For today’s automakers, there’s nothing worse than leaving a lackluster product on the market for years while it is pummeled by superior cars and trucks. Failing to improve upon a flop can do permanent damage a brand’s image. The only way out is to design a new model from the ground up and show you’ve learned your lesson.
For the the 2014 and 2015 model years, automakers came out with guns blazing. The best-selling vehicle in the United States is getting a full makeover, while muscle and midsize classics are also finding themselves with new suits and interior machinery. By the end of 2014, much will change in the auto industry. Here are seven popular automobiles whose redesigns are making headlines.
1. Hyundai Genesis
Looks don’t tell a car’s whole story, but the 2015 Hyundai (HYMLF.PK) Genesis has styling worth celebrating. The all-new sedan will appear in mid-2014 with impressive exterior upgrades, Intelligent Drive controls, and all-wheel-drive capability. Despite having the current model in a phasing-out period, Genesis sales spiked 37 percent in December 2013 compared to the year prior.
A new Genesis gives Hyundai another shot to establish its premium models as a viable value alternative to European brands. To get the buzz going, Hyundai has a Super Bowl commercial touting the advanced safety features of the 2015 Genesis. Here’s a peek:
2. Chevy Camaro
Visitors to the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit got a look at the newest powerhouse in the long line of GM muscle cars. The 2014 Camaro Z/28 on display in the Motor City was a premuim version of the classic bruiser, but Chevy has a fully redesigned base model set for late 2014 release as well.
After a year of topping the Ford Mustang in sales (by, 3,400 units), the Camaro will have its work cut out for it with a redesigned ‘Stang ready to launch in late 2014. As for the Camaro, expect a smaller version with more driver-friendly features arriving. As long as that horsepower quotient and style don’t change too much, it’ll be hard to alienate Camaro lovers.
3. Volkswagen Jetta
The best-selling Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) in the United States is the Jetta, the compact with a clean diesel variant that can get up to 42 highway mpg. Nothing has changed stylistically in the VW flasgship since 2011, so the expected redesign scheduled for the 2015 Jetta is provoking plenty of curiosity.
Can Volkswagen hold consumer interest with the Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla featuring sportier looks? It seems crucial for the next-generation Jetta to shed some of the blandness that has kept it from being a true force in America. At twenty-second place in all vehicle sales for 2013, Volkswagen has already laid the groundwork for the next Jetta.
It’s difficult to create a stir in the way Ford did in late 2013 and early 2014. After unveiling a redesigned 2015 Mustang, the automaker pulled the curtain back on an aluminum version of the nation’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150 pickup.
The 2015 model pickup has been scrutinized and dissected exhaustively since its appearance at the 2014 NAIAS in Detroit, but the real test will come when its hordes of loyal followers get their hands on the first models. Anything this revolutionary has the potential to be a game-changer for the industry. The first aluminum F-150 should debut in the final months of 2014.
5. Chrysler 200
Though the best-selling cars in the world are compacts, midsize sedans dominate the U.S. market. Fiat’s (FIATY.PK) Chrysler Group acknowledged that its own offering was lacking behind the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion, among other competitors.
The 2015 Chrysler 200 got a huge upgrade in terms of styling, but its Alfa Romeo underpinnings point to a more responsive driving experience. Add a Pentastar engine capable of 295 horsepower and you have a highly anticipated replacement for the outgoing 200. The 2015 model is expected to appear by late spring of 2014. Despite a steep decline in sales late in the year, the Chrysler 200 managed to finish 2013 in the top 40 for vehicle sales in the U.S.
6. Toyota Highlander
If you’re going to build excitement for a redesigned car, there’s no better time than a commercial break during the Super Bowl. Toyota is breaking the bank with an ad for the fully redesigned 2014 Highlander, a spot that will star Terry Crews and The Muppets themselves.
A larger grille, new roof rails, and a bigger cabin will add to the appeal of a car that actually increased 5 percent in sales despite having a soon-to-end model on the market in 2013. Toyota made sure to add visual appeal as well as more room for families. To emphasize that family-friendly vibe, the Super Bowl commercial brings in a favorite of the kids. Here’s a look:
7. Ford Mustang
Anyone not dwelling inside a cave in December 2013 caught wind there is a redesigned Ford Mustang for the 2015 model year. The significance of changes such as the lighter weight and four-cylinder engine option can’t be overstated, but Ford made sure to leave enough macho accents and a powerful V8 inside to keep disciples of the original pony car on board.
Ford has events planned throughout the year for the new-generation Mustang launch, including a week-long event over the Easter holiday. Races, cross-country tours, and ample parties are part of the package. Then Ford and GM can recommence their muscle car sales battle late in the year.