Week in Review: Minis, Small Cadillacs, and a Big Merger with a Small Name

By Jacob Brown | February 01, 2014
We've had no time to slow down. As soon as the big Detroit show ended, our attention was brought towards two other automotive events, February's Chicago Auto Show and the Super Bowl. Wait, what? Yeah, the Super Bowl ads. As the most watched TV program of the year, it behooves the automakers to put their best feet forward and show their latest and shiniest offerings. But why wait til the first week in February when YouTube can add hundreds of millions more impressions? So between the new cars, the spectacle, and the other happenings of the week, we were kept busy. Let's check out other important events that happened this week.

Monday, January 27

The 2007 to 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid has received a fair share of complaints for being innocuous and milquetoast, but now it's actually taking flak for something that could be considered a little more offensive. Under an investigation issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Toyota Camry Hybrid's brakes could malfunction, causing a delayed reaction or more effort needed for the car to stop. So far, 59 complaints have been launched, but if it's anything like other Toyota products of late, the vast number sold could have an impact upwards of 100,000 cars if the car was found to be in need of a recall. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

Tuesday, January 28

The 2014 Cadillac ELR already has an optimistic pricing strategy, starting at just under $76,000 for what is largely considered the nicest Chevrolet Volt the world has ever seen. This week, Cadillac released lease details for its latest plug-in hybrid. We thought it might be a little more accessible; it's not. Try $5,999 down and $699 per month for a limited 39-month lease with an annual cap of 10,000 miles. From the get-go, Cadillac's strategy was to keep the ELR a green halo car that people could aspire to as they would a Tesla. But we wonder how many takers the ELR will have, and we wonder if this is a good deal, even if Caddy throws in the Level 2 home charger.

Wednesday, January 29

Earlier this month, it was announced that Chrysler and Fiat were tying the knot for good. That would allow them to explore synergies and share parts around the world, helping them to expand and become more profitable together. What they hadn't decided on is what they'd call the core company that operated both of them. While not too exciting, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will just have to do. Next step: Figuring out where their corporate headquarters will be located.

Thursday, January 30

We're nearing the on-sale date of the 2014 Mini Cooper, which has been completely redesigned for the new model year. As we approach nearer to it, we now know one of the most important parts of it: Its price. Starting at $19,950 for the base Cooper and $23,600 for the Cooper S before destination and handling, the 2014 Mini Cooper provides plenty of upgrades, including nicer interior materials, more efficient engines, more power, and more features. The only thing left to do is drive the darn cars. Fancy enough, we'll be heading out to do that next week and should have plenty to report back about.

Friday, January 31

The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the world's most iconic cars. Fact. But did you know that it just recently celebrated its 65th anniversary on U.S. shores? Tis true. The product of Nazi Germany, the Volkswagen Beetle soon gained traction in the world some decades after it was first put into production when a Dutch businessman brought over the thoroughly refreshed Type 1 to New York City in 1949. While it didn't catch on immediately, the hippie movement of the 1960s helped the car spread like wildfire. Since then, the Bug has undergone many upgrades and redesigns, but 21 million units speaks to its inherent quality. Congrats, VW, and may we see Beetles sold here for another 65 years at least.