2021: Automotive Comebacks And Failures

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This was a really, really crazy year…

Back at the end of 2020 we thought we’d been through a crazy year and we had. However, little did we know that in some ways 2021 would be just as crazy, if not crazier. Not only has the pandemic continued, the effects of it have also helped contribute to all kinds of supply disruptions and social discord which has directly impacted the automotive industry. But not everything about 2021 has been bad, as you’re about to be reminded of as well.

Check out the most wholesome automotive stories of the year here.

SSC Tuatara Record Run – Failure

Usually setting a road car speed record is a huge win, but little boutique automaker SSC pulled some real funny business with the Tuatara’s 300+mph run in October of 2020. We weren’t sure what to make of the whole thing since it was obvious something was off. The truth of what happened finally came out this past summer as SSC was forced to admit the hypercar didn’t hit the claimed 331 mph or even 301 mph.

Check out our coverage of this bizarre twist of events here.

In-Person Events – Comeback

After just about every event was canceled starting in the spring of 2020, we got sick of being relegated to sitting home and not attending meets, auctions, cruises, etc. Finally, 2021 has come with more in-person events returning. This has included the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which snuck through before all the event cancellations in 2020. Check out our Amelia Island coverage here.

Pebble Beach and Monterey Car Week also made a comeback after being canceled last year. As one of the biggest automotive events in the world, it’s something people look forward to attending and reading about. See our Pebble Beach coverage here.

Microchip Shortage – Failure

The chip shortage for the automotive industry dominated a good chunk of the news cycle this year. With the microprocessors in short supply, fewer new cars were being made, which in turn sent used car prices skyrocketing. By the summer, everyone was well aware of the situation but some were hopeful it would soon be resolved.

Instead, we’re looking at possibly more chip shortages for the auto industry in 2022. Check out further coverage of this issue here.

Toyota Beating The Microchip Shortage – Comeback

It’s worth noting that not all the major automakers are hurting from the chip shortage. The big holdout was Toyota, which was able to keep production rolling fairly normally until this fall before it finally had to cut output in factories in a big way.

Rather than take the situation lying down, Toyota found a way to bring all its production lines back to normal levels by the beginning of December. While the auto giant is remaining tight-lipped about how it’s procuring the chips to pull that off, the company’s resilience is admirable. Read more about it here.

Dodge’s eMuscle Debut – Failure

Eager to get on the good side of politicians, publications, and others who have criticized it for pushing against the “green” movement in the auto industry, Dodge excitedly announced its upcoming all-electric muscle car, or eMuscle car, back in July. While the people who were supposed to be impressed by the odd presentation applauded the move, we knew something wasn’t right.

A short time after the reveal, Dodge quietly took the video off YouTube and hasn’t spoken about it since. Dig into the details of this strange fail here.

Harley Strikes Back – Comeback

There’s been a lot of talk about Harley-Davidson being out-of-touch, outdated, and basically useless in recent years. Some have bought into the rhetoric and far too many in the media have essentially cheered what they perceive as the death of the American motorcycle manufacturer. That was especially true when in October of 2020 Harley made the decision to pull out of India, the largest motorcycle market in the world.

Bucking the doomsday predictions, Harley-Davidson posted big sales and nice profits this year. To see an American icon do well when so many are dogging it is truly inspirational. Check out the story we ran about Harley’s Q2 sales results here.

Dodge Security Update – Failure

Sadly, Dodge has landed in the failure column for 2021 twice – a feat we really hope the brand doesn’t repeat in 2022. However, the way it handled the much-delayed launch of the hotly-anticipated security update called Enhanced Security Mode by at first not communicating about the delays and then lashing out at us and other publications which followed up on the delays was only the beginning of the trouble.

When the launch was finally revealed, Dodge added some additional security updates and has been using a confusing rollout schedule. It’s a lot to explain, so check out our breakdown of the announcement by Dodge here.

Burned Motorcycle Museum Reopens – Comeback

January didn’t start out great when Top Mountain Crosspoint motorcycle museum burned in the Austrian mountains. It housed over 230 rare, vintage motorcycles at the time and was a place many dreamed of visiting. To see the structure a flaming, hollowed-out structure with only a handful of motorcycles pushed out into the snowy parking lot was horrific.

Against the odds, the museum was able to rebuild and reopen in November. While the only motorcycles saved from the blaze were the Indians from a special exhibit, the museum was able to acquire more vintage bikes to replenish its collection. Read more about this story of resilience here.

No 6th-Gen Camaro Z/28 – Failure

General Motors doesn’t seem too keen on the Chevy Camaro in general these days. Not only has it been trailing the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger in sales for some time, GM pulled the plug on production repeatedly in 2021, thanks to the chip shortage. What’s more, we learned there definitely won’t be a 6th-gen Z/28, a fact which has angered the faithful.

It gets even worse: the cancelled 6th-gen Camaro Z/28 was going to use the same engine as the C8 Corvette Z06. Read more about this crazy story here.

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