Archive for the ‘Automotive’ Category

Are you of an age that the expressions “three on the tree” and “four on the floor” actually mean something? 

Prepare to have your mind blown. 

Just the other day Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. signed an agreement under which both companies will jointly develop an all-new generation of advanced technology 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions for cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks. 

The new transmissions, to be built in both front- and rear-wheel drive variants, will improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. 

And how many remember that for improved fuel economy, manual transmission, not automatic used to be the (preferred) way to go?

Where will it all end?

 

 

Other than this being a pop culture reference from a decade or two ago in the comparison of a value-priced detergent and the (at the time) number one selling brand, blind tests have been a tried and tested form of instant affirmation of a brand’s status – regardless of the product.

And so it was one morning in early fall as the leaves were beginning to turn that a small group of automotive journalists made their way to Mosport, now more correctly referred to as Canadian Tire Motorsports Park or CTMP near Bowmanville, Ontario.

We were here to test a Sailun Tire against a very popular competitor in the Canadian marketplace.

Initially assembled in the now demolished Castrol control tower, we sat and listened, made notes as we were told the story of Sailun Tires, their origins and future plans – specifically in Canada.

To many of you reading this, Sailun is a typo, a name not currently in your lexicon – automotive or otherwise. And for the most part, that was pretty close to the mark for the assembled auto writers in the room. In fact, employees and technicians of Sailun painfully outnumbered writers.

Some had heard of the brand before, but no-one had any direct experience. Or had ever knowingly driven any vehicle clad with Sailun rubber before. There was a palpable nervous chuckle and anxious glances at this fact from Sailun employees over this reveal.

But let’s address the back story before we go any further. Sailun Tires are a division of a bigger organization; Dynamic Tire Corp. Sailun Tires are made in China. OK, there we go; the 800 pound gorilla in the room. The tires are made in China! But wait, there are more than 600 tire manufacturing facilities in China including some ‘household’ names, such as Goodyear, Michelin, Pirelli and Bridgestone, to name a few.

That tidbit certainly got the attention of the assembled writers and the room was silent: Brian Mielko, Vice President Marketing certainly had our attention.

First and foremost, Sailun recognizes that it is not an industry leader. They are quite comfortable in the value tier segment of the tire world. Some of the facts that got knowing nods at appropriate moments included 41% of aftermarket tires are sold from the value tier segment; the value tier market comprises some 24%.Within this market there are dozens of choices.

Is there one that is any better than the other?

To be clear, Mielko and his team were not here to take on the world of tires. They were here to attempt to demonstrate that there is another viable alternative in the crowded value tier tire landscape. However, because their brand is not first on the lips of drivers and dealers and not  being in the top five, by sales volume in any market does not mean that they cannot produce a great tire. Sailun’s goal today and every day after this is not to prove their tires are the best. They want an opportunity to demonstrate that their brand is as good as anyone else’s. Not a lofty goal, perhaps, but the proof would be there for all to see shortly.

We were now ready to head out to the Driver Development Track (DDT) of CTMP to play with the tires and of course, cars. Before leaving it was suggested that there would be a reveal of the competitor’s brand at lunch time, half way through our testing. To a person this notion was, to the obvious pleasure of Sailun execs tossed out. This was to be a true blind test all the way through. No reveal until the last brake pad and rotor had a chance to cool down.

All of the tires we would test drive had the names and identifications buffed off the tire’s sidewalls. So, unless you were an expert on tread pattern there was no way of knowing which tires were fitted to the car. Our cars for the day were Ford Fusions and needless to say, everyday driver’s are not encouraged to do what we did to the cars and especially the tires over those the next few hours. Do not try this at home.

The first test consisted of drives around the DDT in the opposite direction to the way it was designed. We were requested to travel at a maximum of 80 km/h to simulate driving on rural two-lane highways. Cars were marked clearly either “1” or “2”. On this test the tires on “1” produced minimal road noise and did not squeal under moderate cornering loads while offering good levels of grip in generally accepted non-aggressive driving conditions. The “1” tires were almost predictable – a good thing, especially as they seemed to subliminally grip through all corners – in my opinion. Generally, the tires on “2” car did not feel the same – less comfortable over all yet perhaps providing a marginally better steering response.

After each lap in every car, eager techs descended upon us with tablets looking for us to offer immediate opinions on predetermined test templates while the ride was fresh in our minds. This would occur each time any driver stepped from a Ford Fusion. A little annoying but definitely necessary.

Next we were taken to the wet slalom, where we performed the autocross course at speeds of 50 km/h, 60 km/h, and then as fast as we could. The cars were still “1” or “2” – some were FWD, some AWD but regardless, we drove all configurations equally.

Again every vehicle and their buffed rubber seemed very close in performance – this was, indeed, the Pepsi challenge revisited.

After lunch it was hot laps on the DDT – going the right way around the course that many of us had experienced before – in fact, my first turn around this track was on a Bridgestone-sponsored event. Long story short, in spite of every driver’s best efforts, no cars ploughed the in-field and no tires were blown. It appeared that none of us could really tell the two seemingly different sets of tires apart.

To Brian Mielko and his team, this was a dream come true.

Over coffee in the old Castrol tower, we waited patiently as the survey results were carefully tabulated. It was then revealed that tire “1” had been the Sailun Z4+AS and that tire “2” had been the Continental Extreme Contact. As stated, anecdotally we all thought that overall there were no discernible differences between the popular Conti rubber and the Sailun contender. Then came the actual results.

Sailun’s Atrezzo Z4 AS tire

On the wet slalom, tires were rated on four criteria: overall control and predictability; cornering stability; steering feel; and, traction under acceleration. Sailun performed marginally better in all categories.Next was the road drive with one added category – drive comfort. Sailun prevailed again.

Then we had tracking. Five categories similar to the slalom with the addition of confidence on braking. Sailun bested Conti in four of five categories, being narrowly edged out on steering feel and responsiveness.

Continental’s Extreme Contact tire

So at the end of the day with a possible score of 40, Continental came in at 30; Sailun edged them with 31. Then a marketing manager shared additional information: a couple of phone calls moments before to tire dealers in the Toronto area revealed that the Sailun Z4+AS retailed at $111 per tire and the Continental for $189. That’s a huge 70% price difference!Smiles all round; mission accomplished – at least as far as the day was concerned. Tires as good as a major competitor – and way less expensive.

Can Sailun succeed in their quest to be seen as an industry leader in the value tier segment? They are making all the right moves at the back end with expansive new warehouse facilities in Brampton and with major quality control measures for every tire that comes off the production line – yes, you read that correctly; each and every tire is tested before it heads out to any market for resale.

Time, of course will tell. They are taking their future very seriously and carefully. They’re not looking for global domination, merely some respect and the ability to sell more tires – especially in the challenging Canadian market. Remember, this test was for all season radials; we’ll see in the near future how Sailun stacks up in snow and much colder weather conditions at a later date. Then, and only then can Sailun truly hold their collective heads a little higher – if their winter tires compare as favourably. We shall see.

As we left the parking lot we could see high fives and broad smiles being exchanged.

My thoughts? I wish them every success. On the day, their tire performed well. It stood up against a brand leader. And bested it by 70% on price. I’d buy them and give them a chance. As a true Canadian my response is not “Why?” but a resounding “Why not!”

Kia’s 2013 Rio SX sedan – loaded.

You’re no doubt familiar with the phrase, “Good things come in small packages.” When we talk about small cars, specifically the 2013 Kia Rio SX sedan, just about any one out there can have something positive to say about this stylish 4-door vehicle.

While it is classified as a compact automobile, the interior space may well surprise. OK, so you will not be holding any parties in the back seat any day soon, but as a mode of transport to take you and three adults to your destination, this Peter Schreyer-designed car need not offer any apologies to anyone.

Perhaps it’s not a car for drifting or even performing burnouts in a remote parking lot, but as a well-engineered and relatively-speaking stylish mode of transportation, this third-generation Rio blows the doors off its competition when the whole value-added package is examined. And not just inexpensive-this-should-appease-all-customers-value-added, either. There is an abundance of features – most standard – in this as tested at $21,895 sedan. And this model included a credible and intuitive navigation system with satellite radio, too.

How many brand new off the lot cars with a list price of just shy of $22 grand can you name that have a heated leather steering wheel?

The answer, to save you time and worry is none. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

But Kia has not stopped there. This delightful small car comes equipped with standard (note the use of the word standard) features such as:

  •    Rearview camera
  •    Fog lights
  •    17” alloy wheels and low-profile tires
  •    Bluetooth connectivity – and easy to set up into the bargain!
  •    Full navigation system
  •    Leather seats – front and back – again, on a $22,000 car – leather!
  •    Heated seats up front
  •     Power windows and locks
  •     Automatic climate control
  •     Power folding heated side mirrors
  •     Power sunroof
  •     Smart key with push button start
  •     Vehicle stability management
  •     Electronic stability control
  •     4-wheel disc brakes (larger than LX and EX models) – and ABS
  •     6 airbags
  •      A 1.6L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 4-cylinder engine providing 138hp and 123 foot pounds of torque.

All of the above and also a more than respectable EnerGuide/Government of Canada gas consumption rating of 6.8L/100 city, 4.9L/100km which to the non-metric among you translates into 42 mpg city and 58 mpg on the highway.

With its sport-tuned suspension, 17” wheels and available 6-speed automatic transmission, good things do indeed, come in small packages.

Soaking wet and weighing in at just over 2,400 pounds, this smart-looking, surprisingly spacious and quite respectable small sedan will not look out of place on many driveways. Some owners may even make a point of leaving their Rios on their driveways – just to show off a little. Laugh if you like, but you know it’s going to happen.

Along with sister company Hyundai, Korean manufacturers are doing their bit to turn an often staid automotive industry on its ear. Even today, they are beating Japanese manufacturers at their own game by adding incredible and desired value-add all the way through their product lines.

But can they produce stylish in-demand cars? Yes.

Interior of the 2013 Kia Rio SX sedan – surprised? Don’t be.

Can they consistently engineer and build reliable vehicles. That’s how things seem – especially when you look at what may well be coming down the proverbial pike.

The conclusion? Well, that will be up to consumers. From this person’s perspective, these days, there are now several very attractive 800lb gorillas in the room from this one manufacturer.

And aren’t we all now just a little bit mad as hell? Perhaps. The next year or two will tell the complete story.

Almost across the board, Asian manufacturers and designers can continue to hold their head a little higher.

Based upon recent driving experiences, the more traditional Japanese car builders are upping their game, too. Will the North American Big Three respond? Let’s hope so. At the end of the day, it will strengthen the industry generally.

And for the record, did no-one learn anything from the days of too many multiple marques and variations just a few short years ago?

Ever been in a car which from the get go you really did not want to like?

I have to admit that was the case with yours truly when I picked up the 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye.

My position on this 4-door sedan changed somewhat as the days flew by. At the risk of being crude and to quote a dear departed friend of mine one week later, “It didn’t suck!”

So let’s put that phrase into context, shall we?

As soon as I saw the car, my hackles went up; what was this bright red car (to be technically correct, Redline Red Pearl Coat)? And just who was it trying to mislead?

The answers? It’s a Dodge Dart and it made a fool of me.

With the introduction of this vehicle, execs on both sides of the border can breathe a sigh of relief. However, for the record, it will take more than one model to eliminate some of the bad taste that is still lurking reluctantly with some faithful Chrysler consumers who in the past five years or so have been wondering what was going on with their beloved yet smallest manufacturer of the Big Three.

There may well be a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and it may be an advancing Dart, heading to market via dealerships everywhere waiting like an eager puppy to make loyal Chrysler consumers believe again.

Like many of my colleagues I drive a fair number of vehicles every year. However, this particular model got a total of five direct unsolicited responses from various inquisitive consumers. Five. Not the norm. There may have been more, but these five I personally witnessed including one couple who wandered up my driveway to peer inside this red machine. Even the attendant at the car wash I usually frequent early Monday mornings made a comment. At best, if I get “Have a nice day” you know that he long before fulfilled his daily caffeine quotient. This day he was, for him, quite effusive.

So what is it or was it about this car that seemed to cause these reactions?

Its European heritage? Perhaps. After all taking a vehicle that sells as an Alfa Romeo Giulietta in Europe and making it work for North America is a fairly straightforward proposition. Cars like the Golf, Focus, and Cruze are very similar to their foreign market counterparts. But the very (resurrected) name of the 2013 Dodge Dart suggests Chrysler feels this car has an important role to play within Chrysler hierarchy. What, precisely remains to be seen.

The vehicle as tested had a price tag of $25,085. Not bad, but not wonderful either, considering other vehicles in the category, such as the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic. Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3 and the Volkswagen Jetta.

But again, the model I was driving was, perhaps a little sportier than many comparable models.

The Dart’s entry-level engine is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter I-4 with 160 hp and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. I drove the higher spec engine; also 160 hp, but with a turbo feeding a 1.4-liter I-4 that transfers its power through a six-speed manual. The big difference between the two engines is torque. While the 2.0-liter twists out 148 lb-ft, the 1.4-liter turbo gives the driver 184 lb-ft.Alright then. I have to confess for the first few days I wondered aloud about this. Was the turbo broken? Since it never really seemed to ‘respond’ and there was no obvious visible indicator advising said extra ‘oomph’ had been engaged. Until late one evening driving north on Hwy. 400, that was. Minimal traffic, I cruised along in the right hand lane at 105kmh. With no other vehicles of any description anywhere close, I dropped from 6th to 4 and gave the willing engine the gas it craved. OK, so no appreciable turbo lag (revs were high) and the car behaved and responded quickly – and willingly. So the turbo was there – it had been resting, never really having a chance to show or prove itself until then.

OK, so we know the car can move. What else? The transmission was pretty good – everything did what it was supposed to – when it was meant to – always a good sign.

This particular testing model was not what could be called luxurious. It was a ‘driver’s’ car – including the well-bolstered bucket cloth seats. It came with navigation and even heated seats – never really understood heated cloth seats, but… Back up camera made its now almost ubiquitous appearance as did 17×7 ½” aluminum wheels, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel and available satellite radio.

At night, the interior of the car, especially the dash, was, for this driver a bit too much – but in fairness, I’m not the dart’s demographic. I came close to a combined EnerGuide Government of Canada city highway rating of 5.1L/100km – not too bad.

Like I said, at first, I could not see myself liking the Dart. When I turned it back in, I still had a smile (albeit faint) on my face.

We’ll all need to keep an eye open for Chrysler and their future. Can they do something engineered from the wheels up via Detroit? We’ll see. We’ll see.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: So before we get all down and dirty on Acura’s latest venture in providing an entry-level luxury vehicle (sounds almost oxymoronic) to the North American and even the fastest-growing market in China, market. Let’s deal with some tasty bites of information.

1. Acura’s newest model, the ILX, slots in below the Acura TSX and is loosely based on the Honda Civic platform.

2. Three models are offered, including a base 150 hp 2.0L 4-cyl, a 201 hp 2.4L –and a 38 mpg combined Hybrid.

3. Pricing for the base ILX starts at $29,790 and tops out at $32,900. The ILX 2.4L is priced at $29,990 and the Hybrid at $34,990 to start.

Acura Canada has some interesting sales projections for this model and believe that the bulk of their numbers will be made with the 150-hp 2.0-litre when coupled with a five-speed automatic. The ‘drivers’ out there will be attracted immediately to the 201-hp 2.4-liter with a six-speed manual. And then there is the Hybrid which uses the Civic hybrid’s power train – but with a slightly jumpier throttle. Sales numbers? Well, Acura Canada are being quietly optimistic; the addition of the ILX will take Acura’s overall vehicle sales to more than 20,000 – 5,000 of those numbers being directly attributed to the ILX.

Photos: David Taylor

I had the opportunity of driving all three vehicles on the terrific US Army Engineers-designed roads sweeping through the hills/mountains outside Scottsdale, Arizona. Initial thoughts? A Hybrid with CVT is not a great choice for roads where the incline changes quickly and often suddenly. As a commuter vehicle involving in-town and highway driving, fine. The 2.4L with MT was a fun ride. The vehicle responded very well – whatever it was asked to perform. The downside is that it’s only available with standard transmission. Acura may have missed the mark with this decision. As an entry level sedan for a luxury brand, the 2.0 does not miss the mark, either. We were advised that the ILX has class-leading safety performance and is expected to achieve industry leading safety ratings from both National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

While the similarities to the 2012 Civic are, perhaps a little obvious, at this point, we cannot comment on this vehicle as it relates to the anticipated Civic ‘refresher’ expected later this year. We may well be dealing with a chicken and egg situation.

Regardless. the suspension and floor are vintage Civic.  Acura stylists have stretched the hood – perhaps to match the ILX’s premium aspirations? Stylists also worked at moving back the A-pillars 7.9 inches and the windshield base only  3.9 inches, necessitating deeply curved glass.

The Civic’s traditional front overhang has been stretched slightly while the rear was chopped – a little abruptly, creating odd visual proportions when the car is viewed in profile. Acura engineers and stylists refer to the exterior design concept as ‘aero-fused dynamics’. To use their words, “Cabin and body feel like they are pulled back, creating an impression that the rear is firmly planted.” Right.

The interior is comfortable and familiar buttons are positioned on the console – in fact, it appears that the audio and climate controls are from the TL.

In the ‘boiler room’ the 2.0-litre is bigger than the 2012 Civic’s engine and the 2.4 is the same as the Civic Si’s. Acura’s engineers and stylists have worked hard to provide a car that is quite quiet in the cabin at highway speed. The ILX achieves its targets by being quieter and feels more substantial, especially with its deluxe Acura interior, though there us some road noise from the standard all-season tires – especially when imperfections on the blacktop were hit. The electric-assist steering is almost typically light and drivers will not struggle to place the vehicles longer nose in its best driving position while the aforementioned tires and suspension keep it there. Getting back to the chicken and egg premise, this ‘driving feel’ is something that all Civics should have – including the Si.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will the Acura ILX succeed?

Acura is introducing a luxury, albeit entry level vehicle to the market with a starting price point under $30,000. That is a good thing. Considering the level of finish inside and out and compared to their direct competition, they may well have a winner on their hands – especially with the 2.4L when compared to the BMW 3-series or even the less expensive Buick Verano.

Acura sees the ILX as a true luxury gateway model. And maybe that’s not a bad way of looking at things. Other premium manufacturers have almost stepped back from the compact segment in recent years. Acura has a huge opportunity to make premium compacts a mainstream category.

The Acura ILX offers luxury for less and is certain to also deliver brand qualities like reliability and durability. And, customers have a choice, too; not just one model fits all.

We’ll pay attention to the monthly sales numbers and see if they, Acura Canada are being, like Acura owners, aspirational.

Three jet black Civic Si HFPs… there were also three white ones!

A little while ago an invitation came into my email inbox asking if I would be interested in attending a session on driving vehicles with a standard transmission.

Given that the invite was via Honda Canada, I mentally narrowed down the list of available Hondas – and Acuras – that are available with standard transmission.

On the Honda side? Civic, Fit, Accord and the only hybrid with standard, the CR-Z.

And on the Acura side? The TSX, TL and the new just released ILX.

But there was something more intriguing about the invite. The concept for the event was to take those that drive standard would be transformed into drivers – by teaching the principles of safe, controlled handling and the art of the manual transmission.

The giveaway? Our instructors were to be Daniel Morad, a World Karting Association Manufacturers Champion and who recently signed to Status GP in the newly formed GP3 series. The icing on the cake? Chris Bye. A former race car driver with a long and distinguished list of achievements to his credit and now president of Franczak Enterprises Ltd.

So now, with an invite specifically from Honda Canada, the field was narrowed down to two possible cars: the Civic Si or the CR-Z.

Imagine our surprise when we showed up on a glorious sun-drenched afternoon at Polson Pier, east of the heart of Toronto’s downtown to see three black and three white Honda Civic HFPs. Surprised? Sure, here were six of those vehicles – and only 200 have been manufactured and distributed for sale around the world!

What is HFP? Honda Factory Performance (HFP) is about more than Honda’s commitment to crafting reliable, high-performance vehicles. It’s about fuelling excitement and exhilaration to those who know driving is so much more than getting from one place to another. It’s about taking Honda’s race-inspired engineering to a new level. It’s about transforming already head-turning vehicles into awe-inspiring works of performance art. Most of all, Honda Factory Performance is about the pure thrill of the ride.

Each of these nimble warriors comes standard with a laundry list of equipment, but the heart and soul? Standard 2.4-litre, 16-valve, DOHC, i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine with 201hp and 170 lb.-ft. torque; 18″ HFP alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot® Super Sport performance tires; HFP suspension package; and, HFP front, side and rear under body spoilers. Not too shabby at all.

Slow corner at Polson Pier

We were going to have an afternoon full of fun and promise!

Game on.

Most people think they drive fast. Some even consider themselves to be speedy pseudo ‘race’ drivers. Frankly, while some did impress, most of us, although we might have the ability to double declutch and employ the classic heel-toe manoeuvre, at the beginning of the afternoon, we were all rank amateurs. Learners, really.

However, all was not lost. Some classroom-like instruction and then time on a make shift track with terrific instruction and practical pointers soon made a huge difference in our respective driving styles. By the time the afternoon was over, everyone, men and women were totally jazzed and in possession of a much better understanding of driving a standard transmission car. And not just fast. We learned control. To think ahead, to visualize next moves… all very Zen-like for sure – but it made a difference.

Even now, a couple of weeks after the fact, as I zip onto a highway on-ramp, I can hear either Daniel or Chris’ voice in my mind, repeating simple instructions, over and over ultimately making me and my passengers feel safer somehow as I negotiate and better appreciate the camber and line of the ramp.

Thanks, everyone. Lessons well taught – and well learned.

Ford of Canada at the Princes gates in Toronto

On May 31st Ford of Canada was at the Allstream Centre in downtown Toronto to offer information and test drives for the local auto press with their latest offerings of electric and fuel efficient vehicles. The Power of Choice Tour (going for the rock star image?) in Toronto was one of eight tour stops to take place across Canada through April and May; Toronto was the final stop on the tour.

Ford presented a variety of eco-friendly engine options; from fully electric and plug-in hybrid, hybrid, to EcoBoost engines. Vehicles available for very brief trips around part of the perimeter of the CNE grounds included the Ford Focus BEV, the all new 2013 Escape , the 2012 Fusion Hybrid and on display in the foyer area of the Allstream Centre, the Aston Martin-looking 2013 Fusion – some spill over family DNA at play here?

The Aston Martin-looking pre-production 2013 Ford Fusion

While many manufacturers are openly flirting with all-electric and electric/hybrid technology, do these vehicles ever really stand a chance in the highly competitive automotive world? The EV Ford Focus is a sharp, sub-compact vehicle that looks good, feels pretty good and for commuters that know they will never exceed a daily charge range, may be one of the preferred choices in EVs today. But realistically, without a suitable and far-reaching infrastructure (ubiquitous charging stations) in the short and long term, do EVs truly stand a chance?

Of course, manufacturers have also placed a few of their eggs in the hybrid basket and here Ford is certainly not the exception. Their respective offerings makes sense, mostly have considerable curb appeal and come with an eco-feel-good aura already initiated.

But listen to what Ford says of their truck engines with EcoBoost. More economical motors that provide considerably superior mileage than their once-preferred and oft revered engine of choice, the V8 – without a major sacrifice in power – specifically, torque. In fact, in the F150 line (46 years as the top selling vehicle in Canada – and counting), demand has been so strong this past year that keeping up to demand for the V6 with EcoBoost has been a daunting yet pleasant challenge. And now, Ford’s category leader, the Escape is now available with an EcoBoost engine. But here, the Ford story veers ever so slightly; EcoBoost in a four cylinder engine! An optional 1.6-litre turbocharged EcoBoost four with 178 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque is available. Coupled with self-closing grille shutters (they open for breathing at low speeds and close to reduce drag at higher speeds), the 1.6-litre engine is estimated by Ford to return 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway – and on regular fuel.

The all new Ford Escape on the road in Toronto

As many of us have suspected, but Ford has now begun to underline, does the future of the automotive industry lie with the internal combustion engine (ICE) – the once revered technological marvel that brought us all to this point?

Perhaps. Ford anticipates making EcoBoost available in many of their product offerings over the next few years. Whether driven by gasoline or diesel fuel, as another manufacturer once said, so prophetically many years ago… tried, tested and true.

Will, indeed ICE be the industry’s ‘saviour’ – even if – or as gasoline prices and demand continues to rise?

Time alone will tell. Meanwhile, a canny manufacturer such as Ford, appears to have all bases pretty well covered.