Dear Automakers, Could You Stop Sugarcoating Us Petrolheads?

The dawn of 2014 through the beginning of 2015 has been utterly phenomenal in terms of go-faster vehicles. My personal favorites are the 707 horsepower Hellcat brothers from Dodge, the Tesla Model S P85D and its 3.2-second stint to 60 mph (96 km/h), the Mercedes-AMG GT S uber coupe, as well as more down to earth propositions such as the 2015 Ford Mondeo, Smart ForFour and MINI Cooper 5-door.
But every now and then, us petrolheads, automotive junkies or whatever you want to call us, we have an urging need to speak about the wrongs of the industry, not only its highlights. After a sizeable amount of all-new cars and automotive-related events, this editor wanted to share with you 5 of the most focal points we’ve been dealt with by the industry in the last 12 months or so.

Without further ado, here’s my first of 5 “close, but no cigar” rants

Dear General Motors, how exactly do you feel after the so-called Year of the Recalls? The whole 30,433,365-strong saga wasn’t the best way of thanking Obama for that 2009 bailout. Furthermore, it was extremely tiring of hearing Mary Barra and other higher-ups talk about “GM is continually improving its vehicles’ safety” and all the other nonsense made up to divert the general public’s attention from the 50 dead due to the sub-standard ignition switch episode.

It would’ve been better to come clean and tell us “Yeah, we knew about the switches since forever and didn’t do anything ‘bout it ‘cos back then we were more stupid compared to General Motors of 2014/2015.”

Dear Audi, how could you put a €56,600 sticker on the RS3 uber hot hatchback? With 367 PS (362 horsepower) sourced by a five-cylinder turbocharged engine, an improved quattro all-wheel drive system and a fast-shifting S tronic seven-speed automatic, this is as mental as hot hatchbacks can get. Sorry 2016 Ford Focus RS, but “over 316 HP” and Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive doesn’t cut it on paper when you’re put side by side with the Audi RS3.

But then again, 56 thousand 6 hundred friggin’ euros for a hotted up C-segment hatchback related to the VW Golf? That equates to $64,705, which is almost 10 grand more than a 2015 Corvette and roughly €6,000 more than the 360 HP Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

Dear Sergio Marchionne, could you properly explain what has happened to Lancia as of late? Lancia’s Italian website tells that “automobili di classe” is what we are offered. Sergio, look into my eyes and repeat after me these two words: overpriced Fiats. That is the main reason why the once great Lancia stronghold started decaying like roadkill on a hot August day in the Lone Star State.

At the Fiat-Chrysler Bank am Bellevue conference, every brand the FCA owns and manages was detailed except for Lancia. Will this really be the end for the marque? Considering that the Delta was phased out of production last year, the Ypsilon is as “pretty” as a hairy wart on a girl’s nose and the Voyager is a rebadged, overpriced Chrysler, the bitter end doesn’t seem that far to me.

Dear Porsche, could you please stop charging me money for amenities like rear seats, air con and an audio system, features offered as standard on less desirable 911s and Cayman models? Let’s think this over: the less desirable Porsche comes with all of the above as standard, while the rarer, track-focused, road-legal racer doesn’t? I understand how weight shedding works on go-faster models, but it’s uncanny to charge me extra for something that I don’t have to pay for on the less expensive model variations.

After all, taking things off the entry-level 911 and Cayman actually saves you money when producing a 911 GT3 or a Cayman GT4. I also understand that the racy bits that enhance those two in terms of drivability are more expensive than what you take off my basic Porker, but could you please stop BS-ing your loyal fans?

Dear Buick and Lincoln, d’you know what’s wrong with you? It’s the same thing you hear from everybody - badge-engineered Opel/Chevrolet models and overpriced Ford cars with different body shells. I want to point out only two things. Buick, how is it possible to have a US lineup almost entirely made out of badge-engineered Opels? The Verano, Regal, LaCrosse and Encore are all Opel, body and soul.

With the 2016 Buick Cascada arriving in US showrooms in the first quarter of 2016, I beg the question: except for changing a number of badges here and there, everything else is taken from the Euro-spec soft top convertible. Which started production in March 2013. Yeah, it takes GM three friggin’ years to change some badges. As for Lincoln, please stop using the same dashboard, central stack, steering wheel and so on from your Ford-badged counterparts.

It’s not cool to ask $10,800 more than the MSRP of a 2015 Ford Edge for a 2015 Lincoln MKX. Heck, the Edge is an all-new gen vehicle, while the current MKX started production 9 years ago. If you believe that the 2016 Lincoln MKX is any better, pricing isn’t available right now, but there’s no helping that the floating center console, dashboard and instrument cluster were lifted from the Ford Fusion sedan. Not cool at all.

On an ending note, I’m asking you what automotive-related happenings got on your nerves so much that you feel the need to let other car guys (and girls) know about. Do drop a comment now, don’t be shy.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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