January 26th, 2012 at 11:22am
Nissan just announced it will build a third plant in Mexico. The company plans to invest $2 billion in the facility, with production scheduled to begin sometime in 2013. Opel has delayed the launch of the Ampera to fix a potential coolant leak in the battery. Ford’s successful “Drive One” slogan is being retired, replaced by another two-word catchphrase. All that and more, plus guest host Murray Feldman from FOX2 News, Detroit shares some of his thoughts on the resurgent American auto industry.
Welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily, for Thursday the 26th of January, 2012. Glad you could join us for today’s show. I’m Murray Feldman from FOX2 News, Detroit filling in for John. He’s down in D.C. right now for the Washington Auto Show. And make sure you stick around, because he’ll be webcasting LIVE from the nation’s capitol starting today at noon Eastern Time. Check it out . . . oh, and one more thing. It’s not too late to get your questions in. Swing by the John’s Journal page of Autoline.tv, fill out the form and make your voice heard. We appreciate your help. Anyway, on with the news!
DOWN MEXICO WAY
First up, Nissan just announced it will build a third plant in Mexico. The company plans to invest $2 billion in the facility, with production scheduled to begin sometime in 2013. The plant will produce up to 175,000 units a year of Nissan’s B-platform cars.
CHRYSLER MANUFACTURING NEWS
In other production news, the Detroit Free Press reports Chrysler plans to hire 400 to 500 new employees at its Belvidere, Illinois factory to get prepared for the spring launch of the new Dodge Dart. And according to The Detroit News, Fiat-Chrysler is also in talks with its Chinese joint venture partner Guangzhou about building Jeeps in country. By assembling them locally they’ll avoid getting slapped with tariffs and shipping fees, which they currently have to pay since Jeeps in China are imported.
OPEL AMPERA DELAYED
Opel has delayed the launch of the Ampera. According to WardsAuto, like its U.S. counterpart, the Chevy Volt, the Ampera has been recalled to fix a potential coolant leak in the battery in the event of a crash. Seven hundred Amperas have been delivered to Europe so far. They’re being fixed at a rate of 60 a day at an Opel port facility. The Ampera was scheduled to launch in France in December, but now it will arrive in March at the latest.
HYUNDAI PROFITS SOAR
You don’t need me to tell you Hyundai is rockin’ and rollin’. The South Korean automaker seems like an unstoppable force these days. Its sales and market share keep growing. Of course, the result of all this success is money in the bank. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company just posted a 38 percent spike in net profits for its fourth quarter. The total take was nearly $1.8 billion! Hyundai’s growing global sales and a weak domestic currency were big contributors to the bottom line. Company forecasters predict 2012 will be a good year, with sales estimated to hit nearly 4.3 million units.
HAVE YOU DRIVEN A FORD LATELY?
Ford’s successful “Drive One” slogan is being retired. Autoblog reports it will be replaced by another two-word catchphrase: “Go Further.” The new tagline will be used in the U.S. as well as Europe, where it takes over for “Feel the Difference.” Company spokes folks say “Drive One” was designed to get people to check Ford out back during the dark days a couple years ago when its financial situation was uncertain. Now they say the company’s on a completely different track and the new slogan reflects this.
Coming up next, my thoughts on the resurgent American auto industry. Stay tuned.
AMERICA’S AUTOMOTIVE COMEBACK
We keep hearing how American quality is getting better. The real test could be coming. The United States is quickly growing into an auto capitol.
American workers will be making more vehicles and more parts for Asian and European carmakers.
Asian companies such as Honda, Toyota and Nissan are moving more production here to places like Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee because of currency issues.
It’s cheaper for them to make it here and ship it out than it is to make it in Japan for export to other countries.
And European carmakers like Maserati and Mercedes are planning to do more here as well.
Mercedes will build a new four-cylinder engine at a Nissan plant in Tennessee in 2014.
Maserati will make its new SUV at a Jeep plant in Detroit. And so the question is, can the quality and the “build” that made these vehicles what they are be duplicated in this country? Or will this new wave of Americanization bring an end to these nameplates as we know them?
I’m rooting for the American workers because I do think they can do it. They have technology, new plants and a renewed sense of why they must succeed. After what the U.S. car industry has been through they know more than ever how much is riding on the word “quality.”
I’d like to hear what you think, and I will read it all. Just put it on this page.
And that, folks, is a show. I’m Murray Feldman, FOX2 News, Detroit. Thank you for watching today and make sure you check out John’s LIVE webcast from Washington D.C. The show kicks off at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Thanks again! I’ll see you ‘round!