BMW X4 reviewed; Lexus GS F shows its face; Mercedes’ self-driving F 015 concept breaks cover. All that, and more, in the automotive news headlines on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.
As the year’s comes to a close, our editors are all taking time to reflect on the machinery that made this year so special, with one simple, open-ended question as the guide: “What’s the best car you drove this year?”
A report in Autobild claims that Mercedes-Benz is throwing more then $2 billion at an electric car family of vehicles with a program called “Ecoluxe.” It would challenge the Tesla Model S and Model X with four offerings, the top of the range being a pair of seven-seaters that could have as much as 610 horsepower.
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I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I’d never done before.
Christmas is only a week away. The New Year is just around the corner. As 2014 draws to a close, I’m not the only one taking stock of the year that’s we’re almost shut of.
Depending on who you are or what you do, the end of the year can bring to mind tax bills, school semesters or scheduling dental appointments. For me, for the last eight or nine years, at least a small part of this transitory time is occupied with recalling the cars I’ve driven over the preceding 12 months.
Since I started writing about and reviewing cars in 2006, I’ve done an uneven job of tracking every vehicle I’ve been in, each year. Last year I made a resolution to be better about it, and the result is a spreadsheet with model names, dates, notes and some basic facts and figures.
Armed with this basic data and a yen for year-end stories, I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I’d never done before. The results are, well, they’re a little bizarre, honestly. And I think they’ll affect how I approach this gig in 2015.
There are countless Car of the Year awards handed out each year, and naturally, Europe has its own way of doing things. Every year, a panel of jurists representing seven publications in seven different languages and seven different countries get together to name their joint Car of the Year. The panel released a list of 32 candidates back in July, and it has now whittled that list down to seven nominees.
The list consists of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the Citroën C4 Cactus (shown), the Ford Mondeo, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Nissan Qashqai, the Renault Twingo and the Volkswagen Passat. Of those seven, only two are available in the US – those being the Mondeo (sold Stateside as the Fusion) and the C-Class. The Passat is an entirely different model in North America, the Qashqai isn’t offered here, Citroën and Renault don’t even participate in our market and the BMW 2 Series is represented here only by the completely different coupe and convertible.
Expect the one and only recipient of the 2015 Car of the Year award to be announced at the Geneva Motor Show this coming March, and while you’re waiting, you can place your guesses for the eventual winner in Comments.
Now there’s an attention-grabbing headline, eh? Although the answer to the riddle – pickup trucks and SUVs – might be somehow deflating, the numbers involved deserve a going over. According to TrueCar’s figures (click on the table to enlarge), six of the year’s ten best-selling vehicles in the US that sell for a transaction price above $50,000 are body-on-frame, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the only foreigner to crack the top five.
Every enthusiast knows that pickup trucks are ‘Murica’s most popular vehicle by a colossal margin, and there have been plenty of reports about the popularity of luxuriously appointed trucks and SUVs, but compare these figures from TrueCar: 70 percent of Chevrolet Tahoe sales have a transaction price above $50K, and The Bowtie is expected to make $3.9 billion in revenue on 66,945 predicted high-dollar sales; 95.1 percent of E-Class sales break $50K, so the German company will make $4.0 billion on 67,006 predicted sales in that pricing sphere. It’s about the only time you’ll see the Tahoe ranked right next to Mercedes’ bread-and-butter sedan. Ram is ahead of those two with $4.2B coming from $50K-plus sales. The Ford F-Series does almost as much revenue as the next three combined, with an expected $10.8 billion coming from sales of trucks over $50K – more than a quarter of the model’s total sales, when a base F-150 can be had for about $26,000.
Yes, the Germans make a lot more money on fewer sales, but considering the comparison, the bottom line isn’t too troubled by such facts. Weighing like-for-like, the full-size Ford walks it in every category; elsewhere, the Chevrolet Silverado outsells the Ram, but the Ram outsells the Chevy by 6.7 percent above $50K. And for all the flak GMC takes over swapping out grilles, the Sierra also outsells the Chevy in the well-appointed segment, 16.1 percent of sales versus 11 percent – the Professional Grade brand is a huge profit center for The General. You’ll find more info in the TrueCar press release below.