Posts from ‘World’
Most Americans have a fairly myopic view of the off-road-vehicle world. Ask any of us what the most popular 4×4 on the planet is and you’ll get the answer “Jeep” nine times out of ten. Not that Jeep is a bad answer–the Wrangler remains one of the most capable rock pounders you can purchase–but despite the Jeep brand’s power, there are markets where it isn’t all that well established.
If you were a Volkswagen fan in America in the early Seventies, and you were looking for something sporty to drive, you were kind of out of luck. There was the coachbuilt-body Karmann Ghia—a car which was arguably gorgeous, but not really all that sporty. Mechanically identical to the contemporaneous Beetle, the Karmann Ghia was more of a casual touring car—it was a little too slow, and its handling a little too pedestrian, to be engaging. However, Brazilian VW fans of the day had it a little better.
To the extent that any vehicle can be said to embody the spirit and optimism of a nation, the Ford Model T did. Produced between 1908 and 1927, the “Tin Lizzie” was both a literal and figurative representation of American mechanization and expansion.
Pontiac of Canada was well known for selling gently tweaked variations of Chevy products for exclusive distribution north of the border. The 1976-1987 Pontiac Acadian for example, was actually a retrimmed Chevrolet Chevette.
Chrysler’s rear-wheel-drive “LX” car platform has served the company well. Introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year, the basic architecture was inherited from Mercedes-Benz during the DaimlerChrysler days.
Comparing pickup trucks to Hamburger Helper may seem like a stretch, but I beg your indulgence as I explain myself. Here goes: The main purpose of Hamburger Helper is to help costly ground beef go further, at less cost. Thus, a meal that might have involved the expense of a pound and a half of meat might require just a single pound once augmented by the sodium-packed filler material that generally retails for around $1.39 a box.
For as globalized as the auto business has become, you might think a brand as omnipresent as Chevrolet would sell pretty much the same lineup in every market it plays in. Turns out that’s not the case.
On a per-person basis, Americans buy more new cars than do the Japanese. In 2017, for example, American buyers snatched up roughly 17.3 million cars and light trucks. That works out to approximately one car for every 18 U.S. residents.
Why would Aston Martin, a British company known for building ultra-luxury high-performance coupes, contract with Japanese automaker Toyota to build an Aston-branded version of one of the smallest, least-powerful Toyota-built cars on the market? Turns out there’s a good answer to that question, but it gets a little complicated.
The recently released period-piece drama Phantom Thread is a noteworthy film for many reasons. For starters, it was written and directed by celebrated auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, it’s been nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Picture and Actor in a Leading Role), and it stars Oscar-winning thespian Daniel Day-Lewis in what Day-Lewis himself says is his last acting performance. For car enthusiasts, however, the film’s Bristol 405 four-door saloon is the real star.