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Category Archives: The Speculator
Tweet And, now, a brief look back at 2012…OK, moving on… Photo by Randy Stern No, the Mayan Prophecy was not fulfilled. You can breathe now… The notion of trusting a calendar that supposedly ended on December 21, 2012 is … Continue reading
Tweet All photos by Randy Stern Santa Claus is an icon in many ways. For children across the globe, his is a surrogate grandfather who listens, manages the worst behaviors and rewards the nice ones with gifts. For parents, he … Continue reading
Tweet All photos by Randy Stern The Dodge Dart has just about reached its final destination – the showroom. It is a cause for celebration. The transition of Fiat’s C-EVO architecture to become Chrysler’s CUSW platform has now been framed … Continue reading
What’s under those sheets in the 2013 Nissan Altima commercial?
In the aftermath of the New York Auto Show, Nissan released a television spot with the upcoming Altima driving around covered in a sheet. Though it signifies the coming of Nissan’s sales leader in the fall (or sooner), it also begins the process of an ambitious revamp of the lineup within the next 15 months. While the Altima’s sheet is released into the air, four other vehicles remain covered.
Hence the question needs to be asked.
The past month saw three Nissan vehicles residing in the V&R Garage. By now, you’ve probably read my impressions of each one. There is a common theme to all three – a link.
You would not be surprised that I am a former Nissan owner. In 1987, I traded in my old 1979 Mazda 626 coupe for a brand new Nissan Hardbody pickup. It did not last in my care, but it was quite memorable. It was proof that Nissan builds bulletproof machinery. That little truck was damn solid – from engine to everything else. I will admit that it became quite uncomfortable, due to its vinyl bench seat. Truth be told, I’d own another Nissan.
Tweet Chevrolet Code 130R (above) and Tru 140S (below) Concepts. All photos (c)2012 General Motors To be up front here, I’m not a fan of concept vehicles. I understand why they were created. Either a company wants to play around … Continue reading
The question remains: What would make this site completely awesome?
This year already yielded some huge advances for the site. Through new connections, a wider social media presence and some leaps and an expansion of outlets for my writing, the groundwork has been laid for an extraordinary 2012.
That is, of course, if the economy would be of help on my end.
If, perchance, that the economy is indeed improving and I am able to gain traction through this phase of economic recovery, there are a lot of plans for V&R. All it takes is some hard work, some opportunities and some miracles thrown in.
Sometimes, it’s good to make some plans for the upcoming year. What vehicles would be reviewed on this site (and Lavender Magazine)? What events should I attend for coverage in V&R and Lavender? What crazy ideas I might have to bring you closer to these two outlets (and more)? Continue reading
Remember the Dodge-Alfa Romeo compact I “speculated” a month or so ago? Well…it’s got a name…
Much to the glee of everyone even remotely not in the automotive industry, the Dart name is a throwback to a simpler time. The nomenclature’s reappearance was received with such joy never seen of any automobile in a very long time. It received huge media coverage – one of the television outlets in the Twin Cities had a piece on the Dart’s return.
Perhaps I should explain why everyone went absolutely ecstatic over Chrysler’s announcement of their new compact’s name. Continue reading
“A journalist’s job is never done.”
The quote above was tweeted on Tuesday while in the midst of taking photos across downtown Minneapolis and fielding a round of press releases on my Blackberry. When automotive journalists get news from the industry, we try our best to analyze it for you. Some opinion comes out, but only based on analysis rather than pure editorial.
Over the past few days, General Motors rattled off a series of news flashes that certainly grabbed my attention. Some of it was expected – the confirmation that Chevrolet Colorado mid-size truck will be built and sold in the USA, for one. Others came as quite a surprise – especially the announcement of two electric vehicles.
The overall analysis I’d give on all of the news from GM was the fact that they are on their way towards fulfilling some promises they made years ago on the direction they wanted to go with their business. The globalization of Chevrolet with a singular product strategy stretching from the Spark city car to a truck and SUV line made for both industrialized and developing markets worldwide. The announcements Chevrolet made not only were marked as a paean to their Centennial celebration, but rather a roadmap towards the next century for the brand.
For Cadillac, their announcements marked further advancement of the redefining of the brand. Years after the original CTS changed the way luxury buyers saw the old crest-and-wreath, the image of their smallest sedan since the Cimarron going around the Nurburgring created quite the buzz. Add the introduction of the new CUE infotainment system and the conversation changes about Cadillac’s future. It certainly is looking very bright.
To decipher this mountain of news, it is my job to walk you through all of it the only way I can…
Just follow along, if you can. Continue reading
This was a break out year for the compact car.
When the year began, fuel prices scaled up towards the $4.00 a gallon threshold. The result was a rise in smaller vehicles – passenger cars and crossovers.
The newer products caught the wave of compact car growth by outnumbering sales of everything else. The Chevrolet Cruze outsold the Toyota Camry two months in a row this spring. The Hyundai Elantra led all models as the company’s sales skyrocketed in the wake of sales losses elsewhere. The segment is still growing with other new introductions: The Ford Focus, the Volkswagen Jetta and the Honda Civic. Dodge will introduce their new compact at the North American International Auto Show this coming January.
For the longest time, there was one compact that outsold them all: The Toyota Corolla. With every new model that had been introduced over the past 18 months, sales of the Corolla began to slip every month. Partly, this was because of the challenges presented to Toyota during the recall crisis.
It appears that the Corolla is due for a generational change. The world’s best selling passenger car had been soldering on for a bit longer than expected. However, Toyota knows how to come back from being down…it’s in their culture.
“How do we solve a problem like Maria?”
If you’ve seen “The Sound of Music” a few times, you have to wonder why these nuns would have a problem with Julie Andrews in the first place! Then again, she would become the nanny for the Von Trapp family, have their children deal with their absentee father by becoming a world famous signing troupe, and then escape the Nazis out of Austria so they could live freely somewhere else.
Now that I can recite this concise story line from “The Sound of Music,” I guess I could retain my Gay Card…
However, I see the line above as a metaphor. My camp side (which is not how I roll, BTW) gives me the permission to use this metaphor whenever I see an issue in the automotive industry. It helps me understand why there is such a problem and what kind of solution could I figure out if I had enough clout in the boardroom.
What’s the problem now? Or, rather, who’s the Maria this time around? Continue reading