October 17th, 2011 at 11:00am
The voting on the UAW contract at Ford swung to 62 percent in favor over the weekend. Toyota is building a hybrid racecar to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans and other FIA World Endurance Championships. BMW just introduced the all-new 3 Series which will go on sale next February. All that and more, plus Bob Lutz gives us a walk-around of the new Lotus Evora.
This is Autoline Daily for October 17, 2011. And now, the news.
VOTES REVERSE ON FORD CONTRACT
Over the weekend, the voting on the UAW contract at Ford swung heavily in favor. As more and more of the plants voted, the tally swung to 62 percent in favor. So while the disgruntled dissidents had their day in the sun, this contract now looks as if it is going to sail through with a solid majority of workers supporting it.
R.I.P. DAN WHELDON
I’ve been a motor-racing fan since I was 12 years old. I’ve seen a lot of races and I’ve seen a lot of accidents. But the 15-car pileup at the Indy race in Las Vegas yesterday was the worst I’ve ever seen, and as you undoubtedly know by now, it tragically took the life of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Dan Wheldon. Everyone knows that motor racing can be extremely dangerous, but this race track seems to be particularly ill-suited to Indy race cars. My bet is that Indy cars will not race there again unless major modifications are made to the track.
TOYOTA HYBRID TO COMPETE IN LE MANS
Toyota is building a HYBRID racecar to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans and other FIA World Endurance Championships. The chassis was developed by the company’s motorsports division in Germany. Its hybrid drivetrain will be produced in Japan.
HYUNDAI UNVEILS EON IN INDIA
Maruti Suzuki is the top automaker in India, with something like 43 percent of the market. But across the subcontinent things are heating up like a bowl of spicy curry. Now Hyundai is the latest to go after the market leader, and it’s doing it with a new small car, the Eon. This subcompact hatchback is priced at 270,000 rupees. Sounds like a lot, I know, but it’s only $5,500. The company is gunning to sell between 140,000 and 150,000 of them each year. Smaller than the price is the engine. The Eon is powered by an 814-cc three-cylinder that delivers 55 horsepower and 55 foot-pounds of torque.
EQUUS DEBUTS IN CHINA
In an effort to grab a larger piece of the growing luxury market in China, Hyundai just introduced the long-wheelbase version of the Equus into the market. The car starts at just over $140,000, but that price comes with a number of perks, like unlimited, five-year service. If the owner wants to get rid of it after one year, the dealer will buy it back at 80 percent of the original cost. And if it’s damaged in an accident Hyundai will replace it, if the repair costs exceed 30 percent of the car’s value. Mercedes, BMW and Audi control 90 percent of the Chinese luxury market and Hyundai hopes these promotions will help elbow its way into that segment.
NEW BMW 3 SERIES
BMW just introduced the all-new 3 Series which will go on sale next February. The car is slightly larger than before, but it’s close to 90 pounds lighter. The 3 series comes with a choice of four engines – two four-cylinder diesels and a four and a six-cylinder gasoline engine – each one features BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology. Each engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and has stop/start technology. A hybrid will be available later in 2012.
Coming up next, Bob Lutz gives us a walk-around of the new Lotus Evora.
Bob Lutz is still a consultant to General Motors, but he’s also on the advisory board to Lotus, and Lotus has just updated the Evora. We recently ran into Lutz, who gave us a walk-around of the car, pointing out the new highlights.
Cool car, but will there be enough buyers to spend a small fortune on an exotic sports car with a Toyota engine in it? Lotus certainly has ambitious plans, now we’ll have to see whether it can really pull them off.
Don’t forget to tune in for Autoline After Hours this Thursday night. Our guest will be Jack Hollis, who’s in charge of the Scion brand. We’ll be talking about the new iQ and what Scion has to do to regain its momentum. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information in the business.
And that’s today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.