June 30th, 2011 at 11:41am
June sales in the U.S. market will be announced tomorrow and almost all the analysts are predicting it will be a decent month . . . at least by today’s standards. Michigan’s new Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, initiated a letter that was sent to regulators in Washington D.C. questioning the proposed 56.2 mile-per-gallon standard. 14 other state leaders followed suit. Around 85,000 hybrid drivers in California will no longer be able to drive alone in carpool lanes. All that and more, plus a look at the new Toyota Prius v.
This is Autoline Daily for the last day of June, 2011. And now, the news.
JUNE SALES LOOKIN’ GOOD
June sales in the U.S. market will be announced tomorrow and almost all the analysts are predicting it will be a decent month . . . at least by today’s standards. They’re forecasting that sales will come in at an annualized rate of 12 million, up from last month’s 11.8 million. Ford is sticking with its forecast that the year will end up higher than that, somewhere between 13 million and 13.5 million. The forecasters say that Nissan, Chrysler and General Motors will post very-strong increases, and in that order. But Bloomberg reports that sales of trucks and SUVs are very soft, while small car sales are strong.
GOVERNORS CHALLENGE CAFE
No matter what figure it ends up at, the U.S. federal government’s upcoming CAFE laws are going to be tough for automakers to meet. Understandably, the regulations have many folks in the business worried. And according to the Detroit Free Press, many state governors are concerned as well. Michigan’s new Republican leader, Rick Snyder, initiated a letter that was sent to regulators in Washington questioning the proposed 56.2 mile-per-gallon standard. Altogether 15 governors signed on and sent the letter to Capitol Hill. It calls for reasonable standards that won’t derail the industry’s recovery. The gang of governors is also concerned about the job losses these stringent rules could cause as well as how they could impact the economy. Astronomical CAFE numbers like these are going to make new cars even more expensive than they are today. The Center for Automotive Research pegs the additional per-vehicle cost of a 62 MPG standard at anywhere from $3,700 to $9,000! Hold on to your wallets, folks! The future is going to be an expensive place.
HEY, BACK IN LINE!
One of the perks for owning a hybrid in California is being taken away. According to the Detroit News, around 85,000 hybrid owners will no longer be able to drive alone in carpool lanes. California introduced the incentive back in 2005 in order to get people to buy hybrids, but officials say they’ve met their goals and want to make way for electric vehicles.
GM AND AUSSIES MEND FENCES
Earlier in the week we reported that Holden’s future is in doubt because the Australian government ended incentives for automakers, but Ward’s reports that GM management and government officials met in Washington D.C. in order to mend fences. Both sides came out of the meeting saying it was beneficial and both were optimistic about GM’s future in Australia because it’s an important market for GM. But there were no references to Holden’s chairman Mike Devereux saying the company may no longer build in the country because of political flip-flopping and not receiving funding.
AUTO REPAIR COSTS
They say that when the check-engine light comes on, you better get ready to write a check. And according to a company called CarMD, which maintains a diagnostic database of trouble codes and repair costs in the U.S. market, the highest-cost states for car repair are in the West, while the lowest tend to be in the Midwest. The most costly states are Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California and Nevada. It says the lowest-cost states are Washington D.C (which, of course, is not a state), Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Repairs range from an average of $421 in Arizona, to a low of $265 in D.C. CarMD analyzed about 80,000 repairs to come up with these numbers.
Coming up next, a quick look at Toyota’s brand-new Prius v.
TOYOTA PRIUS v
We all know the phrase “bigger is better.” Well, Toyota took that conventional wisdom to heart with its Prius hybrid.
The new upsized version of the Prius, known as the “v,” is certainly bigger than the original. And while more space is its biggest feature, it also delivers some unique Prius touches like the “shark fins” on the headlights that manage airflow and other options.
The Prius v is a whole lot like a regular Prius. It looks like one, it drives like one, except for one big difference. It’s a whole lot bigger. It’s longer, it’s wider, it’s taller and it holds over 50 percent more cargo room than a regular Prius.
This additional space comes at a price, the Prius v’s combined fuel economy is 42 MPG, while the standard Prius gets about seven miles per gallon more. The additional weight, combined with a nearly identical driveline from the regular car also leads to diminished performance from the v, though it’s unlikely many Prius shoppers will be disappointed by their inability to do burn-outs in the grocery store parking lot.
The Prius v is the second in a line of four for the Prius family. That family will next year grow to include a plug-in electric hybrid and a Prius “c,” which of course stands for “City” and will be a little bit smaller. For Autoline Daily I’m Andrew Justus.
Tonight’s a big night on Autoline After Hours. It’s the first Automotive Fantasy Draft where we’re picking the top automotive executives for four brand-new car companies that we’re creating. Me, Peter De Lorenzo, Ed Lapham from Automotive News and the irrepressible Jim Hall have created our own car companies and will choose which automotive executives we’d want running our companies. And if you think you can guess who any of us will be choosing, you could win some great prize packages from our friends at Chevy and Hyundai. Just go to bit.ly/AutolineContest for all the details but you better get your picks in before we go live at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time or they won’t count. And then check out the AAH Draft at our website – AutolineDetroit.tv. And here’s a taste of what it’s all about.