August 18th, 2011 at 11:50am
Opel plans to make a big splash at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show with three world-debuts: the Astra GTC, the Zafira Tourer and the Combo. Here’s a shocker, Kia will start building a rear-wheel-drive car next year. It’s also developing a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. GM has given Cadillac’s Converj concept the go-ahead. In keeping with Caddy’s three-letter nomenclature, the production version will be called the ELR. All that and more, plus an exclusive look at the new Mopar 11, a heavily modified Dodge Charger.
This is Autoline Daily for August 18, 2011. And now, the news.
CANNONBALL! OPEL TO MAKE BIG SPLASH
And boy, do we have a lot of product news coming out leading up to the Frankfurt Motor Show. Opel plans to make a big splash with three world-debuts: the Astra GTC, the Zafira Tourer and the Combo. Opel will also show a production version of the Ampera and seven new ecoFLEX models. But the big news is an experimental vehicle exploring a new interpretation of mobility. What does that mean? We have no idea, but we’ll report all the details from the Frankfurt show when they become available.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF FAMILIAR
Early pictures of the new Porsche 911 have leaked out prior to its Frankfurt debut. And even though it’s an all-new car, it sure looks like all its predecessors. That is, quite literally, by design. Here’s what Walter de’Silva, the Group Vice President of Design at the Volkswagen Group had to say about the new 911 when he was here in our studios.
RWD KIA (subscription required)
Here’s something of a surprise. According to Ward’s, Kia will build a rear-wheel-drive car starting next May. It will be sized somewhere between the Hyundai Genesis and Equus sedans, and it too debuts at Frankfurt. A coupe version is also being considered but has not been confirmed. Hyundai-Kia engineers are also developing a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The basic design is finished and it’s undergoing testing. Look for it to debut within two model years.
CADILLAC CONVERJ CONCEPT A GO
GM has given Cadillac’s Converj concept the go-ahead. This luxury-level Chevy Volt debuted at the Detroit Auto Show back in 2009. In keeping with Caddy’s three-letter nomenclature the production version will be called the ELR. It uses the same powertrain as the Volt, but look for technical upgrades that give it a longer EV range.
VW-SUZUKI MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS
Last year Volkswagen purchased nearly a 20 percent stake in Suzuki but apparently that relationship is already starting to dissolve. According to Truck Trend, Suzuki has nothing to show for the partnership and is frustrated about not being treated equally. VW too is disappointed that the partnership hasn’t brought more success in India where Suzuki dominates the market. Now the rumors are that Suzuki would like to deepen its ties with Fiat. It makes sense because the two companies already collaborated on the SX4 which Fiat sells in Europe as the Sedici.
Coming up next, we’ll give you a look at the newest car to get the Mopar brand.
Last year Mopar came out with the first ever car branded as a Mopar in the history of the brand. Called the Mopar 10, it was a heavily modified Dodge Challenger, and it instantly sold out. So now Mopar is coming out with the Mopar 11, a modified Dodge Charger. We asked Pietro Gorlier, the CEO of Mopar, to take us through the car and show us what it has.
The Mopar 11 also has strut braces on the front and rear of the car that tie the shock towers together to increase the structural rigidity of the body and to enhance the handling of the car. They definitely stand out against the black background under the hood and inside the trunk. And what Mopar car would be complete without a pistol-grip shifter? But owners get more than just go-fast components; they also get the personal touch with a special owner’s kit.
Goodies in the owner’s kit, goodies on the car, OK, what’s this going to set you back?
Just under $40,000 for a car like this is a pretty good price. In fact, when they announced they were going to build only 1,500 Mopar 11s, the dealers bought them all within 48 hours.
By the way we’ll be at the Mopar display tonight for a special edition Autoline After Hours looking at the Woodward Dream Cruise, the world’s biggest car show, that attracts over a million spectators and over 30,000 classic cars. We’ll be using the latest in live webcasting technology thanks to LiveU, which gives us the ability to go anywhere we want on Woodward at the same time we bring it to you, LIVE. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information on cars and the industry that builds them.
And that wraps up this show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.