August 25th, 2011 at 11:37am
You’ve heard about the UAW’s effort to organize a foreign transplant, but did you know its working with unions in Mexico? Hyundai prices its unusual three-door coupe, which it says competes with the likes of Mini and Scion. The German car companies are making a mint in China. All that and more, plus a look at Chevrolet’s latest entry in the infotainment space.
This is Autoline Daily for August 25, 2011. And now, the news.
The UAW’s announcement that it will try to organize one of the foreign transplants in the US this year got all kinds of attention. But not as well known is the UAW’s effort to coordinate its activities with unions in Mexico. In fact, the UAW has even assigned an organizer to work in Mexico. Cindy Estrada, the vice president of the UAW in charge of organizing explains their effort.
ESTRADA: “That’s fairly new. One of the things is that we have an organizer working full time in Mexico, really starting to see where it is we can work together with different unions. There’s so many unions out there, so some of it is research and looking at which unions are doing a lot of organizing, and which unions are not government unions, but real unions where workers have a real democratic voice in it. And then we’re looking in those unions to see where we can run campaigns on suppliers together, where we can help them when they’re sitting at the table and weigh in. With Johnson Controls, for example, there was a group of workers organizing there. We were able to help by having conversations with Johnson Controls with our membership as well as our leadership in making sure those workers are treated fairly.”
By the way Cindy Estrada is my guest on Autoline This Week, and also joining me for that show are Alissa Priddle from the Detroit News and Joe Szczesny from the Oakland Press.
HYUNDAI PRICES THE VELOSTER
Hyundai released pricing for its funky three-door coupe, the Veloster. It starts at just over $18,000 with a six-speed manual and just over $19,000 when equipped with a six-speed dual clutch transmission. Powering the Veloster is a 1.6-liter gasoline-direct-injected, four-cylinder engine. Each setup averages 32 MPG on the road. Hyundai says the Veloster will compete with vehicles like the Mini Cooper, Volkswagen Beetle and Scion tC.
ACHTUNG! PROFITS SPOKEN HERE
Last week we reported that Chinese car exports were way up this year. Now Gasgoo reports that imports into China are up as well. Overall imports were up 36% for the first half of the year compared to 2010. The increase was mostly fueled by luxury vehicles, which were up 70% and especially German luxury cars which made up nearly half of all the imports. The Germans are making a fortune exporting cars to China. There’s a lot more profit in exporting cars to China than in manufacturing them there.
USED CAR PRICES SOAR (subscription required)
There’s a saying in the automotive remarketing business that every used car begins as a new car. And since new car sales in the American market have fallen so much, there’s a shortage of used cars. Ward’s reports that price for 1 to 3 year old used cars have shot up from an average of $15,000 in 2008 to more than $23,000 this year.
SCHOOL BUS SAFETY
Every few years safety and consumer advocates launch a public crusade to get seat belts or airbags in school buses. But once again the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US has rejected those efforts, citing the cost and the fact that school buses are extremely safe. Here’s a stat most people don’t know: riding in a school bus is the safest form of transportation there is. It’s even safer than having kids ride their bikes or even walk to school, where they can get hit by a car crossing the street. Plus, in a time when most school systems are facing budget costs, they’d have to shell out somewhere between $6000 and $7000 to equip one school bus with seat belts.
You’ve heard of Ford’s Sync, haven’t you? And Chrysler’s UConnect, and Toyota’s Entune, or Hyundai’s Blue Link. But have you heard of MyLink? That’s coming right up.
The in-car infotainment war is really heating up. Throwing its hat in the ring, Chevrolet is introducing a brand new technology called MyLink. Like Ford Sync, it offers drivers all kinds of voice-activated controls for different vehicle systems. Engineers are really proud of how responsive it is and how easy it is to use. Take a look.
Look for the MyLink system on most Chevy models in the next 18 to 24 months.
And don’t forget to join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information of what’s going on in the industry tonight on Autoline After Hours. Also joining us will be Mark Trostle, the new head of design at Roush.
And that’s today’s newscast, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.