A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird.
Peugeot returns to North America
While the rest of the automotive market seems to be sputtering, PSA (the Peugeot-Citroën alliance) is cracking right along. The company posted a staggering $84-billion dollars in revenue this year, and profits are up. They’ve even managed to make Opel and Vauxhall profitable again, after years of GM running them into the ground.
As a result of all this good cheer, PSA has announced a return to the U.S. and Canadian markets. While no date has officially been set – best guess is around 2026 – there might well be something earlier, in the form of a car-sharing program.
Now, I know some of you are sitting there wondering why a French company would consider returning to the North American market. After all, Fiat hasn’t been much of a success, and the overall trend is towards trucks and crossovers. People like French pastries, French cooking, and French romance. French cars? Usually a bit weird, and about as popular as the accordion.
However, if you’ve been keeping an eye on the global market, the French are getting very good at building EVs. Check out something like the Peugeot e-208: 340-kilometre range, charges to 80 per cent in 30 minutes with a 100-kW system, comes with an eight-year warranty, and can hit 100 kilometres per hour in eight seconds. And it looks great!
I’d drive that. Even if it meant wearing a beret.
Seinfeld stung by possibly counterfeit Porsche
With classic Porsche values soaring through the roof, many dealers and private collectors are looking at big payouts when they sell. However, when the chance of profit is this high, sometimes a little skulduggery comes with the territory.
So it seems to be with Jerry Seinfeld’s recent sale of a 1958 Porsche 356 convertible, which he bought for $1.2-million, and later sold for $1.5-million. The new owner alleges the car turns out to be a fake. That’s not gold, Jerry. That’s not gold at all.
Your humble author has seen and heard a few hair-raising stories in the car-collecting hobby, and it’s not really all that different from art forgeries. VINs get swapped, people build two cars out of one, and sometimes a collector just up and dies and the paperwork goes missing. It’s a bit of a mess sometimes.
Now, Seinfeld is suing the people who sold him the car in the first place, pressing to have the Porsche’s authenticity verified. You know who I think is behind all this? That Newman!
Lincoln Corsair set to replace the MKC
Something funny is going on at Lincoln. For long, the company’s been an also ran when lined up next to Cadillac. Big Caddies were hip, Lincolns were for older folks perhaps. The cool factor was low.
Some folks, myself included, opined that the problem wasn’t just the cars being rebadged Fords, but that they all had alphanumeric names that didn’t conjure up much personality. However, in the last few years, we’ve seen the return of the Continental, the reborn Navigator, and exciting stuff like the Aviator.
You don’t even need to know what exactly each of those vehicles is to immediately want to perhaps own one. They sound great, and if that wasn’t good enough, Lincoln’s now bringing out their right-sized entry-level crossover, and calling it the Corsair. Isn’t a Corsair a kind of pirate? I’d happily drive a pirate. After all, I really liked the Civic Type-Arrr.
Well anyway, the Corsair is basically going to be a Ford Escape with nicer luxuries, and probably a more powerful engine. It’s just the right car, with the right name, at the right time, to keep Lincoln rolling.
Volkswagen turns Jetta into a brand
The Volkswagen Jetta already has many fans. Basically a sedan version of the Golf, North Americans loved the Jetta, especially in its sportiest GLI trim. I like to think of that one as the “Glee,” as it’s a lot of fun to drive, and also for the look of joy on your mechanic’s face when he hands you the bill.
Looking to make further inroads in the all-important Chinese market, VW is making the surprising move of expanding Jetta into a stand-alone brand. Jetta the brand will have almost nothing to do with Jetta the car; the former is meant to be a really entry-level trio of vehicles for first-time buyers.
This is all well and good, but VW sure seems to have plenty of interesting ideas about the Chinese market, and a sort of ambivalence about our market. Sure, the Atlas is doing well, the new Tiguan’s bigger, and the range of Golfs still blends performance and style. But wouldn’t it be nice if VW was a little more daring? Hurry up with the production version of those rear-drive EVs they’re working on.
Watch this space for all the best and worst of automotive news, or submit your own auto oddities to email@example.com.