Episode 490 – VW Diesels Made In U.S.A., Jaguar C-X75 Concept, Rare-Earth-Free Hybrid

October 1st, 2010 at 12:00pm

Runtime 8:00

Autoline Daily has learned that VW is tooling up its new assembly plant in Tennessee to build up to 85 percent diesels when it introduces its new mid-size sedan. A look at Jaguar’s latest concept, the C-X75, unveiled in Paris. Researchers in Japan have developed a hybrid car that doesn’t use rare-earth metals. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit with the President of Audi of America, Johan de Nysschen.

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Welcome back to Autoline Daily. I know, it’s hard to believe, but today’s already the first of October, 2010. Murray Feldman here, FOX 2 News, Detroit. You guessed it, John’s still in Paris covering the auto show, but we’ll hear from him later in today’s broadcast. We’ll learn a little about Jaguar’s latest concept car, and man, is it HOT. But first, here’s the latest news from the automotive beat.

Earlier in the week we reported that Toyota is creating a task force to look into rare-earth metals – an important part of hybrid and electric vehicles – after China halted exports to Japan, but maybe the company won’t need to create that new agency. According to the AFP, researchers in the country have developed a hybrid car that doesn’t use rare-earths. The magnets typically used in hybrid-vehicle electric motors contain these metals, but researchers created one using ferrite magnets which are mostly made of iron. The magnets are weaker, but they’re much cheaper – about one twentieth of the cost! Researchers say it will be several years before this technology will make its way onto the road.

Speaking of roads, here’s a bit of good news. According to the Detroit News, global traffic fatalities are plummeting, though the declines are being posted mostly in developed nations. The countries with the biggest drops include Spain, Portugal and France. Over the last decade all three have cut their road deaths in half! Denmark reported the lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1932, while auto-deaths in Canada are at their lowest level since the early 1950s. The U.S. is also seeing record reductions. For the first-half of the year deaths are down more than 9 percent. These are encouraging numbers, but more work still needs to be done. Worldwide more than 1.3 million people died in crashes last year.

Another indicator that the global economy is on the mend: Bugatti and Ferrari are sold out of their most expensive models. Bloomberg also reports that BMW and Mercedes-Benz are both targeting 10 percent global-sales increases for 2010. Maserati, Bentley and Porsche are also seeing strong sales of high-end models.

In related news, Lincoln is dying to get-in on some of this luxury action. Now that Ford has jettisoned Mercury, it can focus more attention on Lincoln. And it starts this weekend with a new ad campaign for the brand. TV commercials will debut during the Ryder Cup golf event with the new tagline “Smarter than Luxury.” The ads feature the MKX crossover and MKZ Hybrid, and focus on technology in the cars – like the MyLincoln Touch info-tainment system. Ford plans to release seven new Lincoln models over the next four years, so this ad campaign will be important as it tries to change people’s perceptions of the brand.

Range anxiety is a MAJOR hurdle facing electric vehicles. Chevy is trying to overcome this problem with the Volt – with what it calls a range-extended electric – meaning it has a conventional internal-combustion engine on board… to recharge the batteries when they run down. But GM isn’t the only automaker that’s going this route. Jaguar just unveiled a concept in Paris called the C-X75. It follows this same formula. Here’s McElroy with more. 900 kilometers is about 560 miles. Now, that may not sound all that efficient but consider this: Jaguar claims the C-X75 has a top speed of 205 miles an hour and can accelerate from zero to 100 kilometers in just 3.4 seconds! Sounds like it performs as good as it looks.

Also from the Paris show, Autoline Daily has learned that Volkswagen is tooling up its new assembly plant in Tennessee to build up to 85 percent diesels when the company introduces its new mid-size sedan. While VW will also offer a hybrid version of this car, it’s really emphasizing the diesel. John Browning, the new CEO of Volkswagen of America, tells Autoline Daily…. that while they do not expect the “take rate” to be that high when the car launches, they are ready to install a very high level of diesels by the end of its life cycle. That, of course, would give VW something very unique to market since no other automaker will be offering a diesel in the midsize segment. According to the Detroit news this car, code named N-M-S – short for “new midsize sedan” will debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Coming up after the break, a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline Detroit where we’ve got Johan de Nysschen, the President of Audi of America in the hot seat.

As I mentioned before the break, McElroy’s guest this week on Autoline Detroit is Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America’s President. Also joining the discussion panel is After Hours veteran David Welch of Bloomberg/Business week plus Chris Paukert from Autoblog. In the following preview, de Nysschen talks about some of the playful advertisements Audi’s come out with recently and why it decided to have some fun with its promotions.

As always, you can catch this entire episode of the show on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv. If you’d rather enjoy it on the go, you can subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes or the Zune Marketplace. We offer audio AND video versions of both Autoline Detroit and Autoline Daily, plus audio-only versions of After Hours. Definitely check out these options. They’re great for road trips, long commutes . . . or trans-Atlantic flights from Paris. John, I hope you loaded-up your iPod with episodes of Autoline Daily from this past week so you can catch up on the latest news when you’re on the plane..and see what we’ve been here in your office. We will clean up from the party tonight. That’s a long time to be up in the air.

Anyway, that’s it for the show this week; McElroy will be back in the anchor chair on Monday. Until next time, I’m Murray Feldman from FOX 2 News, Detroit, thanks for watching.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

27 Comments to “Episode 490 – VW Diesels Made In U.S.A., Jaguar C-X75 Concept, Rare-Earth-Free Hybrid”

  1. TierOne to VW Says:

    85% of VW NMS volume could be diesel? As a supplier to this platform we have been instructed to use 15% for planning purposes by our buyer. Hopes and dreams for diesels are eternal. I’ll stick with the planning volumes unless VW starts to export which is not currently planned.

  2. Alex Carazan Says:

    Main reason for drop in global car deaths is the poor economy….with many out of work and conserving cash across the globe they simply drive less if at all. Less driving means less chances for crashes and deaths. This is NOT rocket science. So actually the more prosperous our world becomes the more deaths there will be in cars. Not that I want more deaths but I want more prosperity and more driving and more people buying cars and enjoying the FREEDOM it provides.

    One day in about 50 years or so all cars in DEVELOPED countries will have radar based collision mitigation systems with emergency braking and steering control and then we will have crashless cars and few deaths….but we have a long way to go before such systems are robust enough and cheap enough. Let’s get to work!

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    While luxury brands are on the rise, regular everyday brands are not, which is further proof that the gap between the have and have-nots is getting wider worldwide despite all the so-called changes people voted for. Regarding VW and diesels, they’d better be careful and not launch a bunch of diesels here, the amount of people here that like diesel CARS is small and I’m seeing diesel prices higher than premium in many areas.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    VW needs to come up with a wagon or hatch version of their new sedan. That is what would sell well with a diesel. Better yet, would be a wagon with a diesel hybrid.

    Diesel is more expensive than premium in the US, but not by much where I am. It is about 10-15% more than regular, but diesel cars get 40-50% better mpg than their gas counterparts.

  5. Jonathan Swingle Says:

    John and others:

    This is the third request, others wen unanswered. Can you please arrange to get the Autoline Daily video viewer upgraded to at least the equal of the After Hours viewer? I’d love to seee decent detail of the cars and tech shown, but alas, no full screen option is available-except on your sister operation! It’s nuts, and you really need to upgrade soon. That 3″x5″ screen is close to worthless-most times now I just end up listening while working in another window because of this issue, but I would like to enjoy my experience more………

  6. Don MacConnel Says:

    A long time ago Road and Track (I think) ran a piece correlating poor economic times with lowered accident rates. One has to wonder if that is at work in the stats we are seeing.

  7. dcars Says:

    I’m not looking forward to hearing Johan de Nysschen be little the American public and other car makers again. The cost of a diesel Hy-bird has to be off the charts. Sorry Autoline for my negativity towards this guest, I appreciate your efforts in getting so many different points of view.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    I hope Audi buyers have as much sense of humor when they need to keep bringing their shiny new, exciting-to-drive Audi vehicles back to the dealer for repairs and adjustments while Lexus owners have no such problems. That is why Lexus owners rate the dealer experience as excellent, simply because they don’t NEED to come in hardly ever.

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    While I don’t know this for fact (about absolute death rates), the measure needs to remain constant and should be rated as deaths per miles driven; statistics are a funny thing, (it’s all according to how you look at the numbers). If deaths per mile driven is down, then now we’re getting somewhere.

    As far as the diesel story goes (Volkswagen), John explained it quite well last night on AAH, and what it boils down to is that the Volkswagen plant is flexible enough to provide 85% diesel (if demand requires it). If no demand, then regular engines will prevail. And the statement that no other manufacturer will be offering a diesel (in the mid size segment) is of course incorrect (as yesterday’s Autoline mentioned that GM has announced that a midsize diesel was on the slate.

  10. LEX Says:

    I agree with dcars. Johan de Nysschen unfortunately comes across as an elitest and arrogant sounding european. Audi is currently enjoying an up turn in popularity and
    sales. However it is not a Rolls Royce or Mercedes Benz.

    The Average Gear Head wants to know what products, quality improvements, styling changes and electronic innovations that they can expect to see in the next three to five years. Why not ask Bob Lutz, Roger Penske or Mike Jackson of Auto Nation to visit Autoline Detroit. Let them tell us what they think is the future of the US Auto Industry.

    I enjoy the show and tell segments which showcase the human innovation and talent used in moving the entire auto industry forward.

  11. dcars Says:

    “I enjoy the show and tell segments which showcase the human innovation and talent used in moving the entire auto industry forward.” Me too, well said Lex. thank-you.

  12. XA351GT Says:

    Way to go Jaguar, Finally a hybrid that I could live with. I could never afford it ,but at least it doesn’t look like a 3rd grader drew it on his book cover.

    VW may find diesel cars are still hard to sell here unless it get really high mileage compared to the gas version.

    Would be nice to see what the total miles driven was for the year and then compare it to the death rate.I feel many of you are correct that it is just the average of years before.

    Audi go ahead and call out your rivals. Maybe some of them will start to build exciting cars again as a result. My one problem with Audi is that they look like a fancier VW . To me the models seem to be really close especially the grille treatments of both brands.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    LEX says:

    “Audi is currently enjoying an up turn in popularity and
    sales. However it is not a Rolls Royce or Mercedes Benz”

    It is not a Rolls Royce, but in Europe, Audi IS considered direct competition for Mercedes-Benz throughout the range, up to and including S-Class/A8.

  14. G.A.branigan Says:

    I still don’t know why this latest news about the Global Vehicles vs. mahindra doesn’t get mentioned here,but for any that are interested here’s the latest:

  15. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Yay, Rare Earth Free Hybrids!!!!!

  16. Hermann Kratz Says:

    VW Diesel plans:
    anyone doubting the emergence of diesel as a prominent fuel in the US should maybe just reserve their judgement for a while yet. You should be careful to doubt the power of the European manufacturers marketing in changing consumer perceptions. One should look at South Africa as a case study on how a concerted effort by all European manufacturers to change perceptions on diesel can change buying habits. In the early 90′s diesel cars were less than 10% of sales. Today it’s almost 40% for all the German brands!

    And this has been done without ANY government, legislative or Auto Association support. In fact Diesel is priced higher than gas and it has been that way throughout the last 15 years. The big change will come as total car running costs start rising (and they will) diesel becomes the best option for high mileage vehicles. The question about availability of diesel will be answered once popularity starts rising and gas station owners respond to higher demand and make the neccesary changes to their forecourts.

    Be careful underestimating the power of marketing…

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Attn. Mr Johan from Audi, take a look at JD Power powertrain dependability results and you will see they’re the lowest of all the luxury brands, so please fix your problems before you make fun of others.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “VW may find diesel cars are still hard to sell here unless it get really high mileage compared to the gas version.”

    Diesels DO get really high mileage compared to the gas versions. VW’s TDI Golf and Jetta get 35-50% better than the gas versions sold in the US in Consumer Reports “real world” tests, and ~30% better EPA numbers.

  19. Nick Stevens Says:

    Most of the advantages of the diesel in the US will EVAPORATE due to the huge cost to meet the damned regulations, this makes practically only EXPENSIVE Luxury cars able to absorb the extra cost in their high prices, and makes it practically IMPOSSIBLE to offer a Cruze or Mazda 6 diesel and be profitable bo0th for the maker AND the buyer.

    ANd if you go diesel HYBRID, this becomes EXZTREMELY Expensive, so again NO diesel hybrid is possible for the low profit margin high volume Civic corolla Camry Accord segment.

    That is whgy Honda tried to develop diesels for the US and then QUIT.

  20. Nick Stevens Says:

    WHile Audi’s unreliability is legendary, many Audi lovers JUST ADO NOT CARE. They include my first ever PhD Student, whose wife is a senior Ford Engineer, and the two are constantly fightiung about the high cost of service and repairs for his aging manual A4 and his even less reliable turbo A6. BUT he always owned either Golf GTIs or AUdis his entire life.

    Lexus cannot even remotely compare with Audi in Exterior beauty of the styling and even in the beauty of the interiors. Especially the low-rent Lexuses (practically all TOyota clones) EXCEPT the LS, the only REAL lexus that really has some presence. I have been driven by my realtor in her ES350 or whatever, and it sure was a mismash of luxury and cheap materials inside, made no sense really. ANd it drove really poorly.

    AUdi has the advantage that many recent BMWs and Mercedeses are far uglier than their 80s and 90s predecessors. Because Audi shoppers will NOT go to Lexus or Infi or especially these LOSERS VOlvo and Saab (what a ridiculous theory by the panel!) but to VW, BMW and Merc.

  21. Nick Stevens Says:

    PS another reason DIesel thrives in Europe and sucks in the US is the FUEL PRICE.

    In the US, diesel can be much more expensive than gas, while in Europe it is much CHEAPER. Makes a huge diff for the typical diesel driver who does many 10s of thou miles a year.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The only non-lux diesel cars sold in the US are VW Golf, and Jetta wagon. From the VW web site, it looks like the “new” Jetta sedan is sold only with the 2.5 liter 5 cyl., at least for now.

    It is a little hard to sort out exactly how much extra you pay for the TDI, since the TDI cars are equipped differently from the gas ones, but it is probably about $2K extra for the diesel. I’d think it possible, if not likely that the cost of making US-compliant car diesels would come down with time, at least to some extent.

  23. G.A.Branigan Says:

    gas price today here at home:
    Regular unleaded- $2.99.9
    Diesel- $3.25.9
    WTF ??!!

  24. XA351GT Says:

    GA where are you at? Regular here in SE PA is nearly $.50 cheaper than diesel , Hell 93 octane premium is $.15 cheaper than diesel.

  25. Nick Stevens Says:

    GA Bran. and XA35, your numbers both make your point, currently diesel is 25-50 cents MORE expensive than regular, per gallon, and in Europe diesel is cheaper by about $1.00 (per gallon too) than regular.

  26. Nick Stevens Says:

    I meant make MY, not YOUR, point.

  27. JIm Thykeson Says:

    The new Jag is their 220 car done over in high-tech! The 220 was a gorgeous car that left their inventory way too soon. Maybe this ‘home-run’ will become Jags signature car. Lets hope so.