Episode 869 – Resin Shortage May Halt Production, Citroen Numero 9, Fiat Viaggio

April 16th, 2012 at 11:40am

Runtime: 8:41

The supplier company TI Automotive is warning automakers of a resin shortage that could lead to production disruptions. Citroen is showing off a new concept called the Numero 9 which it says reveals the future styling of the DS line. Fiat will build a rebadged version of the Dart in China called the Viaggio. All that and more, plus a look at the all-new Infiniti JX.

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It’s the start of a new week! I’m John McElroy, this is Autoline Daily, and here’s the news.

While automakers and analysts are raising their sales and production estimates in many parts of the world, the industry is about to get hit by a critical parts shortage. The supplier company TI Automotive is warning automakers of a resin shortage that is needed to make brake and fuel lines. That’s because of a fire at a chemical company in Germany that makes the resin. TI supplies components to many major automakers and warns that production disruptions could hit in the next couple of weeks. Boy, if it’s not earthquakes, tsunamis or floods, there always seems to be something stopping the assembly lines.

The DS was one of the most famous cars produced by Citroen. And that’s why the company recently revived the DS model name for a family of cars, the DS 3, DS 4 and DS 5. But it doesn’t end there. Now the company is showing off a new concept called the Numero 9, or number nine, which it says reveals the future styling of the DS line. Kinda looks like a flattened crossover, if you ask me, with a hint of the Mazda CX-9 in the rear quarter. But I love the front end view of the car. It debuts at the Beijing auto show next week.

A new study from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration confirms what I said three years ago when Toyota was slammed with sudden unintended acceleration. It’s driver error! While safety advocates try to pin the blame on electronic gremlins or what they call “tin whiskers,” NHTSA points out that nearly two-thirds of the drivers who mistakenly hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes in crashes are female, and most of them are over 76 years old. I’d love to see the study look into how many of them are diabetic, which can rob people of the feeling in their feet.

As the saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” But in this case it’s cargo ships. Shipping in the Great Lakes is up 14 percent compared to a year ago, thanks to the rebound in the automotive industry and it shows how deep the industry sends ripples through the economy.


I’ll be driving the new Dodge Dart this week and I’m dying to get behind the wheel. I think it’ll be a pretty nice C-segment car. Fiat agrees, because the Italian automaker will build a rebadged version of the Dart in China. Called the Viaggio, it’ll be powered by a 1.4-liter turbo engine that’s offered in two strengths – 120 or 150 horsepower. A five-speed manual or a six-speed DDCT – short for dual dry clutch transmission – are the two gearboxes offered. The Fiat Viaggio will be produced in China with the company’s joint-venture partner Guangzhou. It should start arriving at dealers before the end of the year.

Did you have a rough day at work? Well, be thankful you’re not a police officer in Vietnam. A traffic lieutenant in Hanoi stopped a bus for allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road. The driver initially cooperated, but then changed his mind. He decided to flee the scene and the constable got the ride of his life. He stood on the bus’ bumper and grabbed the windshield wipers to hold on for dear life as the driver took him for a kilometer-long ride. Eventually he did stop as more law enforcement arrived, but here’s the kicker. According to Autoblog, the driver in question was released from prison in 2010 for being involved in a fatal crash, and yet he got a job as a bus driver.

(The Infiniti JX feature is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

Interestingly, the JX media launch was done in the United States, and for the first time ever, Infiniti invited Chinese journalists to the U.S. to learn about the vehicle first hand. Infiniti really wants to take on the German luxury brands which dominate the luxury segment in China.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

53 Comments to “Episode 869 – Resin Shortage May Halt Production, Citroen Numero 9, Fiat Viaggio”

  1. cwolf Says:

    The Infiniti is a real looker,but what’s with the CVT? This seems to be a Japanese fixation that I’m not particularly sold on,esp not in this luxo segment.I see no competition to the Germans in this one.

    The Citroen #9 is sleek and perhaps the Chinese will go for it..or not! The company is being nipped by the Euro delema and lost about 5% of its market share over the past year. With this intro and their partnering with GM on a small segment platform,the question is if Citroen can weather the storm before going broke? I hear they are not a bad car and the ones I road in years ago were most comfortable.

    It sure feels good US car sales are flourishing and the Gr. Lakes cargo ind. is reaping the rewards.But…as a tide rises,it also ebbs! I see sales and the economy slowing sooner than later. I expect cold feet to last past the election and until more insight into the Euro thing comforts market concerns. I hope to be proven wrong,but I’m more confident than not that I’m close to the mark. Again,hold onto your socks…the roller-coaster ride is soon to begin!

  2. buzzerd Says:

    I enjoyed your show about the Chevy Volt and I thought of something Lutz had said. He thought GM missed the boat in not building a hybrid when Toyota did because it was a great marketing tool to show how advanced your company is and how green it is. The government lambasted GM for selling big trucks and not being green enough. Skip a head a few years and GM builds an amazing green car and now they are still getting grief…. Also a friend of mine looked into buying a volt but was told only certain centres get to sell them and the nearest one was at least 1500km away! Soooo how bad do they really want to sell them?

  3. C-Tech Says:

    The Citroen #9 styling is great (imho)! GM (Ed Welburn) should take note for the future Buick Enclave / Chevy Traverse / Cad. SRX. Hot Wheels should get DS-9 into their line-up!

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like the “CVT” in my Prius, partly because, what they call a CVT in a Prius and some other hybrids, is not a transmission at all. There are not clutches or bands, just gears, and the thing is controlled by a “power splitter” between the wheels, a motor-generator, and the gas engine.

    I’m not sure I’d want a conventional belt CVT in a fairly higher powered “CUV” like that Infiniti, though. Somehow, the idea of that belt and variable width pulleys sounds like it could spell trouble down the road. Maybe not, though. There are a lot of belt CVT’s on the road in other Nissan products, and I haven’t heard that they are particularly problematic.

  5. C-Tech Says:

    The Infiniti JX looks like a “space-filler” until they get a real competitive vehicle in that segment. I see in the commercial they are really promoting the live personal assistant feature.

  6. C-Tech Says:

    @ # 4
    What I have heard from the trans techs is that you can expect about 150K miles on the belt. Since they are relatively recent, we will see if this estimate is accurate. What is troubling to me is that many manufacturers do not allow the trans techs in the field to rebuild these transmissions, they are only allowed to evaluate and replace these units. This increases the cost of repair.

  7. C-Tech Says:

    I wonder if that Vietnamese Police officer rode the bus home after his shift?

  8. C-Tech Says:

    A resin shortage? You gotta be kidding?

  9. cwolf Says:

    Kit,do you think I should give the Prius consideration as my future work car knowing the distances I drive? The “c” is perhaps too small and from reports the original model is still better serving. I sure hate the thought of driving foreign,but my Milan and future Fusion is and will remain Mexican. Who knows,I might throw my desire out the window and get the seemingly fun ATS 4turbo.

  10. Ed Says:

    I drove the new maxima with the cvt, and that was the reason I did not buy, you have to mode up to infinity to get a reg tranny, the maxima was strange driving , like a constant slip, and the mpg is not that good. Ed

  11. cwolf Says:

    Wonder if the fire at the resin plant was caused by an EV or a BMW with a bad battery cable that was parked inside a garage? Also kinda silly to put all the eggs in one basket to supply the stuff which causes the short-fall to resin”ate” across the entire industry!

  12. T. Bejma Says:

    #2 buzzerd

    Initially the Volt was only introduced in certain markets due to volume contstraints, however, it has been able to be sold in all regions for about a year. Any GM Dealer can get your friend a Volt. I have heard of different offers out there (from the $350/month lease), but a with little looking you can find them…

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The biggest mpg advantage of a Prius compared to other cars is in city driving, but it also gets exceptional highway mpg. I get 44mpg on my trips between Florida and Indiana on the interstate, and 50 or a little over on lower speed highway driving, on two lane roads in Indiana. I’ve never had a tank lower than 40, “no matter what.”

    In your case, with a lot of highway, and maybe not too much city driving, other cars that come to mind would be the new Focus, or, if you want to chance it, Jetta, Golf, or Passat TDI. The Focus would probably get about 40 mpg under highway conditions going 65 or so, where the Prius would get 50, but the Focus would cost less if you don’t load it up too much. The TDI’s would almost match the Prius in highway mpg, but on more expensive fuel, and more expensive maintenance.

    If you are considering a Prius, I’d suggest you rent one and drive it enough to find out if you would be happy with the way it drives. I like mine a lot, but it’s nice to have the option of driving the MINI when I want to drive something more “sporty.”

    From my experience, and the experience of a couple friends with older, fairly high mileage (~150K) Priuses, the cars are reliable, and get the best mileage, city and highway, of any cars sold in the U.S. They aren’t fast, and they aren’t sporty, but they do what they were designed to do very well. Also, I’m not sure what you would run into if keeping a Prius 250K miles, or similar, but I would expect it to need a new $3K battery by then, but I couldn’t guess what else.

    Since you mention the ATS, I saw it at the NYC show, and I thought it looked pretty nice. The one they had was on a turntable, though, so I didn’t get to see the interior.

  14. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The ATS will come in three flavors (engine choices); 2.5L normally aspirated at 202hp, a 2.0L turbo with 272 (I think, but definitely around 270) and the venerable 3.6L with 321hp. At just under 3400 lbs., you may just have enough with the base ATS (and the 2.5); prices haven’t been announced yet.

  15. cwolf Says:

    Thanks Kit. Of the 168 daily commute,I prolly could travel aprox. 40 of them on normal roads. Eventhough I would have to drastically change my driving habits,the Prius sounds tempting. Travling on the roads in Winter has me concerning. Like you said,I’ll have to drive one to over-come any doubts and fears from not knowing.

    Ya,Chuck,I have been on top of the ATS flavors and have read the base price is $34,500. Having to adjust to RWD in the Winter and 40 series tires adds to any reluctance,but Caddy’s reliability,esp EL problems,is more of a worry to me. This is rated at about 31 hwy,close to the Buick Verono that is on my list. Though on opposite end of the GM spectrum,One would think the Verano to get better mpg’s. I know Ford is proving a car doesn’t have to be over weight to have a quiet ride and interior noise level. In comparason,the larger Buick with e-assist beats the Verano’s hwy miles. Quite illogical in my book! The upcoming diesel would be most fitting to resolve this problem. The only problem with diesels in the US is that everyone has tantalized prospective buyers for years but only delivers faulse promises: and that BS is getting very tiring!

  16. cwolf Says:

    buzzerd,I am now seeing several Volts on most larger dealerships. I test drove another one for the second time about 2 weeks ago. I gotta say,everything about the car was top notch! Of course the down side was price,limited el range and the less than attractive mileage once the engine takes over. I would give the Volt a second look if the ICE mpg’s were better. Put the up-coming Cruz diesel in the thing,and my heart would quiver with expectations…along with everyone elses! But knowing GM is no Hyundai when it comes to expediting new ideas that consumers want,I expect the same ol’ same ol’ take it or leave it stuff!

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:


    Yeah, I’d love to see a diesel the Volt body, even without the electric part. The Volt has a drag coefficient similar to that of a Prius, so should get 50+, or even 60+ at moderate speed highway mpg with a diesel similar to the four cylinder VW diesels.

  18. Chuck@GM Says:

    10+ years ago while toyota was building hybrids taking essentially a 35 mpg car and making it a 45mpg car (or similar numbers) I believe GM thought it would be better to focus on the vehicles that use the most fuel, busses and such. That’s where they put their hybrid money thinking that doubling the mileage of a bus (something like 7mpg to 14 mpg) was more cost effective and a better bang for the buck and more friendly to the environment and a bigger bite out of imported oil. I used to follow the technology, but not sure what happened to all that, beyond it seems to have gone away.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They still make the Tahoe and Silverado hybrids, but I don’t know if they will continue with the next generation. The hybrid versions of both get 20 mpg EPA city vs 15 mpg for the standard ones. That difference is significant, but it seems that most people who buy these things don’t care about gas mileage anyway. The fuel savings would be significant, though, for anyone using these vehicles for a lot of city driving.

  20. cwolf Says:

    #18 Chuck@GM
    GM still has it’s thumb in the pie in this area,but due to the ecomomy collapse and ed.funding cuts,many school busses are kept running on hopes and prayers or purchased used. The combining of schools also made more units available. In Chicago I noticed many city buses and refuse trucks fueled by NG or by some similar innovation. Neat thinks are still happening in these areas and it is a good thing to see in all of our communities.

  21. cwolf Says:

    Kit, I think on TTAC,Autoweek or one of the other favs that the hybrid varieties of these SUV’s only amounted to about 100 units/mo. at best. IMO,it would be akin to putting on low rolling resistant tires to save fuel. Not a big plus in any case!

  22. cwolf Says:

    Have any of you been eying photos of the 2015 Mustang? Me would be happy with the current model GT,but this one is starting to grow on me…OOO-LA-LA!!!

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If they are only selling 100/month of the hybrid trucks, it wouldn’t be cost effective for GM to continue building them, even though it might be cost effective for some people to buy them.

    Here’s AW’s take on the next Mustang:


    It will be interesting to see if going away from retro is a good move. I like the looks of the concept, but will the people who buy Mustangs? We will find out in a couple years.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Did you see how little overhang in the rear? I wonder if they’re really gonna follow that design to the letter. I hope it will still be RWD, otherwise that would be a bad mistake.

  25. cwolf Says:

    They say we matured folks resist change. If I were to give in,this would be something agreeable to me. If the new model catches on,and if I were a few years younger with a few extra bucks in the kitty,I would stash a 302,Shelby or even a GT in the garage and just sit on it!

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m pretty certain they intend to keep the Mustang RWD. The plan for the Probe to replace the Mustang didn’t last long, and I suspect some people at Ford remember that.

  27. cwolf Says:

    pedro,for how many decades have cars extended beyond the axle only to become classics? IMO,wheels too close to the bumpers look rather dorky!

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think the EVOS concept was hyped as a plug-in hybrid, though I don’t know if it even had a power train. If so, it probably was FWD.

    I suspect that concept is only “sort of” what the next Mustang might look like.

  29. buzzerd Says:

    @t bejma- my friend was told two days ago from the GM dealer the opposite.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    Aha but cwolf, I am thinking of driving dynamics, maximum wheelbase with minimum length it looks cool in so many cars IMHO! overhang is just a big waste of space, just look at those old Amercian cars with their huge trunks and engine bays and not much passenger space.

  31. Drew Says:

    To cwolf. Patience can be rewarding. The Fusion will be built in Flat Rock, Michigan sometime in 2013. So, you’ll have real choice… an American-made beautywith fuel efficient EcoBoost.

  32. mj Says:

    where is tj?

  33. cwolf Says:

    Mi Amigo, max w/b with min. length may be fitting for hatches,but little else. I find cars,like the Veloster most hideous and only has utility if the rear seats are folded down. To have a trunk of any proportions,under these conditions,would have to impinge upon rear seat space;hardly a plus as a family sedan. Also,I wouldn’t mind a little overhang in the back end if I were rear ended. The thought of having an axle shaft up my butt diminishes any amount of added driving fun you say is to be had! Sorry,pedro,family sedans require ample trunk space, as well as interior room and most new cars offer just that just fine! What mid-size cars do you know of with the rear wheels close to the bumper satisfy hauling a vacationing family of four with luggage in semi-comfort?

  34. cwolf Says:

    Sorry Drew. I wish you were correct but Ford says otherwise. The new Fusion and the MKZ will come outfitted with sombreros. I don’t know what is to become of the flatrock plant,not that far from me,because the Mazda 6 production,too, is going home. Odds were the Fusion would have been my next car if it wasn’t for Ford’s change of heart. Just keep wishing Ford and the UAW come to an angreement in the near future.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf the Europeans have managed to get pretty good trunk space while they push the wheels out as far a possible, I’m thinking of Jaguar and BMW 7 series, btw I remember the first time I saw a Citroen and I wondered why all cars could not have such long wheelbases?

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The “7″ has a small trunk for the size of the car, but a roomy back seat. Such are the compromizes in car design.

  37. cwolf Says:

    pedro,I do grasp what you are trying to convey.Maybe we see things from different directions yet can agree on what is a proper amount of overhang. The 7 series doesn’t appear to have too much of a hang over. But being stretched,I view the overhang as being consistant and ample without detracting from style(ie-the whole car is longer).

    Speeking of the 7 Series,they have a problem,as do so many other makers,and hide them until they get caught. This is not good buisiness or morally right! The 7 series had reported problems rolling into neutral after the driver exited. Of the 3 ODI complaints filed,47 were reported to BMW. Of 4 ODI reports,16 complaints were made to BMW. BMW has 5 reports of injuries. These cars were from the 2002-2008 model year and nothing was done to address the issue! In my view,this has become a much too frequent practice and should not be tolerated. I bet nothing more than a slap on the wrist as usual! HO-Hum!!!

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Kind of the opposite exteme from the “7″ would be the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis. They had large trunks, good for cop cars and taxis, but not so good for rear seat passengers on a 2000 mile road trip.

  39. Jon M. Says:

    The Citroen looks pretty good up until about the B-pillar. From there I’m not sure, but overall its design should attract enough buyers. And yes, John, it does look like a flattened crossover. Funny you should say that too, because that’s exactly what I thought.

  40. HtG Says:

    BMW 7. How many people aren’t engaging the parking brake before they walk away from the car? How are these cars rolling away?

    No wonder I hate driving just a little bit more each day.

  41. cwolf Says:

    HtG: check this out;

  42. cwolf Says:

    Kit,once owned a crown vic. The trunk was cavernous and,yes, the rear leg room was not as one would expect. Never the less, foot room was ample for 6 footers and the seats were very well cushioned for long trips. With over 250K miles on her,I not had one problem. Hwy mpg avg was 27 mpg up to 28.7. My gut told me the air shocks were on their last leg, so I got rid of the car because the shock replacement cost would have been 1/3 the trade in value. It was a real treat to float to work in the morning and has become one of my favs.

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf, I look at my Corolla for example, a wheelbase of only 98 in, they could have made it longer, after all it is FWD, but kept it small for no good reason and a result, rear leg room is puny and front leg room is not good for tall drivers, there is just no excuse for that except if they want you to go to a bigger car and spend more money.

  44. cwolf Says:

    pedro,….or maybe it is as it was intended to be for this type of buyer.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Would you agree that the benefits of a long wheelbase and short overhangs are worth the drawbacks, after all when the move to FWD came, it was one of the main reasons for it, more interior room with a smaller exterior.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Wheelbase, at least the position of the rear axle, is one of many compromises in car design. About the best example I can think of is 7 Series vs Crown Vic. The 7, with an 11 inch longer wheelbase has a lot more rear leg room than the Crown Vic, but has a trunk about the size of the one in a Corolla. The Crown Vic, with the rear axle far forward, has about the same rear leg room as a Corolla, but a huge trunk.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit are you referring to the old Corolla or the new ones, cause the old ones have tiny leg room, I’ve been in the back of a CV (not a police interceptor, BTW) and we sat 3 across very comfortably with plenty of leg room.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The current Corolla. I got numbers from CR’s web site, and sat in one recently, I think a 2010. I’ve also sat in the back of several Crown Vic taxis recently while in NYC. The taxis seemed to have more rear leg room than the Grand Marquis I had a few years ago. Maybe the taxi drivers get scrunched forward when they put the “wall” in the taxis.

    Yeah, the Crown Vic has a lot more width for 3 across than an vintage of Corolla.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Speaking of “old” Toyotas, on the way back from walking to the beach to see space ship Discovery heading for D.C. on the top of the 747, I saw a Tercel wagon. It’s been years since I’ve seen one of those.

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wow! I’ll never forget on one of my last visits to Disney, I saw in the parking lot an old Celica, pretty beat up, with Oregon plates, and I tell my wife, look at this thing, made it all the way from the opposite corner of the country; these people have a lot of nerve taking such a long trip in a car you might as likely see in a junkyard somewhere.

  51. pedro fernandez Says:

    #48 exactly, taxis use the same as the police cruisers, a bullet and knife proof barrier between the rear and front, which cuts a lot of leg room from the back seat, I used to love the old Checker cabs, they felt like a limo back there except for the smell, of course.

  52. Brett Says:

    Crown Vic air suspension. You can replace everything for probably $600 through Arnott’s in Florida. Bags, pump, solenoids, etc.

    Or, you can hit the wrecking yard and grab a set of “poverty coils” off a lesser model Vic with springs. Grab the spring seats, too, and remember to yank the fuse from the Air Suspension system. $100 and “Bob’s your uncle!” :)

  53. JM Says:

    John, Fiat may want to consider changing the name from something other than Viaggio, or risk a lot of Fiat Viagra jokes!