It’s Friday once again, which means it’s time for another round of my Five For Friday: Five Thoughts about the Auto Industry for March 8, 2013. Subaru's auto-start recall, an EcoBoosted Mustang, a hybrid Infiniti crossover, the revised 2014 Hyundai Equus, and Chevrolet's free maintenance program for the Silverado - let’s look at my take on the most noteworthy and interesting automotive stories from the past week.
01. Subaru Self-Start Issue Leads To Recall
Dropping your car's key fob is an unavoidable annoyance that happens to almost everyone from time to time. For Subaru owners, unfortunately, seeing the keys hit the ground could occasionally mean a little bit more hassle than simply wiping them clean of dirt and grime. Subaru is recalling just under 50,000 vehicles built between 2010 and 2013 due to a flaw in their remote ignition systems that could actually see engines automatically started due to an accidental key fob drop.
The problem - which is linked to an Audiovox remote starting system used for automatic transmission-equipped vehicles - can lead to a situation where the car is started and run for 15 minute intervals until either the battery in the key fob dies, or the car runs out of fuel. This is more than a mere annoyance, as a car running inside a garage can fill a house with deadly carbon monoxide, while a vehicle that drains its tank in an isolated parking lot can leave drivers stranded. Subaru will be replacing the key fobs for free on affected Subaru Outback, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Impreza, and Subaru XV Crosstrek vehicles.
02. EcoBoosted Mustang In The Cards?
British Ford Mustang fans will be getting an extra bonus when the vehicle goes on sale in the U.K. for the 2015 model year. Not only the redesigned Mustang provide island residents with their first taste of the pony car in decades, but according to Autocar the vehicle will also come with a 2.3-liter, 300 horsepower EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. This unit, which makes use of a turbocharger, is lifted from the Ford Focus ST and tweaked to offer more power under the hood of the Mustang.
The big question becomes: will we see an EcoBoost Mustang in the U.S.? Given that details about the upcoming 2015 redesign have been closely guarded by Dearborn, it's impossible to rule it out. Examining the trend across Ford's lineup, where EcoBoost motors are being offered as optional gear on top of standard drivetrain selections, it seems likely that if EcoBoost does happen in the Mustang portfolio that it won't displace either of the current V-6 or V-8 mills provided with the car.
03. Infiniti JX - Make That QX60 - Will Offer Hybrid Model For 2014
The Infiniti JX is undergoing a name change at the end of the current model year, when it will assume the mantle of the Infiniti QX60 and join the rest of the premium brand's lineup as it shifts to a somewhat confusing nomenclature. The Automotive News is reporting that the fresh moniker won't be the only new thing about the full-size crossover - it will also gain its first hybrid drivetrain. The QX60 Hybrid will offer 250 horsepower from a 2.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is matched with an electric motor, and fuel mileage will check in at 26-mpg as its combined city / highway rating. This is 15 horses less and 5-mpg better than the V-6 edition of the QX60, and Infiniti is also promising that the Hybrid's battery pack won't intrude on passenger or cargo space.
04. 2014 Hyundai Equus Coming To New York International Auto Show
The New York International Auto Show is becoming an increasingly popular destination for new product debuts, in part due to its time separation from the major expositions in Chicago and Detroit. This year, Hyundai has selected the NYIAS to launch the 2014 Hyundai Equus high end luxury sedan. Although not a complete redesign, the near-$70k (when fully optioned-out) automobile will feature new styling, technology, and what Hyundai is promising to be a better grade of materials used throughout its cabin. The Equus is not a strong seller for Hyundai, with less than 4,000 models moved in 2012, but as the flagship luxury sedan of a brand known more for value the figures are not disappointing and represent a significant increase of nearly 25 percent over the 2011 calendar year.
05. Free Maintenance Offer Extended To Chevrolet Silverado
The free maintenance promotion offered last month on the 2013 GMC Sierra full-size pickup has been extended to its mechanical twin, the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado. As part of an effort to move out existing stocks of the 2013 Silverado prior to the redesigned 2014 edition going on sale, General Motors is offering free scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles (whichever comes first) on trucks sold in the months of March and April. GM will handle tire rotations, regular inspections, and oil and filter changes during that period, and the maintenance package can be transferred within its window of validity if the truck is sold to another owner.