June 15th, 2010 at 11:59am
European sales continue to falter as May units plummet. Meanwhile, GM finally has good news to trumpet as the Cadillac SRX posts major gains in its segment. And, Nissan reveals the noise the Leaf EV vehicle will make to alert pedestrians of its presence. All that and more, plus Volkswagen unveils the completely-redesigned Jetta, and the price will shock you.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, June 15, 2010. And now, the news.
WHERE’S THE SOLIDARITY?
Fascinating development coming out of China. Bloomberg reports that Honda wants to open better lines of communications with its workers after a series of strikes shut down the company’s manufacturing operations there. It turns out that the unions, which represent workers in China, are not elected by the workers; they don’t really represent them. Union officials are appointed by the government, and they seem more interested in keeping production flowing rather than representing workers’ demands. Honda is trying to set up a system that allows managers to communicate directly with workers.
RENT TO BUY
Hertz and AutoTrader have teamed up to help find you a used car. According to Auto Remarketing, more than 3,000 cars at about 2,500 Hertz locations in 20 states will be available to AutoTrader.com visitors. Just go the site to see if there’s a car you want. The deal is part of Hertz’s Rent2Buy program which allows you to test drive a vehicle for three days to decide if you want to purchase it. If you buy the car, you don’t pay the rental fees.
SRX SCORES BIG
It seems that GM has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, but here’s some good news for the company. The 2010 Cadillac SRX posted the largest gains in sales and projected resale value in its segment since its debut last year. Compared to last year, sales are up 500% through May in the U.S. and the projected resale value has gone up 17%. Also, the average transaction price for the new model is $2,300 more than the previous.
EURO ZONE BLUES (subscription required)
Meanwhile, over in Europe the car market continues to soften. According to the Wall Street Journal, sales were down nearly 9% to just over 1.1 million units for the month. However sales are up just over 2% for the year. The decline is attributed to governments ending vehicle scrappage schemes and the overall weak economy. Analysts believe sales will continue to decline throughout the year.
CANADIAN CAR SALES FALL
And things aren’t going any better in Canada. According to IHS Global Insight, April sales declined nearly 5% in the country, the second consecutive month of losses. Sales aren’t expected to recover, either, due to a rise in interest rates and a slumping housing market.
While our neighbors north of the border are running into trouble, south of the border the industry is in much better shape. According to Bloomberg, vehicle production in Mexico was up 65% to nearly 180,000 units in May and sales were up 15%, reaching 61,000 vehicles.
WHAT’S THAT NOISE?
Electric cars can be a little too quiet, which can pose a danger to pedestrians, especially those with visual or hearing disabilities. So Nissan embarked on a very in-depth study with sociologists, psychologists, universities and institutes to come up with a way to make EVs safer. It wasn’t just a case of coming up with a simulated engine noise, they wanted something that would break out of the background clutter. So here is the sound Nissan came up with for it’s electric car, the Leaf, to make while driving down the street, followed by the sound it will make when backing up.
Too bad. One of the things I looked forward to about electric cars is how quiet they are. I can only imagine what it will sound like if we have millions of these things running around.
Coming up next, a look at the new Volkswagen Jetta and the amazingly low base price that it will be coming out with.
Volkswagen has always had pretty attractive cars, but they’ve always been kind of pricey. Now the company is clearly going to aggressively go after market share in the North American market by completely redesigning the Jetta and pricing it about $1,000 less than before. It’s a taut-looking design–very Germanic and definitely very Volkswagen. VW claims it will have the highest levels of craftsmanship and quality in its class. And just to give you an idea of how aggressive he company is getting, the base price of the new Jetta will be around $16,000. They’re also making it bigger than any previous Jetta. Rear legroom, for example, is two and a half inches more than before. Four engines will be available, including a 2.0 liter turbo diesel. And all models will come standard with a manual transmission, with a 6-speed dual clutch automatic available as well. There are not a whole lot more details at this point. VW just released these tantalizing details this morning, and we’ll learn more about the car in the near future.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.