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Auto blogSat, 21 Sep 2013 17:03:00 EST
Even as fuel prices creep back up, trucks are still a hot item among new-vehicle shoppers. To see how popular pickup trucks still are, you don't have to look any further than how much effort automakers put into the continual one-upmanship of their trucks. Backing this fact up, USA Today is reporting that the segment could top two million sales this year - a total not matched since 2007, though still far from the pre-recession, three-million-unit levels.
Through August, the Ford F-Series continues to be the segment leader with almost 500,000 units sold, but the Chevy Silverado (328,269), Ram 1500 (234,642), GMC Sierra (122,232) and Toyota Tacoma (110,293) are all seeing at least 20-percent sales increases, helping to account for around 1.44 million truck sales so far this year - not including possible outliers like the Suzuki Equator and Chevy Avalanche.
This year alone, General Motors has completely redesigned its fullsize trucks, Ram and Toyota have significantly updated their offerings, the next-gen Ford F-150 will be out next year and Nissan is promising an all-new Titan around the same time with an eventual Cummins diesel under the hood. It would seem, then, that truck sales are poised to continue their upward trend.
Car movies. We keep watching them, they keep making them. Despite Fast & Furious 6 still blowing up the box office (No. 1 in theaters for the second straight week) and production on Transformers 4 being well underway (check out the Bugatti Veyron and Corvette Stingray as new cast members), there's still room on the marquee for more car movies. Next one up is an Ethan Hawke joint called Getaway, which prominently co-stars a Ford Shelby GT500. The first trailer for Getaway, which opens in theaters on August 30, was released yesterday and can be watched below.
The movie's plot centers around Hawke's character, former race car driver Brent Magna, who must somehow use this car, what appears to be a generation-old Shelby GT500 Super Snake he "commandeered," to save his wife. The movie's third co-star is Selena Gomez, whose character we're told is the owner of said Shelby. A 20-year-old having a car like this seems a bit far-fetched - especially in Europe - and on paper, this plot looks like it cribs liberally from Charlie Sheen's 1994 The Chase. But all we've got to go on is a brief plot description and the trailer below, so we'll withhold judgment until the studio firmly has our ticket money in its grasp.
The Shelby GT500 is, of course, no stranger to acting. Before this jump to celluloid, the most fearsome of all Mustang models starred in the return of Knight Rider to television on NBC back in 2008. That gig didn't pan out for the car, the show lasting only one season and 17 episodes. In fact, with its casting in Getaway, the Shelby GT500 is one of the few actors who escaped that debacle with a future in show biz.
Ford's latest don't-call-it-a-minivan is called the S-Max Concept, and it's a looker. As you can see, the conceptual overgrown hatch makes good use of Ford's latest design language, especially at the very front of the S-Max, which bears a striking resemblance to production models that include the Focus, C-Max and Fusion.
Powering the S-Max Concept is a 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, and while Ford doesn't actually list power figures for the concept, previous estimates put the mill at 133 kW of power (about 178 horsepower) and 240 Nm of torque (about 177 pound-feet). Inside, there's room for seven passengers and at least some of their luggage.
As you'd expect, the S-Max is loaded up with all of Ford's latest infotainment technology, including Sync and MyFordTouch. More interestingly, there are also onboard heart and blood glucose monitors that we doubt will be seeing the light of production anytime soon. On that topic, don't expect to see any S-Max-shaped vehicles hitting the US market from Ford, either. Scroll down below for the press release, but not before checking out the high-res image gallery above.