January 19th, 2011 at 12:50pm
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the company is going to offer hybrid versions of the 300 and a minivan by 2013. Mazda will show off a compact crossover concept called the MINAGI at this year’s Geneva Motor Show that highlights how the company plans to evolve its vehicles in the future. Auto supplier Dana will pay Toyota $25 million for Tacoma frames it supplied to the company that rusted out. All that and more, plus guest host Jim Hall shares his favorite reveals from last week’s Detroit Auto Show.
Ah ha, It is I, Jim Hall testing out the latest in Svardian cloaking technology. How’s she work? I bet you couldn’t even tell I was there! Anyway, where were we? Oh, right, this is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, January 19, 2011. As I just said, I’m Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics bringing you the latest and greatest news from the global automotive industry. Let’s get started, shall we?
CHRYSLER ANNOUNCES HYBRID PLANS
Chrysler is taking a mulligan when it comes to hybrids. After the electrified versions of its Durango and Aspen SUVs were dropped in 2008 it hasn’t been active in the green segment, but that will soon change. The Detroit News reports the company is going to offer two hybrid models in the near future plus it will introduce other fuel-saving technologies. It plans to sell an electrified version of the 300 – due out next year – and a hybridized minivan in 2013. CEO Sergio Marchionne said the technology was developed in house, but didn’t go into detail about it. A nine-speed, yes NINE-SPEED automatic transmission is also expected to debut in 2013 on the replacement for the Dodge Caliber. Chrysler’s finally getting back on its feet after years of mismanagement courtesy of two incompetent owners. Let’s hope fuel prices don’t spike before they can get these efficient new models on the market.
IIHS SIDE-IMPACT STUDY
Here’s a shocker! According to The Detroit News, drivers of vehicles that perform well in side-impact crash tests are less likely to die in accidents. Whoa! Did I just blow your mind? Apparently the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied crash data for vehicles equipped with side airbags. Taking into account driver age and gender as well as vehicle type and weight, they found that drivers in cars rated “good” for side impacts were 70 percent less likely to die than those in vehicles rated “poor.” 78 percent of today’s vehicles tested by the IIHS have “good” side-impact ratings, which is up from just 17 percent in 2003.
MAZDA MINAGI CONCEPT
Mazda will show off a compact crossover concept called the MINAGI at this year’s Geneva Motor Show in March. It features Mazda’s SKYACTIV technologies and its new design theme known as KODO, which means “Soul of Motion.” The SKYACTIV technologies include efficient gas and diesel engines, automatic and manual transmissions and a lightweight body, all with the goal of improving fuel economy. The features on the MINAGI concept highlight how Mazda plans to evolve its vehicles in the future.
DANA SETTLES CASE WITH TOYOTA
Auto supplier Dana will pay Toyota $25 million for Tacoma frames it supplied to the company that rusted out. According to Reuters, in 2008 Toyota had to extend the warranty on Tacomas built between 1995 and 2000 in the U.S. Then, in 2009, Toyota was forced to recall over 100,000 Tacomas in cold-weather states because road salt used to melt snow could corrode parts of the frame.
FORD DEALERS OFFER MYFORD TOUCH LESSONS
Earlier this month Consumer Reports ripped Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system saying it’s too complicated. Perhaps in response to that review, the Detroit Free Press reports Ford dealers plan to give lessons on how to use the system to customers who buy vehicles equipped with it. Some dealers are also hiring dedicated specialists to answer questions about the system and other Ford technologies. The company says it plans to offer MyFord Touch in 80 percent of its vehicles by 2015.
PORSCHE DEVELOPING 4-CYLINDER GAS ENGINE
Now for some under-the-hood news; and you can take this with a grain of salt. Autocar reports Porsche has confirmed it’s working on a new four-cylinder gasoline engine. The alleged boxer powerplant will probably be used in the company’s new baby roadster and the Cayman. It may even find its way into the 911. But the big question is, will it be a VW-group inline or a Porsche-produced flat four? DUN, DUN, DUN! We all know what it should be.
Coming up after the break we’ll take a look at some of my favorite reveals from last week’s Detroit Auto Show. Back right after this.
After spending five days at the North American International Auto Show last week, which is chock-a-block with neat-o stuff, I realized I had six favorites that are new . . . or at least relatively new for the U.S. market. I am going to go through them in alphabetical order as to NOT show any favoritism. Sorry Zastavia.
• Swoop-du-jour styling that’ll wear far better than the new Mercedes CLS
• Weird mix of new A6 and A8 components
• 300HP supercharged V6
• I want an S7 . . . no, take that back. I want an RS7
BMW 1-Series M
• 335 horsepower inline six
• Cool-looking bodywork
• Alcantara is king inside
• All-aluminum suspension components poached from today’s M3
• Too conservative? Pfah! It looks like a NEW, more substantial 300
• Interior is good but still needs work
• 292HP base V-6 is one fine engine
• That said, give me the Hemi V-8. Should be good for 370 horsepower or thereabouts
Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca
• Great example of more (and less) . . . for more!
• More power – up 27 ponies to 440 horsepower
• More gauges and aerodynamic thingie-bobs
• Fewer seats. No back seat and in its place is a painted structural X-Brace. It really should be aluminum, though.
• Available in any color you want. As long as you want to drive a circus wagon.
• Come on, coral-orange and white? Coral-orange with black?
• Weird and wonderful multi-function sports coupe (does anybody still use that term?) with three real doors
• 138 horsepower direct-injection inline four
• Two six-speed transmissions – one with a single clutch and a pedal that you have to shift yourself, the other with two clutches and no pedal that shifts faster than you can
• Is this the successor to the Scion tC for an even younger generation?
Land Rover Evoque
• Becomes a real vehicle with four doors
• 240 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four should work for something this size
• Looks cooler than any other smaller premium SUV/Crossover and such. But that’s because it has a really low roof
There you go, now you know. And I should mention that none of these cars are my favorite pick I would want to own from the Detroit Auto Show. I won’t mention any names, but a 551 horsepower station wagon is exactly what I need . . . and WANT!
And that’s a wrap for today’s show. As usual, I’m Jim Hall, Managing Director of 2953 Analytics, your one-stop shop for all the . . . well, for all the analysis you could ever want.
Before I say farewell, I need to remind you to tune in to Autoline After Hours tomorrow night. We’ll be broadcasting LIVE from the Chrysler design dome in Auburn Hills, Michigan. McElroy and Peter D. will be joined by Joe Veltri, the company’s head of product development. You can watch it in real time on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time. Of course, if you can’t make it for the LIVE broadcast you can always download the show as a podcast. Just subscribe to Autoline After Hours on iTunes or the Zune Marketplace . . . if you’re one of the dozen people that has a Zune.
Anyway, thanks to all of you out there watching and listening, I’ll catch you next time.