Episode 874 – Peugeot Premieres in Beijing, Ford Mulls New Brand for China, Scion Kills Two Models

April 23rd, 2012 at 11:55am

Runtime: 7:37

Peugeot unveils a new crossover concept as the Beijing Motor Show gets underway. The Blue Oval considers adding a China-shaped asterisk to its “One Ford” mantra. Scion kills off two of its most iconic nameplates. All that and more, plus Andrew Justus has Autoline’s first look at the new Acura RDX.

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Welcome to another week of Autoline Daily, I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.

Well, it’s the week of the Beijing auto show and one of the first cars out of the box is this Urban Crossover Concept from Peugeot. It’s a B-sized car, about 14 feet long, or around 4 meters, and less than 2 meters wide, which is just under 6 feet. They haven’t released more details, but these days anytime Peugeot shows something new, you’ve got to wonder if its new partner General Motors will be involved with this product.

Car sales may be slowing down in China, but some car companies believe they can increase sales, and their strategy is pretty simple: open more car dealerships. Porsche has 41 now, expects to have 60 by year’s end and hopes to have 100 by 2015. Hyundai announced it will add 80 dealers in China this year. It already has 720 dealers. And General Motors plans to add 600 more dealers this year alone (subscription required). That would bring GM’s total to 3,500 and that should keep it as No. 1 in China.

Come to think of it, there’s another way to increase sales in China: create a new brand. And that’s exactly what Ford is thinking about. Supposedly this would allow Ford to come out with very cheap entry-level cars without hurting the image of the Ford brand. And it would meet demands placed on foreign car companies by the Chinese government to create domestic Chinese brands. But what about all that talk of “One Ford?” This would violate the core principle of the company’s strategy. But if the Chinese government wants a new brand, I bet they get one.

SCION KILLS ITS BABIES (subscription required)
Toyota’s Scion brand is killing off two of its top nameplates. According to WardsAuto.com, the xD hatchback and the boxy xB will be replaced by all-new models with different form language. Scion executives promise the new models will be groundbreaking. Why the big changes? Well, the second-generation xB was never a sales success. It was too mainstream for a lot of buyers who loved the boxy original. It’s also rumored the company is studying the market feasibility of compact pickup truck. Would it be front-wheel drive? Would it hurt sales of the Toyota Tacoma pickup? We’ll have to be on the look out to see how this turns out.

Break out the Geritol! R.L. Polk & Company reports that the average new-car buyer in the U.S. is 51 years old! As the population ages, so does the average age. However, Buick has dropped the average age of its customers from 62 down to 59. That’s a nice improvement but the brand still has the second-oldest buyers in the business, behind Lincoln. You know, it all comes down to product. Build better, more stylish and exciting vehicles and people – YOUNG PEOPLE – will buy them. It really is that simple.

High energy prices got you down? Well, GM is looking to save a few bucks at its Spring Hill plant in Tennessee, which will soon be home to the Chevy Equinox and makes engines for the Malibu. It’s replacing more than 4,000 light fixtures, with more efficient ones, which will save the company nearly $800,000 a year in the cost of electricity. That is a ton of savings and it sure makes me wonder how other plants stack up against Spring Hill.

(Our first look at the Acura RDX is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

And that does it for today’s edition of Autoline Daily. We’ll see you back here tomorrow.

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

41 Comments to “Episode 874 – Peugeot Premieres in Beijing, Ford Mulls New Brand for China, Scion Kills Two Models”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    xB not selling well? Funny thing is that I see them all over the place here, even as taxis, delivery and senior citizen transport vehicles and as a mechanic neighbor of mine who owns one, told me: “Camry drive-train at a much cheaper price with lots more room and convenience” Re the avg age of buyers going up, why don’t they make the fine print in contracts easier to read by making the fonts larger?

  2. jesse Says:

    Lincoln has the TOWN CAR.I have been driving them since the 80′s.In the Limo biz in NYC and the metro area.They held up and hold up as good or better then anything else out there.FORD doesn’t advertise the car.I’m sure they could up their sales numbers on it dramatically if they did.The newer LINCOLNS.MKZ and the like may be more modern but they are ugly!That will drive away sales faster then anything else!LONG LIVE THE TOWN CAR!

  3. jesse Says:

    AND THAT WOULD MEAN foreign OR domestic!!

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I see quite a few xB’s around here, but still seem to see more of the old ones. The new xB is a much better car, except for the gas mileage, but it certainly isn’t the “cult car” that the old one quickly became.

    It seems to me that they should continue to sell the new xB, but maybe not as a Scion, but I suppose if they sold it as a Toyota, and at all the dealers, it would take too many sales from the somewhat roomier, but much more expensive Rav4.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Town Car ended production almost a year ago. They depreciate very quickly, though, so make a great used car buy for those who want them.

  6. HtG Says:

    I think the last time I saw an xB was last summer. Ten years ago I found a $100 dollar bill on the side of the road while cycling. That’s different, I know.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Up north in the NJ NY area, Town cars were used as semi-limos by execs and folks just trying to go somewhere w/o the exotic body odors from the foreign taxi drivers, here in Fla they’re not nearly as popular since this is the rental car capital of the US, but you see one or two on occasion, but they’re best for that sort of service.

  8. HtG Says:

    Let’s not forget the AC. I once had the ‘opportunity’ to sit in the front seat of a CrownVic copcar and see the video of how I had run a red light. It’s very cool in there so officer Dolce McDonut can keep it dry.

    (I think that subconsciously, I’m trying to get banned)

  9. dcars Says:

    Scions were not good cars. They were uncomfortable, buzzy little machines. The only thing they had going for them was price.

  10. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I think the small ‘boxy’ vehicle market just ran out of buyers. So many (manufacturers) jumped into production and the segment was just not big enough to support so many ‘players’. The Honda Element (my favorite of the breed though not in my vehicle radar in any event) left the market a year or so ago. With the exit of the xB maybe the rest might survive (but in my opinion, they were rivaling the Aztec for the ‘ugly’ award; especially the “Cube”.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    #9 then there must be a lot of stupid people out there, cause they sure have sold a lot of them, and they have a pretty high resale price to boot.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    htg did this police car have a cage in the back? if so it explains why the a/c was so strong, only half the passenger compartment was getting the cold air.

  13. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Scion to make a compact pick-up. Great news if it is true. There are no new compact trucks available in the US.

  14. Chuck@GM Says:

    @10 The GM exec responsible for the Aztec has of course has long since departed. The only thing he got right about the car was “Once people get in them, they’ll love them.” Of course the catch was you couldn’t get people in them. From a marketing standpoint he was right, people who owned them were fanatics. I sold my wife’s Aztec about 3 years ago and have yet to hear the end of it. Oh she likes her new car ok, but everytime we pass an Aztec there’s all kinds of weeping and wailing.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The boxy wagon that I really see a lot of is the Kia Soul. They are a pretty good value if not loaded up too much, and maybe are a little more “stylish” than the others to some people. Also, there is a dealer close to my place in FL, which is part of the reason there are a lot of them.

    When I was in NYC a couple weeks ago, I saw a lot of black Town Cars used as “premium” taxis. I read that Ford’s idea of a replacement would be the MKT. I don’t see it. Whatever you think Town Cars, they “look” like premium taxis, when painted black, just as yellow Crown Vics look like regular taxis.

  16. HtG Says:

    12 I honestly can’t remember, Pedro. I was so excited to ‘be the shotgun.’ But did y’all down there in FL read about this caravan of the State of New Jersey’s finest escorting our nation’s elite for some Atlantic City entertainment?


  17. HtG Says:

    15 The Black Cars are part of the Golden Handcuff Suite enjoyed by bankers forced to work late in exchange for take-out and a ride home at 11pm.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A couple weeks ago I saw a Town Car for sale in a front yard near me, and it would have been a great buy for someone who wanted such a car. It was an ’06, appeared to be in perfect condition, and had about 20K miles. I suspect an old person who gave up driving was selling it. They were asking $11K, and I suspect that was negotiable. It was there about a week, and is now gone.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks for the info. I’ve only been in NYC twice, so I don’t know these things. I’m learning.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    I just don’t see any car being able to replace the legendary Town car as a distinguished taxicab, I suppose they wlll continue to be used for years to come. if someone had some $$ to invest, it may be smart to buy a bunch of them and hold them in storage for future use

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:


    Maybe you can answer a question for me. Will the taxi operators in New York be forced to use the new Nissan things when the current fleet dies off, or will they be able select what they want, up to a point? Certainly most of the current “yellow cars” were Crown Vics, but there were some others, like Escapes, Toyota vans, and even a Prius or two.

    TIA for a response.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the Town Car I saw for sale here was any indication, I’d think buying them up would be a very smart move for taxi operators. The one I saw for sale here was cream color, with a similar color leather interior, maybe not what you want for a taxi, but it sure seemed a bargain. There couldn’t have been much wrong with it, at so few miles.

  23. HtG Says:

    21 This is all I can find, Kit. It seems like the law isn’t final yet, and I recall reading some news article that older cars could stay on the road. If you read the comments after the linked article, the author addresses questions about mandatory purchasing of the Nissan.


  24. Kit Gerhart Says:


  25. Dave Says:

    The front end styling of that new RDX looks a whole lot better than the old one! All they really needed to change to double sales was the bodywork from the front axle forward.

    As for manufacturers wanting to add a bunch more dealers in China, I guess they quickly forgot the painful lessons learned in North America not so long ago.

  26. Jerry H. Fluegge Says:

    Fix the sound system so it’s usable. With DSL here in Florida it breaks up so badly as to make me scream. A month ago it was fine.


  27. HtG Says:

    Abandoned Enzo goes to the Block in Dubai this Wednesday.


  28. XA351GT Says:

    Frankly I’m surprised that Scion hasn’t killed the TC . Now with the FR-S coming. Unless their plan is to have a FWD 2 door coupe and a RWD coupe. I think a small FWD unitized body pick up may work . A modern Subaru Brat if you will. A kid at work just bought a old VW truck. He loves it and it’s just big enough for him. He hauls stuff just nothing that needs a 1/2 ton payload. So he great mileage and has a cargo area that suits his needs perfectly. Definately a market for a new vehicle of that description.

  29. XA351GT Says:

    I’d like to know how much it’ll cost GM for those new lights and fixtures to see how long that investment takes to pay off itself.Probably the same as someone buying a Volt at $42K to save $10 @ week on gas.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect they ran the numbers on the lights, and know what they are doing. It’s bean counters, not marketing people or even engineers that much such decisions.

  31. cwolf Says:

    The only place for auto makers to go is in the US and China;That’s the reason for all the new construction. While China declines over the next few years,I find it clever of GM to add so… many new dealerships to edge out competition. The US could only be so lucky to have China’s reduced annual growth. But as Europe strengthens,they and the US will demand corrections to unfair policies and manipulations. China is in worse shape than they let on,yet it will be another 5-6 years before it grabs everyone by the pants. Hope us foreigners make lots of money over there while it lasts. It just won’t do a thing for the workforce and OUR economy!

  32. cwolf Says:

    Do any of you remember the said new offering by Lincoln that is a cross between an HHR and a Scion? Has anyone noticed that it has never been mensioned and that it no longer exists on the Lincoln web site? Kinda like a job in Europe—-POOF!!!!

  33. cwolf Says:

    All these new car designs look like they come from the Jetsons and all look the same! When will a car look unique and like a car again?

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf you are forgetting Mexico, everybody is moving to Mexico, Ford, Nissan, Fiat, VW cheap labor and good tacos

  35. cwolf Says:

    pedro,you have been scarce of late! The Mexican move is more about location and wages than Mexican sales growth. The taco benders aren’t fairing so well of late. Making cars there is mid-distance to the US and S. American markets. And thanks to your constant reminders,I don’t expect my next work car will come from south of the boarder. But, I have to say my 2010 Milan w/over 135K has been bullet proof!

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf, even the crappy Fiat 500 that they sell here is made in Mexico and so far, quality and reliability are NOT an issue, same cannot be said for the VW build there, that says a lot about the VW brand. and their inability to build a reliable car.

  37. dcars Says:

    #35 if thats the case pedro I expect VW sales to crash and crash hard, like the original rabbit did. Back then those things sold like hot cakes and then nothing. They closed the Pennsylvania Factory and they were gone form our shores for a long time.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    dcars but VW sales have been going up, the new Jetta and Passat are doing better than the previous models, I don’t understand at a time when the economy is doing so poorly, people are taking a risk buying these cars. They don’t even drive as German as they used to.

  39. cwolf Says:

    pedro,look at the link I added over the weekend regarding reliability in Britain. You will see that Fiat holds it’s oun and better than VW. The problem with VW is that they are growing out of control and ignor the key element of uniform manufacturing processes across their diverse and scattered plants across the globe. Pehaps this will lead to VW’s demise,the fact that quality has been on the decline before many of the new plants were operational,so they do not know what quality parameters to to establish a standard from.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    Their quest to be #1 without just trying to be a better company might bring them the same results as GM and almost did in Toyota as well

  41. T. Bejma Says:

    For anyone that still has questions about the loans given to GM by the government and their role in the everyday operations…