April 4th, 2012 at 12:26pm
Fisker is looking at alternative sites to build its new model, the Atlantic, after loans from the U.S. Department of Energy fell through. Massachusetts-based Terrafugia just completed its first successful test flight of a flying car called the Transition Street-Legal Airplane. Chevy unveiled the 2014 Impala in New York yesterday. All that and more, plus John McElroy brings you the latest reveals from the New York Auto Show.
Ah, ha, ha! Yes, it is I, Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics bringing you yet another episode of Autoline Daily. It’s Wednesday the fourth of April, 2012 and we’ve got a lot of news to cover, so let’s get started, shall we?
FISKER MAY ABANDON GM PLANT
Yesterday we reported Fisker was able to raise more than $100 million dollars recently, but it might not be enough for it to keep building in the U.S. According to Reuters, the company is looking at alternative sites to build the Atlantic, a new model it just unveiled. Fisker planned on producing it at a former GM plant in Delaware, but those plans are in doubt after losing out on a loan from the U.S. government. The company is still in talks with the Department of Energy and would like to stay in the U.S., but says it’s open to building it overseas if a foreign investor emerges. We’ll have more about the Fisker Atlantic later in the show.
FLYING CAR COMPLETES 1ST FLIGHT
While automakers are busy showing off their new cars in New York, here’s one futuristic concept you won’t see at the show. Massachusetts-based Terrafugia just completed its first successful test flight of a flying car called the Transition Street-Legal Airplane. The vehicle, which seats two people, can be driven on the road and is small enough to fit in a garage when the wings are folded up. The prototype was able to reach an altitude of 1,400 feet and was in the air for eight minutes. It has a top speed of 70 miles an hour on the ground and 115 in the air. Believe it or not, the company plans on selling the vehicle sometime next year. But hopefully they think of a better name by then. The Aerocar and Mizar both live on . . . if only in spirit.
2014 CHEVY IMPALA
Speaking of New York . . . I think, like, there’s a show going on there or something . . . Anyway, in the product department Chevrolet has some BIG news to share . . . literally! Its large sedan, the Impala, is getting a thorough redesign for the 2014 model year. And by thorough I mean absolutely, positively transformative . . .
It’s great to see Chevy stepping up its game. Today’s Impala is BARELY rental grade, but the 2014 model is stunning, and in a way, the first “new” Chevy since the ‘55 Bel Air. Reuss mentioned value and great design, but the real story behind the new Imapla is the way the car embraces the philosophy of the famous Tri-Chevies – the 1955, ’56 and ’57 models.
On the subject of New York, please, Please, PLEASE check out Autoline After Hours tomorrow evening starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. McElroy and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo will be comin’ at you LIVE from Katz’s Deli, a Manhattan institution. DO NOT MISS IT . . . that’s an order, solider! No, seriously, I WILL FIND YOU, and you won’t like the consequences . . .
COMET RACKS UP HALF A MILLION MILES
A 93-year-old Florida woman is hanging up her keys. Rachel Veitch decided to stop driving last month because of her failing vision. Sure, that’s not really news. Most nonagenarians have trouble walking, let alone handling a vehicle. What’s so impressive here is her car, a 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente. Maybe you’ve heard of it. She’s racked up more than 567,000 miles on it over the last 48 years! Nicknamed “Chariot,” the sedan has gone through 18 batteries, eight mufflers . . . and three husbands. After nearly five decades of continuous use, trekking to Texas, California, Michigan and beyond, the Merc still purrs like a kitten. Now that’s a testament to Detroit Iron if I ever saw one! Memo to Alan Mulally – relaunch the Caliente nameplate.
Coming up next, McElroy brings us the latest car news from Manhattan.
NY AUTO SHOW REVEALS
Well, as you know John and his crew are in the Big Apple right now covering the New York Auto Show. And boy howdy is there a lot of news coming out of Manhattan this year! Even before things kicked off this morning, automakers hosted a raft of pre-show reveals. Here’s Captain Johnny with latest from the City that Never Sleeps.
(Today’s feature is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
Lots of interesting stuff coming out of New York this year. One vehicle that really catches my eye is that Fisker Atlantic. It’s going to be the company’s volume car, since the Karma is just so damn expensive. But like the story we did before the break, where is it going to be built? Delaware or not, in my book it ABSOLUTELY MUST be assembled in the United States. If it’s not, Fisker stands to lose LOTS of government money, some of which the company has already received. And that makes ZERO sense from a business standpoint. Can they pull it off? That’s a tough question. You see, for startups in the auto manufacturing business the second car is ALWAYS the hardest to build because the expenses for things like distribution, marketing, warranty costs and the like have to be dealt with while burning up capital with new vehicle engineering and manufacturing costs. Second cars are usually the ones that break the backs of fledgling automakers.
Wrapping things up, I’m Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics. Thank you for watching today’s program and I’ll see you tomorrow – same time, same place. BYE!