Tom Murphy

Senior Editor,

Tom writes about suppliers, automotive technology and other wide-ranging topics.


Without Alfa, FCA Had Awful January
The Fiat brand fell the most – 45.5% to 1,229 vehicles – and the rest of the portfolio wasn’t much better. Dodge was down 33.9% from year-ago, while Chrysler struggled as well, down 24.0%.
Sales Down, Transaction Prices Up at Ford
Lincoln Navigator and Econoline van sales climbed, but the rest of the portfolio was down, particularly for cars.
With X7, X2, BMW Works Both Ends of CUV Segment
Both vehicles arrive as luxury brands ride the CUV wave that has been the lifeblood of the U.S. market. BMW’s light truck (CUV) sales were up 1.94% to 134,310 units in 2017.
Shots From the Floor: 2018 NAIAS
The 2018 North American International Auto Show concludes Sunday at Detroit's Cobo Center. Several prominent automakers (Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Mazda) skipped the show, but Detroit automakers unveiled new pickup trucks and Asian automakers were well represented.
Urus Will Double Lamborghini Sales, Exec Says 2
With a base price of $200,000 – well below that of the Huracán and Aventador – and newfound versatility for the brand, Farmeschi tells WardsAuto he is convinced the Urus will at least double Lamborghini’s sales globally.
2018 Winner: Jaguar Ingenium 2.0L Turbocharged 4-Cyl.
The variable-geometry turbocharger spools up quickly, helping deliver peak torque at an astonishing 1,200 rpm – barely faster than idle speed. “The torque gushes in like a firehose right after idle and doesn’t stop,” editor Drew Winter writes on his scoresheet.
VW Stages Return of the Jetta at NAIAS
The seventh-generation compact sedan goes on sale in the second quarter with more room, an upscale interior and a lower base price. But there’s no diesel. “We definitely pulled the plug for diesel in this country,” Hinrich Woebcken says.
Rinspeed Snap All About POD-sibilities
Besides Toyota and others, Rinspeed sees a future of skateboard-like chassis carrying any number of pods for personal or commercial uses. Some 30 companies joined in developing the Snap concept. A prototype is on display at CES in Las Vegas.
Shots From the Floor: CES 2018 Las Vegas
Automakers and suppliers continue to identify CES as an important venue for displaying new technologies, catching up on the latest trends and checking up on rivals, especially in the areas of autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and connected vehicles.
2018 Winner: Honda Civic Type R 2.0L VTEC Turbo 4-Cyl. 1
High-rpm flogging is not required but makes for storming good fun as the 2.0L turbo 4-cyl. pounds out 306 hp before reaching the 7,000-rpm redline. With a specific output of 153 hp/L, this VTEC engine is the most powerful street-legal Honda ever to reach America.
Toyota Paints New Mobility Picture With e-Palette
The automaker says several e-Palettes could be clustered in one place, allowing businesses or communities to quickly create mobile hubs for services, entertainment and festivals. “I mean, just think of how great e-Palette would be at Burning Man!” Akio Toyoda says.
2018 Winner: Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost Twin Turbo V-6
Take a step down Ford’s product hierarchy, and it’s the F-150 with the heavily revised 2.7L twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 that now makes specific output a relevant spec among pickups. It weighs in at an unheard of 121 hp/L.
Buick, GMC Sales Up; Cadillac’s Woes Intensify
GM says its average transaction price was more than $35,400 for the year and surpassed $38,000 in December. Both are records and above the industry average of $31,600 for the calendar year, the automaker says.
2018 Wards 10 Best Engines Quick Hits
A pro-and-con summation of all 32 powertrains evaluated in the 2018 competition. Many comments come directly from editor scoresheets.
2018 Wards 10 Best Engines: Mainstream Brands Triumph 11
This year’s list sees the return of the fuel cell, as well as the V-8. Jaguar and Kia win their first trophies. Half the winners are turbocharged. Toyota wins for a hybrid that’s not a Prius.