November 28th, 2011 at 11:50am
Further crash tests on the Chevy Volt by NHTSA found that the battery could catch fire in certain circumstances. Toyota finally revealed its new rear-wheel-drive sports car, called the GT 86. Daimler announced it will drop the Maybach brand since it was unable to turn a profit in nearly a decade. All that and more, plus a look at the new BMW X3.
This is Autoline Daily for November 28, and here’s what’s going on in the wonderful world of the automobile.
CHEVY VOLT UNDER FIRE
Electric cars are coming under stricter scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or more specifically, the Chevrolet Volt is. As we reported earlier, a Volt caught fire three weeks after NHTSA conducted a crash test on it. Further testing showed the battery could catch fire in certain circumstances when the cooling system and battery are damaged, allowing the battery to get too hot. But this is really a story about how to handle an EV battery after it’s been involved in an accident. Emergency responders and tow-truck drivers should read NHTSA’s report on what to do, and you can check our show notes to get that link.
GERMANY MAY BE FINED OVER VW LAW
The AFP reports the European Commission has decided to take Germany – yes, the whole country – to court. Apparently Deutschland is behaving badly. No, it hasn’t attacked France; it was supposed to get rid of a law protecting Volkswagen from corporate takeovers, but it did not. The back story to all of this is a bit confusing. Niedersachsen, the state of Lower Saxony, owns about 20 percent of Vee Dub, and the law in question gives it veto rights on any takeover deal. The European Court of Justice initially ordered Germany to ditch the legislation back in 2007. But nothing changed because lawmakers basically ignored the court’s decision. Now, Germany could face some stiff penalties. A fine of 31,000 Euros per day has been proposed from the date of the FIRST ruling, and nearly 300,000 Euros from the date of the yet-to-be-announced second ruling. Of course, all of this depends on the EU judges.
TOYOTA UNVEILS GT 86
Toyota’s new rear-wheel-drive sports car, the one that’s been shown as a concept about 27 times already, is officially official. And as we’ve reported about 27 times, it was developed in conjunction with Subaru. In Europe the Toyota version will be called the GT 86, in Japan, simply the 86. It will be powered by a 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine delivering 197 horsepower. Interestingly, it features both port and direct fuel injection. A six-speed manual or automatic transmission will be available. At least in the UK, the GT 86 will arrive at dealerships next June.
SUBARU-CHERY PARTNERSHIP APPROVED
Subaru was kind of screwed when Toyota bought part of the company. That’s because China will not allow foreign automakers to have multiple joint ventures in the county. And Subaru wanted to do a joint venture with Chery, but since it’s partly owned by Toyota the Chinese said no. But they came up with a solution. Subarus will now be sold as Cherys and Chery will run the sales network in China.
TOYOTA & BMW SHARE TECHNOLOGY
Besides partnering with Subaru, now Toyota is teaming up with BMW to share engine technology. Toyota will provide BMW with hybrid technology while BMW will share its diesels with Toyota. This shows you just how expensive it is to develop this kind of technology when two companies like Toyota and BMW get together to split the cost.
MAYBACH HEADS TO THE GRAVEYARD
And it’s even more expensive when nobody wants to buy the car you come out. We already reported this was likely to happen and now it’s official. Daimler will drop the Maybach brand. Bloomberg reports that it has not turned a profit since it was reintroduced in 2002. And only 200 Maybachs were sold last year.
Coming up next, a look at the new BMW X3.
Thanks for that report Craig. BMW is counting on the X3 to propel it to the top of the luxury segment all around the world.
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And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.