Thursday, December 10, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
I really don't know what to say. This might not be such a bad idea, it's what's behind this move that is worrying. Fact is, Aston Martin could not engineer a car like the iQ if they wanted. This is related to another evidence: Aston Martin is limiting its development efforts to evolving the platform basis left by Ford. And some of their “new” design ideas, such as the Lagonda concept are questionable at best…
This lack of development muscle and presentation of strange ideas reminds me of what happened with Rover when BMW left the brand on their own.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
The new EV from Mitsubishi undergoing testing. This car is now in series production. Why I'm not enthusiastic about it?... because it's still just for selected fleet sales. I will make a big party when this thing is actually available for everyone to buy.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
The success of the Distinctive Series could also encourage this kind of spin-off by other companies. One such example is the Alpine brand that we know Renault has considered several times to bring back to market in recent years. It could be a great spin-off for sportier and more luxury cars by Renault and without much investment cost in a new brand since Alpine is truly iconic. But we wonder what would be the role for Infinity in the European market… and anyway, it seems Renault should be more worried about their regular cars as things stand today.
Regarding other future DS models one could expect, for example, a cabrio version of the Citroen C5, previewed by the gorgeous C5-Airscape concept below. The future electric car of the PSA group could also be presented as a DS model in the Citroen range, although everyone knows such car is in reality a Mitsubishi. So then, maybe not!
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The DS5 is a Citroen Picasso modified for premium appeal in the spirit of the Distinctive Series. Some of its main features can also be found in the new BMW 5-series GT, namely the “lounge” feel: personalized and relaxing luxury in a contemporary design. What does that mean?... I don’t know, I have been reading information from the press-release of the 5-series GT it’s full of crap like this.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
The reader might wonder why doesn’t Citroen make a 4-door coupe based on the C5 model. Fact is the wonderful Citroen C5 already looks a bit like a 4-door coupe and that’s part of its charm. But also it seems Citroen believes it can have more success in pushing a more premium sub-brand based on the smaller cars where Citroen has a more solid market position.
Monday, June 01, 2009
So why is Citroen creating a sub-brand or a series of particular models under the DS name? By the way, DS means “Distinctive Series”, an appropriate designation for this distinctive approach. The main point here is that Citroen is looking for more profit. Since they can’t sell their conventional cars for much more money than today because Citroen is just another mainstream brand like Renault or Volkswagen, they try to market a new range of cars that are more special and more… distinctive. Therefore the Citroen DS models will sell for a bit more money, are expected to appeal to people that spend more on optional extras and even personalize the car, according to the first configurators shown by Citroen. All of this is expected to bring more profit than the bread and butter models.
However, creating a new brand or even just a sub-brand is not an easy task and should require a massive investment. But the good people at PSA were smart enough to use an iconic model designation associated to the Citroen DS from the 60s of last century. So the Distinctive Series gets an iconic help from Citroen’s past. Well played, I think Citroen is on a good path here.
In order to assess the success of this strategy one must understand that it is not expected these new cars to be best-sellers. The best thing Citroen can have is to pay the investment in the new series, improve brand awareness and image and establish a new path that brings consistent profit in the future.
The first model seen below is not even the most interesting of the new range of DS models. It falls in a new category that also includes the Alfa Romeo Mito and future Audi models: the MINI-wannabe class. But the DS3 should do well: the design is interesting, cute and “bourgeoise”. And the interior is a highly personalized class act. In following articles we will look at other future DS models that are more interesting than this first iteration.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
This car (conversion) is actually on sale now, in England! And it's a real car with proper safety features and practicality.
It makes one wonder how it would be if made by Citroen... what are car manufacturers waiting for?!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So the car will be a conventional 5-seater with batteries under the floor and adequate luggage space. It also appears that the design of the front section will make good use of the smaller space required by the electric motor inverter and related stuff. This is really interesting because it suggests the future design evolution of automobiles and technical architectures resulting from the different packaging of electric cars.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The rest of the car will be about classical BMW over-engineering and class leading fuel efficiency. And it will be more expensive than a 3-series touring but cheaper than a X3.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
However, in order to achieve success Lexus must consider a few things: the new car must have several diesel engines. The BMW 116D starts at as low as about 115hp… Same thing with petrol engines and preferably with turbo versions. And of course, the new Prius powertrain would fit really well in such car, preferably with plug-in availability.
Small problem though: the luxury compact can not be a FWD Toyota Auris derivative. I mean, it could be, but then Lexus should really study Audi’s marketing techniques… The real compact luxury Lexus should be based on a shortened RWD IS platform.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I enjoyed your articles about the Ford Focus but I think that to have more success the new car should improve some items. In my 2005 Focus tdci the floor carpet does not cover the whole area underneath the glove box. Ford shouldn’t be so cheap about those details.
And that is an important detail, I must add. But I’m showing this message because the statcounter software that provides feedback on the statistics of this blog is quite powerful and says to me that people from Ford actually read this joint. I kid you not!
So please Ford, take care of the complaint from the reader and while we are at a wish list session: please make the rear of the new car look like in the image below, that would be perfect.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Ford should understand that they are on the verge of greatness with the next Ford Focus. If they play their cards right, in a couple of years the Focus can be the best-selling car in its class in the world. For two reasons: One is that the Focus still has progression space in the European market and can gain market share there. It can not be the best selling car in Europe for obvious reasons, related to the size of the German market and their natural patriotism. But considering that the Focus is currently ranking number two in its segment despite its age, and that the new and very kinetic Fiesta is storming the market, I would say that with the right design the Focus can gain some more market share in Europe. Second reason is that being a global car the new Focus will sell very well in the USA. And if the economy recovers we can expect another spike in oil prices that will renew the recent love of Americans for smaller cars. So in conclusion, if Ford applies its kinetic design in the right way the Focus III will become the best selling compact car in the world. And we know the design part is good… so good that in focus groups for the NA market the response was “out of the ordinary”.
But, then why the insistence with the vertical rear lights? Because, in my opinion, the next Focus can be more than a best-seller: it can become a new icon. At this point we should remember the formidable list of accomplishments by Ford of Europe with the Focus model. The first generation marked a huge gap against the previous Escort, added a distinctive and fresh design that aged very well, but its biggest achievement was the superior multilink rear suspension. It destroyed the competition in the handling department and forced the best concurrence to a radical inverse engineering process that included some aggressive head-hunting… The Focus II did not score so high in the design department, brought more maturity in the interiors but still kept some design features like the rear vertical light-cluster, the third window in the C-pillar while adding a bit more coupe-ish shape. The restyling brought a much needed kinetic design infusion but the most important accomplishment is very recent: the Focus RS. The best FWD car on the planet!
Keeping some of the major design elements, such as the rear shape and vertical rear lights, while adding the kinetic design and the distinctive trapezoidal grille will contribute to raise the Focus III to new heights. If the market responds accordingly Ford will have more than a best seller, Ford will have a new icon. That would be a good thing, because icons are more profitable.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The interesting bits about the next A6 are technical and not yet fully confirmed. A source has hinted that the next A6 will have an evolution of the ASF (Aluminum Spaceframe) structure that is found in the A8 model. Other sources, namely mainstream magazines, speak of a steel structure as in the current A6 and A4 with the adoption of the MLP (Modular Longitudinal Platform). The MLP part is probably true but the aluminium structure also makes sense, in part because weight reduction is now an important trend in the auto industry. Furthermore my source is recent and is not yet fully tested, if you know what I mean… So I guess time will tell.
Other than that one can expect the usual range of parts shared with Seat and Skoda models, carefully hidden behind a modern exterior and an interior carefully designed to appear as quality in images. That ASF structure would be good to add a bit more credibility.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
This is the PUMA thing, a GM-Segway collaboration for a 2-seat urban transporter. It looks quite dorky in prototype shape but at the end of the video it shows a preview of a possible production version.
The final version is wider to accomodate well 2 persons, the prototype is very tight. The video also hints at the need for changes in cities to embrace this type of concept. It seems difficult for this kind of vehicle to share roads with normal cars and it is too big for sidewalks.
This is another concept of personal mobility, like several others mainly from toyota. It will be interesting to check how they progress and of course, these could be important possibilities for the electrification of transportation.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
The use of turbocharged 5-cylinder engines in the uber-hatchback class makes all the difference. But, although the RS3 will probably top the Focus RS in power, the Ford model will still retain a very special title: the best FWD car on the planet. This means the Audi RS3 will probably use the Haldex AWD system from the TT-RS.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The 911 reference is obviously a Porsche inspiration and on how the 911 changes through generations with evolutionary changes. This approach is critical in order to keep low development and investment costs and assure that the legend continues… building the icon! So the next RS should be approved right now and a cheap development program prepared based on the next generation Focus. We can think of some evolutionary improvements: more refinement, some weight reduction, engine upgrade (possibly with direct injection), eventually the availability of a dual-clutch gearbox. We were thinking of adding AWD to the list… but now that Ford built the best FWD car on the planet it seems appropriate to continue being such reference. As long as Ford keeps building and developing the Focus RS, the auto industry might have produced a new icon.
But Ford proved me wrong. Not only the Focus RS puts all that power efficiently with the help of a limited slip front differential and controlled torque in the first gears but, according to the first reviews, it nearly eliminates torque steer effect. Better yet, some reviewers point out that the feedback that is still felt in the steering wheel adds another layer to a magnificent driving experience. On top of that one should notice a serious ride quality and a formidable engine sound. It’s great to have this car and the new Audi TT RS to remind us how fantastic 5-cylinder engines can sound.
So today is a celebration day, besides celebrating that auto-future was wrong we are celebrating a breakthrough in automotive technology. Ford moved the game in a serious manner, proving that one can have a 300hp FWD car with great traction, great steering feedback, fantastic handling and still a very good ride quality. This is Focus RS day.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The interesting part of the Lexus 2054 is that we don’t have to wait for year 2054 to drive a similar vehicle. The first generation of mass-market electric vehicles arrives in the first-half of the next decade so I guess a second generation of vehicles with in-wheel electric motors and a design similar to the Lexus EV could arrive around 2020. So definitely reality will beat science fiction on the future electric vehicle.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The technical bits of the new Calibra are predictable being based on the new Astra model. This is actually not a good thing if the Astra does not receive a multilink suspension at the rear. The Calibra nameplate deserves more technical excellence than a torsion beam. But then, this is a Opel so I guess one should not expect technical excellence.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
So there should be no reason to criticize. However, according to recent rumours, it appears that BMW is working on a 4-door coupe version of the next 6-series. So far so good. But it has also been said that the new competitor to the Mercedes CLS and future Audi A7 would have a design without B-pillar and using rear doors in the style of the Mazda RX-8. All of this for further market differentiation. If this turns out to be true then it is a huge and unpleasant surprise. Because, being an engineering-excellence company I would not expect BMW to use such concept-car style technical solution.
A car without B-pillar would have seriously compromised passive safety and stiffness, something that BMW would not accept. So the structure has to be reinforced, highly reinforced, which means more weight… in a 4-door coupe BMW?... this can not happen, for sure. Or maybe BMW will have available superior materials such as composites, at competitive cost, in order to overcome the deficient design. But then they could still use them with a conventional design and further improve stiffness regarding the competition and/or reduce weight.
Either way, maybe the rumour is not true. But if this car is for real then I find disappointing that BMW would compromise sound engineering solutions for such a styling statement. The kind of car I would expect BMW to make is a Porsche Panamera fighter, with superior engines (that BMW has available), a CS-concept design (much better looking than the Panamera), and available AWD including the new DPC system that would destroy the Panamera in handling. To the folks at BMW: you have the tools to outgun Porsche so please don’t distract yourselves with styling statements.
This image from Auto-Bild looks nice, but please keep the B-pillar
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
This is so boring... the car's design, the suit making a speech... but it's highly relevant. Magna Steyr shows a concept car featuring their expertise in electric powertrain solutions. Remember that Magna was the chosen partner for the next Ford EV. It's interesting to notice that some of the push for electric cars is coming from suppliers like Magna.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
This is the Iosis Max Concept. It shows the front design of the next C-Max. It looks predictable, in a good way, with the agressive Fod trapezoidal grille. The front is also relevant for the next generation Focus.
Much of the rest is typical concept-car stuff, but still one can expect to see the rear lights design in a future ford (C-Max or Focus?). BTW, the doors have a peculiar opening, very concept-car style but in reality the 7-seat C-Max will have sliding rear doors. The 5-seat will have conventional doors.
Friday, February 27, 2009
If the reader looks closely at the images it appears that there is no multilink at the rear suspension. Normally I would bitch about that, but in the current economic conditions who cares… just make it look good and move some metal with profit!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
This is a project for an electric car with on-board generator... just like the Chevy Volt. I guess they could try to sell it in EV-mode only since it should be very light and looks more suited to cities.
But anyway, the promoters are still looking for funding.... Do you think it looks ugly?... it was designed by Murat Günak, a designer famous for hurting VW's profitability... he is better at designing this sort of things than real cars.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Friday, February 06, 2009
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Ford announced today that when it starts building its first series production plug-in hybrid in 2012, the lithium ion battery packs will be supplied by Johnson Controls-Saft. JCS has already been supplying the prototype packs for current test fleet of PHEV Ford Escapes as well as packs for some of Ford's experimental vehicles such as the HySeries drive Ford Edge.
It would be nice to have the Escape PHEV sooner than 2012 but we reckon it will probably be available with the new car-like body structure expected for the next generation Escape.