January 4th, 2012 at 12:00pm
Bentley sales are back to pre-recession levels and the super-luxury brand is considering building an SUV. The price tag? At least $140,000. Ford will unveil a redesigned version of its popular EcoSport B-segment SUV at the New Delhi Auto Expo this week. It’s an important product for the company and CEO Alan Mulally will be on hand for the reveal. In related news, German supply giant Bosch is making a big investment in India. All that and more, plus a look at the North American Truck of the Year finalists.
This is Autoline Daily for January 4th. Here’s the latest news of what’s happening in the global automotive industry.
MOVIN’ ON UP TO THE (FAR) EAST SIDE
The luxury SUV segment is about to get a little more crowded. Vehicles like the Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Range Rover are already on the market. Now Bentley is considering a high-end SUV, with a price tag of at least $140,000. And speaking of Bentley, its sales have bounced back to pre-recession levels. Last year the company sold just over 7,000 cars, an increase of 37 percent. The U.S. remained its No. 1 market, but China just passed the U.K. to sneak into No. 2 for the first time.
YOU SAY ALUMINUM, I SAY ALUMINIUM (subscription required)
Fuel economy regulations get really tight after 2015. That’s why Ford is expected to switch to aluminum body panels for the F-Series. According to WardsAuto, Ford’s pickups will extensively use aluminum, including the doors and fenders. Aluminum hoods have been used on the F-Series before and the new Explorer features an aluminum hood as well. Ford says it needs to cut 700 pounds per model before the end of the decade. And that kind of weight reduction will not come cheap. Look for prices to climb sharply.
EcoSport WITH EcoBoost
Speaking of Ford, it’s unveiling a redesigned version of its popular EcoSport SUV at the New Delhi Auto Expo this week. If you’re not familiar, it’s a B-segment-sized utility vehicle. Interestingly, the EcoSport was born in Ford’s little-known engineering center in Salvador, Brazil. Hau Thai Tang, father of the S197 Mustang that first debuted back in 2005, led the development of it. This is such an important product for the company that CEO Alan Mulally will be on hand in New Delhi for the reveal. It will be made in Brazil and India, with other locations to be announced. Two engines will be available – a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder and a 1.6-liter four.
BOSCH’S BIG INDIA BET (subscription required)
And speaking of India, Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier company is making a significant investment there. The German supplier will spend roughly $413 million to expand its footprint in India. Auto production in the country is expected to jump 11 percent this year and Bosch wants to be ready.
NISSAN’S NEXT-GEN PATHFINDER
OK, back to the auto shows, specifically the one coming up in Detroit. Carmakers are slowly teasing some of the products they’ll be unveiling in Motown, and Nissan is part of the pre-show action. It released two VERY short clips showing off bits of its redesigned Pathfinder. From what we can tell, this will be a cleanly styled SUV. We’ll have all the details next week.
THE ENCORE TO ENCLAVE
To promote its debut next week at the Detroit Auto show, Buick is showing teaser shots of its new crossover vehicle, the Encore on Facebook. The company has been revealing a new section each week and now three-quarters of it is visible. The last section will be revealed when it is unveiled next week and we’ll have more details about the Encore then.
Say, speaking of the Detroit auto show, who’s going to win the North American Truck of the Year Award, which is going to be announced there? We have three predictions coming up right after this.
NORTH AMERICAN TRUCK OF THE YEAR
Early next Monday morning the North American Truck of the Year will be announced at the Detroit Auto Show. It’s really the first big news event that will take place at the show. So who might win the award? I put that question to two of the jurors, Paul Eisenstein of TheDetroitBureau.com and Edward Lapham with Automotive News. Let’s go to that clip right now.
Speaking of the Detroit Auto Show, we’ll have two of the show organizers on Autoline After Hours tomorrow night – Bill Perkins, the co-chair, and Rod Alberts from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo as we get into what’s going on behind the scenes at this year’s show.
And then next week we’ll be webcasting LIVE from the floor of the show. Join us at noon on both Monday and Tuesday as we bring you the latest news and new car unveils, as well as first-hand interviews with some of the top executives in the industry. That’s Autoline LIVE from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show next week, right here at Autoline.tv.
And that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.