April 23rd, 2012 at 11:55am
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.
Welcome to another week of Autoline Daily, I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.
PEUGEOT: “B” IS FOR BEIJING
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.
MO’ DEALERS, MO’ MONEY
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.
ONE FORD … EXCEPT 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.
CAR BUYERS ELIGIBLE FOR AARP
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.