Whether by deft planning or stroke of luck, Mitsubishi has found itself in an enviable marketing position.
With the introduction of the new Eclipse Cross compact crossover slated for next spring – and the dropping of the electric i-MiEV and long-running Lancer sedan – Mitsubishi will be fielding a lineup of three crossovers and one car line (the slow-selling Mirage) for 2018. That puts the bulk of its wares in the hot-selling “small crossover” segment.
It’s all about the launch.
That was the lesson we learned when Dodge invited a group of journalists up to US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, to pilot its new Challenger SRT Demon down a gen-u-ine drag strip – complete with burn-out box, gooey starting-line surface, staging lights, and a full quarter-mile run. The real deal. Personally, it was the first time I’d ever driven a car on a drag strip … at least, one that didn’t have center stripes and a grossly ignored speed-limit sign (don’t tell the feds). We also learned that getting the launch right is not nearly as easy as one might think.
Although consumer sentiment has shifted to crossovers of late, midsize sedans still account for a sizable chunk of automotive sales. And for more than two decades, Honda’s Accord has accounted for a sizable chunk of the midsize market.
Over the past couple of years, Volvo has released a surprising number of new or significantly revised models for such a small and focused automaker. The string started in 2016 with the redesigned XC90 midsize crossover, its technology and styling themes trickling down to the S90 sedan, XC60 compact crossover, V90 wagon, and “raised” V90 Cross Country wagon. At the start of the 2018 model year, some of those see new variants or powertrains, but the real news arrives later, with expected debuts of a smaller compact crossover named XC40 and a redesigned 60-Series midsize line. Also, all 2018 Volvos come with the Volvo On Call telematics system, which includes emergency notification, remote starting and lock/unlock capabilities, and the ability to find your car in a parking lot, with the free trial period being extended from 6 months to 4 years.
The Urban Dictionary defines a donk as, ” Any late 80’s or early 90’s American car (preferably an Impala) that has large enough wheels installed until it resembles (and rides and handles like) a Conestoga wagon. This is done so it sits up high enough so as to be at the same eye level as the Playas with real juice ridin in their Escalades. Adding in a bad candy paint job and Wal-Mart sub box completes the transformation.”
Although hardly a sensible car, if you accept the Alfa Romeo 4C as a bargain-priced exotic, its limitations become a lot easier to overlook.
When it goes on sale late this year, the redesigned 2018 Honda Accord may well represent the model’s most radical redo in its storied 40-year history.