As the economy slowly gets back it feet, the automotive industry has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of the release of pent-up demand as the recession lifted. Manufacturers worldwide have been experiencing significant gains in the U.S. market, and as a result, the competition has arguably become fiercer than ever before.
In efforts to remain on the cutting edge, automakers have been pouring tremendous amounts of resources, money, and time into developing new vehicles, and revitalizing older, dated models in hopes of bringing their brands to the forefront of consumer thought.
Though this list is by no means comprehensive, here are nine examples of refreshed and redesigned cars aimed at keeping their parent companies relevant in the fight for consumer dollars.
1. Toyota Corolla
The sleepy, now dated look of the Toyota (NYSE:TM) Corolla of old has been replaced by the sleeker, far sportier model you see above. What has long been a clunkier compact has been refreshed with more graceful lines, a more aggressive stance, and a vast menu of options to choose from.
2. Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL
Though the redesigned editions of Chevrolet’s (NYSE:GM) Suburban and Tahoe were just released last week, the new vehicles — along with their GMC counterparts — offer some significant styling points over their predecessors. The full-size SUVs feature platforms that are stronger and offer a wider rear track for “a more planted stance” in addition to the obvious cosmetic differences. Notably, the exterior appearance discrepancies between the GMC and the Chevy seem more pronounced than in the past.
3. Ford Fusion
The 2013 Ford (NYSE:F) Fusion was a badly needed, greatly welcomed improvement over the outgoing model. The new model is phenomenally more sporty looking and has added a dose of aggression to the midsize crowd. Judging by the products coming from rival manufacturers, it seems that the Fusion’s new look has shaken the industry up a bit, forcing companies to rethink their sleepier cars.
4. Cadillac XTS
The XTS is just the tip of Cadillac’s multi-pronged attack. After watching its market share slide increasingly in favor of European models, General Motors has initiated a full lineup overhaul to pull the brand out of its downward spiral. The results have been spectacular, too — Cadillac has been routinely packing on double-digit growth throughout the year, and on a percentage basis, it remains one of GM’s best-performing brands.
5. Mitsubishi Outlander
Mitsubishi has been plagued with problems for years, largely stemming from a seriously dated lineup. Aside from its Lancer Evolution, the brand seems to have little to offer that hasn’t been done already by another company. The Outlander has seen quite the evolution since its debut in 2003, and it now offers one of the newest faces in Mitsubishi’s lineup. It’s unlikely that the Outlander will be able to pull the company from the deep, dark depths single-handedly, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
6. Honda Accord
The venerable Honda (NYSE:HMC) Accord has become an icon of reliability over the course of its multi-decade life. However, Honda fell into the same lull that the rest of the midsize segment was victim to, and the Accord became another routine, sleepy sedan. The latest iteration, while it doesn’t go to the sporty extremes that the new Ford Fusion does, offers a clean, crisp appearance that exudes more attitude than the Accords of years past.
7. Chevrolet Silverado
Pickup trucks have proven to be an invaluable asset to automakers, as the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 1500 continue to rank highly among the best-selling vehicles each month. Chevrolet thought — perhaps, rightly so — that the Silverado needed a fresh presence and set about bringing its leading pickup up to speed.
8. Lexus ES
The new Lexus ES, like the Cadillac, is a representative model of the whole Lexus line. Toyota is implementing the hourglass-inspired front fascia across its entire line, more or less. The cut, angular lines and pointed styling cues give the Lexus line a more aggressive look and further distance the brand from its Toyota-based upbringing.
9. Land Rover Range Rover
The Land Rover Range Rover, while it’s no Land Rover Defender, has become something of an icon, and in that scenario, there’s only so much that can be done to prevent the spoiling of what made the car famous and beloved in the first place. The Range Rover has had a more futuristic touch applied but still maintains its rugged yet luxurious Land Rover panache.
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