The Jeep Wrangler rolls again in crash testing, Acura collaborates with Vince Staples on Integra ads, Mercedes-Benz launches a new GLC. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
The 2022 Jeep Wrangler Is Still Tippin’
Alright, I’ll confess: Vehicles don’t really get tired during crash testing, but that didn’t stop the 2022 Jeep Wrangler from rolling onto its side in the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety small-overlap test.
Believe it or not, this is the third time the current JL Jeep Wrangler has rolled during IIHS small-overlap crash testing. The first time was in 2020, which raised some eyebrows over at Jeep’s headquarters. According to the IIHS, “Fiat Chrysler questioned whether this outcome was related to the method that IIHS engineers had used to attach the vehicle to the crash propulsion system.” Fiat Chrysler then gave the IIHS a different attachment method to use, and guess what happened? Surprise surprise, the Wrangler rolled in the second test.
Jeep’s engineers then went back to the drawing board and made some structural modifications. Evidently, these modifications don’t seem to have worked. As it stands, the 2022 Jeep Wrangler receives a Marginal rating from the IIHS in small-overlap impact testing, one step up from the Institute’s lowest rating of poor. Hey, at least the safety cage seems to have protected occupants well.
Ford Plans To Go Online-Only For EV Sales
Supply chain shortages and the resulting markups on new cars have proved disastrous for consumers. Add in the costs of marketing and keeping vehicles on a lot, combine with reduced aftersales revenue for electric vehicles, and direct sales start to make a lot more sense for both consumers and manufacturers. Ford certainly seems to be taking notes for future EV sales. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford CEO Jim Farley said during Bernstein’s 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, “We’ve got to go to non-negotiated price. We’ve got to go 100 percent online. There’s no inventory (at dealerships), it goes directly to the consumer. And 100 percent remote pickup and delivery.”
From the sounds of it, Ford’s proposed model sounds a lot like Genesis’ Canadian sales model. If you buy a new Genesis in Canada, concierge, arranged delivered test-drives, filing financing documents, and at-home delivery options for a new car happen online, but some of the groundwork like servicing and pre-delivery inspection prep happens at dealerships. It’s a nifty method that helps mitigate the pain of dealer-to-dealer trading by pulling from a nationwide pool of vehicles and aims to prevent consumers from getting shafted by nonsense add-ons like dentless paint removal and TruCoat. Here’s hoping that Ford gets direct-to-consumer sales up and running shortly, especially in a market with such scarcity.
Acura Taps Vince Staples For Integra Ads
Is it just me, or have car ads been generally quite boring recently. Most TV spots either have a plotline to follow where the car comes secondary, or they just feature glossy studio shots and a backing track that was big several years ago. Thankfully, Acura still seems to know how to make a car commercial.
To launch the new Integra, Acura’s teamed up with rapper and singer Vince Staples for three 30-second TV spots, all of which feature fun visuals and backing tracks from Staples’ new album Ramona Park Broke My Heart. Honestly, the collaboration feels like a solid fit. “Acura has strong roots in the South Bay and growing up I remember going to see the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, so teaming up for this launch felt really authentic and was a fun creative experience for me,” said Staples in a press release. As for the ads themselves, Slide has some sick tracking shots and a handful of sweet J-turns, Lemonade shows what seems to be a really fun day hanging out, while Magic is a surreal spot featuring a floating Integra and several clones of Vince Staples just kicking back and relaxing. Good stuff.
While I’m a bit cautious about the Integra’s chances of success, these ads are actually visually-interesting and Ramona Park Broke My Heart is a pretty fire album, so I’m pretty stoked to see this collaboration. More importantly, this marketing campaign really nails the concept that cars are supposed to be fun.
The New Mercedes-Benz GLC Seems Just The Right Size For The Starbucks Drive-Thru
Look, I could watch an Integra doing J-turns all day, but reality usually involves being stuck in traffic behind a compact luxury crossover. BMW’s recently facelifted the X3, Porsche’s updated the Macan, Audi gave the Q5 a nip-tuck last year, now it’s Mercedes-Benz’s time to shine with a new GLC.
The new GLC is a critical product for Mercedes-Benz, so the German brand’s elected to not mess with the exterior design too much. It’s all-new yet evolutionary at the same time, adopting wider chrome bumper trims, new lights, and a new grille with a single horizontal bar while maintaining a familiar silhouette. Sure, the new GLC is 2.36 inches (60 mm) longer than the old one, but width is unchanged and wheelbase gets stretched by a paltry 0.59 inches (15 mm). Nothing revolutionary here.
Indeed, revolution seems saved for the interior and chassis. Let’s start with the cabin. The dreaded central trackpad is gone, replaced with a driver-oriented version of Mercedes’ latest portrait-style touchscreen. Perhaps more importantly, the center dashboard vents aren’t the bin lid-looking vents from the S-Class. Squircle vents and loads of French stitching actually look pretty good, plus Mercedes’ killer ambient lighting is on full display. Under the skin, European-market GLCs offer optional 4.5-degree four-wheel-steering for increased low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability. Mercedes isn’t offering this system in the states which seems like a bit of a shame. However, an updated two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the GLC 300 launch model gains an electric motor between the compressor and turbine wheels on the turbocharger, helping add a 22 lb.-ft. boost in torque to 295. That’s pretty competitive with the BMW X3.
Expect plug-in hybrid versions of the GLC to come after launch, with the initial GLC 300 variant going on sale for the 2023 model year. Honestly, Mercedes-Benz is going to see a ton of leasing customers for these things, and we’ll see them in every school run lineup and posh grocery store parking lot across the country.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Friday everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts the other day, we forgot to feed our imaginary hosting Capybara. Hank gets a bit angry when he’s hungry and wreaks havoc on uploads sometimes. Anyway, what automotive adventures are you up to this weekend? There’s a chance I’ll be helping a friend rescue a vintage car from bylaw enforcement’s wrath. Fucking NIMBYs, am I right?
Lead photo credit: IIHS