Infiniti Q40, Death Cars, NHTSA And GM: The Week In Reverse

July 25, 2014

Infiniti replaces the G37 with the Q40, we rattle off this year's death cars, and the NHTSA says no one's being fired over the GM recall debacle. This is the Week in Reverse, here at The Car Connection.

 

 

Infiniti has taken the next step in renaming its entire lineup of cars. Last year, it switched almost all its nameplates from letters like G, M, and FX to names starting with the letter Q. This year, the carryover G37 sedan also gets a Q name--Q40. Infiniti continues to sell the Q40 alongside the newer Q50 sedan as an entry-level car, until a new range of compact sedans and crossovers shared with Mercedes-Benz is ready in a few years. The Q40 will offer a choice between rear- and all-wheel-drive versions, with a 328-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 and a seven-speed automatic transmission.

 

J.D. Power has announced its list of cars that please buyers most in the first 90 days of ownership. The Power APEAL study had a few surprises. While luxury brands earned the highest marks from consumers, several mass-market brands proved that they've got the right stuff, too. New and redesigned models scored slightly higher than their carryover cousins, and high-end brands completely bested their mass-market rivals. For the tenth year in a row, Porsche landed in Power's top spot, while Jaguar and Audi came in second and third. The top-finishing mass-market brands were Hyundai, Ram, and Volkswagen.

The best new cars of the 2015 model year are springing to life--cars like the Subaru Legacy, the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, and the BMW i8. But what about the walking dead--the cars that are meeting their demise, timely or untimely? Before they're forgotten, we've taken time out to pay our respects to another batch of vehicles that have stared down the grim reaper, and lost--cars like the Scion xD, Nissan Cube, and the Chrysler 200 convertible.

Convertible owners have more degrees and more money than other car owners--that's the contention of a new study from Experian Automotive. The Experian study claims almost 19 percent of folks buying drop-tops in the first quarter of 2014 had a household income above $175,000, and almost 50 percent had a college degree. They're also sun-lovers, apparently: Twenty-three percent of all convertibles were registered in California (with 13.4 percent of the total) and Florida (with 9.6 percent).

And finally this week, GM has retired a lot of people in the wake of its wave of recalls--but what about the federal agency charged with vehicle safety? U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx told the National Press Club yesterday that no one at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been fired or even disciplined for failing to spot trouble signs at General Motors prior to the automaker's massive, headline-grabbing ignition switch recall. It's clear the agency had at least two opportunities to uncover GM's ignition switch flaw and initiate a recall. Secretary Foxx said his team has reviewed its records and found no fault in the way it handled complaints about the affected vehicles--but also says he's asked for a review of those findings.

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