This week in the auto industry: an old school badge returns with the 2019 Suzuki Jimny, Elon Musk looks ahead with the new Tesla pickup, Volvo M claims to be the future too, and Mercedes and Infiniti jump ship on a joint project. At Nurburgring, Porsche leaves only itself in the dust and the NASCAR stock vehicle of choice is getting a major facelift with the 2019 Supra.
2019 Suzuki Jimny Debut
The official launch of the 2019 Suzuki Jimny is under way. Unfortunately, the SUV hasn’t been available in the US since 1995. European and Japanese dealers will have access to it, though—and it sure is a beaut. The new model has some colors of the old guard, but the modern approach looks pretty mean.
Even a novice can look at the 2019 Suzuki Jimny and know it was crafted to take Jeep head-on. The extremely familiar and boxy frame is almost uncanny—and the prominent highlights are not merely aesthetic. It boasts serious off-road chops thanks to the continued employment of the ladder frame, three-link front, and rear solid-axle suspension. If there’s a knock on it, it’s that the 2019 Jimny’s lack of giddy-up is sobering. It produces 101 hp at 6,000 rpm and 96 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm topping out at 90 mph.
Tesla Pickup Rumors Pick Up Steam
There’s a new electric pickup coming to town, though it’s probably not going anywhere off-road. Tesla has been rumored to have entered the pickup game for a long time now, and this past weekend, the ever-entertaining Elon Musk only fanned the flames. Musk, an active social media personality, composed tweets asking for suggestions on the new Tesla pickup. While the open forum didn’t amount to much information, more hype was born.
According to reports, the truck will likely be more of a work vehicle than strictly performance off-road truck. Other than that, not much else has come out, besides that the truck could surface in 2019 and that it will feature onboard power for 240V tools and accessories. But with how long Model 3 reserved customers have had to wait, we won’t hold our breath for a Tesla pickup anytime in the near future.
Volvo M: The Future of Our Cars?
Chances are, you’ve heard something about Volvo M in the past few days. The M is for “Mobility”—a favorite buzzword of automakers these days. Volvo is talking a big game about the endeavor in broad terms, saying that Volvo M will provide “dependable, on-demand access to care and services through an intuitive app.”
This app is meant to optimize user experiences and offer those who frequent ride-sharing services with something that feels a little more like owning a real car. As a cherry on top, Volvo M will also integrate the car sharing technology from Sweden’s Sunfleet, allowing the service to “learn” its customers preferences and habits. So no, it’s probably not going to change anything about the way you drive, but it’s more fodder for the “fixing urban transportation” slush pile and all pretty hush hush at the moment.
Infiniti and Mercedes Call Off Joint Project
You might recall the deal forged by Infiniti and Mercedes in 2010. Part of the excitement surrounding that deal came from a proposed luxury compact collaboration. According to Motor Authority, the compact sedan would likely have sat below the current Q50. It seemed to be a tasteful juncture of tried and true elegance with modern innovation and style. However, reports from last week say that no such deal is on the table.
The partnership between the two companies (at the moment) remains intact, but there is no word if Nissan (Infiniti’s parent company) and Mercedes will pursue another project. Is this another casualty of supposed disinterest in the sedan? Or is this simply ambition too big for its own good?
Around the Circuit
The 2019 Toyota Supra finally showed its face to the world (sort of). The speedster was recently approved as one of NASCAR’s new vehicles and it certainly looks the part. The Camry, which has been a staple of the circuit (much to many fans’ chagrin), is in the midst of its final season and the Supra is ready to play the role of successor. The composite-bodied cars are said to weigh 150 pounds less and are in compliance with 2019 regulations. So let’s raise a glass to some faster upcoming seasons!
In trial news, Porsche smashed the Nurburgring again and the badge is living it up. The 919 Hybrid Evo driven by Timo Bernhard finished with a lap of 5:19.55. This is nearly a minute faster than the previous record (also set by Porsche last year). Every year it seems as though the concept of time will vanish altogether—and at the hands of a hybrid, no less! Check it out!