Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Honda merges IndyCar tech with new CR-V Hybrid for a fun project car, Ford announces pricing for 2024 Mustang and it’s not the best news, and Ford announces plans to rapidly increase production on models that are hardest to get, plus your news for the week.
Honda CR-V Hybrid Racer
Honda apparently liked the Hoonigan IndyTruck build so much that they wanted to have another go for themselves, this time using the new CR-V Hybrid as the template for their latest creation. It will debut in person at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and be shown at various IndyCar races after that.
This project was undertaken by Honda Performance Development (HPD) and various design teams and built by the Honda of America Racing Team (HART) to try and form a link between the new CR-V Hybrid and their IndyCar program, which now uses hybrid powertrains in competition. There’s not much left in this thing though that can still be called a CR-V.
It’s built on a Chromoly steel tube chassis and features lightweight carbon-composite bodywork designed by Honda’s North American Auto Design Division for the lower half of the car. They included a massive front splitter, flared fenders, a large rear wing, and plenty of intakes in their design. Designers were using DTM and Super GT cars as inspiration, and it shows. Everything above the beltline though is lifted from a standard CR-V, including the steel body and glass windows.
The powertrain consists of Honda’s 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged, electrified V6 power unit and an XTRAC six-speed transmission. This is exactly the same engine that powers every Honda IndyCar on the grid this season, complete with Borg Warner turbochargers, McLaren ECU, Shell 100% renewable race fuel, Empel electric motor generator unit, and a Skeleton super capacitor energy storage system. It receives a fully built chassis too with front suspension and brakes adopted from the Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, rear suspension and brakes from the Dallara IR-18 IndyCar, and Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 ultra-high performance summer tires wrapped around massive 2Elle Engineering two-piece alloy wheels.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse in person, it will appear at IndyCar events at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Barber Motorsports Park, Mid-Ohio, Toronto, Nashville, Portland, and Monterey. Honda says it will also make additional appearances at “select events” throughout 2023. I’d imagine some auto shows, Monterey Car Week, SEMA, and maybe even some competitions like Goodwood and Pikes Peak are on their agenda.
2024 Ford Mustang isn’t safe from inflation
The next-generation Mustang is months away from hitting dealership showrooms and overpriced auction sites and the last piece of missing info has just been released. And it’s probably not the best news. The Mustang is a good bit more expensive across the board compared to the outgoing model. Seeing how much tech is packed into the thing, namely the fact that the interior is now dominated by screens, doesn’t make the price increase too surprising. But those who have been holding out for one may want to read the rest of this news sitting down.
MSRP, not including destination charges (because we don’t know what that costs yet), starts at $30,920 for the most basic entry level Mustang you can get – the EcoBoost Fastback. Stepping up to the EcoBoost Premium requires $36,445 while the cheapest convertible option (restricted to Premium models only) is now $41,945. The quintessential Mustang experience, the GT Fastback, is now a minimum of $41,495. Adding the Premium package on top of that will set you back $46,015 while the GT Premium Convertible is an eye-watering $51,515 now. Then there’s the Dark Horse, the fastest S650 Mustang we currently know of, which starts at $57,970, which is actually not too much more than the current S550 Mach 1 it will effectively take the place of while also having more power.
Compared to 2023 model year MSRP, this represents a roughly $3,000 upcharge for most models. We don’t know what destination charges will be for the S650s, but it’s likely to be close to $1,495 they charge now for the last of the S550s. Speaking anecdotally for a moment and completely ignoring the impact of inflation, my 2019 Mustang GT Fastback with Performance Package Level 2 stickered for around $45,000 back in 2018. That same money now gets you a base model GT Fastback with maybe a premium paint option and cargo mats. That sucks. But taking inflation into account, these prices aren’t all that terrible. But it’s nevertheless a sad day when a base Mustang is no longer below $30k and a V8 Mustang is nowhere near a sub-$40k car anymore.
Ford increasing production to keep up with demand on some models
Even Ford is surprised at how difficult it is to find an F-150 Lightning or a Maverick for sale. That’s why for those two trucks and other models, such as the Bronco Sport, Transit/E-Transit, Mach-E, F-150 and F-150 Powerboost Hybrids, they’re hoping to ramp up production and deliver far more than they’ve been able to in recent years.
The not-a-Mustang Mach-E should see its production numbers nearly double thanks to a slew of changes made at its production facility. They hope to have an annual production capacity of 210,000 models by the end of the year. For the Bronco Sport and Maverick, Ford is hoping to increase production between the two by 80,000 units this year. I have a feeling that still won’t be enough for the Maverick though. The F-150 Lightning is on track to have its production capacity tripled this year with an annual production run rate of 150,000 units achieved by the end of this year. A recent battery fire in the plant reported by MotorAuthority means production resumes March 13th. Meanwhile, the Transit and E-Transit are expected to see an annual production rate increase of 38,000 this year. And not even Ford’s most important model is safe from production challenges, as the F-150 (including the PowerBoost Hybrid) is being targeted for similar increases in production, but they don’t have any concrete numbers on what their goals are.
If you were looking to order one of these vehicles this year, this should come as good news. Whether it will be enough for the Maverick, which you’d swear was made of diamonds or something, is anyone’s guess.
[Source: Ford, MotorAuthority]
What’s your news for the week?
So that’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.