Subaru to switch to quarterly U.S. sales reports

Subaru of America, once a monthly sales streak darling as its U.S. volume rapidly expanded over the past decade, is switching to quarterly sales reporting.

The automaker will report its June U.S. sales Wednesday, then switch its cadence going forward.

The automaker, of Camden, N.J., was one of the few holdouts still reporting on a monthly basis. After Subaru switches to quarterly, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mazda, Toyota and Volvo will remain the only automakers to report monthly.

Subaru follows Porsche, Nissan and BMW in making the switch this year.

Starting in December 2011, Subaru cultivated a 93-month streak of year-over-year sales gains, which was snapped in September when sales dropped 9.4 percent.

While Subaru also had a monthly sales decline in December, 2019 was another record year for the brand, with 700,117 vehicle sales, an increase of 2.9 percent.

The automaker posted monthly increases in January and February, but shelter-in-place orders in the U.S. were quickly felt across its retailers, with sales dropping 47 percent in both March and April. Those were the largest declines since sales fell 49 percent in February 1990, the company said. Sales were also down in May, but only by 19 percent.

Through May, Subaru’s U.S. sales were down 23 percent to 213,199 vehicles.

In an interview with Automotive News this month, CEO Tom Doll said Subaru’s 2020 sales target was now around 575,000 vehicles as the automaker recovers from the sales impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Subaru’s original goal for 2020 was 725,000 sales.

Last year brought Subaru’s 11th consecutive annual sales record and 12th consecutive year of U.S. sales increases, but those streaks are set to be broken.

Doll, one of the architects of Subaru’s U.S. success, acknowledged the streak of yearly sales records will end in 2020, but he remained optimistic.

“We’ll start a new streak next year,” he said.

Tesla Model 3’s reliability and lack of maintenance defended by police chief

Tesla Model 3’s reliability and lack of maintenance defended by police chief

The chief of the Bargersville, Indiana Police Department has stood by the Tesla Model 3, stating that the all electric sedan has been a great police cruiser due to its generally maintenance free nature. In a recent tweet, the Police Chief Todd Bertram stated that the Model 3 is almost a year old already, and the only thing that needed to be changed in the vehicle so far was its rear tires.

The Tesla Model 3 was an experiment of sorts for the Bargersville PD. In a previous statement, Todd Bertram noted that the Model 3 was purchased partly because of its cost savings against other police cruisers that are typically used, like Dodge Chargers. The police chief estimated that the Model 3 could result in savings of up to $6,000 per year, which includes about $300 a month for gas.

With the experiment in mind, the police chief noted that the test of the all-electric sedan has been going better than expected so far. In a follow-up tweet, Bertram stated that he thinks the break even point for the Model 3 police cruiser would no longer be 24 months as initially estimated. Instead, the ROI for the vehicle is looking closer to 19 months — and this was despite the vehicle traveling about 19,000 miles since it was deployed in August 2019.

Police cars are required to be reliable, considering that even the their regular use is strenuous to a vehicle. Cruisers typically stand idle for hours, and if they are in pursuit, they are driven very hard. This is the reason why generally reliable cars are used for police duty. And based on the Bargersville police chief’s recent statement, it appears that the Model 3 is more than up to the task.

So reliable are the Model 3s that are being used by the Bargersville PD that Bertram expressed surprise when JD Power recently published its 2020 Initial Quality Study, which ranks the quality and reliability of vehicles. In the firm’s study, Tesla ranked dead last, and Dodge was ranked first. This, according to the police chief was surprising.

“I cannot even wrap my head around this report. We have 3 Tesla Model 3 and 2 Dodge Chargers and none of the Model 3 have ever seen a wrench, and we are always putting the Dodges in the shop for various reasons (like) water pumps, fuel pumps, alternators, (and) brakes,” he wrote.

Bertram’s stance comparing the reliability of the Tesla Model 3 and the Dodge Charger, both of which are used for police duty, holds a lot of water. The Bargersville PD deploys both vehicles, after all, giving Bertram a direct comparison of the two cars’ maintenance needs and reliability in heavy real world use.

Tesla Model 3’s reliability and lack of maintenance defended by police chief

BMW X5 M Competition: Is It The Best Performance Luxury SUV On The Market?

The BMW X5 M Competition is an absolute weapon, as this recent review from The Straight Pipes confirms.

In a world where more and more people are buying crossovers and SUVs, car manufacturers that have previously had no business making these types of vehicles, such as Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Lamborghini, have all launched fast SUVs in recent years. While the X5 M Competition competes at a lower tier of the market than those three, recent tests have shown that it and its X6 M Competition sibling are just as quick off the line as the almighty Lamborghini Urus.

The key reason why the X5 M Competition is so fast is the engine that takes the form of a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 pumping out 617 hp and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) of torque. However, given BMW’s noted history of underquoting its performance numbers, we suspect the SUV actually has a touch more horsepower and torque than claimed.

Watch Also: 2020 BMW X5 M Competition Is Big, Fast And Premium, But Is It Worth $114k?

Either way, an advanced all-wheel drive system will propel the X5 M Competition to 62 mph (100 km/h) in a mere 3.8 seconds and through to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h) or 180 mph (290 km/h) with the M Driver’s Package. While acceleration is brutal, The Straight Pipes notes that the launch control system is quite difficult to enable and doesn’t always work, meaning acceleration can be somewhat inconsistent.

Of course, it is not just performance that makes the X5 M Competition special. As it sits at the top of the X5 family, the interior is also hugely luxurious and includes heaps of impressive pieces of technology, such as a traffic jam assist function and the ability to use the various exterior cameras as a dashcam.

100th Anniversary Special Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata celebrates a century of business, 60 years of cars

100th Anniversary Special Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata celebrates a century of business, 60 years of cars

Mazda is launching a special edition MX-5 Miata to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. Announced Monday in a Mazda press release, the car is scheduled to arrive in United States dealerships later this year.

While Mazda was founded in 1920, the company didn’t produce its first car—the R360—until 1960. The R360 was a “kei car,” a popular category of tiny cars in Japan built to government rules restricting size and engine displacement.

The 100th Anniversary Special Edition MX-5 Miata borrows its red leather seats and red carpet from the R360. Available in soft-top or RF hard-top form, the special edition gets Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint, 17-inch alloy wheels, and special badging. Soft top models also feature a red roof, while RF models get a black roof. For both body styles, the key fob is embossed with a 100th anniversary logo and comes in its own box.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata 100th Anniversary Special Edition

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata 100th Anniversary Special Edition

Based on the 2020 MX-5 Grand Touring model, the special edition is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 making 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions. Manual cars have a limited-slip differential, Bilstein dampers, a front shock-tower brace, and a sport-tuned suspension.

The 100th Anniversary Special Edition MX-5 Miata also comes with a fair amount of creature comforts, including heated leather seats, a Bose audio system with headrest speakers, automatic climate control, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Mazda said production of the 100th Anniversary Special Edition MX-5 Miata will be “limited,” but did not quote a specific number. Pricing starts at $33,615 for a manual-transmission soft-top model. Specifying the automatic bumps the price up to $34,140. The RF is priced at $36,370 with the manual, and $36,695 with the automatic. All prices include a mandatory $945 destination charge.

2020 Toyota Supra

It’s been a 21-year wait, but sports car fans finally have a new Supra from Toyota. The 2020 Toyota Supra returns as a hatchback coupe developed as a collaboration between Toyota Gazoo Racing and BMW. It features inline-6 power, which enthusiasts will view as a proper engine for a Supra.

Short, wide, and powerful, the 2020 Supra is one of the more agile sports cars on the market. It launches from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, attacks corners like an autocross champion, and is loads of fun to toss around a track, though high-speed cornering stability isn’t a strength. We rate it a 5.8 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Toyota offers the Supra in three trim levels, 3.0, 3.0 Premium, and Launch Edition, all powered by a BMW-sourced turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that whips up 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque and sends it to the rear wheels. The lone transmission is an 8-speed automatic. A 2.0-liter turbo-4 is expected later, and a 6-speed manual may come as well.

Review continues below

The fifth-generation Supra takes some of its design cues, mostly its basic shape, from the fourth-generation car of the 1990s but the look is effectively a shortened version of the FT-1 concept car shown in 2014. Its body is sculpted, with rounded organic shapes, creases for air ducts, and a nose that resolves into a semi-horse collar look. The Supra has classic sports car proportions with a long hood, a set-back cabin with a double-bubble roof design, wide rear haunches, and a short rear deck with a prominent spoiler.

Sports car enthusiasts will appreciate the Supra’s stiff structure, perfect 50/50 weight balance, and low center of gravity. Underneath, it features aluminum front control arms to reduce unsprung weight, a five-link rear suspension also made from aluminum, and adaptive adjustable dampers. It also has an active rear differential, variable-assist and variable-ratio power steering, and 13.7-inch front brake rotors with four-piston calipers. The Supra rides on staggered Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, 255/35R19 up front and 275/35R19 out back. Total weight is 3,397 pounds.

Two drive modes are standard: Normal and Sport. Each mode adjusts the traction control, throttle response, steering weight, transmission shift points, differential tuning, and exhaust sounds. The Normal mode activates a Comfort setting for the dampers that makes the Supra reasonably comfortable on the street.

Push the Supra on a track or autocross, and it comes alive with slot receiver agility and immediate, rambunctious acceleration. The short wheelbase foregoes cornering stability for a more playful cornering attitude. It’s fun to play with the car’s angle of attack with careful application of the brake and throttle in a corner, but we don’t recommend turning off the stability control for fear the rear end will step out too far.

The Supra’s cockpit has two sport bucket seats and electronics sourced from BMW. A 6.5-inch center screen is standard and so is the BMW iDrive rotary dial to control the infotainment functions. The 3.0 Premium and Launch Edition models get an 8.8-inch touchscreen and a touch version of the rotary dial. The instrument panel is a digital display, and a color head-up display is optional.

Standard features include keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, Alcantara seat upholstery, Bluetooth, and the 6.5-inch screen. The 3.0 Premium comes with heated leather seats, the 8.8-inch touchscreen and touch-sensitive dial, wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility, wireless smartphone charging, and a 12-speaker JBL audio system.

On the safety front, the 2020 Supra comes standard with forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, active lane control, automatic high beams, and road sign recognition. Toyota also offers adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts, and rear-end collision warnings.

The base 2020 Supra costs $50,920 for the 3.0 and prices rise to $56,180, including destination, for the Launch Edition, which comprises the first 1,500 cars.