October 28th, 2010 at 12:13pm
Automakers have been reporting promising third-quarter numbers, but which ones have raked-in the most money so far this year? Citroen plans to introduce a production version of its Metropolis concept in China. GM waxes nostalgic with Chevrolet’s new advertising campaign. All that and more, plus a look at the interior of the 2011 Volvo S60.
This is Autoline Daily for October 28, 2010. And now, the news.
MORTIMER, WE’RE BACK IN BUSINESS!
We’ve been reporting the profit numbers that automakers have been posting for the third quarter. But Bloomberg did an interesting comparison. It totaled up all the profits the car companies racked up so far for the year, and it found that the top three automakers are….in third place, Toyota with $4.1 billion in profits. In second place is Volkswagen with $5.2 billion. And the most profitable auto company in the world so far this year is, Ford, which up to now has earned $6.3 billion. While Toyota and Volkswagen can brag that they sell more cars, I think Ford is laughing all the way to the bank.
SUNSCREEN FOR YOUR CAR?
It’s amazing the amount of damage that ultraviolet light from the sun can do to materials in a car, especially when it comes to carbon fiber. In fact, much of the carbon fiber trim that you see on the interiors of cars is fake. It can’t stand up to the sunlight. But when Chevrolet wanted to make the Corvette ZR-1 as lightweight as possible, it wanted to make several parts out of carbon fiber, especially the roof. And it wanted to leave those panels exposed so everyone could see that they are made of carbon. So the Corvette team engineered a new type of clear coat that protects the carbon from UV damage, but still leaves a glossy look to the roof. To me, it’s amazing. They actually had to engineer the clear coat to block out specific frequencies of sunlight to protect the carbon fiber.
CITROEN METROPOLIS GETS GREEN LIGHT
Citroen plans to build a production version of its dramatically styled concept car, the Metropolis. According to Autoblog, the French automaker wants to build it to give its operations in China a boost. It was the first car designed by its design team in Shanghai. The name of the vehicle is expected to change to the DS9 when it goes into production. The concept features a V-6 mated to an electric motor along with a seven-speed transmission. But Autoblog speculates that won’t be the powertrain for the production version. And Citroen hasn’t said whether it plans to sell the Metropolis outside of China.
TESLA TO AMP-UP TOYOTA RAV4
Toyota and Tesla are in talks to build electric versions of the RAV4 at the NUMMI plant. Earlier in the year, the two companies signed a deal where Tesla will provide Toyota with batteries, motors and other components. But now it looks like Tesla will do the conversions of the electric RAV4 at the plant. That will go a long way towards boosting Toyota’s reputation in California, where the plant is located. The Japanese automaker caused a furor when it announced it was closing the facility last year. A prototype of the electric RAV4 will be at the LA Auto Show and will go on sale in 2012.
WILL PEOPLE BUY EVs?
But will people buy them? If one survey released by J.D. Power and Associates is true, the answer could be a resounding “NO!” According to the Detroit News, they predict that by 2020 hybrids and EVs will account for 5.2 million sales globally. That’s just 7.3 percent of the market! This year sales are running at a little less than 1 million units, which works out to a little over 2 percent. But not everyone agrees with J.D. Power. Nissan/Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn says electrics will account for 10 percent of the market in a decade. But this also depends on what you measure. If you count mild hybrids – cars with start/stop technology – the number gets WAY bigger, because Europe’s about to see an explosion of growth in this technology.
CHEVY RUNS DEEP
Chevrolet launched a brand-new advertising campaign last night during the first game of baseball’s World Series. Created by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, the push consists of one 60-second commercial and three 30-second spots. They try to make a connection with the brand’s past while highlighting the important products it builds today. Of course, there’s a new tagline as well, “Chevy runs deep.” Just like its commercials for the Cruze, actor Tim Allen is the voice behind the video.
These spots are really nostalgic. They’re kind of reminiscent of the old Dinah Shore spots from the 1950s . . .
Coming up next, have you seen the interior of the new Volvo S60? It’s terrific, and in a matter of seconds we’ll show you what we’re talking about.
SUAVE, STYLISH, SWANKY AND SWEDISH
Last week we showed you what the exterior styling of Volvo’s new S60 is like. Today, we want to take you inside the car.
I was able to test drive the S60 last week as part of the run up to the North American Car of the Year. I was very impressed by the car. Looks great, drives beautifully and we’ll have more about the car in the coming weeks.
But don’t forget to join us tonight for Autoline After Hours, for some of the best inside discussion of what’s going on in the automotive business. On Autoline Daily you learn what’s happening in the business, on After Hours you learn why. Join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
And that’s today’s report on the latest news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.