Automotive industry big tops and flops in Canada
As we enter the fifth month of 2023, the auto industry continues to experience serious supply chain problems, which have in turn had an impact on inventories at numerous new vehicle dealership lots around the nation. In recent years, the use of “zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs)” has increased, especially in places like British Columbia where the NCDA is honoured to manage the CleanBC Go Electric Rebate Program on the province’s behalf. Consumers in this province submitted more than 10,000 rebate applications during the first eight months of 2022, and the ZEV share of the light car market rose to 14.6%. Currently, BC highways are home to more than 80,000 zero emission automobiles.
But what we really want to write about is this years big automotive hopes and the biggest disappointments Canadians talk about.
For the automobile industry, the last three years have been rocky, so it’s safe to say that if there’s one want we all have in common, it’s for a smoother ride in the months to come. Shopping for a vehicle is still a big dilemma for many Canadians, should I stick with internal combustion engine vehicle or should I leap into electric vehicle?
Regardless on what side of the fence you may be, Canadians have big hopes and have seen or experienced some big flops. And here they are:
- Ford Bronco
American icon, synonym for freedom, masculinity, off-roading, and untamed power. A dream come true while nostalgia comes alive for many Americans and Canadians alike. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Ford announced in 2017 that it will revive the iconic Bronco name. The new Bronco was scheduled to make its debut in the spring of 2020. The successful Jeep Wrangler would be the Bronco’s main rival, and both vehicles will have boxy design, high ground clearance, detachable doors and roofs, and a spare tire positioned on the back. Newly revealed Bronco comes with “you name it” bells and whistles, with so many options to choose from, the new Ford Bronco became an overnight hit. Traditional and very masculine design has made many American and Canadian hearts beat faster. Even some diehard Ram, GM and Jeep fans wanted to see what the hype was all about, everyone wanted at least to give this beast a try and then it happens! A big disappointing flop. American untamed beast would have a four cylinder 2.3 Litre engine and an upgraded version of 2.7 Litre V6! Really? Is that all Ford engineers and sales strategist could come up with? An 2.3 Litre and a 2.7 Litre engine in a 2-2.6 tonnes vehicle? I mean, this could make some environmentally conscious European buyer heart pump faster but not a North American muscle and off-roading car enthusiast! What where they thinking? Any how, many would argue that this came from the top, as the environmental goals have to be met and so on. Well, already in love buyers upgraded the engine to the full potential offered. 2.7 Litre V6 was the choice as 2.3 Litre in line 4-cylinder, well, let’s not mention it. Yet, this is not all. It seems that certain 2.7-liter Bronco owners have been having engine problems. Some failures have occurred with only three miles on the odometer, but the average distance recorded by individuals who have experienced them is 2,491 miles, and they have already occurred as early as July 2021.The NHTSA became engaged in May 2022, and thirty failures had been documented. There is now only an investigation underway, and no formal recall has been requested. This means that Ford must wait to see if NHTSA will order them to fix the 2.7-liter V-6 in the Bronco.
READ MORE: Safest cars in Canada
As some may already be aware, one of the issues with these 2.7L engines is that they use cheaper, less-than-ideal valves that were purchased from a new supplier who, it appears, failed to adequately check those specific parts. But in addition to having defective valves, the 2.7L V6 EcoBoost engine used in the Bronco has a subpar oil pan design that enables the oil pickup tube to become exposed and absorb air, which in turn can cause bearings to fail as well. This is especially true when oil is sloshy inside the engine due to spirited or erratic driving. Ford has surely fixed the engine issues, yet, the damage to its reputation has been done.
2. Nissan Sentra
It makes sense that dubbing the 2023 Nissan Sentra one of the worst cars to buy in 2023 could draw some criticism. After all, it has a lot going for it and is a terrific compact car. It has a well-constructed interior, comfortable seats, and a long list of standard driver assistance features, such as pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, driver attention monitoring, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and automatic forward and reverse braking. Sadly, what would have otherwise been a good option for customers looking for an economical car is diminished by its noisy and weak engine. With only 149 horsepower produced by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, this automobile is incredibly underpowered and unable to excite the driver. The compact car also suffers from slow acceleration as well as poor steering and handling dynamics. And while the seats up front are roomy, taller passengers will wish for more headroom in the rear. So, if you’re looking for a vehicle that delivers strong performance and comfort in both rows, you’ll do well to look elsewhere, as the 2023 Nissan Sentra is severely lacking in these aspects.
3. Ford Lighting
Another high hope and big flop comes from house of Ford. Long awaited fully electric pick up truck from Ford was announced as “The truck of the future. The smartest, most innovative truck Ford has ever built. From near instant torque to intelligent towing, seamless connectivity to software updates, plus power for your home, a power frunk and a digital screen that’s larger than any currently offered on a full-size truck – F-150 Lightning is a driving and ownership experience unlike any other”. The design and many available choices this pick up truck offers is truly amazing. Many had high hopes as this pick up truck was a true pioneer. One of the first of its kind. Where RAM did not have the courage, Ford has shown that progressive thinking could bring great results. Yet, all the promises and good looks could not excite many buyers. Despite Ford’s assurances, the actual real-world driving range is poor—even without towing! Along with its lengthy charging time and, more crucially, its high price, which renders it a bad value for buyers, this model was also advised to be avoided due to its poor performance in cold weather. Ok. Pick up truck that is unusable by contractors due to low distance it can travel, overpriced and has poor performance during cold Canadian winters, well that could not be good for business! These are the main and crucial components for any Canadian business owner who rely on pick up trucks. A long awaited vehicle project that did not deliver as promised.
READ MORE: In 2024, Ford will begin producing EVs at its Oakville assembly facility
4. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4XE
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4XE: This plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee model “…turned out to be a total dud,” according to the host, who lists issues like poor performance for an expensive car with a noisy engine, poor fuel economy, and a limited driving range for a hybrid car (only 20 miles on electricity and a pitiful 20 miles per gallon on fuel), all from a car that costs about $80,000! Electric propulsion, which is what provides the majority of the motivation when moving forward after a stop, is where the trouble lies. Less than half of that total (178 hp) is provided by the axle-direct motor and electric motor-generator that are currently in service. The 44-hp motor-generator, which is connected to the engine’s crankshaft, is subtracted from the 178 unless the engine is running. And that simply isn’t enough to confidently move the massive Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. As a result, it seems slow when confidence ought to be the driving force. In this case, Jeep has put two technologies under the hood that add to the initial purchasing cost, made this American icon more heavy and therefore asking for more juice and those two technologies want to be maintained properly over the next years. A combination that might not excite budget conscious buyers.
5. Tesla Cybertruck
Although the Tesla Cybertruck appears to have been delivered by an alien race, it is capable of competing with all of the most popular pickup trucks. Tesla’s all-electric vehicle is extremely durable, with a sharply edged body composed of stainless steel that is impervious to scratches and dents. The Cybertruck can tow up to 14,000 pounds, has an estimated driving range of more than 800 km, and offers all-wheel drive. Now that is a pick up truck North Americans look for! Power, range, towing and how about the price? The cheapest one starts at $39,900US. Of course, there are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding the Cybertruck, like the exact date of its launch. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, reiterated his commitment to releasing the truck in 2023 on April 7, 2022, despite previous production schedule delays. The Cybertruck will have a higher maximum rating than popular alternatives like the Ram 1500 if it can haul as much as Tesla promises it can. Models with a third motor will be able to tow an incredible 14,000 pounds, compared to the single- and dual-motor Teslas’ maximum tow ratings of 7,500 and 10,000 pounds, respectively. Additionally, each Cybertruck’s 6.5-foot cargo bed can support 3500 pounds of weight. The driving range varies depending on how many motors are used, but according to Tesla, a single motor can go more than 250 miles, dual motors can travel more than 300 miles, and the top-tier tri-motor system can travel more than 500 miles on a single charge.
Although Tesla Cybertruck sightings in California are still occurring, the most recent video was only captured after CEO Elon Musk discussed the pickup’s likely delivery schedule at the Q1 2023 Earnings Call. Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, stated on the conference call that Tesla is continuing to produce Alpha versions for testing, with the first deliveries expected in Q3. Tesla will host a special Cybertruck delivery event, which is most likely to occur in Austin. Musk and Tesla refused to divulge information on possible pricing or available configurations, saying that information would be accessible during the event.
The Cybertruck has been in development since 2019, and Tesla intended to begin deliveries in December of that same year after its presentation in November of that same year.
The COVID-19 pandemic, among other macro-level problems, struck though, severely affecting supply chain activities on a global scale. Tesla also hadn’t settled on a final Cybertruck design. Franz von Holzhausen, the business’s chief vehicle designer, stated that the company probably won’t ever take a “pencils down” approach, but it has settled on what it deems to be the perfect aesthetic, at least for now.
Owners of reservations for the Tesla Cybertruck are eager to learn more about pricing, but oddly, the automaker is unlikely to divulge any information until near or during the delivery event itself.
Let’s hope this truck will be in the top instead of flop section!