May 11th, 2012 at 12:00pm
We have more information on that 7-speed manual transmission ZF supplies to Porsche for the new 911 – the world’s first 7-speed manual for a passenger car. Magna Steyr will build a new compact model for Infiniti starting in 2014. To show off the durability of its new i30, Hyundai parked the car in the middle of a safari park to let a pack of baboons have fun with the car. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week about some of the tricks to make the interiors of cars look as good as they can.
Ah yes, Friday. We’ve come to the end of another week of Autoline Daily. It’s May 11, I’m Craig Cole, and here’s the news.
ZF 7-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
We have some more information on that 7-speed manual transmission ZF supplies to Porsche for the new 911 – the world’s first 7-speed manual for a passenger car. It’s based on ZF’s 7-speed dual clutch transmission, which, thanks to modular design, allows both versions to share a lot of parts. The 911 will actually hit top speed in 6th gear, the 7th is merely there to improve fuel economy. And by the way, it has a stop/start system built into it. The 911 with the 7-speed manual is rated at a combined 22 miles per gallon, which is exactly the same as the dual-clutch version. Personally, I’d stick with the stick.
GET OFF MY LAWN!
Hyundai thought it came up with a great way to pamper customers who bought its Equus luxury sedan. It wanted to make it convenient to buy the car, so it planned to send sales people to the homes of potential customers, and if their cars needed any service, a rep would come pick their car up and drop off a loaner. But as it turns out, a lot of upscale buyers don’t want strangers coming to their home and seeing where they live. They’d rather go to the dealership. So far this year Hyundai has sold almost 1,700 Equuses in the U.S. market, putting it ahead of its target to sell 2,000 to 3,000 thousand a year.
We have more details on the GM-PSA alliance. GM will build a replacement for the Citroen C5 midsized sedan and Peugeot will make the next-generation Opel Zafira compact minivan. GM denies the partnership will lead to job cuts at Opel’s development center.
MAGNA TO BUILD NEW INFINITI
Speaking of sharing costs, Magna Steyr will build a new compact model for Infiniti starting in 2014. It will be based on Daimler’s compact platform that’s used for the new Mercedes A- and B-Class models. Nissan, Daimler and Renault have partnered up to share platforms and powertrains.
BATTERY BREAKTHROUGH YEARS AWAY
Researchers are hard at work on the next-generation batteries for EVs, which promise lighter weight, lower cost and longer range. Steven Chu, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, has been saying that we should see a big breakthrough by 2015. But it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. Researchers at the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center say any significant battery breakthrough is at least a decade away. For now – and probably for the next 20 years – it looks like lithium-ion will remain the dominant technology for electric cars.
CAST-IRON DIFFERENTIAL BENEFITS ATS
The Cadillac ATS is GM’s latest effort to best BMW at its own game. And as part of that effort, the ATS should hit the road this summer with a curb weight less than 3,400 pounds. Engineers trimmed fat from parts and assemblies throughout the car, but curiously the rear end features a cast-iron differential case, as opposed to one made of aluminum. This sounds like a step in the wrong direction, but it’s actually beneficial in more ways than one. First, it helps with weight distribution. Carmakers are always shooting for that perfect 50/50 balance for better handling. Second, it’s stronger than aluminum – no surprise there. And third, cast iron is more efficient. How’s that? Well, it expands and contracts half as much as aluminum. Greater stability allows the ring and pinion gears to operate more quietly, which means they consume less energy.
HYUNDAI’S MONKEY BUSINESS
To show off the durability of its new i30, Hyundai parked the car in the middle of a safari park to let a pack of baboons have fun with the car. Dozens of them were in and outside of the car for 10 hours, but surprisingly there wasn’t much damage done to the i30. Ok, we admit, there’s no news here. But hey, it’s Friday and that’s as good a reason as any to put monkeys in the show.
Coming up next, some of the tricks of the trade to make the interiors of cars look as good as they can.
AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
On Autoline This Week, the discussion is all about interior design. In the following clip, Klaus Busse, the head of interior design for the Chrysler Group and Fiona Doskocz from the supplier company Benecke Kalico, discuss new manufacturing techniques and new technology that can make the interiors of cars look better without increasing cost.
(Today’s Autoline This Week preview is only available in the video version of the program.)
That holographic manufacturing technique is not out yet but we should see it showing up in cars very soon. By the way you can watch that entire episode on our website right now, or check you local public television listings because Autoline is seen from coast to coast in Canada and the United States.
And make sure you check out RoundAbout, tonight. The LIVE broadcast starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.tv. Our special guest is that car designer of a thousand voices, Jason White. He’ll be playing one of our audience-favorite games, A CAR BY ANY OTHER NAME. That’s the one where we name a fictitious vehicle and our panelists have to come up with a convincing explanation of what it is. You, the audience, gets to vote on who did the best job. Again, it all starts tonight at 6:30 and we hope to see you there.
And that wraps up this week’s reports. Thanks for watching and please join us again on Monday.