Episode 667 – June Sales Looking Good, Used-Car Prices Return to Earth, BYD IPO

June 20th, 2011 at 11:30am

Runtime 8:20

Good News! Ward’s is predicting June Sales will increase over May’s Daily Sales Rate. At the same time, used-car prices, which rose sharply in May, have been returning to earth this month. Ford says this is their “last chance” to revive  Lincoln and the company is investing $1 billion toward rolling out new products for the luxury brand. All that and more, plus John’s segment on the versatile, venerable and value-minded Nissan Versa.


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This is Autoline Daily for June 20, 2011. And now, the news.

JUNE SALES LOOKING GOOD (subscription required)
Good news from our friends at Ward’s. They’re predicting that June sales in the American market will top 1.1 million units. That would be a 9 percent increase from last year. Ward’s says that the annualized sales rate, the SAAR, should come in at 12.1 million. That’s below the rate the market has been running all year, but is up from the 11.8 million SAAR in May. Ward’s says a key reason for the improvement is that most of the North American assembly plants of Japanese automakers are back to normal.

USED CAR PRICES RETURN TO EARTH (subscription required)
What goes up must come down. And now that saying can be applied to prices of fuel-efficient used cars. When gasoline prices hit $3.50 a gallon in the U.S. market, prices of used subcompact, compacts and hybrid cars started shooting up. Ward’s reports they jumped by more than $2,000. Now that gasoline prices are coming down those used cars are starting to cool off as well. Prices are slowly coming down.

Ford is working to give its Lincoln division a spit shine. The Wall Street Journal reports the company is spending $1 billion on seven all-new or heavily updated vehicles over the next four years. But is this enough to revive the languishing luxury brand? Automakers can spend a billion bucks on just one vehicle program. Spreading it out over more than half a dozen models, sure doesn’t make this sound like a big investment. Ford acknowledges this is its “last chance” to turn Lincoln into a true luxury brand. Last year Lincoln sold 86,000 vehicles – fewer than Audi, Infiniti or Acura. Still, the top brass estimates sales will nearly double to 162,000 units a year by 2015.

Delphi is working on a way for drivers in emerging markets to keep their cool. Ward’s reports the supplier company created a new low-cost air-conditioning compressor called the 5CVC. With a special variable compressor it’s more compact, effective and efficient than competing solutions. Production of the 5CVC system is expected to begin late next year.

Youngman Lotus has big plans for Saab.  The Chinese carmaker says it wants to eventually build 200,000 Saabs per year at their factories.  According to China Auto Web, Youngman wants to make 9-4s, 9-5s and the upcoming 9-3 for sale in China and for export.  The desire by Youngman to build Saabs at their plants seems natural considering they have an incredible overcapacity.   Currently, Youngman has the ability to build 700,000 vehicles a year despite only selling around 30,000.

Sales for Chinese automaker BYD have been falling since last year and that hurt it in the stock market. The company hoped to raise around $340 million with an IPO, but only got $219 million. Despite falling sales, billionaire investor Warren Buffet is still happy with his investment in the company. Obviously he must know something we don’t know or maybe he’s just going down with the ship.

Hybrids aren’t just for cars. Siemens, Diamond Aircraft and EADS will show the world’s first series hybrid airplane at this month’s Paris Air Show. The two-seat aircraft already completed its first test flight earlier in the month. The plane is powered by a 70kW electric motor. Electricity is supplied by a small Wankel engine with a generator that functions solely as a power source. And a battery system provides increased power required for takeoff and climb. It’s expected that the system will cut fuel consumption and emissions by 25 percent compared to regularly powered planes. The technology is being tested in small planes but in the future it’s intended to be used in larger aircraft.

Coming up next, a look at the redesigned Nissan Versa, we’ll be back right after this.

As fuel prices go up, more and more people migrate down . . . down into smaller vehicles. Just five years ago the B-segment segment offerings in the U.S. were pretty dreadful. But today many manufacturers offer great subcompacts. Nissan unveiled its redesigned Versa at the New York Auto Show earlier in the year.

It’s built on the company’s brand-new global “V” platform – “V” for versatile – but in this case it could also stand for “value.” One of the 2012 Versa’s hottest selling points it its low starting price, just $10,990, excluding destination and handling charges. But that’s not the only BIG news about this B-car. At 14.8 cubic feet it has more trunk space than a Honda Accord plus more rear-seat legroom than a BMW 5 Series or even a Lexus LS460!

The new Versa gets a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with a unique fuel-delivery system. It has two injectors per intake port, which create a finer spray of fuel for better combustion. It delivers 109 horsepower with 107 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual or an Xtronic CVT are the two transmissions offered.

As with other subcompacts, fuel economy is an important part of the package. It’s one of the main reasons people buy these cars. But surprisingly Nissan didn’t go all-out in this area.

Along with its highway rating of 37 miles per gallon the new Versa should also deliver 30 MPG around town for a combined rating of 33. Today’s model is already one of the best-selling subcompacts in the U.S. With these latest upgrades it looks like Nissan’s only going to build on this success.

We’ll have more information on the 2012 Versa once we actually drive one, which should be soon because it goes on sale this summer.

Remember, you can watch or listen to a new RoundAbout show right now on AutolineDetroit.tv. In this episode, you’ll learn about a community where pickup trucks are banned and you’ll find out what states might be slapping ads on license plates to earn money. Get it now in the John’s Journal section of our website.

And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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38 Comments to “Episode 667 – June Sales Looking Good, Used-Car Prices Return to Earth, BYD IPO”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I know I’m sounding like a broken record (have stated this in the past) but Lincoln doesn’t need a ‘spitshine’, it needs new ‘shoes’ (total restyle); I can’t decide which is worse Acura, Infiniti or Lincoln.

  2. Ron Paris Says:

    Kudos to Nissan for designing a B-segment car with decent interior room, even if the trade-off is 3 mpg. When I open the rear door of a Ford Fiesta of peer into the rear seat area of the Fiat 500, my first thought is why even bother to put a back seat in these cars when no one in his right mind would want to sit there for more that a mile?

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Lincoln needs a rear drive flagship sedan to compete with S-Class, 7 series, and LS. If they want to be a true luxury brand, rebadging various Ford rental cars and “crossovers” isn’t going to get it.

  4. Al Says:

    Lincoln needs dealers – I said this before on here. I stopped at my local dealer to look over the weekend, and they had (1) Lincoln. period.
    If I’m spending $40K I would like to see what I’m buying! Or I guess I could look at the Ford line-up since it’s about the same.

  5. tj Martin Says:

    Never ending SAAB Story ;

    Great ! So now another ” loser ” ( Youngman Lotus ) is investing into SAAB . It just keeps going from bad to worse .

    Lincoln – post 1 & 3 Seriously …. Lincoln IS in dire need of new platforms etc. But……… Cadillac has and is still doing the Badge Engineering thing for how many decades … yet no one seems to mind that they’re selling you $30K Chevys , Aussie Holdens etc as $50 70K Cadillacs . I’m confused .


    A HYBRID idea worth looking at ;

    Head over to http://www.thekneeslider.com and read the post titled

    ” Multi Fuel ……….. ” dated 6/17/2011

    Now thats a Hybrid idea thats simple , cost effective , light , compact and easy to use . Give it a look .

  6. shan Says:

    Weird how sub-compact cars always evolve into their larger sibling. I think the new Versa is much improved upon, but they will surely try and sneak up the price on it.

  7. tj Martin Says:


    Silly me . The hybrid power pack article I posted the link for is the same one being used in the Hybrid Aircraft reporter by ALD

    Still …….. its a brilliant concept , and one the auto makers should consider as a viable , less complicated as well as less expensive alternative .

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    The entry level price on the Versa is unrealistic, how many people are gonna buy a car w/o AC unless you live in north Canada or Alazka, even if it’s not too hot, the time will always come on a warm, humid day when that A/C defrost is a life saver. Radio, that no big deal you can always get one after market, but A/C? try to unload a car without it, good luck!!

  9. tj Martin Says:


    There’s the direct link to this interesting hybrid concept so you can skip the previous link

  10. SalvadorG. Says:


    Nissan is planning to sell the Leaf, Right!??

  11. John Says:

    Good Work tj Martin !

    It runs on Natural Gas Too.

    “Plus, the rotary piston generator is capable of running on a variety of low emission and carbon
    neutral biofuels, including propane, natural gas, ethanol and even hydrogen.”

  12. dcars Says:

    Good to hear that June sales are doing well. The Versa was a nice car in the past but a little odd looking. The new designs seams to take care of that issue.

  13. dcars Says:

    V is for Value and L is Lousy?

  14. tj Martin Says:

    So T. Picket Boone/CNG council is now hiring Shills to invade online forums with their unending propaganda as well .

    e.g Post #11

    Guess we can assume ol T and the CNG business community are desperate , as well as too broke to afford ” Real ” advertising / articles etc .

    Sad the desperation of some business in the never ending attempt to promote their wares at the expense of others in these difficult financial times .

    Even sadder that they don’t realize by doing so (spamming /invading forums /online trolls etc. ) they’re only exposing just how desperate they really are ; along with giving solid reasons why you as a potential investor/supporter DO NOT want to get involved with what is a losing proposition .

    Think I’ll go shed a tear or two . Or Not ! :o

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Life has taught me that any product or service labeled ‘Value” might not be a good choice among things to buy.

  16. dcars Says:

    Nice Autoline Detroit this weekend, Csaba Csere is a good journalist, but I have to wonder if he wasn’t holding off just a bit. Thank-you to the autoline for presenting this show.

  17. Chuck Grenci Says:

    For C6R fans. Ollie Gavin takes a hot lap at Lemans:

  18. tj Martin Says:

    @ Chuck Grenci

    Molto Grazzi for the link . But ohh that ” Ring ” lap in the ZR1 from a bit ago . Now that was insane !

    On the C7 Corvette , the rumors sure are a flying , with nary a peep or a word from Chevy as to what it might actually be .

    Seems the only thing GM will confirm is that the C7 will not be mid-engined ( phew )

    As far as the Turbo rumor , putting aside all Pro’s & Cons of Turbocharging I just can’t see the Corvette Faithful ( or any potential converts ) buying into a factory Turbo Vette . Part of the Corvette experience being the sound , which unfortunately Tea Kettles /Whistle Pigs ( Turbos ) do not make ( my S4 made less noise than a Lexus )

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    re: #5,

    Escalade is the only “badge engineered” Cadillac that is a Chevy. There are no Holden Cadillacs.

    The CTS is real competition for some expensive European cars, especially now that they have the coupe and wagon, and the CTS-V competes well with BMW M and Mercedes AMG products.

    The only area where Lincoln competes directly with Cadillac is the, yuck, Navigator/Escalade segment.

  20. John Says:

    More Good CNG News for Bulk Transporters…

    Clean Energy contracts
    with Fair Oaks affiliate
    to build CNG fuel station

    Jun 20, 2011 3:34 PM

    Renewable Dairy Fuels, an affiliate of Indiana milk producer Fair Oaks Dairy, has contracted with Clean Energy Fuels Corporation (Nasdaq: CLNE) to build and operate a new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station that will dispense CNG fuel to power the initial fleet of 42 CNG milk-hauling trucks the dairy plans to deploy later in 2011.

    The Renewable Dairy Fuels CNG trucks will transport milk to processing plants owned by Kroger Company in Indianapolis IN, Murfreesboro TN, and Winchester KY.


  21. tj Martin Says:

    Cadillac SRX = Chevy Equinox
    CTS = Sigma platform = Holden ( thats where it came from mate )
    XLR = Corvette C5
    Escalade = Suburban

    Any questions ?

  22. tj Martin Says:

    So … not that I’m a Lincoln admirer or anything .. seriously I’m not … but in light of #21 why is it OK for Cadillac to in essence re-badge another GM product , albeit somewhat modified , and at a premium price ….. but its not OK for Lincoln to do the same ?

    Because they go play racey car every now and again ? ( when the rules are “bent” in their favor by the way ) because they go play roundy round at the” Ring ” ?

    Because they portray the ” Pretense ” of being able to go head to head with M-B AMG and BMW M products ? ( drive them back to back and you’ll get an idea how much “pretense” there is in that propaganda )

    Nope . I’m confused . Its OK for Cadillac .. but for Shame should Lincoln do the same ( badge engineer their cars )

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ford should be able to get some cars from Europe and Australia (RWD) and give them luxury appointments and plush rides and put a freaking Lincoln badge, as it is Caddy has got nothing to compete with the S’s, 7′s and 8′s from Germany or the LS from Lexus.

  24. Alex Kovnat Says:

    >Hybrids aren’t just for cars.
    >Siemens, Diamond Aircraft and
    >EADS will show the world’s
    >first series hybrid airplane
    >at this month’s Paris Air Show.


    >The plane is powered by a 70kW
    >electric motor. Electricity is
    >supplied by a small Wankel engine
    >with a generator that functions
    >solely as a power source. And
    >a battery system provides increased
    >power required for takeoff and climb.

    I fail for the life of me to see how the arrangement described above, could possibly be as efficient as a parallel hybrid system like what Honda has used for cars. With the series arrangement, you lose efficiency twice – once when converting mechanical to electric power, and again in converting electric power back to mechanical. The consortium that created that plane, would have been better off putting a motor-generator in the system to help the plane take off (motor mode) and then recharge the battery (generator mode).

    Now about the Wankel: Do they know something that Dr. Kenichi Yamamoto of Mazda never figured out? Yamamoto presided over tremendous improvements in Wankel engine design back in the 1980′s, yet the only car using that engine, last I heard, was the RX-8.

  25. GPL Says:

    Re: Cadillac/Lincoln.

    I don’t think there is inherently anything wrong with shared platforms for luxury brands if well executed. The problem is when the lux brand vehicle offers nothing over the standard brand. Most Caddies are Chevys. Most Lexuses are Toyotas. As long as the customer is getting some perceived benefit from the lux brand, even if it is just better looks or upholstery and a better dealer experience, that’s fine.

    I think Lincoln falls short because their vehicles are just TOO similar. Most look like they share a few body panels, doors, glass, etc. Where they do look different, they don’t look all that good. I hate the current Lincoln grill.

    Lincoln could use a RWD platform. Rumors have it that the Mustang and Falcon platform may be commonized next time around. The Falcon could make a nice Continental. Add a few inches to the wheel base and soften the ride and it could be a new Town Car.

  26. XA351GT Says:

    How the hell can States put adverts on license plates? If that thing is on my car I’m peeling it off or covering it up. I should be to decide IF I want to advertise a product on MY car not the freakin state. If I’m the one driving the advert around does that mean the state isn’t going to charge me for my yearly registration? I highly doubt it. A suggestion to politicians , you don’t need more tax dollars , you need to spend less and spend it wisely like we the people have to ,because we can’t extort more money when we want it.

  27. XA351GT Says:

    I’m a Ford guy ,but damn you need to do something to make people want a Linc. Caddy may share platforms but the car line (not the SUVs ) differ enough that they don’t directly resemble a Buick or Chevy. Ford could do the same thing. share platforms ,but make cars that don’t look like clones with different grilles and tail lights. Example was the Fusion/ Milan /Zepher-MKZ. I agree about the ugly ass grilles too. Boys, that look isn’t working and while your at it tell Acura the news too.

    Oh TJ , the XLR died a couple years ago if you hadn’t noticed.

  28. Jim Says:

    After seeing one lincoln car and one CUV on the road in the last six months, I think the front of the cars look worse in person than they did on Autoline’s shows. Saab is really done and if the Sweed’s don’t know it they better wake up. What is funny about the Saabers that were bitching about GM wait till the china syndrmoe hits

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Cadillac SRX = Chevy Equinox
    CTS = Sigma platform = Holden ( thats where it came from mate )
    XLR = Corvette C5
    Escalade = Suburban”

    Some work on the Sigma platform was done at Holden, about 5 years before the current CTS which is built on the Sigma II platform. There are no Holden products based on that platform, only the CTS made in Michigan, and in China for the local, and some other Asian markets.

    The Theta-Epsilon platform of the SRX is different enough from the Theta of the Equinox, that they can barely be considered the same platform.

    The XLR was the same as a C5 Corvette, except that it had a different body, a different engine, and a different top. Also, it was discontinued after the 2009 model year, as indicated by XA351GT..

    The Escalade is made in Tahoe, Suburban, and Avalanche versions.

    Any questions?

  30. Andrew Charles Says:

    The SRX is not Theta-Epsilon, that’s the new Equinox. The SRX is an all-new fwd crossover platform design solely for Cadillac and Saab.

    The Sigma platform originated in the US. Holden was going to use it for the VE Commodore family, but they decided it was too small, too expensive and too American (GM’s overseas operations had traditionally been Opel fiefdoms—there’s a lot of anger, bitterness and resentment by Opel loyalists that the Americans have taken over, despite the patent success of switching to Chevrolet in Brazil, India, SE Asia etc.. The sensible decision would be to for export the Verona, Regal, LaCrosse and Enclave to Australia, with production in South Africa and America, since a lot of people here are familiar with Buick, and Pontiac, and Lincoln etc.. Importing the same vehicles with an Opel badge know one in Australia knows, from plants in Europe with much higher costs, is simply a sop to the Deutschland uber Alles crowd, who feel miffed that they are still owned by GM). While they succeeded on making a larger platform, they failed on cost. The major effort for the Zeta architecture of the Camaro was in taking out costs which otherwise would have made the base price somewhere in the low $30Ks.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Andrew Charles,
    Are there currently any right hand drive versions of LaCrosse and Enclave/Traverse et.al.?

  32. Aliisdad Says:

    I agree that the Lincoln grill is pretty bad, but that is an easy fix…A few years ago, I had real hope for Lincoln when the LS came out…It looked like an Americanized BMW to me…A friend had one that I thought was really nice and it looked like a “new start” for Lincoln, but they blew it again…Too bad, because by now they could have developed it into a competitive model in the “luxury” class…

  33. dcars Says:

    I have no problem with shared platforms as long as it’s done right and the cars look significantly different. Gm in the more recent years did a very good job altering the vehicles. It was was very difficult to see the similarities in the Pontiac G6 and the Malibu. GM had a great lineup of cars at the bankruptcy but the “business” side of the company was terrible and that’s what did them in.

  34. tj Martin Says:

    Ahhhh the dreamers and deluded amongst us , mistaking Cadillac’s moniker of ” Premium ” as a defined differentiation between the Cadillac platforms and its GM ( US and AU ) counterparts .

    Sorry guys , but the CTS is the Holden chassis ( ask a GM AU person ) albeit lengthened and widened , the SRX is the Equinox ( you’re letting the “premium tag fool you as well as GM’s hype on the subject , just look at the two side by side and tell me they’re not the same, then look at the mechanicals ) and so what where the Escalade is built , its a bloody Suburban .

    Also the term ” badge engineering ” IS referring to the process of stuffing another body on top of an existing platform ala XLR .FYI the XLR was dreck !

    Now……. if you want to say perhaps that Cadillac does a better job of Badge Engineering than Lincoln I’d agree . To say Cadillac does a better job of DISGUISING their badge engineering I’d concur . To say they do a better job of snowing the general public , well you’re spot on .

    But the simple straight forward fact is ALL CADILLACS ARE BADGE ENGINEERED ! Do you really think for a moment GM sells enough Caddy’s to justify a completely new platform for ANY of their models ?

    If so you haven’t read Lutz’s book yet

    @ XA351GT – Gee there’s a news flash ( XLR out of production ) the point of including it in the list was to show the across the board platform sharing/badge engineering of Cadillac to the deluded amongst us

    @dcars – # 33 – You’re joking … right ? You can accept the idea of being charged $50k for a $30K car ??? Huh !

    Hmmn. Maybe it’d be best I leave you all to your fantasies , lest I disturb your equilibrium , seeing as how some of you have already whined to Ben about me .

    Hmmn . Maybe you shouldn’t read Lutz’s book either .

    Toodles . Enjoy your time with CNG John , the Cybil Septet and HyundaiSmoke . At least they won’t shatter your dreams .

  35. HtG Says:

    I saw the sorriest sight this Father’s Day Sunday. Driving down 95 to DC we saw a smashed CTS stopped on the side of the road. Behind it was a large white pickup that had done the deed. The all black CTS had been rear ended so hard, the gas filler lid was popped wide open, the whole rear end keester crunched. Not much damage to the pickup. Sad. It was a nice shiny new CTS, too. Let us be silent.

  36. HtG Says:

    allo tj, on uniformity of GM cars. In Lutz’ book there’s a section on how he got the company to start making cars identical across the globe. L explains that in order to make money today, you need to engineer the car once, so he forced the company in that direction. What I couldn’t figure out was if L was implying Mulally was shown the way by Wagoner. Anyway, it’s Ford getting the credit.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    By your definition, is a Charger, 300, or Challenger a “badge engineered” version of a previous generation Mercedes E-Class? It would seem so.

  38. XA351GT Says:

    Please tell me what multi brand auto corp DOESN”T badge engineer? They all do it . It’s how the business works now. Even back in the 50s as soon as they came up with Multi brands and models it happened. Maybe not on the skin level ,but underneath I’m sure they did. It’s not like it’s a new concept. Bottom line is the buyer has to decide if his $50K Caddy is a $40K Buick which is in reality a $30K Chevy or not or if it matters to them. TJ I used to look forward to your comments ,but of late you’ve become the bully of the board and all those that don’t agree with your opinion are stupid or some other less than flattering description. Chill out, bud we are all entitled to a opinion whether the rest agree with it or not.