Episode 509 – Citroen Metropolis for China, Chevy’s New Ad Campaign, Volvo S60 Interior

October 28th, 2010 at 12:13pm

Runtime 8:03

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.

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This is Autoline Daily for October 28, 2010. And now, the news.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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18 Comments to “Episode 509 – Citroen Metropolis for China, Chevy’s New Ad Campaign, Volvo S60 Interior”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Tesla to Amp Up the RAV4 ;

    Oh goody ! Now the RAV4 can burst into flames as well ( for those who missed it all TESLA roadsters have been recalled for Ferrari 458 Style Self Igniting )

  2. Tony Gray Says:

    I figured it was a hard news day. John wore a tie.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hey Tj I wonder if Toyota will bring out the Rav4 in “flaming red” color when it goes electric, and has anyone ever seen Carlos Ghosn and Mr Bean in the same room?

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    from John’s review of the Volt, I failed to see any WOW factor from him as he drove it and just as I had predicted the extraneous noises are more pronounced since there is little engine noise, even though the GM spokesman that John had on the show once assured us that that would not be a problem.

  5. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I remembered that the clear coat used to cover the hood window on the ZR-1 cost $10000 a quart; upon recent research it looks like the additive (u.v. blockers) cost $60,000 a gallon but the actual clear coat (used, after mixing with extenders) costs approximately $500 a quart. The price one pays for carbon fiber.

  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    And from yesterdays announcement about the new ATS (from Cadillac); the alpha platform, that is to used for the new Caddy, will also be the platform for the next Camaro (which should lighten it up somewhat) and is due out around 2014/2015.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I doubt that the carbon itself would be affected at all by the UV, so apparently the resin they use is very UV sensitive. Maybe they need to find a different resin.

  8. dcars Says:

    Yeah for Ford! Keep up the good work.
    With the current charging technology and range, pure EV’s just aren’t practical.

  9. jesse Says:

    Chevy runs deep alright…Let me get my boots!:)

  10. HtG Says:

    sure sounds better than chevrolet runs deep

  11. Salvador G. Says:

    From what I can get from those tv ads, Chevy needs to run an Ad with Lady Gaga singing by today standards, Hummnn!! Why not??

    I would like to know what makes exactly carbon fiber so sensitive to UV rays from the sun? – Is it because its a lightweight material or those carbon have a tendency to absorb too much light??

  12. Salvador G. Says:

    ps. correction…
    -Does Carbon have a tendency to absorb too much light?

  13. HtG Says:

    Here you are Salvador, a section from a paper you can find here


    Both UV radiation and moisture have adverse effects on the mechanical properties of the
    polymeric epoxy matrix, while the carbon fibers are not affected significantly by either
    environment. The polymer matrix in a fiber-reinforced composite serves to transfer applied
    loads to the reinforcing fibers and provide interlaminar shear strength, whereas the fiber–
    matrix interface governs the load transfer characteristics and damage tolerance. Thus, both
    these components represent weak links in fiber-reinforced composites and upon
    degradation, lead to reduced damage tolerance, and thus, lack of long-term durability.
    The UV components of solar radiation incident on the earth surface are in the 290–
    400 nm band. The energy of these UV photons is comparable to the dissociation energies
    of polymer covalent bonds, which are typically 290–460 kJ/mole. Thus, UV photons
    absorbed by polymers result in photo-oxidative reactions that alter the chemical structure
    resulting in material deterioration [5]. These chemical reactions typically cause molecular
    chain scission and/or chain crosslinking. Chain scission lowers the molecular weight of the
    polymer, giving rise to reduced strength and heat resistance. On the other end, chain
    crosslinking leads to excessive brittleness and can result in microcracking. Photo-oxidative
    reactions can also result in the production of chromophoric chemical species, which may
    impart a discoloration to the polymer, if they absorb visible wavelengths. Furthermore, an
    autocatalytic degradation process is established if UV-absorbing chromophores are

    But don’t rely on me folks, this is the internet, and we’re dealing with GM corporate speak in the first instance.

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit & Salvador ;

    For the ” Short ” version of UV , Water etc. affects on Carbon Fiber , check out some of the comments Porsche’s engineers made about the product , the amount of effort they had to put into protecting the Carbon Fiber on their first CF Road car ( Carrera GT ) as well as their prognostications on what would become of all the Ferrari’s etc. that did not place as much emphasis on Carbon Fiber protection .

    In the Bicycle World its a known fact ( by those in the know ) that if you want to buy a bicycle for life , you do not buy carbon fiber . Beyond its susceptability to the elements Carbon Fiber is also a Crash it Once Throw it Away material . It is not repairable and in fact usually hides any damage between the layers ( rather than being visible on the surface ) leading to catastrophic failure at some point following even the most minor of crashes .

    Conclusion ; Carbon Fiber – Great for racing and throw away situations . Lousy for anything on the road/sea /air where longevity is the goal

  15. cwof Says:

    John’s boasts about the new S60; but compared to what:past Volvos? The folks who buy them do so for the safety element, swed interior design and perhaps as a status symbol,like Subaruers. They still lack reliability and cost wayyyy too much for what one gets.
    Citroen’s eye catching concept car destined for China looks like it is bulls-eyeing Buicks over there. Once they find out the after-the-fact reliability, even the Chinese eyes will widen!
    For anyone interested in GM’s near future plans, I am most confident the focus IS on their smaller platforms..the Cruze,the Cruze and the Cruze. For the past many months, I have been overhauling,updating and modifying the many machines required to make GM spindles. And almost all of them is tooled for these platforms or is included with others. I was just informed of a 50+% increase in demand.

  16. cwof Says:

    I got a good one for you Union bashers; I have been known to stretch lines of demarkation..well,since I was an apprentice. My attitude is: if you don’t want to do it or have proven to take tooo long, I’ll do it myself and claim “access” or”I didn’t know”as an excuse. This has to be a first! I was accused of doing an engineers job! You should first know I do have begining senior engineering credits and just a report away from a Stat. QC degree and a lot of MR experience, so my input on my projects is valued. Never the less , I am a MRM and a union member. Should have expected; the A-HOLE that turned me in was a plumber. The commitee man was obligated to confront me. After asking how one could violate a non-union task and knowing of my philosophy towards work ethics, he left without a word.
    Ya know, No matter what one does, believes or how careful one conducts themselves, there is always one who objects with a voice that overcomes common sense. People like these are not UNION specific. If you don’t have your share of idiots, your a liar!
    You now know a little more about me and who I am. When are YOU going to share a little more about yourselves?

  17. Nick Stevens Says:


    will you EVER give the VOlvo 60 or whatever a REST already? Haven’t we seen enough of this lame-ass hairdresser brag about the most insigfnificant BS?

    Maybe he is in the wrong forum. HE should be on the “View” or “Oprah”.

    The VOlvo is the ultimate CHick/GLBT vehicle.

    I wish the Chinese good luck with this loser brand Volvo that has lost its way for good for decades now.

  18. Salvador G. Says:

    ooh! very interesting, thanks HtG,
    although; you could have just say – it absorb too much light… – that’s basically what that whole thing actually says.