We’ve finally had our first taste of the 2021 Ford Bronco, and it was worth the wait. Ford’s newest ute is refined on-road and off, and if you’re one of the horde of people awaiting your date with the delivery truck, it’s time to get properly excited. Read our review here.
This Week in Sheetmetal
Volvo debuted an EV SUV concept intended to showcase the brand’s evolving design direction. In true Volvo style, safety is an obvious focus—the car features a roof-mounted lidar sensor supplied by Volvo’s autonomous driving partner Luminar.
E-Legend, a German EV startup, says it will hand-build 30 copies of an electric Audi Quattro rally car revival. E-Legend says the EL1 will have 805 horsepower and a 249-mile range, but we wouldn’t bet our lunch money on ever seeing one on the road.
Porsche will put its most powerful V-8 ever, a 631-hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter beast, in the forthcoming Cayenne Turbo GT. Porsche says the V-8 will launch the Cayenne to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, but it’ll cost you. The Turbo GT will cost $182,150 when it goes on sale in the U.S. next year.
We spied a camouflaged version of a convertible we believe to be the Mercedes-Benz CLE-class. If we’re right (we’re basing our speculation on a recently renewed trademark), the CLE will be a new model for the brand, available as a coupe or a droptop, and would replace the C- and E-class coupe and convertible variants.
A push to convert the global vehicle fleet to EVs by 2035 picked up fresh steam this week when Canada said it would ban the sale of new gas-powered light vehicles by 2035 and Volkswagen said it would stop selling internal-combustion engine vehicles in Europe the same year. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said the 2035 ban was a necessary steppingstone on the way to the country’s goal of producing net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. VW board member Klaus Zellmer said the company is hoping EVs will account for 70 percent of its European sales by 2030, but that an end to gas-powered car sales in the U.S. and China will come later, though still before 2050. So far, EVs account for just 3.5 percent of new vehicle sales in Canada. EVs and hybrids made up 12.4 percent of Volkswagen’s European sales in 2020.
The second quarter came to an end this week, bringing the usual crop of forecasts and sales reports. The news is broadly good, as automakers notched huge gains compared to the dismal first half of last year. Every brand that had reported sales as of our writing reported double-digit sales gains despite the ongoing global semiconductor shortage that has been fouling production plans all year. Toyota’s second-quarter sales nosed ahead of GM’s by 5116 units. GM is the longstanding sales leader in the U.S. market.
The industry still has rough waters ahead. Ford announced new plans for plant shutdowns related to the microchip shortage this week, plus a planned shutdown of the plant that builds the Bronco and Ranger due to an unrelated parts shortage. Stellantis lost an unknown number of new cars to a heavy rainstorm that flooded the Detroit-area shipping yard where the vehicles were being stored. And industry analysts warn that surges of new variants of the coronavirus, especially in countries with limited access to vaccines, could continue to affect microchip supply.
The New York Times has an examination of the Monterey Car Week auctions ahead of the event’s August return.
Or read in the Wall Street Journal about the increasingly common phenomenon of dealers charging well above sticker price for the few new cars on their lots.
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