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Automotive News
December 28, 2020


COVID-19 disrupted but didn't cancel some of 2020's biggest product debuts and tech advances, but we did detect one major shift — changes and updates seem to be coming faster inside, under the hood, even in the drivetrain, than outside.

We’ve rounded up some of the year’s breakout hits, as well as a few misses.

HITS

HIT: Ford Bronco family

The return of Ford's Wrangler rival generated online buzz and a strong preorder bank. But perhaps the biggest validation of what became Ford's odyssey to resurrect the Bronco nameplate came when General Motors reportedly lamented that it's missing the latest round of Detroit's off-road battles featuring Jeep and Ford.

HIT: Land Rover Defender 110

This was one of the most anticipated reboots of 2020, and like just about everything else this year, it didn't go as planned. The pandemic shut Land Rover's Nitra, Slovakia, plant just as Defender production was ramping up.

HIT: Ineos Grenadier

For those still pining for the original Defender, an all-new off-road vehicle that looks like that classic is expected to start production late next year at a former Daimler plant in France. The Grenadier is a close copy of the original Land Rover Defender that went out of production in 2016. But it is powered by a BMW engine and has modern underpinnings.

HIT: Chevrolet Trailblazer

Who says GM's mass-market brand is only good at sports cars and big trucks? The Trailblazer, which starts under $20,000, has quietly become one of the industry's fastest-turning nameplates in an increasingly crowded and surging segment — small crossovers.

HIT: Tesla Model Y

Launched in early 2020, it's on track to become Tesla's top seller worldwide. In 2015, the EV specialist missed the mark with its overweight, falcon-winged Model X.

HIT: Cadillac Escalade OLED screen

By borrowing organic light-emitting diode technology commonly found in high-end TVs and consumer electronics, the 38-inch screen sets the standard for high-definition clarity in automotive screens.

HIT: New maneuverability

Rivian was first to demonstrate the new performance possibilities that multiple electric motors are capable of: The R1T can "tank turn" in place by spinning the wheels on the left and right of the vehicle in opposite directions. GMC's Hummer EV, set for a fall 2021 launch, can go into Crab Mode with rear-wheel steering that enables diagonal driving in extremely tight areas.

HIT: Polestar 2

The compact electric sedan from Volvo's cousin takes a leap in connectivity with the first use in a production model of Google's Android Automotive OS, which powers its infotainment system.

HIT: General Motors Ultium batteries

This may be the breakthrough that brings the cost of electric vehicles in line with those powered by gasoline. GM says the Ultium batteries, which will launch in the GMC Hummer EV, will cost about $100 per kilowatt- hour, deliver as much as 400 miles between charges, are capable of fast charging and are designed to be installed in packs either horizontally or vertically.

HIT: Hyundai Nexo fuel cell vehicle

A stunning achievement when you consider it is one of the most difficult powertrains to engineer and operate as smoothly, quietly and seamlessly as a battery-electric vehicle. Nicely packaged and integrated, as well. And it's whisper quiet despite the electrochemical power plant inside.

HIT: Ford F-150 PowerBoost

The first hybrid electric powertrain in a Ford truck is a winner. The electric motor propels the truck at low speeds, the start-stop system is virtually imperceptible, and the big battery can power tools and household appliances.

MISSES

MISS Toyota Supra

The long-awaited collaboration between BMW and Toyota is, of course, technically excellent. However, the car's styling has been called out for being unnecessarily busy, and the timing of its launch could not have been worse. It arrived about the same time as the midengine Chevrolet Corvette. Sales have been slow.

MISS Ford Escape

The Escape is one of the industry's bestselling nameplates for years. It was expected to attract even more customers who would have bought one of Ford's discontinued cars such as the Focus or Fusion. It didn't work out that way.

MISS Nikola Badger

Is the Badger the opposite of an opossum? It's arrival seemed exciting but upon further inspection, it was dead on arrival.

MISS BMW's new mug

Call it Bangle Butt II. The new face of many BMWs to come — see the iX EV and 4 Series — gives the brand's famed dual kidneys a buck-toothed makeover, drawing widespread disdain from many otherwise passionate BMW admirers.

MISS Jeep Grand Wagoneer

With a price tag that will top $100,000 — rare territory for most mainstream luxury brands — some find the revival of Jeep's classic luxury four-by-four too busy, too gimmicky and underwhelming.
 

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This may be the breakthrough that brings the cost of electric vehicles in line with those powered by gasoline. GM says the Ultium batteries, which will launch in the GMC Hummer EV, will cost about $100 per kilowatt- hour, deliver as much as 400 miles between charges, are capable of fast charging and are designed to be installed in packs either horizontally or vertically.
2020 may have sucked as a whole, but it was a great year for Mary Barra & Company.









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Seems pretty fair assessment.

I do find it odd that they give praise to the Cadillac Escalade OLED screen, but are critical of the Grand Wagoneer as too gimmicky with "a price tag that will top $100,000"

What the price of a fully loaded Escalade?
 

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Seems pretty fair assessment.

I do find it odd that they give praise to the Cadillac Escalade OLED screen, but are critical of the Grand Wagoneer as too gimmicky with "a price tag that will top $100,000"

What the price of a fully loaded Escalade?
Because it is a Jeep. & They may get pricy but unless you go aftermarket they don't usually quite hit this kind of a high mark maybe. :ponder: ???
 

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My favorite bit is about GM grumbling over the new Bronco. It can't be driven home hard enough or often enough how GM completely f'd up using the iconic Blazer name on a soccer mom, front wheel drive-based basically family sedan that would break a tie rod attempting even 1/4th the off-road terrain level that the new Bronco will be capable of right off the showroom floor.

Frankly, the Blazer fiasco is right on par with Cimarron and the HT4100 and the 5.7 Olds Diesel. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
 

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My favorite bit is about GM grumbling over the new Bronco. It can't be driven home hard enough or often enough how GM completely f'd up using the iconic Blazer name on a soccer mom, front wheel drive-based basically family sedan that would break a tie rod attempting even 1/4th the off-road terrain level that the new Bronco will be capable of right off the showroom floor.

Frankly, the Blazer fiasco is right on par with Cimarron and the HT4100 and the 5.7 Olds Diesel. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
I'm assuming you haven't seen recent Blazer sales numbers? Cimarron? :fall:
 

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Seems pretty fair assessment.

I do find it odd that they give praise to the Cadillac Escalade OLED screen, but are critical of the Grand Wagoneer as too gimmicky with "a price tag that will top $100,000"

What the price of a fully loaded Escalade?
Is that before or after I manage to get every available discount on it?
 

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I am not sure whether the Escape is a disaster when compared to other domestic CUV's in its class, which were down by a comparable % Y-O-Y
It may not be a "failure" per say, but if the Bronco Sport ends up being the success that many anticipate it will be, that doesn't leave much room for the Escape to shine.
 

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It may not be a "failure" per say, but if the Bronco Sport ends up being the success that many anticipate it will be, that doesn't leave much room for the Escape to shine.
I think there are in different niches. Having said that, the Escape has grown up from being a "personal car" to being a more of a "family" car, and has gone into a more crowded niche. If the Edge goes, then the Escape had to become more family-oriented to fill the gap between the Sport and the Explorer.

My point is if you look at the YOY changes for crossovers in this class the decline is not unusual given the effects of the shutdown. Note that the list does not really emphasize mass market cars either
 

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I think there are in different niches. Having said that, the Escape has grown up from being a "personal car" to being a more of a "family" car, and has gone into a more crowded niche. If the Edge goes, then the Escape had to become more family-oriented to fill the gap between the Sport and the Explorer.

My point is if you look at the YOY changes for crossovers in this class the decline is not unusual given the effects of the shutdown. Note that the list does not really emphasize mass market cars either
And it has been shown by the people's buying habits that there is also those who like the rounded off fluid look(Escape) and those who go for more boxy butch looks(Bronco Sport). Yeah, the economic impacts of Covid-19 certainly did the industry no favors.
 

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Because it is a Jeep. & They may get pricy but unless you go aftermarket they don't usually quite hit this kind of a high mark maybe. :ponder: ???
Exactly it - VW Phaeton is a good example. Mainstream brand with a luxury priced vehicle and it failed. Actually saw one today, nice looking car, but....

However, I do think the Jeep brand can support the Wagoneer, I think Jeep isn't quite a mainstream brand and can get away with a $100k vehicle. And some mainstream brands have some pricy vehicles - the big three all have pickups that approach $100k, Corvette, Suburban. Though I do get their comment and do agree that there is risk with such a pricy vehicle - VW learned it.
 

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My favorite bit is about GM grumbling over the new Bronco. It can't be driven home hard enough or often enough how GM completely f'd up using the iconic Blazer name on a soccer mom, front wheel drive-based basically family sedan that would break a tie rod attempting even 1/4th the off-road terrain level that the new Bronco will be capable of right off the showroom floor.

Frankly, the Blazer fiasco is right on par with Cimarron and the HT4100 and the 5.7 Olds Diesel. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
"Blazer Fiasco", the Blazer did sell nearly 30,000 copies in Q3, for a relatively pricy vehicle I'd say it is selling well.
 

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"Blazer Fiasco", the Blazer did sell nearly 30,000 copies in Q3, for a relatively pricy vehicle I'd say it is selling well.
Pretty good for something that some of us say(myself included;)) that GM committed sacrilege when they put the Blazer name on this thing.
 

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^^^ True. These young'uns weren't around and the Blazer doesn't shout "mommy mobile" quite so loudly. ^^^
 

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Pretty good for something that some of us say(myself included;)) that GM committed sacrilege when they put the Blazer name on this thing.
I don't remember the Blazer ever being a legend, more of a family truckster than anything. A friend's parents had one, an '86 I think. I remember it more for the astonishing amount of squeaks and rattles than anything else. Did look good.
 
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