November 2019 INDUSTRY BRIEFS
Ford Unveils Electric SUV
November is auto show month in Southern California, a time when the automakers roll out their hottest new models. And Ford Motor Co. pulled out all the stops at the Los Angles Auto Show with the unveiling of its Mach-E SUV, which draws on the company’s Mustang legacy. Built from the ground up, the Mustang Mach-E resembles the iconic best-selling sports car, from its coup-like roofline and brawny hindquarters to the tri-bar lights front and rear.
No doubt, Mustang purists will bemoan the move to an electric vehicle—an SUV no less—that bears the Mustang name. According to Ford, however, the company believes its success in the SUV, truck and performance segments, combined with the Mustang heritage and a vision to build not just another Plain-Jane electric vehicle but rather a standout, will earn market share and street cred.
Ford will offer five all-electric versions, all with Pony badging only. The base 332hp Mach-E Select will be available in all-wheel or rear-wheel drive; in the rear-wheel-drive mode, the car could travel up to 300 miles on a single charge. Other versions include the all-wheel-drive First Edition, the Premium and the California Route 1 extended-range, rear-wheel drive. The souped-up GT edition loaded with performance upgrades will round out the lineup.
Ford debuted its all-electric Mustang Mach-E SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Chevy Earns Bragging Rights As Corvette Is Named Car Of The Year
In other LA Auto Show news, the newly redesigned Chevy Corvette Stingray took top honors at the event, earning MotorTrend magazine’s prestigious designation as the 2020 Car of the Year. The mid-engine sports car—which underwent a redesign that involved moving the engine from the front to the vehicle’s midsection in order to improve handling—was recognized by MotorTrend for its quiet interior, sleek interior design, rideability and everyday attainability.
MotorTrend presented two other awards. The Kia Telluride was named SUV of the Year, notable for offering Kia owners the first three-row-seat SUV option. The RAM Heavy Duty pickup was chosen 2020 Truck of the Year for its 1,000-lb-feet of torque, capability and versatility.
The newly redesigned mid-engine Corvette Stingray won accolades at the LA Auto Show, earning the title of MotorTrend Car of the Year
Chevrolet also garnered attention at the LA Auto Show for the unveiling of the new Corvette Stingray Convertible. The droptop version will retail for $7,500 more than the coupe.
Maaco Recognizes Top-Performing Franchisees
At the 2019 Maaco Convention in Boca Raton, Florida, Maaco Auto Painting and Collision Repair recognized top North American franchisees who exemplify the “Breakthrough” convention theme with awards for top performance, including outstanding sales, operational excellence, leadership, growth and overall performance. Awards, covering a range of categories, were presented to more than 100 Maaco franchisees.
“It’s an honor to recognize the top performers in the Maaco system,” said company President Bob Benjamin. “These franchisees are a great example of the success that is possible as a Maaco owner. They have embraced our “Go Forward Plan” and have achieved strong sales, operational excellence, outstanding customer service and are performing at the highest levels.”
Maaco Cup winners, father and son Jim and Jamie Powell (center), were recognized for year-over-year sales increases the last eight years. The duo were Regional Cup winners in 2017.
Roy and Sheila Seay were also Maaco Cup winners. Franchisees since 2006, they had their best sales year in 2019 and are currently working toward Diamond Certification.
AM General and Jeep Team Up To Develop Tactical Concept Vehicle
AM General, manufacturer of light-tactical vehicles, has developed a new light-tactical concept vehicle in partnership with Jeep®. The Jeep Gladiator Extreme Military-Grade Truck (XMT) by AM General was introduced at the annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA).
The Gladiator XMT is the first phase of a collaboration that reunited two companies whose histories date back to World War II. According to a recent announcement, AM General leveraged the Gladiator’s capabilities and customized the vehicle to meet global customers’ needs for a light-weight military truck.
“We are extremely excited to partner with FCA and introduce the Jeep Gladiator Extreme Military-Grade Truck at AUSA,” said AM General President and CEO Andy Hove. “This new venture gives us an opportunity to showcase our expertise in light-tactical vehicles and help FCA maximize the Gladiator’s global reach and potentially enter new military markets.”
Based on 100-plus years of defense industry experience, AM General identified a series of parts and accessories that amplify the Gladiator’s off-road maneuverability and enhance its capability to provide end users with the appropriate equipment for tactical communications and service. The Gladiator XMT has been upfitted by AM General with both custom-built and commercially available military-grade parts to create an even more rugged truck that can traverse the toughest terrain and is ready to meet varied military requirements.
“The Jeep brand has an important military heritage, so we couldn’t be happier that AM General expressed interest in creating the Gladiator XMT,” said Jim Morrison, head of Jeep Brand, North America. “We’re proud to partner with AM General and look forward to gauging interest and gathering feedback on the Jeep Gladiator XMT, and we’re excited about potential future opportunities.”
Pending feedback and interest in the military marketplace, production of the XMT could begin in the second half of 2020. In addition to a gas-powered model, the Gladiator XMT would be offered to military customers as a diesel version.
AM General developed the Gladiator Extreme Military-Grade Truck (XMT) in collaboration with Jeep. The concept truck was modified by AM General with custom-built and commercially available military-grade components to create a more rugged truck that would meet military requirements.