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Webster’s offers multiple definitions for the word ‘rogue’. A dishonest or worthless person. Ouch. An individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation. Eek. A horse inclined to shirk or misbehave. So much negativity.

Since ‘rogue’ comes off as inferior, worthless, and dishonest; Nissan decided to call their X-Trail replacement – their smallest SUV in the booming American small-crossover market- the Rogue. The Nissan Rogue can be called the shirking, worthless, inferior, dishonest delinquent in the cute-ute crowd. Other markets use Qashqai, a nomadic Iranian tribe. Nissan had hoped that their soft roader would be driven by nomadic young people, but it seems they figure the American Qashqai buyer is more likely to buy a dishonest and inferior biological variation….

Instead of the negative nouns, Ford is sticking with the same name for the same vehicle that will likely be called ‘all-new’ when the commercials hit the air. While Ford’s home market dealerships – that’d be in the USA – languished with an old Focus, other markets received a completely new car that shared some bits with the Volvo S40. Ford will refresh the Focus again, this time for 2008. We first saw the same basic Focus in…what, 2001? It feels like 1996 and the Escort all over again. Refresh, at best. The latest edition will look somewhat different but carryover with the same old stuff. The Focus is still a pleasure to drive, but not all commuters spend their hard earned $ just to drive. They sit, chauffeur, eat, drink, and live in their cars. Ford seems to zoom in on Europe and decides to make great new cars like the Mondeo and S-Max, but the latest edition of the Focus should instead be named the Ford Distracted……

The next Mercedes supercar will likely not be named SLR and will almost definitely not be linked to, designed by, or associated with McLaren. Nobody wanted a supercar with a beak. Ironically, McLaren’s Formula 1 team is just beginning to tear up the opposition with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, as discussed on GCBC back in June. (See that story here.) Mercedes will stick with in-house tuner AMG for their next flagship……

The Sierra Group groupies within Toyota Motor Corp clearly lost the large-SUV battle when it came to the next Sequoia. Having been a member of the Tundra family for a number of years, the Sequoia will step up in size and power because that’s what the Tundra pickup had to do to compete. This #1 automaker in the world, blossoming under the light of its Hybrid Synergy Drive, makes more of the transportation devices (cars and trucks, that is) that contribute greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than anybody else…..

Audi will build A3 convertibles in Hungary beginning in 2008…… Volkswagen has shown images of its production Tiguan. Had the Tiguan been around for the Honda/VW tennis match, it would have been a direct rival for the CR-V or Acura RDX. Naturally, the folks at Volks have positioned the Tiguan as an upscale vehicle, thereby pricing it above the CR-V and Toyota RAV4. However, the badge does still say VW, not Audi……BMW’s smallest self-badged car, the 1-series, will come to across the Atlantic within the next year. Built as a two-door coupe, rather than the 3 and 5 door hatches seen elsewhere, the 6-cylinder cars will offer serious speed in a small package. BMW’s will always remain expensive, but this will be an easier mode of entry into the world of ultimate driving machines. More frugal models like the 120d are not in the plans.