Yesterday, our colleagues at Motor Authority predicted that today’s press event with Toyota president Akio Toyoda would include an announcement that the company is moving production of some Lexus vehicles to the U.S. Move over, Walter Mercado, because it appears that our team was right. At a press conference held jointly in New York City and at a…
After nearly 40 years of building sedans and grand tourers, Jaguar is finally back in the sports car business with the 2014 F-Type. So what’s it like? That’s exactly the question our sister site, Motor Authority, set out to answer last week in the hills surrounding Pamplona, Spain. Can the F-Type live up to its legacy, and overcome the four-decade…
By Kurt Ernst
Last week, design house Bertone released a dimly-lit image of what looked to be (yet another) four-door coupe, promising that we’d see it revealed at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. It turns out the sketch wasn’t of a four-door coupe at all; instead, Bertone was teasing its take on an Aston Martin Rapide Shooting Brake.
Bertone is calling its creation the Jet 2+2, and it’s a reprise of sorts to the company’’s Jet 2 shooting brake concept, launched in 2004. Like the Jet 2+2, Autocar (via Motor Authority) tells us that the original Jet 2 was based on an Aston Martin model, specifically the previous-generation Vanquish.
The Jet 2+2 is meant to honor Bertone’s 60-year history with Aston Martin, as well as Aston Martin’s 100th anniversary. Only one example will be built, but it’s already spoken for; in fact, the design was commissioned by an Aston Martin enthusiast who had received the full blessing of Gaydon, England automaker.
The Jet 2+2 may be one of one, but if you’ve got enough money and enough influence, we’re fairly certain that Bertone would be willing to undertake another collaboration with Aston Martin. If you have to ask what that would cost, however, you’re likely not serious about such a project.
By Kurt Ernst
According to numbers reported by the automakers at the close of last year, BMW sold 281,460 cars in the United States, excluding its MINI brand. Luxury rival Mercedes-Benz sold 274,134 cars on these shores in 2012, excluding both Smart and its family of Sprinter vans.
BMW was quick to promote the fact that it outsold Mercedes for the second year in a row, and the issue seemed to be over. Until yesterday, that is, when Mercedes-Benz USA president and CEO Steve Cannon presented an entirely different set of numbers at an International Motor Press Association meeting.
As Motor Authority reports, Cannon based his revised numbers on an R.L. Polk report of new vehicle registrations. In 2012, Mercedes sold 274,134 new vehicles, of which 274,123 were registered. That’s a difference of just 11 units, which is significantly lower than some rival luxury brands.
Lexus, for example, sold 244,166 new vehicles but saw only 242,533 new vehicles registered. What happened to the other 1,633 vehicles is anyone’s guess, but the majority were probably “sold” on paper, then shuffled back into service as dealer demos or loaner cars. Eventually, these just-broken-in models were probably sold as used inventory.
What about BMW, who reported 281,460 new car sales in 2012? As Polk reports, the brand only realized 268,498 new car registrations, a difference of 12,962 units. That’s substantial by anyone’s estimation, and while BMW may have booked more sales in 2012, it appears that Mercedes-Benz actually put 5,625 more new vehicles in U.S. driveways last year.
What’s the takeaway from all this? Numbers and statistics can always be shaped to represent a creative, if questionable, view of the facts. No matter what the circumstances, always do your research thoroughly.
By Jens Meiners
Mercedes-Benz’s intention to produce a crossover based on the wildly popular new front-wheel-drive architecture underpinning the A-class, the B-class, and the CLA-class is no secret. We’ve spied Benz’s littlest ute being tested, and we know it will be built at the brand’s Rastatt, Germany, production site. Now, after being tipped off by a report from Motor Authority, we hear from company sources that a concept version of the compact crossover, called GLA-class, will bow at the Shanghai auto show in April. The GLA shown in Shanghai won’t be up to production specification, but we can expect a fairly accurate interpretation of what will land at dealerships likely by the end of the year.
The GLA will be offered with front- and all-wheel drive, and a choice of four-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines taken from the parts bin available to other Mercedes vehicles making use of the shared architecture. An AMG version is possible, but not confirmed, and it wouldn’t become a reality for some time.
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 / GLK350 4MATIC
- First Drive: 2013 BMW X1 sDrive28i / xDrive28i / xDrive35i
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350 RWD / 4MATIC
Mercedes’ front-wheel-drive family will receive at least one further model beyond the A-class, B-class, CLA, and GLA. A station wagon version of the CLA—which the Stuttgart-based manufacturer could erroneously call a Shooting Brake—is the likeliest to complete the fab five, but an A-class cabriolet is close to being finalized, as well.