September 22nd, 2010 at 11:52am
The Michigan State Police evaluate cop cars from the Detroit Three, and the Caprice is a winner. Adesa and Barrett-Jackson form an alliance. STP and Armor All get sold for big bucks to a private-equity firm. All that and more, plus John responds to your questions and comments in “You Said It!”
This is Autoline Daily for September 22, 2010. And now, the news.
STP, ARMOR ALL, ON THE BLOCK
Two very famous brands in the aftermarket are being sold. We first reported early in the year that Clorox, the company that owns STP and Armor All was putting them up for sale. The Wall Street Journal reports that Clorox has agreed to sell it auto-care brands to a private-equity firm. Avista Capital will pay $780 million to acquire those well-known brands.
GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE…
Adesa is the second-largest auction house in the United States for selling used cars to car dealers and wholesalers. Barrett-Jackson is the best-known auction house for selling classic cars. Now, Auto Remarketing reports that the two are joining forces. They’re forming an alliance to raise their profiles and cross-promote their products, including selling insurance. One area they’re pushing into: internet auctions, because that opens up their markets to an international audience.
ALPINE COULD COME BACK
Back in the 1950s a little French company called Alpine started building sports cars. In the 1960s it began an association with Renault, and by the 1970s it was cleaning-up on the race circuit, ultimately winning the Monte Carlo Rallye and the 24 hours of Le Mans. Alpine later built performance versions of Renaults, but now it may revive its sports-car heritage. Autocar says this affordable rear-drive sportscar could be on the road in three years. Other reports suggest it could be built off the Nissan 370Z platform. I know the name looks like it should be pronounced Al-pine, but the proper pronunciation is Al-peen.
CAPRICE IS QUICK COP CAR
The Michigan State Police evaluated cop cars from each of the Big-Three automakers. Ford’s veteran Crown Victoria Police Interceptor faced-off against the new Dodge Charger Pursuit model and the Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle. The final results of this test will be published later in the year, but Chevy is no-doubt happy to announce that the Caprice was the fastest car tested – both in zero to 60 and zero to 100 mile-per-hour acceleration. It also had the best braking. A few weeks ago we showed you Ford’s new police vehicles – one based on the Taurus and one on the 2011 Explorer. They were not officially tested here and it will be interesting to see how they perform compared to the offerings from Chevy and Dodge.
REUSING VOLT BATTERIES
In other GM news the company is trying to figure out what to do with used batteries from the Chevrolet Volt. It’s working with an organization called ABB which is world’s largest supplier of electrical-grid systems. The 16-kilowatt packs could be reused as energy-storage systems in wind and solar power-generation plants once their automotive lifespan is over. We’ll have to see if this can work, but it’s probably a LOOOONG way off since the Volt isn’t even for sale yet and GM is backing the battery packs with an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty.
TOWING WITH A BIKE
Here’s a totally crazy invention. According to Autoblog a Swedish company called “Coming Through” has developed a system that allows you to tow a car with a motorcycle. I’ll say it again . . . it lets you tow a CAR with a MOTORCYCLE – up to 5,500 pounds. Called the Retriever, it’s a special unit that attaches to the back of a Honda Goldwing 1800. I guess they should have called it the “Golden Retriever.” What? That’s funny! This is ideal for quickly moving crashed or disabled vehicles off the road so they don’t block traffic. I’m sure towing a car with a motorcycle is doable, but stopping is another matter. The company claims the Retriever has a patented braking system so this shouldn’t be a problem. The only downside, top speed is just 20 miles an hour . . . that and if you lay the bike down you’re getting run-over by a car.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
A bunch of you wrote in with your opinions about the new crossover from Nissan called the Juke. You did not like it.
Ralph Kercheval says, “THE JUKE? Should be the JOKE . . . for something that has the style of a cross-eyed TOAD.
Rob Grosse says, “I think the ‘J’ in Juke should be replaced with a ‘P’.”
And Mike G. says, “The Joke, I mean Juke, reminds me of the Pontiac Aztek. It is a little sleeker but a sleeker piece of crap is still a piece of crap. JMO of course.”
And finally, bg1379 saw our review of the Dodge Viper and asks, “Can someone explain this shifting thing he’s talking about? I’ve never heard of it.”
He’s referring to the Computer Assisted Gear Selector, known as CAGS. It’s a fuel economy trick that forces you to shift from first gear into fourth, rather than into second gear. You literally go from first to fourth. The EPA gives automakers a couple of counts on their fuel-economy label if they put this in their car. The Corvette has got it too, or at least it used to. The good news? If you just run the engine up to higher revs, like above 2500 rpm, the CAGS system is disabled, and you can shift like a normal sportscar driver.
Don’t forget to tune-in to Autoline After Hours tomorrow night when our guest will be Chris Preuss, the CEO of OnStar. It used to be the bleeding edge of in-car communication. Today, it seems to be lagging behind. What is Preuss going to do to get OnStar back on track? Tune in tomorrow night to find out. That’s Autoline After Hours tomorrow night starting live at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.