October 1st, 2010 at 12:00pm
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.
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.
GLOBAL TRAFFIC DEATHS DROP
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.
LUXURY BRANDS SEE STRONG SALES
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.
NEW LINCOLN AD CAMPAIGN
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.
VW DIESELS MADE IN U.S.A.
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.