a More-Powerful Mach-E, and Bronco Delayed

Bad News First
Ford announced late Friday that the Bronco SUV will not launch next Spring, as promised, but will be delayed until Summer 2021 due to issues related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Sasquatch manual-transmission edition won’t be available until the 2022 model year. It’s not surprising that pandemic-related delays are slowing a vehicle launch, but this delay is particularly tough for Ford given the importance of the Bronco brand and the fact that the bungled launch of the 2019 Explorer is still fresh in our minds.

2021 ford mustang mach e gt performance edition


This Week in Sheetmetal

Ford gave us new details about the GT Performance Edition of the Ford Mach-E. The company confirmed that the sportiest Mach-E (so far) will have 480 horsepower, 21 more than they initially estimated, and will reach 60 mph in less than four seconds. Look for the Mach-E in dealerships next summer.

If that’s still not enough horsepower for you, perhaps Audi’s limited-run R8 Panther Edition (532 horsepower) or the 720-hp Nürburgring production car lap record holder Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series will suit.

Power, of course, is nothing without torque. For that, look to the new Ram 3500 with the 6.7-liter inline-six diesel engine. It has 1075 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 37,100 pounds when properly outfitted.

2021 toyota mirai front


Toyota has been late to the EV game, choosing instead to goose its corporate average fuel economy ratings with a succession of hybrids. But now they’re playing along, sort of, with the 2021 Mirai fuel cell car, which will be 20 percent cheaper than the outgoing model and boasts 404 miles of range. All of which you’ll use up in your search for a hydrogen fuel station.

The Mazda CX-30 will have a new 250-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged engine for the 2021 model year, which you’ll be able to spec in place of the standard 186-hp naturally aspirated engine by the end of this year. Coincidentally, we introduced a 2021 CX-30 to our long-term fleet. We didn’t get the turbo.

First Come, First Served

While we wait to see if and when a coronavirus vaccine will be approved, Uber is already making plans to get its hands on one. The company asked the Centers for Disease Control to designate its drivers as essential workers, arguing that they help health care workers get to and from jobs, and that their delivery work allows others to stay isolated at home. If this pitch works it could mend fences between the company and its drivers after a bruising and expensive fight over a successful ballot initiative that exempts ride-share companies from classifying its workers as employees.

Sales Report

The November car sales numbers are in, and they look pretty bad at first glance, with a 14.6 percent year-over-year decrease. J.D. Power says things aren’t quite as dire as they seem, because this November had three fewer selling days than last year. Adjusted to account for that, J.D. Power puts sales down just 3.5 percent.

We’ll be keeping an eye on F-150 sales, which were down 45.9 percent compared to last year. Ford says low inventory and the shift to selling the new generation is to blame, but it’s crucial for the company that it gets this rollout right, especially given news of the Bronco’s delay.

mary barra

Further Reading

Mary Barra was the guest of honor on the Freakonomics podcast this week. Barra talks about the company’s electric future, about being a woman in leadership, and about her time on President Trump’s economic advisory council. We also learned once and for all: it’s Bar-uh, not Bear-uh.

If, in these dark times, you find that you need a reminder of the joys and misadventures of youth, spare some time for our own Rich Ceppos and this love (?) letter to his old hand-built Myers Manx dunebuggy.

And for the #oddlysatisfying crowd, we offer this 20-minute detailing of a neglected two-door manual XJ Jeep Cherokee. Watch it instead of doing your chores, you won’t regret it.

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