What is in this article?:
- WardsAuto Flashback β December 2013
- 70 Years Ago (December 1943): Civilian Truck Output Allocated; Packard Merlin Production to Double; Electric Window Motors Seen
- 60 Years Ago (December 1953): Pontiac’s ’54 Firsts; New Yorker Adds HP
- 50 Years Ago (December 1963): Record 1963 Sales; Studebaker U.S. Output; New Chrysler Plants
- 25 Years Ago (December 1988): AWD Car Sales Off; Beretta Ragtop Confirmed; Chrysler TC Arrives
Plymouth leads, Packard's Merlin soars, Star Chief rises, Studebaker quits, Baretta goes ragtop in December news from the WardsAuto archives
25 Years Ago (December 1988): AWD Car Sales Off; Beretta Ragtop Confirmed; Chrysler TC Arrives
U.S. sales of all-wheel-drive cars are forecast to decline 10% this year, to 119,000 from a record 131,024 units in 1987. However, sales are expected to rebound to at least 130,000 in 1989 as new entries, including version of’s imported Colt Wagon and Eagle Talon coupe as well as a Pontiac 6000 STE variant.
Added volume is forecast for’s 325iX, that will include a 4-door sedan as well as the existing coupe, and the debut of Mercedes’ 4Matic system on several midsize models as well as the S-Class.
Despite a decline to 36,549 units through October from 56,468 in like-1987, Subaru’s aging Wagon (Subaru had yet to use specific model names for all of its car lines) is this year’s top-selling AWD car, followed by theTempo AWD sedan, at 10,995 vs. 10,217 a year earlier. Total AWD car sales reached 99,239 in the first 10 months of the year, down from prior-year’s 131,924 units.
Chevrolet confirms plans to build a convertible variant of the Beretta coupe beginning in the ’90 model year. Unlike traditional ragtops, the Beretta model will maintain the B-pillars connected by bar across the vehicle, similar to the arrangement used on VW’s Rabbit and Golf cabriolets.
Beside maintaining body rigidity, the connected B-pillars have to be maintained because they incorporate the Beretta’s door handles and re-engineering the doors would be cost-prohibitive. (Despite showing a concept model at numerous car shows and in automotive magazine features, the car ultimately is cancelled due to GM’s weakening finances and declining Beretta sales.)
The first units of the long-awaitedTC by Maserati 2-passenger sports car arrive in San Francisco on Dec. 7. Designed by Chrysler and built in Italy by Maserati, the TC is powered by a more powerful variant of Chrysler’s 2.2L turbocharged 4-cyl. engine (later replaced by a 3.0L V-6) and features a removable hardtop as well as a folding convertible top. (Mechanical difficulties and styling deemed too close in appearance to the less-costly 4-passenger LeBaron are cited among the reasons for the car’s demise after just three years.)