Episode 415 – Mercedes SLS = Dodge Viper, 2011 Range Rover Unveiled, Which Cars Appreciate?

June 17th, 2010 at 12:16pm

Runtime 7:43

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.

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, June 17, 2010. And now, the news.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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25 Comments to “Episode 415 – Mercedes SLS = Dodge Viper, 2011 Range Rover Unveiled, Which Cars Appreciate?”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t see how products like Ram and Camry would appreciate. Even if all the rebates go away completely on these products, it’s hard to imagine current model year mainstream vehicles appreciating.

  2. T. Bejma Says:

    JD Power hot of the press and GM has 10 Top 3 Models with 4 Best in Class!! WooHoo!!!

    Domestics beat out the others for the first time that JD Power has done the Initial Quality Survey!

  3. Derek V. Says:

    YES – Ford Fiesta Performance Packages
    YES – Drop Infiniti
    YES – Drop Acura
    AND – interesting note about the SLS = Viper

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As much as I like the Dodge Ram 1500,I just don’t see where or how it could appreciate in value UNLESS……they put in a diesel.That would make them the first to market a quality 1/2 ton diesel pickup in this country in years.

    BUT……chevy has their diesel all ready to go right now too.It all comes down to who wants to own the 1/2 ton market for a few (or more) years.As I’ve said many times…”first one to come out with the diesel pickup everyone wants…..wins”.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    The only surprise in the apprec-depreciate list is the Ram and Camry. Camry? You can’t swing a dead chicken around without hitting one of them. Nick was right on with his evaluation of the Altima hybrid.

  6. Buzzerd Says:

    we asked Ford if they plan on introducing a version to get our blood pumping here and this is what they had to say. ” if you look at the history of Ford blah blah blah nothing nothing blah…….” How about we aren’t sure yet, it’s a possibility.

  7. HtG Says:

    Attention Gear Geeks! This Saturday in Philadelphia, the Simeone Foundation Museum will celebrate 100 years of Alfa Romeo. They display and drive several classic race models at noon.


  8. Mike W Says:

    John – For an epsisode of AAH or AD, could you possibly invite Barry Meguiar, from Car Crazy? He would have excellent ideas to talk about for car crazy folks like you and me. And how about going to the SEMA show, or visiting Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage? Sound like a road show, doesn’t it?

  9. dcars Says:

    I don’t think I believe that some of those models will go up in price. Like Kit says the Ram and the Camry? It was very interesting that GM dropped it’s request. Opel has been a bleeder for so long it’s hard to believe that GM will spend another 11 Billion on them.

  10. dcars Says:

    I like the idea of visiting Jay Leno’s big Dog garage and the Sema Show, but Barry Meguiar? I’d prefer Tracy David or Dan Woods

  11. tj Martin Says:

    John ;

    On your Viper / Mercedes AMG SLS story . I am laughing my head off . For the last five months on a UK Automotive Magazine website I occasionally participate on I’ve been arguing with those Brits till I’m blue in the face that the AMG SLS is a bloody derivative of the Dodge Viper !

    With said Brits jumping all over me ( along with the magazines German Reporter ) for daring to say such a horrible thing about the pretentious AMG SLS.( The magazine and the Websites Anti American bias of late has been excessive )

    Then here today . Good ole John McElroy again comes to the rescue and vindicates/validates my observation/opinion.

    You’re brilliant John . And you almost never fail to make me look smarter than I probably am .

    Oh am I gonna have a good time shoving todays ALD link down those Limey’s throats . Cheers my ( bleep ) to them !

  12. diffrunt Says:

    Barry,s a nice guy,if you don,t mind your show being kneedeep in gush.

  13. tj Martin Says:


    Wish I were anywhere near Philadelphia PA this weekend . If I were I’d be joining you at that event in a heartbeat . Thanks for the link . Maybe they’ll toss a few photos on the site after the event for the unfortunate such as myself unable to attend .

  14. Salvador G. Says:

    1. Well, I wonder if the predicted increase in value of the Dodge Ram truck line will make Mr. Marchionne reconsider dividing the two (probably not) still -I’m surprise for the Dodge Ram and not the Ford F150.

    2. I think a better question I like to ask Ford is -WHY Ford decided NOT to bring the Ford Focus RS to America?? OR at the very least -Why not bring (Not even for Autoshows) the performance version of the Fiesta?? -Hell bring the WRC car just to show it.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current Chevy/Ford/Dodge diesel pickups are good for towing large trailers, but make no sense for anything else. The engines are WAY TOO BIG for a lightly loaded “half ton” pickup.

    What is needed are diesels about 2/3 the size of the ones currently. Does Cummins make a 4 cylinder version of the engine Dodge uses? That should have adequate power, and get very good fuel economy in a lightly loaded, light duty truck. I suppose it might have excessive vibration, though, for today’s buyers.

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: I know for a fact that Cummins makes some very good 4 cyl diesels that would be great in a half ton.Cummins also makes 3 cyl diesels.I have one in my tractor.

    Ram 1500 diesel:I have read that there is both a V6,and a V8 Cummins available.I believe that the V6 would be more suitable for it’s torque and 2 less cyl’s to feed (better mpg).

    Ford hasn’t really weighed in on the 1/2 ton,or compact diesel pickup thing.I have read that they have an in-house 4.4L V8 I believe.I am not sure if it is compliant with the new epa regs.

  17. Jim Thykeson Says:

    John, I’ve written this before, but after seeing the report on the Merc-AMG gull-wing being the planned Viper, its time to bring this suggestion again. Chrysler has a concept car called ‘Firepower’ with the most beautiful interior package you’ll ever see! It looks like a sophisticated Cobra Daytona coupe!
    And wouldn’t you know it; it’s powered by HEMI! This is their homerun signature car; start building!

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    In reference to having Barry Maguier on AAH,all I can say is that guy creeps me out.I can’t watch his show at all or stand to even look at him.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    G.A.Branigan Says:

    “Ram 1500 diesel:I have read that there is both a V6,and a V8 Cummins available”

    The current Cummins diesel available in Ram pickups is an inline 6 of 6.7 liters. Cummins doesn’t make any V6 engines, according to the Cummins web site.

    As you say, they do have a 4 cylinder version of the “B” engine that is used in the Ram. That should make a great engine for the 1500 truck.

  20. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    4.4L V8 turbocharged diesel, mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission that fets 20 MPG. Sweet land Rover.

    Lets just hope it works correctly.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From what I’ve found, it looks like the engine was originally intended for the F150. See:

    It would seem to have two or three more cylinders than you’d have for optimal efficiency in a diesel that size, but it will be a huge improvement in efficiency over previous Range Rovers.

  22. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Nick was right on with his evaluation of the Altima hybrid.”

    Hertz charged me $7 more than the already expensive weekday rate for the Prius ($180 for 2 days all included) but I had the last laugh when I returned it, destroyed, after less than one day, got the Prius I wanted in the first place, and a $100 customer satisfaction cert to boot, which gave me 3 weekend days (plus a tank of gas) in the Malibu recently.

    That Altima Hybrid, on top of its oil leak at a few k miles, looked cheap inside and got a dismally low 32 mpg lifetime. You can do better than that with a 4-cyl non-hybrid, and sure much better with a diesel Jetta or GOlf.

    Speaking of the new Jetta, the gas version will start at 16k, but how much will be the base diesel? If identically equipped, it should not cost more than $2.5k ectra… but VW only sells loaded diesels..

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Last night’s AAH guest was very well informed and had great insight on the industry, can’t believe GM can’t come up with someone of his caliber to run the company, instead they get this vintage exec from last century, who hasn’t a clue on how to run an auto industry. ps it was fun watching Peter squirm as Welch criticized GM’s recent quality results.

  24. Nick Stevens Says:

    I also watched AAH this morning, but I had to constantly change the volume as the guest was quite loud and the others much less so. It almost ruined it for me.

    Peter’s reaction was predictable, being raised in a GM family, his father was a VP there or sth, he still is emotionally attached to it and refuses to accept the validity of Welch’s comments on GM Quality.

    But I also agree with John that these JD Power initial Quality BS is utterly irrelevant, only the 3-5- and 10 year surveys can tell who are the real men and who are just boys!

  25. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: The V6 diesel for the ram(was considered) is a Fiat,or one of their companies that make diesels.The Cummins was,or is,a V8 as the rest of them are(Ford & GM).For myself,I will wait for a Wrangler diesel.I don’t need anything more then a good ol 4 banger oil burner ;}>