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Could it happen? Ford's CEO wishes the Puma ST was sold in the U.S.

Ford didn't initially design the Puma to make its way to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Jim Farley is Ford Motor Company's CEO. He's only had the job for a few months so it's understandable if he doesn't quite understand the power he has. So, when Farley tweeted on February 15 that he wished that the new Ford Puma ST was available in North America, he received a lot of replies that read a lot like, "I think I know a guy..."

Let's take a closer look at the Puma, try to figure out what it would replace in the Ford lineup, and see whether or not it could feasibly make its way to the U.S.

2022 Ford Puma ST The Ford Puma ST is the most high-performance Puma you can buy.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2022 Ford Puma ST

What is the Ford Puma?

The Ford Puma is a compact crossover that was introduced in Europe for the 2020 model year. Its name comes from the Puma compact coupé, which was produced for Europe from 1997 to 2002.

The Puma is sold in four trim levels in Europe: Titanium, ST Line,, Vignale, and ST. The base Titanium model is pretty well equipped, but the Puma ST offers the best performance. The Puma ST is truly designed to be a hot hatch.

How big is the Ford Puma?

It's based on the same platform that the Ford Fiesta is built on meaning that they're both small by European standards and downright tiny by U.S. standards. The Fiesta fits two adults comfortably in the first row but the rear seat is best left to small children. The Puma is slightly bigger meaning that average-sized adults can sit there, albeit with the feeling of being a bit stuffed into a small space.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The Ford Puma is smaller than the Ford EcoSport, Kuga, Escape, Explorer, and Expedition.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

How does the Ford Puma compare to the Ford EcoSport?

The difference between the Ford Puma and Ford EcoSport is the same as the difference between the BMW X2 and BMW X3. The Puma and X2 are solidly in the crossover category while the Ford EcoSport and BMW X3 ride higher like more traditional SUVs.

The EcoSport has a slightly longer wheelbase than the Puma but the Puma is nearly six inches longer. EcoSport wins on width, being six inches wider than the Puma.

Front row Puma occupants have about the same amount of head- and shoulder room as they would in the EcoSport, but they are able to take advantage of nearly two more inches of legroom.

The Puma has substantially less cargo room than the EcoSport, both behind the second-row and with the rear seats stowed.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The interior of the Ford Puma ST features design choices to make it look street racing-ready.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Will Ford get rid of the EcoSport in the U.S. and replace it with the Puma?

Despite being widely panned by critics, the Ford EcoSport sells reasonably well in the U.S. The automaker sold 60,545 of them in 2020. That's about how many Nissan Kicks that were sold and 18,000 more than the total of Toyota CH-Rs that were purchased during the same time period.

Still, the EcoSport has a way to go to catch up to its chief rivals like the Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Kia Soul.

As good as those sell, some even smaller SUVs are selling better, like the Chevrolet Trax. However, those models are priced low, under $20,000 to start in many cases. In the U.K., the Puma is priced to start at around $30,000 USD. That price tag wouldn't fly in the States. Even with a $25,000 starting price, the Puma would start to have fierce competition from the larger and much more popular compact SUV segment.

2022 Ford Puma ST

The Ford Puma ST is a true hot hatch.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Then there's the dimensions. Americans are, generally, larger than Europeans. A car that is six inches narrower than the Ford EcoSport is quite compact by modern U.S. standards.

While there is room in the lineup, for now at least, the answer seems to be no, the EcoSport will likely not be replaced by the Puma, nor will the Puma be added to the offerings at U.S. dealerships.

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Bugatti is selling just 40 Divos worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Only 40 Bugatti Divos will be made. Four of them were recently delivered to U.S. customers. The latest customized version of the supercar to be delivered by the French automaker pushed the limits of what the Bugatti craftspeople are capable of. As company founder Ettore Bugatti once said: "If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti."

Meet the Bugatti Divo named "Lady Bug".

The Divo premiered in 2018 and shortly thereafter a prospective buyer and noted collector from the U.S. approached Bugatti with an idea in mind. They wanted a strict geometric pattern that featured diamond shapes in a unique color contrast on their Divo. The Bugatti design and development team set about figuring out how to make that happen.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" design process

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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Two special metallic paint colors were developed: Customer Special Red and Graphite. The diamond pattern was designed to run precisely from the front over the sides to the rear – matching the silhouette of the Divo.

Bugatti's team spend a year-and-a-half to develop and implement the technical and graphic solutions the Divo owner required. Adding the diamonds to the car was far more complex than they expected. They would have to be painted onto the body with precision and exact definition.

What made it so hard? According to Bugatti, "the digital patterns in the CAD program bear little resemblance to reality: owing to the three-dimensional, sculptural form of the Divo with its contours, curves and ribs, the 2D-printed diamonds became distorted on the surface of the exclusive hyper sports car. As a result, they had to be digitally modified."

Being off by as little as one millimeter would ruin the entire visual effect. The total would be 1,600 diamonds by the time the pattern was fully executed.

Weeks later, designers discovered a way to match the CAD data with reality. They ended up being able to pull the film over the deeply concave surfaces of the Divo without the diamonds becoming distorted or developing folds.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" graphics application

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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During the pattern's development, a test car was used to perfect the pattern. After the initial steps of the application process were applied to the customer's Divo, Bugatti's team need to remove each diamond. Graphite paint and a clearcoat were applied on top of the effect paint in Customer Special Red in order to invert the pattern. As part of this process, the paintwork was sanded, smoothed, checked, retouched and then re-sanded. All in, the total time spent on the paint on the customer's car alone was two weeks.

"Every Bugatti Divo is one of a kind. With the custom-made 'Lady Bug', Bugatti has demonstrated the full range of its customization expertise. What initially seemed impossible was executed to perfection by the designers and developers in collaboration with the customer," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti."We are proud to have matched the customer's personal taste and expectations with this unique Divo. The car really demonstrates what the marque is capable of in terms of creativity and craftsmanship."

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug"

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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There were no changes to the car's W16 powertrain for the project.

Each Divo is priced at $5.6 million USD but buyers pay more depending on which options they choose. All Divos are produced by the Bugatti Alelier in Molsheim. The first deliveries of the supercar happened in August 2020. All models will hav been delivered by this spring.

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The Nissan GT-R probably isn't the first supercar that comes to mind, but it's worthy of consideration if you're not all about being seen.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

You put the pedal down. A confident growl busts out the back end. The wheels may squeal, and you might too. It's not all about the power, though it has plenty. The 2021 Nissan GT-R delivers the type of drive experience that you're never going to get from an electric vehicle - and it's magnificent.

Godzilla has been in production since 2007 with nips and tucks and add-ons here and there along the way. It's not as sleek or stylish as the Audi E-Tron GT or even Audi's R8. There's no giant wing out back à la McLaren and certainly nothing Italian about it. The GT-R is it's own man.

Even areas of the country that are supercar-heavy, aren't heavy with GT-Rs. A Ferrari or Lamborghini is a bigger status symbol for adoring eyes. It's the real drivers out there who know that a GT-R is perhaps the better investment for someone who wants a supercar to drive, not just to be seen in. Its unique looks are subtle but properly athletic.

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium The car is capable as a daily driver but it can also push the limits during a track day.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium

The reason for that starts but doesn't end with Nissan's 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6. It rests below the hood, not behind your ears, and delivers 565 horsepower and 467 pound-feet of torque creating a visceral acceleration experience. It's enough to satisfy you, bring a smile to your face, impress those around you, and make you realize that Godzilla really is a beast.

The six-speed dual-clutch transmission in the GT-R Premium ($113,540 base price) manages the power nicely and shifts relatively smoothly - it's no Ford 10-speed automatic and that's okay. If you want a GT-R with a manual transmission, you'll have to upgrade to the NISMO model. Don't "save the manuals" me. So few people are buying them that they're becoming extinct despite your bumper sticker saying and hashtag. Most supercars don't have them. Nissan is just simply following an industry trend and the DCT is perfectly fine for drivers not spending the majority of their time on a track.

All wheel drive is standard on the model, meaning that the GT-R sticks to the road as you put it through its paces. That also means that you don't need to head home every time there's rainfall or snow in the forecast, and you can take corners a little faster than the local constabulary may prefer.

The car has athletic looks despite not conforming to the typical supercar design language.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

2021 Nissan GT-R Premium

Proper engineering has made the GT-R a great daily driver. It's fun to push it around the twisties on a winding road in the country during a long weekend, but it's also not a bad car to commute or run errands in (it has a real trunk!). Like any good supercar, the GT-R goes right where you want, when you want it, whether you're doing slow speed maneuvering around a neighborhood or putting the throttle down on the highway. The speed-sensitive steering calibration is spot-on.

Parts of the interior are dated, especially when compared to other vehicles in its price point. But none of those parts are enough to make the GT-R even the least bit undesirable. The seats are surprisingly comfortable and the ride isn't too harsh. Analog dials are a nice break for the eyes.

But the real reason you're in the GT-R isn't because of the the amenities. It's because you love to drive. Because you're confident enough to go with Godzilla rather than a flashy Italian or German. Because you understand that the car nicknamed after a fictional monster, and its gasoline-powered ilk, are in danger of going extinct as carbon neutral priorities seem keen on removing the type of visceral fun that internal combustion engines provide.

The car has analog dials in front of the driver.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If we're going to have to make concessions to make the air and water cleaner, it would be nice if, on the other end of the spectrum, the powers that be let us keep having the muscle of the GT-R.

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