July 1st, 2011 at 11:49am
BMW just introduced the new 6 Series Coupe which is slightly larger and offers three engine choices. Fiat’s commercial vehicle brand, Iveco, revealed an updated version of the Daily which goes on sale in September. Land Rover released some important figures on the new 2012 Range Rover Evoque which gets impressive fuel economy thanks to lightweight construction and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline about why hybrids represent a very small slice of the total automotive market.
This is Autoline Daily for July 1, 2011. Here’s what’s going on in the global automotive industry today.
AMERICAN AXLE CLOSES DETROIT PLANT
American Axle, the last major automotive supplier with its headquarters in the city of Detroit, announced it is closing its manufacturing facilities in the city. It was unable to persuade its UAW employees to accept labor cost concessions. They had been making $45 an hour in total compensation. American Axle wanted to lower that to $30, matching the rate that it pays to workers in another plant in Michigan. The Detroit News reports that as recently as 2008 American Axle had eight facilities at its manufacturing complex, employing over 2000 people. But a protracted strike crippled those operations. Now there are only about 300 people working there. I understand why nobody wants to cut their income, but I don’t understand why they’re willing to let a plant close down and lose all those jobs for future generations.
CONSUMER REPORTS FAVORS 62 MPG
Consumers Union came out in favor of fuel economy standards of 62 miles per gallon in the United States. Consumers Union publishes Consumer Reports, the influential magazine that rates cars and other consumer products. It says manufacturers have the technology to achieve this. Here’s my Autoline Insight. Currently, the only vehicles that can meet that standard are the Volt and the Leaf. But the proposed standard would require the entire fleet of vehicles to average 62 miles per gallon and do that in a decade and a half. In automotive terms that’s less than two full design cycles away. That’s next to impossible and will only be solved at extremely high cost, meaning car prices are going skyrocket. And that’s going to put a lot of jobs at risk. Consumer Reports says it did a national survey where people say they are willing to pay higher prices for cars to get better fuel economy. But I say, look at what people do, not what they say. If they were willing to pay more for fuel economy sales of hybrids should be screaming ahead. Instead, hybrids still comprise only 2.5 percent of car sales.
BMW 6 SERIES COUPE
BMW just introduced the new 6 Series Coupe which is slightly longer and wider to give rear passengers more room. It’s offered with a V-8 gasoline engine, an inline-six gasoline engine and a six-cylinder inline diesel. Each is turbocharged and comes with a eight-speed automatic transmission. It has a newly developed suspension, it’s the only car in its class to offer electric power steering and the first in its segment to offer adaptive LED headlights for low and high beams. And of course, it has all the latest electronic infotainment and safety features.
NEW IVECO DAILY
Fiat’s commercial vehicle brand, Iveco, just introduced an updated version of its Sprinter-esque van, the Daily. It’s offered with a 3.0-liter diesel with twin turbochargers and a 2.3-liter gasoline engine with Fiat’s Multijet fuel-injection system. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, traction control, hydraulic brake assist, and trailer-sway mitigation. The Iveco Daily is sold in every part of the world and the new version goes on sale in September.
TOYOTA PLANS CAMRY AD BLITZ (subscription required)
Toyota is planning a massive media campaign this fall when it rolls out the next-generation Camry. According to The Wall Street Journal, the push will include 40 new commercials! Look for these spots to drop sometime in October. With this ad-blitz the company is trying to portray itself as a “smart, safe and worry-free” choice for consumers. The new Camry is part of a product offensive that should include 20 new or redesigned vehicles that are due to come out over the next two years.
2012 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE
The chaps at Land Rover just released some important figures on the new 2012 Range Rover Evoque. Starting price for a five-door model is approximately 27,500 pounds sterling. That’s roughly $45,000 for you Yanks out there. A coupé version can be had for a thousand U.S. dollars more. These sums INCLUDE destination and handling charges. Beyond pricing, Land Rover have also shared this compact SUV’s estimated fuel consumption scores. Out and about it should deliver around 19 miles per American gallon in city driving. That’s roughly 12.4 L/100 km for our metric audience. On the carriageway that figure jumps to 28 miles per rebel gallon, or 8.4 L’s per 100 clicks. A combination of FAIRLY lightweight construction and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine contribute to these impressive figures. Look for the Range Rover Evoque at North American dealerships this fall. Jolly good!
It’s TGIF and you know what that means: another hilarious episode of RoundAbout! Tonight you’ll meet a real-life “Mater” from the movie, “Cars,” learn what head of state nearly mowed down a crowd of would-be voters, and see the most influential Lamborghini that never existed. Catch RoundAbout LIVE tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time at you know where: AutolineDetroit.TV.
As I mentioned earlier, hybrids represent a very small slice of the total automotive market, and coming up after the break we’ll have some experts weigh in on why that’s the case.
THIS WEEK ON AUTOLINE
I’ve got three analysts joining me for this week’s Autoline. In the following clip, Jessica Caldwell from Edmunds.com, Jeff Schuster from J.D. Power and Associates, and Michael Robinet from IHS Automotive, weigh in on what’s going on in the hybrid segment of the market.
You can watch that entire episode right now on our website AutolineDertroit.tv, or check your public television stations to see if Autoline is carried in your market.
And this coming Tuesday, you can catch a LIVE episode of Open Line. Michelle Naranjo and Chelsea Sexton will be focusing on the world of racing. And, as always, they’ll open the lines up to you for a great discussion on all the hottest topics in the auto industry. That’s 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time next Tuesday.
And a programming note here. Autoline Daily will be closed down all next week for our summer holiday. We’ll be back on July 11th. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you then.