The second of two new cars coming from Toyota’s entry-level Scion division this fall is the iM, a compact five-door hatchback that has the likes of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf in its sights. For those that pay attention to Toyota’s European lineup, the iM will be familiar since it’s essentially a rebadged Auris. The iM effectively replaces Scion’s now defunct cube car the xB in the lineup, but the question is can it move the needle on the segment?
Crossover utility vehicles are rapidly taking over the American automobile market. Even as the market as a whole grows, sales of cars are actually in decline. Meanwhile trucks including pickups, SUVs and CUVs are growing. The biggest growth is coming at smallest end of the market with subcompact crossovers going from nonexistent just a few years ago to more than 110,000 in 2014 and 107,000 in the first six months of this year. Several new and very promising small crossovers have just arrived at dealers in the last month or two and are expected to push the numbers way up by the end of the year. Among the new entries are the Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500x, Mazda CX-3 and Honda’s entry into the segment, the HR-V which I just spent a week with.
A dozen years after Toyota launched the Scion brand as a way to attract younger customers into the fold, the world’s largest automaker is hitting the reboot switch. After some initial success with the first-generation xA and xB, the second-generation xB and the xD that replaced the xA never really caught fire with consumers. While the tC coupe and the FR-S have done reasonably well for their segments, Scion is about two launch two new bread and butter models, the C-segment iM and the B-segment iA which I’ll discuss here.
Smaller crossover utilities are the fastest growing segment of the American auto market in the last few years and Hyundai America CEO Dave Zuckowski hopes that the all-new 2016 Tucson will take advantage of that and rekindle the brand’s growth. The first batch of some 9,000 Tucsons has arrived in port from South Korea and are currently going through final quality checks before being shipped out to dealers across America for sale starting August 15. While those are being inspected, I got the chance to spend a couple of hours in a pre-production model on rural roads west of Ann Arbor.
The redesigned 2016 Hyundai Tucson will be hitting dealerships in the next two to three weeks but it won’t remain the smallest crossover in the Hyundai lineup forever. During a regional media preview for the Tucson, Hyundai America President and CEO Dave Zuchowski acknowledged that sales of B-Segment crossovers are growing fast and Hyundai wants to be in the segment. However, the new Creta that just launched in India is not suitable for the American market in its current form. Zuchowski didn’t say if the new U.S.-market CUV would be based on an updated version of the Creta or would be something different. He did say that the small crossover would probably arrive here in two to three years.
Hyundai America President and CEO David L. Zuchowski
In the wake of last week’s Wired.com report where security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely took control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee via its telematics system, the auto industry is now on cyber-security high alert. During a regional press preview for the new 2016 Tucson, Hyundai America President and CEO Dave Zuchowski was asked about it. As expected Zuchowski said that the safety and security of customers is always a top priority for the company but then went on to give a surprising response to my follow-up question.
When I asked Zuchowski if Hyundai would follow the lead of technology companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google and establish a bounty program for responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities, he acknowledged that it was under consideration. In addition, he said that while Hyundai doesn’t have a formal program at this time, the company has previously paid researchers on an ad hoc basis for disclosing vulnerabilities. Zuchowski didn’t offer any additional details, but the acknowledgement that the company has gone down this path is a good thing.
Sunday July 26, 2015 was a near perfect midsummer day in southeast Michigan. Under a clear blue sky with temperatures in the low 80s and comparatively modest humidity by the standards of this time of year, some of the most amazing cars in North America were brought together for one of the top three shows in the country, the Concours d’Elegance of America. Now in its fifth year since relocating to the Inn at St. Johns in Plymouth after a 32 year run at Meadowbrook Hall, this was as always a great show with an eclectic collection of machinery on display.
Like most automakers today, Honda has an R&D outpost in the heart of Silicon Valley to work on all kinds of advanced technology. Since new driving technology lies at the heart of the updates to the 2016 Accord, the Mountain View, Calif. lab was deemed a fitting location to reveal the refreshed midsizer.
I don't really like Lindsay Graham and generally disagree with most everything he says and does. That said, you've gotta love the way he has responded to getting doxxed by the hair with the runaway mouth