OT: Talking Cars Tuesday 2018 Recap

Submitted by JeepinBen on January 8th, 2019 at 9:15 AM

Since we've got a breath between football and basketball, I thought I'd bring back some folks favorite offseason topic for 1 week only.

So - the 2018 numbers are final and the industry is ready for a slight slowdown in 2019. The biggest thing in America is tall station wagons. Er, "Rugged Offroad SUVs". Er. Really they're tall wagons with black plastic near the wheels and faux roof racks to look taller... but I digress.


Fun and handling is dead. Practicality and the promise of driving on gravel is in. Pretending you're not driving a minivan surrogate is the new hotness. Also - pickup trucks continue to dominate. Do you have one? How often do you tow/use the bed?

Did you buy a car in 2018? What did you get? Was it on that list of the 25 best selling cars? Will you buy a car in 2019? What are you thinking of? What new 2019 vehicle are you most excited about? The new Ford Explorer debuts tomorrow, which they only sold about 260K of last year... there's going to be a new Ford Ranger to fight the Jeep Gladiator... Or perhaps you're excited about the Huracan Evo?



January 8th, 2019 at 10:15 AM ^

Have had a truck since 2004...still have it actually.  Can't imagine not having a truck around.  Bought a Yukon in 2018, reluctantly agree with the "tall station wagon" description...no faux wood paneling though.  The wife drives an accursed minivan.... it's getting on in years and miles, not to mention my kids have laid waste to the interior.  Permanently embedded food is only the start of it.  Probably have to get another minivan soon.  If I could talk my wife into driving the Yukon I'd consider the Jeep Gladiator.  Looks pretty cool, keep a truck around since my '04 probably isn't long for this world.

As far as "fun and handling" go, I don't really look at new cars for that.  Can't afford the real good stuff, and I think older cars have more character and are more fun anyway.  Wouldn't mind finding a good E46 M3. 


January 8th, 2019 at 10:27 AM ^

Also, with respect to sedans take a look at Accord and Camry, the two most highly-respected and highest-selling midsize sedans for decades now.  Both of them experienced clean-sheet, ground-up redesigns in the last year or so.  Surely billions of dollars spent on all-new platforms and powertrains.  Sales for Accord were down ~20% in 2018 and Camry was down around 10% if memory serves.  Now why would someone like Ford or FCA or GM stay in the game when their sedans weren't as highly-regarded or as profitable to begin with?  And when the Big 3 are already known for making great trucks and SUVs.  At some point, you have to stop banging your head against the wall and go and make some money.  


January 8th, 2019 at 11:43 AM ^

One more thing with respect to sedans is that just because something is a sedan doesn't mean it's going to be fun to drive.  Does anyone enjoy racing around in an Impala or Passat (I've had two, they're not fun at all), or Malibu, etc?  We aren't lamenting the demise of M3s/S4s/GTIs/etc.  Most sedans are no more exciting than - shocker - the SUVs that are based on the exact same platform as said sedans!  In fact, my 19MY Tiguan has much more entertaining handling characteristics than my 17MY and 18MY Passats did, which started understeering with the slightest steering input.  The AWD Tiguan will rotate and move around based on different inputs and is much more involving.  Go figure.  And don't worry too much about sedans.


January 8th, 2019 at 11:52 AM ^

Somewhere I read that Toyota's profit margin on the Corolla was like 1%.  There are savings accounts with better yields.  When that's the case, you'd better have another reason to sell the Corolla - i.e., it's an entry-level to get the customer into a bigger car later on.  Or you're hoping to outlast your competitors in the segment.  In Toyota's case, that's part of it, as well as the fact that if they axed the Corolla all of a sudden it'd be a major shock to the automotive world and not in a good way for Toyota.


January 8th, 2019 at 11:52 AM ^

Additional info:  In 2018, Camry sales were down 11% and Accord sales were down 10%.  Civic, also an all-new clean-sheet redesign in the last year or two was down 14%.  And those are all fantastic brand-new designs that have won all kinds of awards and get glowing reviews from the magazines!  Why in the world should Ford throw billions of dollars at a new Focus, Fiesta, or Fusion for the US market?  Especially when they already have a profitable and expanding SUV/truck lineup that they can usher those customers into instead?  Besides, Ford is in a better position than FCA or GM because they will still be making (brand-new) Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion for the rest of the world so they could always bring them back to the US a lot easier than if they needed to create them from scratch.  It still wouldn't be easy, but easier than what FCA or GM would have to go through.


January 8th, 2019 at 10:43 AM ^

Not many posts related to sports cars. I'm a big fan of Porsches and have owned a few over the years going back to 1983. Currently own a 2012 911 GTS with aero kit. The 911 is being changed to the next of its generation and not a fan of the changes(typical). So, I have the last of the current generation on order for Spring Delivery, which is the last production run. It is a Guards Red turbo, a historic color, but very much out of fashion these days. So excited. Yes, I'm retired. I've seen a poster who owns a GT3, are there other Porsche fans on the blog?   


January 8th, 2019 at 11:15 AM ^

Ram 1500 Bighorn.  They're about all I drive.  I'm on my 3rd one in 11 years (people seem to enjoy crashing into me on the highway every few winters).  Use the bed all the time but only tow a few times a year.

When I'm older and have no use for the bed I'll likely switch to a Lincoln navigator.


January 8th, 2019 at 11:25 AM ^

I might have to get my wife to make a move on something new either this year or next, but I don't know what to put her in.

We've got a Honda Crosstour that is easily the best car we've ever bought. Ultra quiet, fun to drive, goes like stink, AWD, yet still gets 35mpg, sits higher than a sedan and very comfortable, plenty of space, and nearing 110k miles and everything is still like new. I would not hesitate to buy another but they quit making them in '16 (or somewhere in that neighborhood). We've done the SUV thing and are kinda over it; we really like a car that sits a little taller, with a big butt. 

Our friends have an outback a year newer and I don't think there's any comparison as far as fit and finish, interior design, ride or quality. 

Seems like the only thing we're going to find that won't be a disappointment is going to be a BMW X or a Benz GLC for twice the price. 


January 8th, 2019 at 11:48 AM ^

I'm in the market for a new (used) car now and looking to go certified pre-owned. I would like a wagon but the Mrs wants a midsize SUV...I think she'll probably win. 


January 8th, 2019 at 11:49 AM ^

we got a herd of trucks, 3/4 and 1 tons.  diesels.  farming and living up north make that a particularly ideal choice.  some towing, trailers with livestock, tractors or the larger hay wheels.  more hauling - feed and such.  it is not uncommon to load a literal ton or more of feed in one of them.  

been a truck owner for 35 yrs.  i like cars, we have one of them for summer time driving, but trucks, yeah, that's us. 


January 8th, 2019 at 11:55 AM ^

Once in the past, each of the big American automakers had a station wagon in their line up. Now, none do - and it can be argued that the SUV has taken on that role. One every automaker had a 4 door sedan - sometimes like GM or Ford, multiple models at different price levels, (Chevy, Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac for example) and now it looks like most have two SUVs - a small one and a larger one and two marques (basic and higher end - Honda/Acura, Ford/Lincoln, GM/Chevy/Cadillac). For people whose life requires a payload bay - a truck and large SUV makes sense - they make practical use of it. For others, it is just a lot of space to haul around.

The unknown is this generation of young people who are used to Uber, Lyft, Zip cars and are just "not into" cars like people were of my generation (I'm in my 50's). IF and it is still a big IF, if auto drive takes off and is practical, we might see cars become divided into practical shapes and sizes like construction gear, commercial trucks and mechanized tools. There would probably be a sizable niche market for sporty vehicles - manual transmission, and designed to give the driver the sense and feel of driving; everyone else won't care - you don't fly a jet, ride a train or bus to "sense or feel" the flight, tracks or street - you just want to get there safe and sound and often the less you are aware of the physical interaction with the sky, track and street, the better.


January 8th, 2019 at 12:29 PM ^

Truth is, I think most people need that payload bay.  I like the higher-up seating of my Escape, but I'd rather my next purchase be a sedan.  Out of the question, though, because I might only use that payload bay every other month, but boy am I happy to have it at those times.  At some point, everyone has something they want to haul.  Back before the fuel crisis, cars were so big they did just fine in that regard.  When cars shrunk, automakers needed to fill the massive haul-stuff need, hence the minivan a few years later and the SUV explosion not long after that.

Now that you can have your cake and eat it too, i.e. haul stuff and still get respectable fuel economy, the sedan has very little reason to exist except that some people just like the way they look.  Like me.

I think station wagons are making a comeback, though.  It's not quite true that the Big 3 don't have one - the new Regal has just such a version, and I really like it.

S.G. Rice

January 8th, 2019 at 12:21 PM ^

I bought a new car in 2018, but not one that was on the list or rates as cool in any way, shape or form.  That's right, I bought a minivan.  Chrysler Pacifica.  About 15k miles so far and I've been super happy with it.  Comfortable, tons of room, enough gadgets on the midlevel trim without the price tag of the max-gadget limited.  Okay, I would like to have heated seats.  Decent gas mileage.  Great for road trips and vacations.  


January 8th, 2019 at 12:42 PM ^

Disagree with the fun is dead comment.  TONS of cars out there running sub 13 second quarter mile these days.  Challenger sales were the highest they have been since the 2008 came out.  I was one of them.  Leased a 18 Challenger Scat Pack.  Love it.  Tons of fun.


January 8th, 2019 at 12:50 PM ^

I got a really cool SUV in 2018, a Jeep Trackhawk.  I had been waiting a couple years for it to come out.  I absolutely love it.  Super fast even in rain or snow. I was able to go 0-60 in the rain in 3.8 seconds (it has an onboard timer).  Tows my boat great too.  All in all, seems like a great vehicle.  Only downside is gas mileage but I have a really short commute so doesn't matter that much. 


January 8th, 2019 at 1:09 PM ^

Yes, I did buy a car in 2018.  No, it was not anywhere near the Top 25 list.

I love cars...not SUVs.  I enjoy driving a car that has handling and performance capabilities.  I have moved beyond the "get the fastest thing possible" phase.  I'm not driving as many miles as I used to and don't have a daily commute anymore that was my playground for driving.

I replaced my 2011 BMW 335xi with a 2018 Audi A5 Sportback (4-door with coupe profile).  A lot more technology and luxury than my BMW and basically the same performance with a turbo 4-cylinder motor with better gas mileage.  It actually was priced a bit lower than my BMW, so it's a good value (relatively speaking).  I did get the car with beautiful 19" wheels with summer tires and the sport suspension package.  The car stays very flat through turns with no nose pitching when starting or stopping.  Love it.

Chairman Mao

January 8th, 2019 at 2:52 PM ^

I've always driven trucks or SUVs, but I'm an aspiring car guy.  I still drive a light duty truck for work, but in 2018 I entered the world of fun driving with a '74 Porsche 914, an '88 BMW E30 Cabriolet and an '89 BMW E30 Touring Wagon. I love the E30 and having a wagon is extra cool as it is a manual and was never sold in North America. The E30 is quite easy to work on as well. I'm going to try and never drive a boring car again.


January 8th, 2019 at 6:10 PM ^

Tesla4.jpgTesla3.jpgTesla2.jpgTesla1.jpgI bought a Tesla Model X 100D this year. Best purchase I’ve ever made. I’m in my 40s and have owned lots of cars and SUVs. When my Taurus SHO blew a steering rod I said forget it and bought the Tesla. I can’t wipe the smile off my face! No issues with range anxiety and I have an 80amp Wall Charger at home (full charge in 4 hours for about $3). Getting solar next year which should get me to net zero fuel. If you have a chance to drive a Tesla, do it! They are a blast! 




January 10th, 2019 at 11:54 AM ^

LOL Good memory!

It's actually a Five Hundred. I love it as it fits my overly large middle aged creaky body, and has a ginormous trunk. 

The AWD is out on it right now though, at 190K. Sounds like a sensor failed. But I still love the car. 

Subies aren't bad. But the boxer engine and its higher maintenance costs kind of put me off. And the trunk is 16cuft I think.