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Episode 653 – GM and Ford to Close More Plants, SLS AMG Roadster, VW Targeting MAN

May 31st, 2011 at 12:13pm

Runtime 6:45

Even though GM and Ford are recovering quickly in the American market they still want to close more assembly plants where they have slow-selling models.  Mercedes is introducing another lust-worthy supercar, a drop-top version of its SLS AMG.  Volkswagen announced it wants to completely take over MAN, the German commercial-vehicle maker.  All that and more, plus John shares some of his thoughts on the 2011 Kia Optima SX.

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Episode 652 – UAW Wants Big 3 Seats, Japanese Recovery Ahead of Schedule, BMW Autonomy at 9/10ths

May 27th, 2011 at 12:21pm

Runtime 8:36

The UAW wants to get seats on the boards of the Detroit automakers. The Japanese automaker recovery is going faster than initially predicted. BMW demonstrates the advanced state of autonomous technology at race tracks around the world. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit in which the panel debates which foreign transplant the union will target.

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Episode 651 – Chinese Car Sales Could Fall, No U-Haul for You, EPA Tests More than Cars

May 26th, 2011 at 12:16pm

Runtime 10:28

Chinese car sales aren’t just slowing, they could fall. U-Haul won’t rent you a trailer if you’re a Ford Explorer buyer or own a soft-top Wrangler. Ford demos Sync integration with medical equipment for blood sugar monitoring on the go. All that and more, plus we get a look into the EPA where we learn they don’t just test cars.

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Episode 650 – Marchionne Merges Management, Impala Moves to Hamtramck, Overcapacity in China

May 25th, 2011 at 12:15pm

Runtime 9:57

CEO Sergio Marchionne wants to have one management group for both Fiat and Chrysler, not the two separate groups like they’re now using. General Motors will build the next-generation Chevy Impala at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, alongside the Volt and Malibu. One analyst is warning that Chinese automakers face severe overcapacity unless they change plans to expand. All that and more, plus John answers your questions about diesels, CAFE rules and more in the “You Said It!” Segment.

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Episode 649 – “Easy Oil” Drying Up, Renault Heirs Sue France, Mercedes-Benz Vito for U.S.?

May 24th, 2011 at 11:40am

Runtime 9:14

For more than 50 years the Arabian Peninsula has fueled the modern world, but the easy pickens are rapidly becoming slim pickens as supplies of high-quality light-crude oil dwindle.  Louis Renault’s heirs are suing the French government for seizing the company back in 1944 and not providing them with any compensation.  Mercedes-Benz is seriously considering bringing its Vito utility van to the U.S. as a compliment to the larger Sprinter. All that and more, plus we attempt a bit of a cannonball run in Kia’s new SX vehicles.

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Episode 648 – Big 3 Supplier Relations Improving, VW Undercuts UAW Pay, U.S. Cars Getting Older

May 23rd, 2011 at 11:40am

Runtime 8:02

A company called Planning Perspectives, which tracks supplier relations, says the Detroit Three have improved dramatically, while the Japanese, in the words of the study’s author, “have lost their way.” Volkswagen, at its new plant in Tennessee, will be paying its hourly workers $27 an hour, including wages and benefits. That compares to about $52 an hour for GM and Chrysler and $58 at Ford. The average age of cars and trucks on the roads in the U.S. is getting older. All that and more, plus a look at the convertible version of the Camaro 2SS.

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Episode 647 – Vehicle Letter Grade Idea Dropped, Car Sales Fall in May, TRW’s Roof Airbag

May 20th, 2011 at 11:45am

Runtime 8:13

The Obama Administration has dropped its idea of handing out letter grades to vehicles based on their fuel economy. J.D. Power says that car sales in May will drop. It forecasts the SAAR at just 11.9 million units which was previously at 13 million units. Auto supplier TRW just introduced an airbag that’s installed in the roof which replaces the passenger airbag mounted in the instrument panel. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline Detroit with Paul Mascarenas, the Chief Technology Officer of the Ford Motor Company.

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Episode 646 – Americans Support 62 MPG Standard, Next-Gen A6 Avant, JCI and Saft to Split

May 19th, 2011 at 11:52am

Runtime 8:13

Earlier this week the Consumer Federation of America said that Americans overwhelmingly support raising the fuel economy standard to over 60 miles per gallon . . . but they have no idea what it’s going to cost them!  Audi’s next-generation A6 Avant is scheduled for take off late this summer.  There’s a storm brewing between Johnson Controls and its battery partner, French company Saft Groupe.  All that and more, plus John responds to your questions and comments in the “You Said It!” segment.

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Episode 645 – Differing Sales Studies, Saab Will Resume Production, EPA’s Dyno Lab

May 18th, 2011 at 11:40am

Runtime 9:17

A couple of new studies just released differ on how much the auto industry will recover in the U.S. One says sales will rebound to pre-recession levels of 16 million units by 2013, the other predicts sales will be 14.5 million in 2013. And speaking of car sales, a new report says Japanese automakers could lose 193,000 sales in the American market this year. Saab is aiming to restart production next week at its plant in Sweden. All that and more, plus a look at how the EPA tests and certifies engines.

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Episode 644 – Merkel’s Million EV March, Cadillac Clearing Way for XTS, Audi’s Capacity Constraints

May 17th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 9:10

German Chancellor Angela Merkel just unveiled plans to double financial aid to German automakers, with the goal of getting 1 million EVs on the country’s roads by the end of the decade.  Cadillac is gearing up for the debut of its new XTS by selling off the DTS and STS models it will replace.  Audi is capacity constrained right now but at least it has a sense of humor about the situation.  All that and more, plus a look at the updated 2012 Honda Civic.

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