December 16th, 2010 at 12:00pm
The prices of aluminum and copper are surging, and there could be a shortage in 2012. The Center for Automotive Research released a study looking at the proposed 60-mile-per-gallon fuel-economy standard, and the cost of meeting those rules is shocking. That “new-car smell” probably isn’t the best thing for your lungs, but according to one forensic investigator it could knock you out. All that and more, plus John takes a swing at your questions and comments in the “You Said It!” segment.
This is Autoline Daily for December 16, 2010. And now, the news.
RAW MATERIAL$ ON THE RI$E
Yesterday we talked about how the price of rubber is climbing. But it’s not the only raw material that’s going up. Now Bloomberg reports that aluminum prices are expected to jump 29 percent, and that there could be a shortage by 2012. Copper prices are up 22 percent this year and set a record earlier this week. And as you well know, with the prices of raw materials going up, it’s only a matter of time before the car companies will have to raise the prices of their cars.
THE CO$T OF CAFE
But wait, it gets worse. A study by the Center for Automotive Research in the U.S. says that if the Obama Administration pushes fuel economy regulations to 60 miles per gallon by 2025, it’s going to add $6,400 to the price of the average car! The study says that will force most Americans to hold onto the old cars longer, which could cost 220,000 jobs at the car companies, and up to 1.3 million jobs if you include the supplier companies. Reuters reports that the lower sales would cost the industry $62 billion.
NO MORE HYBRID INCENTIVES
And it could be a lot more difficult for automakers to sell green cars in the American market. The Detroit News reports that yesterday the Senate dropped a provision to provide $4,000 in tax credits to people who buy hybrids, clean diesels and vehicles powered by natural gas. And this makes me wonder if the $7,500 tax credit for electric cars will be dropped when it comes up for renewal.
FISKER IN CHINA (subscription required)
That silver tongued Henrik Fisker is at it again. According to Ward’s, his company has signed a deal with the China Grand Automotive Group to sell its Karma EV in the country starting next fall. The automaker says it already has 3,000 orders for the luxury electric, and globally it expects to sell 15,000 of them per year. That might be a tough goal to reach given the Karma’s nearly $90,000 price tag.
VOLT HELPS CLEAN UP BP’s MESS
Everyone knows the Chevy Volt is a “green” car, but GM’s is taking it one step further. The company announced it’s recycling those oil-soaked plastic booms to make parts for the Volt. Those booms were used to help clean up the mess BP made down in the Gulf of Mexico this summer. GM estimates it can prevent more than 100 miles of this stuff from ending up in landfills, instead turning it into underbody panels for the Volt. The project is expected to produce enough components to supply the vehicle’s first production run.
THAT CAR KNOCKS ME OUT!
So, you just picked up your brand-new car from the dealer. All the paperwork is signed, the insurance is taken care and you’re ready to hit the road. You slide into the driver’s seat and relax for a moment, taking in a lungful of that delicious new-car smell. Other than probably being really bad for you, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, according to one accident re-constructionist, it could knock you unconscious. The Vail Daily reports that a Colorado man was driving his 2010 Mercedes sedan when he rear ended a bicyclist. Overlooking simpler and more obvious explanations, the forensic investigator found that the vehicle was emitting “new-car fumes” which could “potentially alter the driver.” I will never cease to be amazed at how people can come up with the most incredible excuses to blame somebody else for the problems they caused. Turns out the driver had sleep disorder, so it’s more likely he just dozed off behind the wheel.
Coming up next, a look at some of the things that are on your mind.
And now it’s time for “You Said It!”
Tony Gray was wondering what happened with this part of the show and why it didn’t run earlier in the week.
“Hey! No “You Said It!” segment this week? What are we . . . CHOPPED LIVER?!!”
Tony, Tony. Chill out, dog! Chill out.
Pedro Fernandez saw our report on the new BMW M1, including an under-the-hood engine shot and was shocked at how tightly its packaged in there. He writes,
“I hope BMW plans to hire some techs with tiny hands and skinny arms to be able to work on that M1 engine compartment, holy tiny crevices, Batman!”
602goliath was not impressed with the acceleration in the new Lexus CT 200h, and also has an idea of what the GM Performance Parts division should do with its monster small block V-8. He says, “LMAO! 0-60 in ten seconds? No thanks. They should find out a way to make the LSX454R get 40 MPGs”
LMAO? Laugh my. . .
Josh 1303 asks a question that a lot of people are asking.
Have you driven a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 3.6-liter V-6 yet? Or any vehicle? How does it perform? They say it has 290 HP but what it is really to the wheels? On the Grand Cherokee, what is the power-to-rate ratio? I am looking at the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and looking at the HEMI but just thought maybe you got some more information.”
Josh 1303, I have not driven a Grand Cherokee with the 3.6, but my colleagues who have are very impressed with it. In fact, we have an Autoline Detroit coming up in a couple of weeks about the North American Truck of the Year, because the Grand Cherokee is up for the award. Anyway, one of my colleagues on the jury said there were times he wasn’t sure if he was test driving one with the Pentastar V-6 or with the HEMI. That’s how good the new V-6 is.
Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours tonight, live at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time for the best insider discussion of what’s going on in the automotive industry. Join me and that bodacious Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo. Also joining us tonight, Jason Vines and Kimatni Rawlins from Automotive Rhythms. It’s going to be a good show, that’s tonight, LIVE, on Autoline After Hours.
And that brings us to the end of today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching we’ll see you tomorrow.