Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Highs and The Lows of 2016: Part II

Alexander Carabitses 

After dishing out some hate, and mourning the acts of various companies and sectors of the industry one week ago, it is time to highlight the positives of the automotive industry in 2016.

I want to first begin with the best product introduction of the year: the Bugatti Chiron.  This 1,500 horsepower car is faster than everything else on sale today and looks a hell of a lot better than its predecessor.
(Image credited to Bugatti)

Some may consider this to be rigging in its finest form, but seeing Ford beat Ferrari in the 24 hours at Le Mans, fifty years after its first victory is one of the most noteworthy events in motorsports this year.
(Image credited to Ford)

In my last post, I attacked the entire green car segment of the market, but I still have to commend Chevrolet for being the first brand to launch an affordable EV that has over 200 miles of range.  Despite its own shortcomings and the shortcomings of this entire segment of the market, it will be the first of many new EVs from other automakers.  Symbolically, this shows that GM is being proactive, while also being the innovative company that it was once known as

Like many enthusiasts, I love station wagons.  However, the segment has been on a major decline in the US since the early 2000s, but all that might change next year as several new entries are expected to emerge.   While it is too early to say that the station wagon is back, it is nice to see that automakers are taking this segment into serious consideration in the US again.
(Image credited to Mercedes-Benz)

After being on death row as recently as two years ago, Volvo can go down as perhaps the most improved brand in 2016.  The product cadence is strong, the products themselves are strong, and it is great to see the automaker embrace its Swedish heritage and its core values.  If Volvo keeps all of this up, they will be relevant in the luxury space in no time.
(Image credited to Volvo)

It is honestly quite exciting and gratifying to see that automakers that currently don't sell cars in the US are considering entering or reentering the US market.  Peugeot, Skoda, and Renault are just a hand full of the brands that you may see returning to the US within the next decade.  Things like this mean more competition, which ultimately leads to better products across the board from automakers; this in turn means better options for the consumer.  It will be exciting to see which brands make it and which brands don't.
(Image credited to Skoda)

 Project Titan, what was suppose to be the result of Apple's quest to build a car, has sunk faster and deeper than the Titanic.  This is honestly good news because the launch of an Apple car could have caused the same chaos in the automotive industry that the iPod caused in the technology industry.  Oh, it was also a literal box on wheels that Apple would not know how to market effectively; the same time, the auto industry would be quite challenging for this tech giant to grasp.  For Apple's sake and for the industry's sake, this news is wonderful.
(Image credited to Motor Trend)

Full size cargo van sales are up this year by a lot, mostly due to the Ford Transit. It is remarkable that these European vans have become so influential that they have displaced once popular vehicles like the Ford Econoline and Chevrolet Express.  I'm sure that many automakers are kicking themselves for the time that they've waisted, or, in the case of GM, the time that they are wasting.
(Image credited to Ford)

Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore 7-time. That's right, I'm referring to Jimmie Johnson, the third driver in NASCAR history to win seven championships (along with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt).  Johnson's titles are significant because they have been achieved at a time in which the sport is more competitive than ever, and far more technically advanced that it ever has been.  Also keep in mind that his first five championships were won consecutively from 2006-2010, which itself was a feat to have never been accomplished by anyone else.  What's even more incredible is thought and strong possibility of Johnson winning eight or more championships before he retires.
(Image credited to Lionel Racing)

After the unfortunate firing of Jeremy Clarkson in 2015 and the miserable rebirth of Top Gear earlier this year, it is a relief to see Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond on the Amazon Prime series, titled The Grand Tour.  It is basically a Top Gear clone, save for the name of the segments and the fact that the studio is a tent that goes from country to country.  Now, subsequent episodes since the pilot have received mixed reviews, but none the less, the show is still funny as hell and I encourage anyone to watch.
(Image credited to Amazon)

Well that concludes the list, while also marking the end of the last Car News Commentary post of 2016.  Thank you to every single reader for your continued support and I hope that you like what you've seen.  I'll be back in January to cover the Consumer Electronics Show and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, as always.  Until then, I hope that everyone has a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable Holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or none of the above.

Thank you for reading and have a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year.

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