The Friday Five:The Green Jeep, Greener VW, Green-With-Envy Toyota Edition

Beverly Braga | May 15, 2020

This past week, as some states began to ease coronavirus-related restrictions, particularly in retail, automakers continued their appeal to consumers with extended warranties, zero-interest financing, and no-contact service. We also covered the Toyota Prius’ 20th birthday as well as new tech news from Audi.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space. 

Jeep Wrangler Reduces Environmental Impact By 15%

In a recent analysis of the Jeep Wrangler’s Global Warming Potential (GWP), Unlimited models showed a potential reduction of 14 metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHG). The testing was conducted on the then-new-for-2018 Jeep Wrangler with results compared to the previous generation. 

Jeep Wrangler in red front view

Data was collected over the course of 150,000 miles. Determining the vehicle’s GWP impact involves comparing anticipated GHG emissions with other vehicles as well as fuel economy performance and materials used in production. This analysis only applies to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with engine start-stop and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. 

The 15% GWP reduction is equivalent to the GHG annual emissions of three passenger cars. The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is available with eTorque mild-hybrid technology, which could further decrease emissions impact.

Next-Gen Tesla Battery Could Lead to a Price Match with Gas Vehicles

A new lower-cost, longer-life battery is in the works for the Tesla Model 3. Expected to be introduced in China as early as the end of 2020, Tesla jointly developed the battery with China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL). New battery chemistry and construction methodology reduces cost and environmental impact, and battery life is designed for one million miles of use. This could, along with other factors, put the Tesla Model 3’s pricing on par with that of gasoline-powered vehicles. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been teasing significant announcements in association with the automaker’s upcoming Battery Day event, which is slated for the end of May. In addition to more details on the million-mile battery pack, expect additional news regarding improved production efficiencies and materials recycling as well.

Genesis Launches Personalized At-Home Shopping Service

In what may become the post-pandemic new normal, Genesis launched its “white glove” personal shopping service this week. Available nationwide, “Genesis Concierge” gives customers a dedicated host to guide them through every aspect of the vehicle-buying process. This includes assisting with shopping guides, answering product questions, interfacing with the dealership on the customer’s behalf, and coordinating at-home test drives and vehicle delivery.

Genesis already offers a similar program via Service Valet, which allows owners to schedule maintenance appointments, including having their vehicle picked up and delivered at a time and location of their choice. Service Valet is complimentary for the first 3 years of ownership.

Not only are these services convenient for owners and prospective owners alike, but they offer contactless customer service without sacrificing personalization or the luxury experience that Genesis has marketed itself to offer.

The Volkswagen Atlas Gets a Racy New Color

Vehicle design is a holistic process, and how the sheet metal curves and creases will either appeal or appall the beholder. Just the same, color can make or break a design as well. Which is why the decision to add Racing Green to the Volkswagen Atlas color palette was a four-year market research study.

VW’s research showed that Atlas customers in particular lean toward traditional colors because they simply age well. Case in point: White is the color of choice for 25% of midsize SUV sales, and is the most popular overall vehicle color in North America. Blue and red come in at 10% a piece.

Although Racing Green is all-new for the Atlas, the name has been part of the VW family for decades. This new shade actually hearkens back to the fifth-generation Passat from the 1990s and was also available on the Golf R. Its coloring is similar to the British Racing Green with which auto enthusiasts are familiar. The new Racing Green, however, sports a slightly darker hue and more metallic flake. 

Racing Green joins an updated red (Aurora Red Chroma) and silver (Pyrite Silver Metallic) for the 2021 model year. 

Toyota Decides to Bring Gazoo Racing Hot Hatch to U.S. After Enthusiast Uproar

Who knew that whining could actually amount to something positive? And by positive we mean a new addition to the hot-hatch segment—and one that the U.S. actually gets!

Toyota already sells the Gazoo Racing (GR) Yaris elsewhere in the world but rumors abound about a possible GR Corolla version. Then last month’s debut of the non-U.S. market Yaris Cross further fueled speculation. And Toyota was listening.

Via the automaker’s dedicated website: “While GR Yaris isn’t coming to the U.S., perhaps it’s time the U.S. got a Toyota hot hatch to call its own…Are you with us?” 

According to Car and Driver, this GR-for-America vehicle will be a 2021 model so expect more news from Toyota in the coming months.

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