June 29th, 2011 at 12:00pm
Carlos Ghosn, the head of Nissan and Renault, raked in almost $11.5 million dollars last fiscal year, which makes him the highest-paid executive at a Japanese car company. Ford is working to increase capacity at its plant in the United Kingdom that builds four-cylinder EcoBoost engines because demand is so high in Europe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued fuel-pump labels for E-15 – gasoline that’s blended with 15 percent ethanol – which warn consumers not to use E-15 in vehicles older than model year 2001. All that and more, plus guest host Peter De Lorenzo shares his latest compressed auto thoughts in social media speak.
Welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily, this time for Wednesday, the 29th of June, 2011. I’m Peter De Lorenzo, Commendatore of Renzo Motors and I’m looking to round up a few good auto executives. Or at least that’s what I’ll be doing Thursday night . . . but more on that later. Right now I’m filling in for John McElroy, so let’s get to the news . . . from way downtown, BANG!
E-15 LABEL INTRODUCED
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued fuel-pump labels for E-15 – gasoline that’s blended with 15 percent ethanol. The orange and black labels inform consumers about which vehicles can use E-15 and also warn against using E-15 in vehicles older than model year 2001. This includes motorcycles, watercraft and equipment like lawnmowers and chainsaws.
GM PARTNERS WITH WESTPORT INNOVATIONS
Speaking of fuel, General Motors is teaming up with Canadian company Westport Innovations to develop advanced natural gas engine technology for light-duty vehicles. The two companies will collaborate to develop engine controls as well as emissions and performance strategies.
GHOSN’S EARNINGS REVEALED
In completely unrelated news, Bloomberg reports Carlos Ghosn, the head honcho of Nissan and Renault, raked in some 982 million yen last fiscal year. That’s almost 11 and a half million dollars, which makes him the highest-paid executive at a Japanese car company. I guess it pays to be on top! That figure includes his salary as well as stock options.
JUDGE RULES AGAINST CHRYSLER
Earlier in the year Chrysler sued a Michigan retailer called Pure Detroit for selling t-shirts with the “Imported from Detroit” tagline Chrysler used in its popular Super Bowl commercial. And now the Detroit Free Press reports a judge ruled against Chrysler, which means Pure Detroit can keep on selling t-shirts. The judge says the automaker didn’t prove it would suffer any irreparable harm and that consumers wouldn’t get confused where the shirts are coming from. However, Chrysler says they will continue pursue all avenues to protect the “Imported from Detroit” trademark.
ECOBOOST POPULAR IN EUROPE
Ford’s EcoBoost engines are brilliant. The twin-turbo V-6 in the Taurus SHO, F-150 and other vehicles is superb. The four-cylinder offerings are excellent, too. McElroy’s been raving about them for months. Europeans have noticed Ford’s hard work as well. They’re snapping up EcoBoosted vehicles in record numbers. In fact, the company is working to increase capacity at its Bridgend plant in the United Kingdom. It’s already manufactured 50,000 1.6-liter EcoBoost fours since the engine became available late last year. This powerplant is offered in six vehicles ranging from the Focus to the Galaxy MPV. I can’t wait until these things become more available in the U.S.
FORD WILL CLOSE AUSSIE ENGINE PLANT
In related news, The Australian reports Ford plans to shut down its engine factory in Geelong, Victoria within the next five years. The company decided AGAINST investing some 100 million Australian dollars to upgrade the aging inline-six it builds there. The powerplant WILL NOT meet Euro 5 emissions without expensive changes. The only vehicles that use this engine are the Falcon and the Territory SUV. Without higher volumes the company can’t justify the investment. Imported V-6s and I-4s will pick up the slack. One Ford for better or, in this case, worse.
Coming up, I share my latest compressed auto thoughts in social media speak, and you get to check out our draft contest for a chance to win mega prizes.
Now that the short-attention-span generation has taken over the world and the internet has distilled our daily lives down to a series of talking cat videos, vacuous celebutards and maniacal conspiracy theorists, we are reduced to a day-in, day-out slog made of blips, burps, bites and an occasional cogent thought every, oh, couple hours or so.
So here’s to the minions, the gamers, the coddled and the entitled, the I-don-t-give-a-damn-just-ask-me hordes who want the world broken up in 140 character bits because anything more is just too tedious to contemplate. So here’s a snapshot of the current state of the auto biz in digestible 140 character morsels, just for you.
Enjoy it. Or just watch America’s Got Talent some more and it won’t matter anyway because by then your brain will have truly turned to mush.
Audi: Wins Le Mans for the 10th time in 12 years and their street cars just keep getting hotter. The state of the automotive art right up in here.
BMW: Still builds great stuff (see M3) but their focus? Ugh. Messing with FWD + crossovers? Just build a genuine successor to the 2002 and shut up.
Chrysler: Uh-oh, Sergio’s moving Fiat’s command and control center to Auburn Hills of all places, just don’t tell the Italian politicians or unions.
Ford: Alan Mulally named “2011 Chief Executive of the Year” by his peers. Even executives outside the business know Alan is The Man.
GM: Akerson’s got the bit in his teeth but he has alienated his own troops Big Time. Please get him a copy of “The Penalty of Leadership,” stat.
Hyundai: Pure unbridled automotive ambition, Korean style. And yet, for the most part, they deliver. Every time. Will they make mistakes? Count on it.
Lexus: The Pursuit of Blandtastic Perfection has been costly. When you’re the equivalent of rolling white bread your options become severely limited.
Mercedes-Benz: They still believe the automotive universe revolves around them. The reality? It’s just another car company chasing any niche that sticks.
Nissan: The LEAF won’t save the company (shocker), but 8 percent of the global auto market in six years? Uh, how about no frickin’ chance in hell, Carlos?
Porsche: Cars like the 911 GT3 4.0 and 911 GT2 RS suggest that there’s still enough sports car juice to stay cool with the hard-core faithful. Whew.
Toyota: Chastened and reinvigorated? Or profoundly arrogant and set in its ways? I see signs of both so ask me in twelve months. A giant “we’ll see.”
VW Group: Still on a Dr. Piech-led, double-timed death march toward total world domination – or oblivion – depending on which way you look at it.
So there you have it, folks. The current state of the auto biz (revisited) in 140 character bursts, if you’re into the whole brevity thing that is.
And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.
As I alluded to at the start of the program, in about 19 hours or so I’ll be schooling my fellow wannabe car company owners in how to draft a first rate auto team. Because that’s when we’ll gather to conduct the first annual — we hope — Autoline After Hours Automotive Draft. Tune in and watch me and my brand spanking new car company – Renzo Motors – show my compatriots how it’s done in the big, bad automotive world by cherry-picking the very best talent in the business. Damn it, I feel sorry for those guys, I really do, because they’re not gonna know what hit ‘em by the time I’m through. Oh, it’s ON.
And if you’d like to not only match your wits with us — which shouldn’t be hard — and win some cool prize packages from our friends at Chevy and Hyundai, then go to bitly/autolinecontest and find out where to send your picks and see some of the great stuff you can win. But you’ve got to hurry and get them in before we start the show tomorrow night to qualify.
Again, that’s the first annual Autoline After Hours Automotive Draft. Be there or be somewhere else — preferably on a beach enjoying an umbrelled beverage.
I’m Peter De Lorenzo from Renzo Motors, the home of Epic Machines and Memorable Moments. See you Thursday night.