This week’s Auto Industry News sifts through the binary of sad departures and exciting arrivals. The car cinema sphere lost legendary actor Burt Reynolds and Ford as we know it will likely be no longer. However, Kia continues to flex the concepts it has been developing with the 2020 Telluride, Giles Taylor will join China’s long defunct FAW, and Rockingham Speedway is back from the dead (Well, maybe)!
2020 Telluride Hits the Red Carpet
The ongoing trend has been the three-row SUV. And if you thought Kia was going to miss out on this action, then THINK AGAIN, PAL. Forget Nicki Minaj and Cardi B throwing down. Kia has staked its claim in a big (but confusing) way at New York Fashion week. The company “debuted” the 2020 Telluride thanks to a charitable partnership with designer Brandon Maxwell, who got Kia onto this unique platform after they donated to his childhood school district in Texas.
Most of the Telluride’s specs remain under wraps, but what is certain about the new three-row is that it physically resembles the model’s lauded concept in its rounded, tall form. It will also likely carry eight passengers, as it is bigger than Kia’s current largest SUV option, the Sorento. Details are sparse, but kudos to the automaker for finding an unexpected new avenue for drumming up intrigue.
Ford Makes Huge Ad Cuts
As we talked about last week, Ford has not been happy with U.S.-imposed tariffs. And the tit-for-tat trade war has now affected the scope of the automaker’s future catalog even further. According to reports, the company will be cutting a majority of its national advertising EXCEPT for the Ford Mustang. The Focus Active—the only non-muscle, non-SUV of the lot—skirted out of American sale plans, too.
According to Ford executives, regional advertising for certain models will continue to air, but even those have been scaled down substantially as the EcoSport subcompact crossover is expected to lead the new charge for the automaker. (There is also THIS strange, mysterious “Mach 1” concept that has people scratching their heads). Does this mean there’s room in the budget for some sweet throwback ads for the long-awaited Bronco return?
Giles Taylor Joins Hongqi
Giles Taylor, former lead designer for Rolls-Royce, has joined China’s FAW group. The top-tier Chinese automaker’s specific objective is getting Taylor’s input on the Hongqi brand. Hongqi was once a prominent tag for the company, with loads of money and flexibility to create unique cars and foster a competitive Chinese market. The name dissolved in 1993, but has since returned with lofty goals in mind.
Xu Liuping, FAW’s new chairman, has already taken steps toward reviving the name with projects such as the E-Jing GT concept, which made waves at the Beijing Motor Show. He also wants to move 300,000 units a year by 2025. And this is surely where the expertise of Giles Taylor will come into play. In his brief but bright stint with Rolls-Royce, Taylor’s team developed the second-gen Phantom, the Dawn convertible, and the Cullinan SUV. For FAW’s sake, here’s hoping he is just as prolific in his new gig!
Burt Reynolds, “The Bandit” Dead at 82
Last week the world lost an acting icon in Burt Reynolds. On and off screen, Reynolds was known to embody the spirit of the American man and all that encompasses. He arguably did so best as the lead of the classic film Smoky and the Bandit. In the film, Reynolds drives a legendary Pontiac Trans Am, whose hood dawned the unmistakable, over-the-top, screaming chicken decal. He owned two of them himself, one of which sold for $450,000 in 2014. In recent years, Reynolds also teamed up with Trans Am Depot, who built 77 SE Bandits (based on the Camaro) bearing his signature and the legendary paint job.
Sadly, Burt Reynolds suffered through cardiovascular complications for a number of years and passed away at a Florida hospital Thursday. A long life and a long career, Burt Reynolds will be forever loved and remembered.
Around the Circuit
Here is an absolutely shocking video coming out of the Moto GP this weekend. Romano Feneti, while coming around a turn, can be seen grabbing the front brake of Stefano Manzi’s bike. The 22-year-old was appropriately black flagged from the race, and there is no telling what other disciplinary actions will be administered in addition to a two-week ban. Though he briefly lost control at 140 mph, Manzi recovered and escaped the incident unscathed.
In some positive racing news, there may be a revival coming in the world of NASCAR. According to reports, North Carolina’s Rockingham Speeday is making efforts to return as a host for the circuit. According to owner of the now Rock Entertainment Complex, Dan Lovenheim, the raceway has begun preliminary, casual conversations with NASCAR. There is no guarantee that the raceway becomes a mainstay of the sport again, and renovations could take up to three years. But it is exciting for race fans to have another Tar Heel track for future Sunday action!