2012: The Automotive Year In Review
Nothing can top the two major stories of the last 5-10 years, which was the auto crisis and Toyota’s unintended acceleration scandal. The hype over former was real, while the press over the latter was largely unwarranted. We had our own little scandals this year, but nothing that would come close to those two stories of year’s prior. With that in mind, here some of the major BoldRide headlines in the last year: Hyundai MPG Scandal:
Two automakers that were totally on the ride befell some very unfortunate legal ramifications for what is really a glitch in the EPA’s testing system. Both Kia and Hyundai overstated their fuel economy numbers. The problem was most with the fact that both companies, which are related and share powertrains, and though certainly fuel efficient, just not as much as they originally stated. It turns out they were overstated by as much as 3-4 MPG in some cases. It is a black mark on what has been a successful run for Korean automakers in the last several years.
Automotive Political Football:
We here at Off Lease Only would prefer to stay politically neutral, but this one could not be overlooked. Statements made by both parties in during the presidential election were a little off-base when considering the facts in the American auto industry. Mitt Romney said that Chrysler was moving American production jobs to China to produce Jeeps. A claim that the President’s campaign said was blatantly false. They are both wrong and right. See, Chrysler WAS opening a factory in China, but to produce Jeeps to the Chinese market, not the American market. Facts can be so fuzzy sometimes.
United States Grand Prix:
It was the dream of every race enthusiast: Formula 1 in America. Finally, some REAL racing. The inaugural race went off without a hitch, but with plenty of hype. The first ever F1 race in Austin, TX was won by Lewis Hamilton, and everyone was happy. That was until track organizers pulled the plug on all track days for the next year. Track days are when an Average Joe with a penchant for racing can take their race-prepped sportscar onto the track. Most of these groups are entirely responsible, but someone from USPG’s insurance company must have gotten to the organizers. At any rate, there will be no grassroots racing, and enthusiasts are pissed.
The Year of the Family Sedan:
It seems like we automotive types have given the major carmakers a lot of crap for making boring (albeit reliable) family sedans. They listened up, and this year was marked by an impressive selection of new family four-doors. The most notable change was that of the Ford Fusion, with a design that rivals many German luxury sedans. Also debuting this year was the new 2013 Honda Accord, which upped the power, fuel efficiency and features. Not to be outdone was the Nissan Altima, which brought the upscale touch along with a flowing design to cap it off. There have never been better choices in the family sedan market. 2013 will be a terrific time to be in the market.
Overhyped Cars That Are Not Yet On the Road:
For all the great cars that are on the market in the realm of performance, everyone is blowing their proverbial load over the as-yet-unveiled C7 Chevrolet Corvette. Maybe because the Vette’ is one of the most popular sportscars on the market, but I can’t see this car living up to the hype, which is why we think it will be a major letdown in the years to come.
Hyping Sportscars, In the now:
In the sportscar world, this was the year of the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S. The co-developed sportscar was one of the most popular choices among enthusiasts, and dealers could barely keep them in lots. Perhaps so surprising is how little power it makes. A paltry 200 horsepower from a 2.5-liter flat-four is not a lot in the performance world, but it was a testament then to how well the car handles. I’ve taken it out on a track, and you can push the envelope of your skills. When you are reaching the edge and the car is losing it, just dial off the throttle and the car corrects itself. This car(s) showed the world that power is not the only factor in performance, and that well-sorted handling can bring just as big a smile to your face as 500 horsepower!
Oh yeah, and some dude jumped from a really high height:
That happened too…later 2012!