The Friday Five:The Orange Mustang Mach-E, American BMW Milestone, Mazda 3 Gets Speed-ish Edition

Beverly Braga | Jun 12, 2020

This week, automakers revealed more details about their 2021 models. Highlights include the BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid, official driving range and prices for the Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, a return of the manual transmission to Mini models, and the more powerful Subaru Crosstrek Sport. But the coronavirus pandemic is still an ongoing health crisis, and OEMs have not let up in their support of dealers and consumers alike. For example, VW recently announced its new Sign Anywhere service.

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

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Adds Cyber Orange to Paint Palette

Bold colors go hand-in-hand with performance. Case in point: the Ford Mustang with its color chart of white, black, and shades of gray alongside reds, blues, lime, and orange. And, so, no different will be the upcoming 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, which now adds Cyber Orange Metallic Tri-Coat to a colorful list that already includes names like Rapid Red, Grabber Blue, and Star White. Orange has long been a popular choice for Mustang buyers. And although the Mach-E is an all-electric crossover, at least it will stay true to its Mustang heritage in terms of color choices.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E in Cyber Orange

2021 Chevrolet Corvette Prices See No Initial Increase

Speaking of automotive icons, the 2021 Chevrolet Corvette will hold steady in terms of price. Both the coupe and convertible versions of the C8 Corvette will start at $59,995 and $67,495, respectively, when the model starts production later this year. Although no details regarding specs have been released, in only its second model year, the mid-engine Corvette will most likely be a carryover with little to no significant equipment changes.

BMW Builds 5-Millionth Vehicle at South Carolina Plant

Last year, BMW’s Spartanburg, S.C. manufacturing facility celebrated its 25th year of producing vehicles. This year, the plant celebrates its 5-millionth vehicle – a distinction that goes to a 2020 BMW X5 M Competition in a splashy coat of Toronto Red Metallic. Because of its significance, the vehicle will not be sold but will instead reside at the factory and become part of the automaker’s historic collection.

More than half of BMWs sold in the U.S. are built at Plant Spartanburg, and all X5 vehicles sold globally are produced there as well. In 2019, the facility led the U.S. in automotive exports for the 6th consecutive year, totaling approximately $9.6 billion in export value. More than 11,000 people are employed in Spartanburg, which is BMW’s largest plant in the world. 

Currently, Spartanburg makes the X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 for the U.S. and global markets.

2021 Mazda3 Hatchback to Receive a Turbo Boost

Driving enthusiasts rejoice! The Mazda3 hatchback will be offered with a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine for 2021! At the same time, driving enthusiasts sigh, for the turbocharged Mazda3 hatch will have an automatic transmission. 

But let’s not take away from the fact this engine has an output of 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. While not the torque steer-happy Mazdaspeed3 of yore, the new turbo’d Mazda3 should satiate those who’ve been wanting the Japanese automaker to offer a hotter-than-room-temperature hatch. 

Also, chances are the 6-speed manual will remain in the lineup on the non-turbo 2.5L-equipped hatchback in the Premium trim level. But, considering Mazda’s SkyActiv lineup of engines is scalable, who’s to say the turbo 2.5L can’t be swapped into the 6-speed manual model? Enthusiasts re-rejoice, perhaps?

IIHS to NHTSA: Expand Safety Standards for Self-Driving Cars

In a recent study, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that autonomous vehicles might only prevent only about a third of all collisions if the systems are designed to drive like people. Because driver error is a factor in nearly all crashes, automated systems will need to include specific programming to prioritize safety rather than speed and convenience, the latter of which tend to be human nature. 

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) makes a request for input regarding proposed changes to occupant protection in self-driving vehicles, the IIHS is recommending the federal agency first reevaluate and reform current regulations on the technology itself based on its findings regarding crashes. The IIHS also suggested that current safety mandates for front-row seating should be standard for all occupants since self-driving vehicles may be designed in a non-traditional manner. 

Other recommendations included automatic trip cancelation if the vehicle experiences a safety malfunction, like an airbag warning, or if any passenger is not wearing a seat belt.

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