Car Culture

Car Culture

The North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) Awards has again updated its list of eligible vehicles for the 2021 awards as automakers have announced additional qualifying candidates.

2020 Dodge Durango
2020 Dodge Durango

The five additional vehicles are:

· Audi A8 L 60 TFSI e

· Audi Q5 55 TFSI e

· Chrysler Pacifica

· Dodge Durango

· Kia Sorento

NACTOY is accepting entries later than usual to better accommodate this year’s product launch delays and plans to announce a final list by the end of August.

“The more we learn about automakers’ new product plans for this year, the more it becomes clear that competition for our 2021 awards will be as fierce as ever,” said NACTOY President Gary Witzenburg. “These latest additions include two plug-in hybrids from Audi, two additional entries from Fiat Chrysler and an all-new Kia Sorento.”

NACTOY’s 50 jurors will test and evaluate all eligible vehicles as they are made available through the rest of this year, including during an annual comparison drive that will be held Oct. 5-8 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Semi-Finalists in each category will be announced in November at the LA Auto Show, finalists in December and category winners in Detroit in January 2021.

Polaris has partnered with International Female Ride Day (IFRD), a globally synchronized ride day celebrating women riders and their passion for powersports. IFRD will take place Aug. 22 on six continents in over 120 countries.

IFRD and the “Just Ride” call-to-action were created in 2007 to focus on motorcycle riders. As female ridership grows within the powersports industry, IFRD welcomes female riders of all types of powersports including off-road vehicles and snowmobiles.

“I started IFRD to advance the awareness of women motorcycle riders and inspire women everywhere. Working with Polaris encourages even more women to join the celebration of riding and become part of the movement,” said IFRD founder Vicki Gray.

“Just Ride!” is the only requirement to participate in IFRD. Riders can also celebrate by sharing photos on social media using the hashtags #IFRD and #InternationalFemaleRideDay.

“We’re excited to partner with International Female Ride Day in their mission to celebrate women riding in unity, as well as their efforts to cultivate a strong community of female powersport enthusiasts across all borders and cultures,” said Polaris executive Pam Kermisch. “IFRD provides us the opportunity to come together to celebrate the love of riding and ensure female riders are well represented across the industry.”

Gasoline demand increased on the week to the highest level (8.7 million barrels per day) since March as stocks decreased, but the combination wasn’t enough to significantly impact gas price averages across the country. On the week, the national gas price average only increased one penny to land at $2.19. That is nine cents more than last month and nearly 60 cents less than a year ago.

“The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data shows gasoline demand and supply continue on a roller coaster ride,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

National gas price avg. remains at $2.19
The National gas price avg. remains around $2.19

“As motorists react to unfolding COVID-19 information, we are seeing driving behaviors related to filling-up ebb and flow.”

From May to early July in 2019, gasoline demand averaged 9.5 million barrels per day (barrels per day). For the same time period this year, demand is measuring at 8 million barrels per day while gasoline stocks sit, on average, at 24 million barrels. The low demand and high supply are keeping gas prices relatively cheap for the summertime.

Actor, producer and businessman Mark Wahlberg is growing his automotive dealership footprint with the acquisition of two more Columbus dealerships with his business partner, veteran automotive dealer Jay Feldman. The new dealerships will be called Mark Wahlberg Buick GMC and Mark Wahlberg Airstream & RV. In July 2018, the duo opened Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet at 3900 Broad Street in Columbus. 

Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet in Columbus, OH.
Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet in Columbus, OH.

The dealerships were formerly Haydocy Buick GMC and Haydocy Airstream & RV and are located right across the street from Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet at 3895 Broad Street. The Buick GMC dealership has been family-owned and operated by the Haydocys since 1954. In addition to being business partners in the three dealerships, Jay and Mark have been friends for several years and are partners in several Wahlburgers restaurants.

“Columbus has been so welcoming and it just made sense to grow our automotive platform here,”  said Wahlberg. “The Haydocy family has been wonderful to work with during this transition and Jay and I are looking forward to doing big things here on the West Side.”

The three dealerships add to Wahlberg’s portfolio of business interests that includes a movie production company, a health and wellness company, a water line and a Wahlburgers restaurant chain that is currently franchised throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

“The Wahlberg brand is so well respected,” said Feldman. “We are anxious to do even more things in the near future together in the Columbus area. Stay tuned.” 

Dodge, America’s performance brand is introducing the new 797-horsepower 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye — the most powerful sedan and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world.

With nearly 800 horsepower, the new Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye boasts a widebody exterior with integrated fender flares that add 3.5 inches of body width. The new 20-inch-by-11-inch Lightweight Carbon Black wheels ride on Pirelli 305/35ZR20 tires, which give the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye more tire tread where the rubber meets the road. A newly designed, functional performance hood on both Charger SRT Hellcat models gives this four-door sedan an even more sinister look.

“The magic of the Dodge Charger is that it delivers all the performance of a true American muscle car while also being able to deliver a family of four or five, day in and day out,” said Tim Kuniskis, Global Head of Alfa Romeo and Head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. “The Charger is a big, comfortable, five-passenger sedan that can run the quarter-mile in the mid-10s, 0-60 in the mid 3s and reach a top speed of 203 mph and be your daily driver.”

The Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye runs 1.2 seconds faster than the Charger SRT Hellcat on a 2.1-mile road course, equal to about 7 car lengths after one lap. Dealer orders open for 2021 Dodge Charger models this fall, including the new SRT Hellcat Redeye; vehicles are scheduled to start arriving in dealerships in early 2021.


Watch Cars Evolution's video on the 2021 Charger! "Dodge calls it the world's fastest mass-production sedan, and it just got faster thanks to more power in a Redeye version".

Autotrader recently named the 10 Best Used Cars of 2020 that are great alternatives to a new car.

The top 10 cars chose by Autotrader, alphabetically, are: Audi Q7; Chevrolet Malibu; Chrysler Pacifica; Ford F-Series Pickup; Honda Accord Hybrid; Hyundai Sonata; Nissan Rogue; Porsche Macan; Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen GTI.

“Budget-friendly doesn't have to be boring. Buying used can reduce your monthly car payment, while still getting the latest in safety, convenience and technology in a fun-to-drive model,” said Brian Moody, executive editor of Autotrader. “Our selections are highly-rated and spotlight some of the best vehicles for overall value, performance and popularity with Autotrader shoppers.”

Autotrader the cost of new cars is rising — the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the U.S. for May was $38,940 — and that has many drivers seeking more affordable used options, including the selections below.

Dodge and Kia tie as the highest-ranking brands in the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality Study for initial overall quality, with Genesis ranking highest among premium brands.

The study, redesigned this year, measures components that fail and features that are difficult to use, hard to understand or don’t work the way owners want.

The study, now in its 34th year, examines problems experienced by owners of new 2020 model-year vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. Initial quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

The Chevrolet Sonic
The Chevrolet Sonic had the best overall score

Dodge and Kia tie for highest in overall initial quality, each with a score of 136 PP100. Dodge is the first domestic brand in the study’s history to rank highest. This is the sixth consecutive year that Kia is the highest-ranked mass market brand. Chevrolet and Ram place third in a tie (each with 141 PP100). Genesis is the highest ranked premium brand for the fourth consecutive year in the study.

The Chevrolet Sonic, with just 103 PP100, has the best score of any model in this year’s study, as well as topping the Small Car segment.

Other top scores within segments include: Audi A4 (Small Premium Car); Kia Forte (Top Compact Car);  Hyundai Veloster (Top Compact Sporty Car); Genesis G70 (Compact Premium Car); Chevrolet Malibu (Midsize Car); Ford Mustang (Midsize Sporty Car); Cadillac CTS (Midsize Premium Car); Cadillac CT6 (Upper Midsize Premium Car); Nissan Maxima (Large Car);  and BMW 8 Series (Large Premium Car).

We can chalk this up to one of 2020's many surprising twists 'n' turns. The much-anticipated release of the resurrected Ford Bronco is being delayed, yet again, to July 13. Let's hope the third time's the charm.

Twitter took to roasting Ford Motor Co. over the coincidental date.
Twitter took to roasting Ford Motor Co. over the coincidental date.

The original reveal of the now 2021 Bronco was slated for March '20, with the smaller, "Baby Bronco" to be showcased a few weeks later at the New York International Auto Show. That show was canceled because the venue, the Javits Center, was repurposed as a field hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

The second scheduled release of the Bronco was for July 9. Then the Detroit Free Press pointed out that the new Bronco would share a birthday with infamous Bronco passenger, O.J Simpson. As you may recall, Simpson, with his friend Al Cowlings behind the wheel, took a '93 white Ford Bronco on a 45-minute drive through the streets of L.A. with the police in close pursuit.

Ford tweeted a new release date for the Bronco2020
Ford 's June 19 Twitter response

Ford recently tweeted that it would delay the release of the Bronco, again, by another four days to July 13. 

Which just happens to be Harrison Ford's 77th birthday. Was there some shrewd marketing behind these date choices?

Probably not, unless Harrison Ford ends up in a Bronco ad.

The base price of the new Bronco will be $30,000 with tons of add-on options. There is even rumor of a manual version with seven speeds. 

After a 24-year hiatus, the Bronco will soon be rolling off the assembly line at its old home, the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. 


Watch TopSpeed's sneak peak behind the new 2020 Ford Bronco below:


According to a new report published by ValuePenguin/LendingTree, the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Honda Civic are the most searched cars in America. And while searches for cars, especially pickup trucks, trended downward during the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, recent data suggests that searches for these popular models may be hitting annual highs. America’s five most searched cars are: Ford F-150; Chevrolet Silverado; Honda Civic; Toyota Tacoma and  Honda Accord.

Outside of the Northeast and California, a pickup truck was the most searched car in every state. High population density in the Northeast is why sedans like the Honda Civic and Honda Accord are more popular, whereas more open space out West and in the rest of the country makes driving a pickup more attractive and accessible.

According to Michael Hoffman, senior research analyst at ValuePenguin, “these findings provide a pulse on consumer demand trends in the U.S. auto industry, at a critical moment for the economy and auto manufacturers following several years of record-breaking vehicle sales.” He adds, “Several manufacturers like GM and Fiat Chrysler have expressed concern that demand may outstrip supply amid factory shutdowns due to the novel coronavirus.”

After first postponing the 2020 show dates, organizers of the New York International Auto Show have decided the next show will take place April 2-11, 2021, with press days on March 31 & April 1. 

The Javits Convention Cente is being used as a  field hospital for COVID-19 cases.
The Javits Convention Center is one of NYC's largest field hospitals for COVID-19 cases

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, originally scheduled to host the event, continues to be closed for all expo business due to its role as a field hospital for COVID-19 cases.

The show, originally scheduled for last month, was  initially postponed to late summer, but organizers pulled the plug for 2020.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have worked closely with the Governor’s office and with Javits officials to protect our attendees,”

The first New York Auto Show, 1907 Madison Square Garden
The first New York Auto Show, 1907 Madison Square Garden

said Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, the organization that owns and operates the New York Auto Show. “We also understand the immense planning needed for the automakers and their exhibit partners to construct a show of this magnitude. Because of the uncertainty caused by the virus, we feel it would not be prudent to continue with the 2020 show and instead are preparing for an even greater 2021.”

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