May 15th, 2012 at 11:55am
Watch out, this year’s annual transportation bill has a section mandating that every car in the U.S. must have a black box – what’s formally known as an event data recorder. The automotive industry is the engine driving America’s economic recovery. Hyundai just inked a deal with a Norwegian battery-recharging company to supply the country with hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. All that and more, plus a walk around the brand new 2013 Nissan Altima.
This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, May 15, 2012. I’m John McElroy, and here’s the news.
LARGE MALE SIBLING IS OBSERVING
This year’s annual transportation bill has a section mandating that every car in the U.S. must have a black box – what’s formally known as an event data recorder – by 2015. According to Car and Driver, the Senate has already passed the bill and the House of Representatives is expected to do the same when it votes. The bill more clearly specifies the owner of the vehicle owns the data in the black box and that authorities will have to get a court order to retrieve data. It also states that data collected must be related to vehicle safety. This may sound like Big Brother, but most new vehicles are already equipped with black boxes anyways.
FERRARI GOES GREEN
With more stringent fuel economy rules on the horizon, even supercar makers have to adapt. According to Bloomberg, Ferrari plans to replace the Enzo with a hybrid which will use technology it developed in Formula 1. The car will be powered by two electric motors mated to a 12-cylinder gasoline engine that the company says will produce the most horsepower of any Ferrari ever, while slashing fuel consumption by 40 percent. The hybrid will go on sale next year and is expected to cost more than the $850,000 Enzo.
General Motors announced it will add an all-new small SUV called the Trax to its global line-up. The vehicle, which will debut in September at the Paris Motor Show, will be sold in 140 markets, but not the U.S. due to overlap with the Equinox. The Trax will first go on sale in Canada and Mexico at the end of this year.
AMERICA’S ECONOMIC ENGINE
The global economy is finally starting to dig itself out of recession, and in the United States at least, the automotive industry is engine driving this growth. According to Bloomberg, vehicle output contributed to half of our 2.2 percent economic expansion in the first quarter of the year. HALF! The SAAR has topped 14 million units every month this year, the best it’s been since 2008. To keep up with demand, the Detroit Three are adding shifts at assembly plants, hiring more workers and raising sales forecasts. Analysts say the auto industry is helping boost consumer confidence AND more importantly, spending. Everyone that says manufacturing is outdated or irrelevant can shut their mouths now.
SAVE THE PLANET, RUIN THE ECONOMY
While things are looking up in the U.S., there are storm clouds on the horizon in the UK. According to The Daily Mail, British motorists could face a 50 percent duty hike on fuel in the coming years! There’s supposedly a 13-billion pound deficit in the works. The hole is blamed on drivers switching to more efficient vehicles. Currently, the fuel duty is 58 pence per liter – about 93 U.S. cents. In the future, it’s estimated a hike to 87 pence would be needed to fill the budget hole. Isn’t it ironic? By saving the planet people are wrecking the economy.
In more international news, Hyundai is expanding its collaboration with Scandinavian countries. According to The Korea Herald, the automaker just signed a memorandum of understanding with a Norwegian battery-recharging company to supply hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles across the country. Hyundai already has business relationships with the governments of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, and now it’s moving into the private sector. It wants to ink MOUs in the rest of these countries as well as in Germany.
Coming up next, a look at Nissan’s redesigned family sedan, the 2013 Altima.
2013 NISSAN ALTIMA
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On next week’s episode of Autoline we’ve got a very special guest, Dr. Walther Kiep, who’s been on the Volkswagen supervisory board longer than anyone else. He’s just written a fascinating book about his life in business and politics called “Bridge Builder.” We’re giving away three copies to three lucky viewers. If you’d like a chance to win one of these books, send us your name and address to contest@AutolineDetroit.tv. We’ll announce the winners on Monday.
Thanks for watching. We’ll see you tomorrow!