Alexander Carabitses

Well, here it is, the final post of 2019. While I spent last week chewing out many automakers for their boneheaded moves, this week I will share my top-ten automotive highlights of 2019 and end things on a high note. So without further delay, let's get things started.

10. Hummer May Return: Although Hummer's return is still technically a rumor, the credibility of the source that made the world aware of it makes its existence all but a certainty. Honestly, I do have some minor concerns because even though they will now be EVs, I don't know if the brand's image problem will be completely resolved. However, I am still excited about the return and think that it's a smart move by GM, particularly if they're priced high enough to be profitable (at or above $50K). Even at that price, I think the SUV and pickup that have been rumored will sell very well.
(Image credited to General Motors)

9. Seat Does Something Right: Last year, I openly trashed Seat due to its mediocrity, missteps, and lack of relevance in the VW Group portfolio. This year, VW has announced that the brand will essentially do what it should have done all along: become a premium sporty brand (basically what Pontiac was supposed to be) and possibly rebrand itself Cupra. I support these changes but think that their idea of coming to the US, while cool, should not be a priority.
(Image credited to Seat/Cupra)

8. Audi Graces Us With Wagons: It's great to see Audi take a risk and grant US buyers the opportunity to experience the all-new A6 Allroad and RS6 Avant, while also maintaining the A4 Allroad's presence. With BMW, Volkswagen, and even Buick electing to pull their wagons from their US lineups, it's nice to see that Audi isn't scoffing at what, according to CNBC, is 1.4% of the US market. Let's just hope that people in the US wise up and start buying these things because they're way too good to waste, and they look a lot better than the A6 sedan.
(Image credited to Audi)

7. Cadillac Makes A Change: After running amuck with an alphabet soup naming structure, Lincoln reverted to conventional names, and in 2022, Cadillac will do the same. This is fantastic news, as the brand's alphanumeric naming structure became a bit too convoluted when Johan d'Nysschen took over and was not resonating with buyers. Real names will resonate with buyers since they can capture the vehicle's character and conjure up an image of the product in a way that a three-digit code only can after existing for several decades. This is a huge step in the right direction for the brand.
(Image credited to Cadillac)

6. Ford v. Ferrari: Is this movie historically accurate? No. Realistically speaking, is it as good as Grand Prix or Le Mans? No. Is it incredibly entertaining and a must-see movie for any motorsports fan, car guy, or movie lover? Hell yes! If you haven't seen it yet, finish this article and head to the theater, it's worth it.
(Image credited to 20th Century Fox)

5. Hyundai Has Its Mojo Back: After spending the last few years stylistically regressing, I'm happy to report that Hyundai is firing on all cylinders again. The new Sonata is sensational, the Palisade is nice (albeit still somewhat awkward-looking), the Venue is cute, and the Veloster is freaking cool, particularly in N guise. The brand is doing a great job and I certainly expect this momentum to continue when the Tuscon, Elantra, and other key models get redesigned.

4. Penske Buys IndyCar: Roger Penske is, by far and away, one of the greatest businessmen to walk the Earth. The fact that he has bought Hulman & Co., the parent company of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NTT Data Indy Car Series, is tremendous news, for the league and its stakeholders. The fans should expect to see many changes unfold over the next few years, and I can assure you that all of them will be done in the innovative, professional, and detail-oriented manner that Mr. Penske is known for.
(Image credited to The IndyStar)

3. Rivian: I initially doubted that Rivian would succeed, given the failure rate of other EV startups. However, after meeting its CEO, RJ Scaringe, at the New York Auto Show, I feel very confident that this man and his company are the real deal. Its recent agreement to produce 100,000 electric delivery trucks for Amazon, as well as the investments that have been made by Amazon, Ford, and Cox Automotive affirm my stance. I wish everyone at this company the very best of luck.
(Image credited to Rivian)

2. The C8: Car News Commentary does not have an official car of the year award, but if it did, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette would be this year's recipient of it. Not only does its mid-engine configuration fulfill what has been a 40-year dream of Corvette enthusiasts, but it will also broaden the car's appeal to a new generation of buyer s who have never previously aspired to own one. It also looks great, is well-engineered, and it is a great value for money. All in all, it's quite possibly, the best production car in GM's history.
(Image credited to Chevrolet)

1. A Remarkable Experience: I rarely ever write about personal experiences in this blog, outside of auto shows, but in August something very special happened. The Audrain Auto Museum in Newport, Rhode Island was granted permission to display a dozen-or-so concept cars from the GM Heritage Center. It was an incredible experience for me to lay eyes upon the most iconic designs in the company's history, the majority of which were completed by the legendary Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell, such as the Buick Y-Job, GM LeSabre, Chevrolet Aerovette and more. I will never forget and always consider it a defining moment on my path towards a full-time career in the industry.
(1938 Buick Y Job)
(1951 GM LeSabre)
(1977 Chevrolet Aerovette)
(1954 Chevrolet Corvette Corvair)
(1958 GM Firebird III)
(1953 Cadillac Le Mans)
(1961 Mako Shark Corvette)
(1959 Cadillac Cyclone)
(2003 Cadillac Sixteen Concept)

Well, that concludes this week's edition of Car News Commentary and 2019 as a whole. As always, I want to thank every single one of my readers for your continued support these last five-and-half-years. Maintaining this blog can admittedly be challenging, as I strive to provide all of you with quality content while managing my academic schedule. However, I still have a lot of fun reporting on news and sharing my opinions on the industry that I love.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy Kwanza, to all who celebrate. Happy New Year to all!

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