies like Google and Apple looking into the auto industry, won't companies like Samsung, Sony, and LG do the same?  Are we looking at technology companies building cars for the masses as we approach the age of autonomous cars?

We might be, and it will be hard for traditional car companies to keep up, because while an LG car may not sell well, an Apple car would sell like hot cakes, especially now that autonomous cars are becoming a thing.  There is a lot of technology in these self-driving vehicles, so who better to build them than Apple?  Plus, if Google has built running prototypes of autonomous cars, Apple may be a little bit late to the party.  Maybe everyone is over thinking this.  Maybe Apple is just working on some new interior software that they can sell to car companies; that would make Apple an automotive supplier, and an essential one, seeing as how most car companies can't build good infotainment systems for shit.  Maybe they plan to do what Google has in mind: design an autonomous driving system and sell it to car companies.  The whole point here is that no one should overlook the rumors of Apple building a car, and car companies should just be prepared, because if they aren't, and Apple actually builds a car, it could come back and bite them (the car companies) in the ass.

Vans

For those who haven't heard (or forgotten), Mercedes will introduce a new van to the U.S. market this fall, based off of the Vito sold elsewhere in the world.  In the U.S. it will be called the Metris, and it will compete with the Ford Transit Connect, Ram Pro-Master City, Nissan NV200, and the Chevrolet City Express.  It will be sold in both passenger and cargo versions, and should be pretty successful in this market.

It is clear that european vans are having more of an influence in North America, more than ever before. They are more convenient for those who use them, and more pleasing to the eye (Well, maybe except for the Ram Pro-Master).  Click here for more info on the Metris if you have an interest, because if you've read this blog long enough, you should know that I hate going over official specs.

2015 Geneva Auto Show

(Image credited to Bentley)

The 2015 Geneva Auto Show's media days were held last week and overall, there was a lot to see.  Geneva has always been a rich persons show, due to all of the exotic and high end models that debut; these models also make it a hell of an enthusiast show as well.  Lets get to it, shall we?

Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren are in an all out war to kill each other.  Its always about which brand can out do the other at this show, and in my mind, I think Ferrari came out on top, but I'm sure most of you will disagree.  Anyway, Ferrari showed the 458 Italia replacement, the 488 GTB(its a heavily revised version of the out going car).  Lamborghini showed the Aventador SV, while McLaren showed the 675lt and the P1gtr.  Meanwhile, Aston Martin showed two new concepts: the DBX concept (its almost like a crossover, but not really), and this insane looking car called the Vulcan.   Lotus tweaked the Evora, with a model called the Evora 400.  Koenigsegg showed two more ridiculously cool cars, the Agera RS and the Regera, which "blends luxury and performance".  Bugatti showed off the Final Veyron, which had the same color combination as the first one, but the placement of the colors was reversed.  Finally, Audi showed off the new R8 line, including the V10, V10 Plus, R8 E-Tron, and the R8 LMS.  The design is nothing more than an evolution of the current car, but it still looks good from the photos I've seen.

Porsche showed the all new 911 GT3 RS, which looks fantastic, as does it's little brother, the Cayman GT4.  Audi showed another vehicle, called the Prologue Avant, which is essentially a station wagon version of the Prologue concept form LA; they also showed a plug-in-hybrid Q7.  There was also a new concept car from Volkswagen:  the Sport Coupe Concept GTE, which heavily previews the next generation CC.  There were also other Volkswagen debuts, like the Touran, Passat Alltrack(which looks really good, as it is a station wagon), and the Caddy compact cargo van.

Speaking of station Wagons, Kia showed off a new station wagon concept, the Sportspace concept, while sister brand Hyundai unveiled the new Tucson, which will premiere in New York next month.  The two Japanese Luxury brands showed some concepts.  Lexus showed a small city car concept called the LF-SA, while Infiniti showed the QX30 concept crossover, which should also get stage time in New York.  

I also want to give a shout out to the Lexus GS F, Cadillac ATS-V, Cadillac CTS-V, and the Corvette ZO6 for making their European debuts.  Opel showed the Karl, micro-sub-compact car; the only reason that I'm bringing this up is because it heavily previews the new Chevy Spark, which will debut in NYC next mont as well.  The Opel Corsa OPC debuted as well.  The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque received a slight nip and tuck,, and the convertible version was teased for a reveal later this year.  If you thought that the S-Class Maybach was obnoxious, you should check out the limo version of that car, called the S-Class Pullman that debuted in Geneva, and the AMG GT3 race car.  BMW showed another MPV that nobody cared about, as well as a new MotoGP pace car that features water injection technology (yeah, water is injected into the engine).  

The Honda NSX made its European debut (thats right, its sold as a Honda in Europe), but the all-new Civic Type R also got a lot of media attention; unfortunately, it still won't make it to the United States.  A new hot hatchback that we will get, is the new Ford Focus RS that looks so badass.   Finally, there was one more European mainstream vehicle debut that I am only mentioning, because I find the design of this car attractive.  The car I'm talking about is the 2016 Skoda Superb.  I know, I know, the design may be considered bland for most people, but I think it looks good.

Oh, and the award for the funniest vehicle at the auto show goes to Bentley, and its not for the refreshed Continental GT Speed.  Rather, its for the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept, which looks like a cartoon car, with ridiculous proportions.  The wheels are too big, the tail lights look like they're squinting, while the headlights look like flying saucers. If you've heard the expression "let me pick my jaw up, off the floor", then you can easily understand why this vehicle needs to do the same.  THE GRILL IS TOO CLOSE TO THE GROUND!!!  Now, all that this concept car proves, is that Bentley can't design a concept car for shit, unless it involves adding or removing trim, doors, or the roof.  If you want proof of this, just look at the XP9F SUV concept from a few years ago; Bentley had to start from scratch on the design of the new SUV because of backlash due to the fact that the design sucked.  Now we know what an Aston Martin or Jaguar F-Type Coupe would look like with Bentley design cues, and it isn't pretty.  Hopefully Bentley changes the design of their new entry level sports car, but I have to say that they don't have to do a damn thing to the interior, because it looks great!

Anyway, thats it for Geneva, and as you can see there were a lot of new introductions, a lot of which I didn't even cover, but I don't think I missed anything spectacular.  If I did, criticize me in the comments section, below.

By the way, the Cleveland Auto Show was held the same week as the Geneva Auto Show, and it featured the introduction of another new special edition Colorado: the Z71 Trail Boss Edition; the chassis cab variant of the Colorado was unveiled a couple of weeks ago as well, so Chevy is clearly making the most out of that new model.  I just thought I'd throw that out there.

That wraps up this long entry. My next post will more than likely be a review of the New York Auto Show, which I attend yearly.  Believe me, a lot of important debuts have already been announced and they just keep on coming, so stay tuned.  Have a good week, and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!



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