Episode 13 – Toyota Could Surpass GM in the U.S., Major Honda Milestone, Ford Fusion Sneak Peek

October 30th, 2008 at 12:00pm

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Toyota could surpass GM in the U.S. market in retail sales. Honda hits a major milestone, building its 200-millionth motorcycle. Ford gives us a sneak peek of the new Fusion that features fresh styling and a lineup of updated powertrains. All that and more, plus we take a look at a competition for high school auto shop students.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Toyota Could Surpass GM in the U.S. Honda hits a major milestone. And Ford gives us a sneak peek of the new Fusion.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, October 30, 2008. And now, the news.

GM’s worldwide sales fell 5.8 percent in the third quarter. No surprise there. No, the surprise is that sales actually went up in some regions. In Latin America, where Brazil is still charging strong, GM sales were up an impressive 13 percent, and they were up more than 7.5 percent in Asia Pacific. It’s North America and Europe that pulled sales down. Earlier this week Toyota announced that its global production increased a little over 1 percent to retain the title as the world’s largest automaker. And indeed, in what would be a major milestone, Toyota could surpass GM in the U.S. market in retail sales.

Speaking of milestones, Honda just built its 200-millionth motorcycle. It took the company 60 years to reach this milestone, beginning with the Honda Dream D-type that began production in 1949. Congratulations Honda, that’s a lot of motorcycles.

Hyundai just opened its first manufacturing plant in Europe (subscription required). Located in the Czech Republic, it will build 35,000 transmissions this year and will eventually ramp production up to 600,000 units a year in 2011. Hyundai will also produce the i30 model at the same plant starting next month.

Countries around the world are investigating how to put in an infrastructure for electric cars (subscription required). Two Australian companies, AGL Energy and Macquarie Capital, just signed an agreement with California’s Better PLC to establish a renewable energy network to recharge EVs at home, the office or shopping centers. According to Ward’s, drivers will pay to recharge their EVs through power supply agreements, similar to cell phone contracts.

And in keeping with that green-theme, Ward’s is also reporting that DuPont and Honeywell have developed a new kind of air conditioning refrigerant (subscription required) with lower greenhouse gas emissions, and which is safer and easier to work with. This comes on the heels of the European Union’s announcement that it wants to start phasing out hydroflurocarbon-based refrigerants in 2011.

Ford is giving a sneak peek of its redesigned 2010 Fusion sedan for the American market. The new model features fresh styling and a lineup of fresh powertrains. It offers a new 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine, a carry-over 3.0-liter V6 with 19 more horsepower, and for the first time, 3.5-liter V6. All three engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The new model features electric power steering and a computer program that aggressively shuts off fuel flow to the engine during deceleration.

Coming up next, in our feature story we’ll take a look at a competition for high school auto shop students. We’ll be back, right after this.

As you know there’s been downsizing in and around the automotive industry: even at the OEMs. However, there is a career path in automotive that keeps growing with plenty of opportunity for those who are technically inclined.

Ford doesn’t usually fill its front lawn with cars, especially ones that need to be fixed up. But this isn’t your typical service center. You can tell by the grass on the ground and the fresh young faces of the technicians.

This is a contest to find the future techs who just may be servicing your car sometime soon. Sponsored by Ford and AAA for the past 15 years, this Student Auto Skills Competition brings one high school team from all over the United States to Dearborn, Michigan, to compete in both a written and timed maintenance test.

And sponsors like Ford recognize that this contest is especially important right now as more service departments look to hire young people who understand technology since there’s so much of it in your car.

Of course not every one of the 8-thousand high school students who entered the competition may decide to become a mechanic. But you can sure bet that all 100 who made it to Dearborn are working hard for the nearly seven million dollars in prizes and scholarships that go to the top teams…especially since the Government expects these jobs to grow by 14 percent over the next decade.

The winning team from Wisconsin will share more than 72,000 dollars in prizes and scholarships itself as these high school seniors decide if they will pursue automotive service as a career.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry, but don’t forget you can get podcasts, transcripts and a whole lot more on our website, AutolineDaily.TV. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

11 Comments to “Episode 13 – Toyota Could Surpass GM in the U.S., Major Honda Milestone, Ford Fusion Sneak Peek”

  1. jim Says:

    John, I think you should have stated the names of the kids from Wisconsin who won the Ford diagnostic competition. They deserve a little recognition.

  2. jerry flint Says:

    of corse toyota will outsell gm in us. the quesion is not if–but when–and you didn’t name a year. no guts, no glory.
    jerry

  3. Fred Cherney Says:

    Fusion – When a company is in trouble and needs a car which will sell NOW, why does it take until 2010 to import a successful model from Europe?
    ALSO
    Where is the diesel option?
    Fred

  4. Thomas Says:

    Hi John I have a question. Even though Ford’s Mercury Brand is scheduled to receive a refreshed Milan in 2010 and a small car in 2010 as a 2011 model but do you really think Ford’s Premium Brand has a future? Thanks John.

  5. John McElroy Says:

    Jerry, listen more carefully. In the broadcast I said we’ll know if Toyota surpassed GM in the U.S. market when October sales are reported next Monday, November 3.

  6. Mike Western Says:

    Mr. McElroy – GM’s pursuit of Chrysler has attracted a lot of attention, but most of the press seems to focus on GM getting the financing from the federal government. Does any one know specifically why GM is trying to buy into a bunch of trouble like Chrysler, or do we just assume it’s because Chrysler has a pile of cash somewhere that GM wants? The reasons GM should not do this are almost endless, but nobody seems to know why GM keeps up their pursuit. Do you know, Mr. McElroy?

  7. PEDRO Says:

    It takes a few years to bring a new model to market, These automakers should have had a better lineup of cars in case oil went up the way it did this year, similar thing happened back in the 70′s with the oil embargo, I guess they just don’t get it.

  8. jeff mohr Says:

    “And thats it for todays top news in the global automotive industry” ——— global says it all, not many truly understand this reality, but many will shortly.

  9. mitchw Says:

    John, I have been looking at the stills of you that precede each day’s show and it’s freaking me out. Your eyes are just about to explode most days. I feel the same way.

  10. leo leo Says:

    john way does ford never talk about there 2008 ford taurus limited awd. i own one and wonder if ford is hiding this vey good redone taurus.

  11. John McElroy Says:

    To Mike Western:

    We don’t know the full story yet why GM is so keen to get Chrysler. My guess is that Cerberus is the driver behind this. GM says that’s not the case. Now that the Feds say they will not bankroll a merger, we may never learn the truth.