June 17th, 2010 at 12:16pm
Want to see the Dodge Viper that could have been? Take a look at the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Land Rover takes the covers off the 2011 Range Rover. Edmunds predicts which cars will actually be worth more money a year from now. All that and more, plus we ask Ford if we can expect a performance version of the Fiesta for enthusiasts to sink their teeth into.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, June 17, 2010. And now, the news.
GM DROPS OPEL AID REQUEST
In a somewhat surprising turnaround, General Motors withdrew its request for assistance from European governments to turn Opel around. When it became clear that the German government would not provide loan guarantees, GM threw in the towel. Some in the European media are portraying this as the German government merely calling GM’s bluff, figuring it eventually would come up with the money on its own. I would point out that when you come out bragging to the world that you have $35.7 billion dollars in cash and securities, like GM did at the end of the first quarter, you can’t turn around and say you need taxpayer money to restructure your operations.
LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL
The UAW officially completed what everyone knew it would do; it elected Bob King as its new president. And just so you know who else is involved in running the UAW, union delegates elected Jimmy Settles as the UAW vice president in charge of dealing with Ford, Joe Ashton will deal with GM, and General Holiefield was re-elected to deal with Chrysler.
SOME GO UP, SOME GO DOWN
Most cars depreciate the moment you drive them off the dealer’s lot. Even the most expensive exotic cars depreciate. But Edmunds.com has targeted seven new models that it predicts are actually going to appreciate—they’re going to get more expensive before the year is out. That list includes the BMW 5 Series, Dodge Ram Pickup 1500, Honda Civic, Lexus GS 450h, Mini Cooper Clubman, Toyota Camry and the Volvo S80. At the other end of the spectrum, the ones that will drop in value the most are the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, Chevrolet Tahoe, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda CX-7, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Nissan Altima Hybrid and the Suzuki Kizashi.
NEW RANGE ROVER
Land Rover just introduced the 2011 Range Rover. It comes with a new 4.4L V8 turbocharged diesel, mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, and even though it’s got more power than the engine it replaces, it gets better fuel economy. Rated at 30.1 MPG, its the first Range Rover to top 30 MPG. It also is available with the same 5.0L V8 supercharged gas engine from last year. Two new features were added to its Terrain Response off-road system, Hill Start Assist, which prevents the truck from rolling backward on a hill when starting from a stop, and Gradient Acceleration Control, which helps control the truck going down steep inclines. Other new features include a redesign of the front end, more color choices as well as improvements to the interior.
TOYOTA RESUMES CONSTRUCTION
Toyota announced it will restart construction at two plants in Brazil and Mississippi. According to Reuters, the company halted construction due to the economic downturn, but with car sales and the economy slowly recovering, Toyota decided to continue with its plans. Toyota will soon hire workers to build the Corolla in Mississippi starting late next year. Originally it was supposed to build the Prius. And the plant in Brazil will build a small car with a capacity of 100,000 units.
MERCEDES SLS = DODGE VIPER
A real interesting story from Edmund’s Inside Line. Apparently the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG originally started out as the next-generation Dodge Viper. Dodge engineers had already developed the aluminum chassis and were working on the suspension setup before the SLS project started. Mercedes found out about the Viper and thought it would be a good basis for the SLS, and so Dodge and Mercedes began co-developing the two. Well as you know, Chrysler ran into some financial trouble, which then forced Dodge to abandon the Viper project. So in the end Mercedes continued on, and now we have the SLS AMG, instead of a new Viper.
What are Ford plans to introduce a performance version of the Fiesta in the U.S.? You’ll find out right after this.
The 2011 Ford Fiesta may be new for North America but as you probably already know, it’s been on sale in Europe for the last two years. In the past Ford has offered performance versions of the car in Europe. So does the company plan on introducing a version that will get the enthusiasts blood pumping over here? That’s just what we asked Ford, and here is what they had to say.
OK, so Ford is being understandably coy about whether or not we’ll see a performance version, but in the meantime it seems likely they’ll at least offer summer tires to keep the enthusiasts happy.
Sounds encouraging, and I hope I get a chance to try out those tires for myself.
GM got rid of four brands, Ford sold off a bunch and is going to drop Mercury, so who’s next on the list? Should Nissan get rid of Infiniti? Should Honda get rid of Acura? That’s what brand expert Charlie Hughes says should happen, and he’ll be joining us tonight on Autoline After Hours for some of the best in-depth discussion about cars and the auto industry. Join us tonight at 7PM Eastern for Autoline After Hours.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.