With the beginning of a year and decade, there were quite a few important things happening in the automotive industry this January. From new model announcements to industry scandals, there’s little doubt what’s transpired will have quite a few long-term effects on the cars we drive both in the short- and long-term future.
These are the top 10 automotive news stories for January 2020.
10. BMW USA Vehicle Production Hit Record High for 2019
BMW made a record number of vehicles in the United States during 2019, as the German automaker revealed in January. Its Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina rolled out more than 400,000 SUVs for the year, which was not only a new record, but the highest production numbers for any BMW plant in the world. Thanks to strong demand for BMW’s X models, that trend will probably continue for 2020.
9. Ford Pumps Up Excitement With Bronco Spy Video
The anticipation of the 2021 Ford Bronco is almost at a feverish pitch, especially after Ford dropped an exciting video showing the off-roader in action. Of course, it was more like a spy video since the Bronco looked like a mule and was wearing heavy amounts of camo. A prototype sped through Johnson Valley in the Mojave Desert, showing it has some pretty good trail chops, especially at high speeds. No official reveal date has been announced, but expect it to be sometime in the spring.
8. Honda Makes 20 Millionth Car in Ohio
Another foreign automaker celebrated a big production milestone in the United States, with the 20 millionth Honda rolling out of the plant in Marysville, Ohio. Founded in 1982 with just two production lines, operations in Maryville have swelled and more facilities have popped up in Ohio. That 20 millionth vehicle was a 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid in Platinum White Pearl.
7. Former Nissan Head Flees Japan
Apparently because he felt he wouldn’t get a fair trial in Japan, former Nissan head Carlos Ghosn snuck out of the country in a box on a plane, landing in his home country of Lebanon. This move throws more fuel on the controversy surrounding the Renault Nissan Alliance and rumors it won’t last much longer. Exactly what this means for future Nissan vehicles remains to be seen.
6. Volkswagen Readying New Model Onslaught
Volkswagen is going through a lot of changes, including preparing 34 new models for launch. That might sound crazy, but we here in the United States won’t see a good many of them since they’re bound for other markets. Still, it shows the face of VW is about to change in a big way. One of the big objectives with this move is to further distance the brand from the Dieselgate controversy, especially since most models will be electrified.
5. Final Porsche 991 Rolls Off Factory Line
It was the end of an era in early January when the final 991, a Porsche 911 Speedster, rolled off the production line. The 991 has been around since 2011 and is considered a huge success, but there’s plenty of anticipation for the new 992 generation. Still, plenty of notable milestones were achieved with the 991, like the return of the 911 R and the production of the one millionth Porsche 911.
4. Genesis GV80 Officially Breaks Cover
First Genesis teased everyone with shadowy photos of its first SUV, the GV80, but in the middle of January official, non-obscured pictures were released along with plenty of juicy details. At first glance it’s obviously a Genesis, sharing the same design DNA as the three sedans already in the model lineup. Cutting-edge technology and safety features abound, along with loads of luxury for this SUV. When it launches, two turbocharged engines will be available, but official specifications haven’t been released quite yet.
3. GMC Reveals 2021 Yukon Lineup
With the new Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban already in the open, it was only a matter of time before we saw the 2021 GMC Yukons. Thankfully, the design differentiation from the Chevy siblings has become even wider, especially with the even larger grille and other changes. Both the regular and XL versions of the Tahoe are larger, plus you can get a power sliding center console on certain models, revealing an in-floor storage compartment perfect for stashing valuables. The 2021 GMC Yukons will hit dealers this summer.
2. Porsche Launches 718 GTS 4.0 Models
One brand that definitely isn’t leaving enthusiasts out in the cold is Porsche. It announced later in the month that GTS 4.0 models for the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman would be released in late March. Not only do they sport a high-output 4.0-liter boxer engine, they only come with a 6-speed manual transmission, which is great to hear when so many performance vehicles only use automatics these days. That means three pedals, 394 horsepower, a free-flowing exhaust, and many other exciting features are coming with these new cars.
1. McLaren Speedtail Excels in High-Speed Testing
It’s always exciting to see a hypercar in development, so when McLaren pulled back to the curtain to give us a glimpse of what the new Speedtail can do, it was a momentous occasion. The fact that it was able to hit 250 mph over 30 times during testing at Kennedy Space Center is definitely impressive. Of course, while the car shown is a prototype, McLaren has already started building 106 Speedtails to customer specifications, with deliveries slated to begin in February.