Type R, Tremor, and Vaccines

Here Comes the Sun

As we’re writing this, the FDA seems likely to approve a coronavirus vaccine, and Ford isn’t taking any chances when it comes to distribution. The company announced last month that it had purchased 12 ultra-cold freezers capable of storing Pfizer’s thermophobic vaccine. It’s the first step in a plan to eventually distribute the vaccine to workers (yes, this news is a little old, but we missed it in the Thanksgiving lull ). Conspiracy theorists stand down: the company said the shots would be available on a strictly voluntary basis.

This Week in Sheetmetal

cadillac blackwing shift knob

Cadillac

Cadillac gave us the tiniest tease of the 2022 CT5-V and CT4-V Blackwing when it released a single photo of the manual shift knob. We look forward to more meaningful revelations in the lead-up to the cars going on sale in summer 2021.

Leaked photos of a 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander reveal a blockier exterior design that is mostly normal except for a totally unhinged front grille/fog light layout. We suspect the new car will share a platform and powertrain with the Nissan Rogue.

Toyota announced it would show us a Europe-bound electric crossover early next year, with a separate EV headed for the United States later. Perhaps those first EVs will bear some resemblance to the camouflaged Lexuses we got a glimpse of two days after the EVs were first announced?

Honda answered our prayers when it confirmed that the 11th-generation Civic Type R will be available in the United States, that it will still come standard with a manual transmission, and that, based on all current evidence, it will finally look like a car an adult would drive.

Ford knows we’re waiting impatiently for the next generation of the F-150 Raptor, so they announced an off-road Tremor package for the F-series trucks to tide us over. The package will provide an upgraded suspension, a rear locking differential, and a transfer case borrowed from the current Raptor.

Catastrophic Failure

If you haven’t been keeping up with the news of the capsized Golden Ray cargo ship, don’t deprive yourself any longer. The ship capsized last fall and, after a series of delays, is now being slowly and fascinatingly dismantled off the coast of Georgia. The cargo ship was carrying thousands of vehicles from Mexico to various ports in the US when it rolled over in the St. Simons Sound. Now there’s reason to believe that when a load of compact crossovers was swapped for taller, heavier Kia Tellurides, the balance of the cargo was upset. When the ship made a sharp turn out to sea, disaster struck. Et tu, Kia?

golden ray bow section

Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

The Life-Changing Magic of Giving Up

Uber, still suffering a huge ridership loss due to the ongoing pandemic, is moving on from some dreams. On Monday, the company announced that it is handing over its self-driving arm to Aurora Innovation, an autonomous driving start-up. On Tuesday, Uber gave its flying car unit to start-up Joby Aviation. Details on the deals are slim, but reporting suggests that neither company paid Uber, but that the company will work in partnership with each start-up to continue developing the technologies while taking some pressure off a suffering bottom line.

Further Reading

According to a lot of the junk in our inbox, the clock is winding down on Christmas shopping. If you’ve been procrastinating, now is the time to check out our gift guide for car lovers. Or, if you’re the only car lover in your life, consider forwarding the link to your friends and loved ones as a helpful hint.

ExxonMobil has had a tough year. It lost billions in the first three quarters of the year, struggling with the effects of the pandemic and with its refusal to pivot to alternative fuels, as several of its competitors have done. The New York Times has been diligently reporting on the oil giant’s stumbles and the struggles facing the industry. Let this serve as a reminder that the car business is never just about cars.

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