Day one of the 2015 North American International Auto Show (or NAIAS, or the Detroit Auto Show) is behind us, and we’ve racked up a significant number of steps on our FitBit (13,462 and counting as of this writing) and have seen some awesome cars. You can get details from the press releases and other sites on your own, but I thought I’d take time to add some in-person impressions of a few of the more significant vehicles at the show. Also, follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/autosavant) throughout the day for more frequent, live content as we hit the floor for day two tomorrow.
Editor’s Note: I have always loved Legos and have built hundreds of models over the years. I have shared that enthusiasm with my sons, ages nine and seven. When offered a chance to review Incredible Lego Technic Cars, Trucks, Robots & More by Pawel “Sariel” Kmiec, I thought it would be fun to have my nine year old son, Seth, read the book and write the review. Please enjoy his words below. – CH
By Seth Haak, Age 9
The book, Incredible Lego Technic Cars, Trucks, Robots & More by Pawel “Sariel” Kmiec, was interesting to read to learn about all the models. If you are especially interested in Legos, this would be a good book for you.
Toyota’s Scion sub-brand has been struggling since the auto market crashed during the Great Recession. Sales are about a quarter of their pre-recession peak, and the best-selling Scion model, the tC, had fewer sales (19,094) during 2013 than did the slowest-selling Toyota car model (Yaris, 21,342). Members of the inaugural Scion buyer demographic class (those who were 22 years old in 2002) are now in their thirties with children, families, and better jobs, and don’t want a brash, quirky car. Scion’s buyers have grown up, and the brand must grow up with them. We spent a week in Scion’s updated-for-2014 Scion tC to get a feel for whether the car’s [mostly cosmetic] updates can keep it atop the Scion sales race.
There are trips that one dreams about, and trips that one never forgets. My trip to Baja to test the new BFGoodrich KO2 All-Terrain T/A tires falls into the latter category. I never before had the opportunity to rub elbows with Baja off-road legends and drive and co-drive roughly 300 miles of the legendary Baja 1000 off-road course, and most likely I never will again. BFGoodrich was so confident in their new all-terrain radials that they flew me and several other journalists to Baja to put the new tires to the test in the environment they were developed in. The tires survived what we threw at them without skipping a beat, and appeared to genuinely live up to the claims that the BFG marketing department laid out for us.
I made an interesting discovery recently when I got my hands on a tome called “Top Muscle: The Rarest Cars from America’s Fastest Decade.” The team at Motorbooks had sent it to me for review and—unsurprisingly—I was expecting to learn a thing or two about rare muscle-cars when it arrived. Now, that did happen, but before I even opened it, I was first struck by the uncanny glow of the Daytona Yellow 1969 Douglass-Yenko Super Camaro on the front. The car had a nearly three-dimensional presence that brought its streamlined shape to life in a way you rarely see on the printed page.
Mercedes-Benz (CLA), Lincoln (MKC) and Audi (A3) aren’t the only automakers searching for additional sales volume by moving
downmarket to smaller vehicles that are intended to hopefully maintain the brand’s character at a lower price point. The idea is to then keep those buyers as they move to larger, more-profitable models. The latest brand to take a play from this book is Jeep, with the all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade.
It wouldn’t be a proper auto show without a new limited-edition Mustang making its debut. With an all-new Mustang about to hit the streets, Ford is eager to begin making special editions with its new blank canvas. On the occasion of the iconic car’s 50th anniversary this week, New York was the perfect place to reveal the 2015 Ford Mustang 50th Anniversary Limited Edition. It remains to be seen whether there will eventually be a GT500, Super Snake, KR, Bullitt, Mach 1, Boss 302, or even Warriors in Pink Breast Cancer Awareness model, but we’ll start with the 50th anniversary car.
Having a track record of success can lead to complacency. Success is not easy and is not typically sustainable without considerable effort. In Toyota’s case, having the Camry as the best-selling car (note: full-size trucks kill it in sales) for the past dozen years allowed it to take its eye off the ball for the past few. The new-for-2012 Camry attempted to add a nicer interior, more style, and better performance, but competitors are constantly upping their game, and the 2012 Camry was not setting the class benchmark.