GM's 2015MY Full Size SUVs are an excellent evolution of the full size SUV genre. General Motors did not plow much new ground here, but updated and upgraded the products substantially. They are immediately identified as General Motors' SUVs. They look capable and purposeful. They are very serious about being able to do everything they are asked to do and more. Good job.
Has the 2014 Auto Show Season been a bust so far? Well, with the exception of the all new Ford F-150, there has not been much to justify all the fabricated hoopla at either the North American International Auto Show in Detroit or the Chicago Auto Show. You can almost count the significant new news on one hand. In order of importance to the United States market and their manufacturers
In AutoPacific's annual survey of new car and light truck buyers, eleven of the top twenty vehicles whose drivers want simpler, easier to use technology are Fords or Lincolns. Six are from Toyota or Lexus. One is from Cadillac. One is from BMW. One is from Audi. If you have been paying attention to Ford's standings in Consumer Reports ratings and other customer satisfaction measurements, you undoubtedly have heard Ford's and Lincolns ratings have dropped precipitously since MyFord/LincolnTouch was introduced.
Porsche is broadening its line adding a compact crossover SUV (XSUV) beneath its highly successful Cayenne SUV. The Porsche Macan is named after an Indonesian tiger. Not so unusual since the Cayenne is named for a pepper and Cayman after an alligator. While Porsche purists may cringe that the brand is adding one more vehicle line that has four doors, the Macan will add volume to Porsche around the world and add greatly to its already heady profits. Limited to only 50,000 units a year from its Leipzig, Germany factory, the volume will be split roughly one-third for the USA, one third for the EU and one third for the rest of the world. With the USA limited to "only" about 15,000-18,000 units per year dealers can hold out for nice profits especially in its early years.
At this year's Pebble Beach automotive weekend, Lincoln announced its new top of the line - the Black Label editions. There will be four versions of the Black Label but only three were shown at Pebble Beach. Jim Farley, Ford's Group Vice President of Global Marketing and head of Lincoln Motor Company says these are the flagship cars of the brand. Unfortunately, Lincoln's flagships were completely upstaged later in the day when Cadillac showed its Elmiraj concept coupe at Clint Eastwood's Tahama Golf Resort. The Elmiraj was the talk of the town and Black Label became an asterisk.
The ultra-premium Black Label is a combination of product upgrades - primarily to the interior - and special customer service efforts like a personal concierge - to make the Black Label client feel that the premium they undoubtedly will spend is worth it.
The last time I drove an “entry level” luxury car that shared bones with some of Ford’s European DNA was my 2002 Jaguar X-Type 2.5 Sport with a manual transmission. Haters can hate but I liked that car because it was more Ford than Jaguar. Before the X-Type I had a 2001 Focus ZX3 and before that I had a Mercury Cougar. The front-wheel drive one that was made in Michigan and exported to Europe. Before that I had a 1996 Contour Zetec 5MT. A 1999 SVT Contour was also in there somewhere. Regardless, I’ve always been jealous of what Ford has offered in Europe. I did what I could to get my hands on the closest thing to a European Ford, even if it wasn’t always the real deal.
Driver satisfaction is a critical measure of vehicle acceptance. Having a satisfied buyer results in better loyalty, better word-of-mouth, stronger image. Satisfaction is a central building block of a brand. AutoPacific has been measuring driver satisfaction since 1993 and it is always instructive to look at the differences between women and men drivers.
In AutoPacific's annual 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction research, women drivers score 39 rating points higher than men - 674 over 635 in their overall Vehicle Satisfaction score.
The top satisfying Luxury Mid-Size Car is the Lincoln MKZ for the second year in a row. The owners of the MKZ gave the car top scores in 11 of 48 attributes contributing to AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.
The MKZ is the top rated Luxury Mid-Size Car in AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Research. As the class winner, its owners indicate there is little they would change in their new MKZ with a few exceptions. Almost 30% of its owners want better visibility. About 25% want for the MKZ to be easier to get into and out of. About 20% want better safety features and more roominess. MKZ owners least want to change its ride, seat comfort and handling. MKZ handily outpoints the second place Lexus ES.