May 23rd, 2012 at 11:30am
A professor at the Center for Automotive Research in Germany predicts that Hyundai-Kia will overtake Volkswagen to become the largest automaker in the world by 2020. Fiat and Mazda just partnered up to jointly develop a sports car based on the next generation MX-5 Miata. General Motors, Daimler, BMW, PSA and Honda are all shipping vehicles out of China. All that and more, plus John responds to your questions and comments in “You Said It!”
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for May 23rd. I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.
HYUNDAI-KIA #1 BY 2020?
Move over Volkswagen, here come Hyundai and Kia. While VW has a goal of becoming the largest automaker in the world by 2018, Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer at the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisberg-Essen in Germany predicts Hyundai-Kia will overtake Volkswagen to become the largest automaker in the world by 2020. He says the company is thriving because of its improved quality and styling and staying focused on its core business.
FIAT & MAZDA PARTNER ON SPORTS CAR
Well, the M&A movement is still going on. Fiat and Mazda just signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop a sports car based on the next generation MX-5 Miata. It will be sold as both a Mazda and an Alfa Romeo. The first cars will be made in Japan, but Alfa production could shift to Europe starting in 2015. Both Mazda and Alfa Romeo are losing money and this represents an opportunity to share costs. Mazda desperately needs to team up with another partner and Fiat needs to expand in Asia, so don’t be surprised to see these two companies announce further joint efforts, provided that this one proceeds smoothly.
CHINESE EXPORTS ON THE RISE
Chinese car exports are on the rise. According to WardsAuto, exports were up 50 percent last year to nearly 850,000 units. But it’s not just the domestic brands that are exporting cars. General Motors, Daimler, BMW, PSA and Honda are all shipping vehicles out of China. So far those exports are not going to the European or U.S. markets, but it’s only a matter of time. From here on out all Honda Fits sold in Canada will be made in China.
FORD & TOYOTA NASCAR FACELIFT
On the racing front, both Ford and Toyota have new bodies to run in the 2013 NASCAR season. And they’re desperately trying to make the cars on the track look more like the ones in the showrooms. Ford is showing off its NASCAR version of the Fusion, while Toyota is doing the same with the Camry. Of course, the similarity is only skin deep. They may call it stock car racing, but there’s nothing stock about these cars.
TEN SLOWEST SPORTS CARS OF ALL TIME
Modern cars are amazing – fast, powerful, efficient and refined. Even your average four-cylinder family sedan will out run, out turn and out stop performance cars from just a few decades ago. Jalopnik readers compiled a “black list” of the 10 slowest sports cars of all time. Some of the notable machines in this “hall of shame” include the 1980 Ferrari Mondial, which apparently took 9.4 seconds to accelerate to 60 miles an hour. Another surprise was the 1990 Mazda Miata, which was barely faster. Various British sports cars made the list, as did the Delorean DMC-12. It’s a wonder Marty McFly ever hit 88 miles an hour! But the slowest of the slow is the Crosley Hot Shot. Built between 1949 and 1952, this tiny two-seat delivered an equally miniscule 26 horsepower. It took a glacial 26.3 seconds to hit 60 miles an hour, but its quarter-mile speed was actually slower, meaning it wasn’t even doing a mile a minute in the 13-20! It’s amazing to see that the family minivan is faster than all these cars, and that is progress.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!
YOU SAID IT!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
Edwin Benson saw our report that ethanol has lowered gasoline prices in the U.S. by a dollar a gallon and says, “Hmmm… The Ethanol Study comes from the Universities of Wisconsin and Iowa – two big farm states. Am I being conspiratorial to suggest that the ’scientists’ who ran the study could have been promoting the interests of those who pay their salaries?”
I’m glad you raised that point Edwin. The source of any survey is something that we have to keep in mind.
Pedro Fernandez wants to know, “Any news on the plan to bring on E15? This was being discussed a couple of months ago and I have not read anything further on the subject.”
Pedro, the EPA has cleared the way for E15 even though automakers and gasoline refiners are opposed to it. Remember, there is a federal mandate for the U.S. to use 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2020. And the only way the EPA can meet that mandate is by boosting the amount of ethanol in gasoline. Biodiesel counts, too, but the real volume is in ethanol.
C-Tech loved our interview with the head of SRT and design at Chrysler. “The interview with Ralph Gilles was great. I love that he did not hold back. I hope you have him on again, perhaps after the Dart has been out for a year.”
You’re right, that was a terrific Autoline After Hours with Ralph. I think we all got more inside information on the development of the new Viper than has come out anywhere else.
Chuck Grenci loved my rant debunking an internet rant where some knucklehead accused the U.S. government of preventing diesels from being sold here because it worried about losing tax revenue. “Thanks John for the ‘debunk’ of that morons tirade; you did it much more eloquently and comprehensively than a lot of others that might have tried. When I first saw the video my B.S. meter was pegged, glad you took the bull by the horns and responded accordingly.”
Ron Paris had this to say. “The fact that the guy in the internet video opens by stating that he drove his rental VW 2100 miles in 2.5 weeks and isn’t sure whether it was a Golf or a Passat raises an immediate red flag for me!”
Boy, isn’t that the truth. He presents himself as someone who’s done all kinds of research, and he isn’t even sure what kind of car he was driving.
Thanks for all your letters and comments, we truly enjoy going through them.
Say, what does the future hold in store for Buick? Well, we’ll learn a lot more about that tomorrow night on Autoline After Hours. Our guest is Craig Bierley, the marketing manager for the Buick brand. So join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider discussion in the business.
And that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.