June 19th, 2012 at 11:53am
GM is shaking up its designers in hopes of increasing brand identity. The world’s largest automaker wants to move away from the current regional design scheme and toward one with global brand designers. Renault plans to add two luxury brands to its portfolio in an effort to bolster its sales and image. Ford and GM are touting their own environmental accomplishments. All that and more, plus a look at the Dodge Dart.
Welcome to Autoline Daily for June 19. I’m John McElroy, and here’s what’s happening in the global automotive industry.
GM DESIGN SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED
General Motors is changing the way its Design operations are organized. It will now have designers more aligned around its brands rather than having them organized on a geographical basis. GM’s vice president of Global Design, Ed Welburn says this will give GM a more consistent brand message, a better understanding of each brand’s customers, and allow more parts sharing across brands. Ken Parkinson will head up Chevrolet and GMC design worldwide, Mark Adams will head up Cadillac and Buick design. Dave Lyon will head up GM Europe design with responsibility for Opel and Vauxhall. Clay Dean will head up advanced design worldwide.
RENAULT + TWO
In an effort to offset slumping car sales in Europe and be more competitive around the globe, Renault is considering adding two brands to its line-up. Luxury brands. Renault may revive the Alpine brand for sports cars and create a high-end brand called Initiale Paris. Renault’s sales in Europe have dropped nearly 20% this year which is over two and half times more than the industry as a whole in the region.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told environmental groups it will not regulate carbon dioxide emissions from airplanes, ships and large off-road vehicles such as mining trucks. The EPA says it doesn’t have the resources it needs to monitor all sources and will only focus on the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. Environmental groups say about a quarter of all emissions in the U.S. come from planes, ships and off-road vehicles.
FORD TO CUT ENERGY USE
Ford says it wants to cut the amount of power it uses to make each vehicle 25 percent by 2016. It’s already down 20 percent since Alan Mulally took over in 2006. More efficient machinery and production methods, combined with better capacity utilization get the credit. Energy efficiency both in factories and cars is a big part of Mulally’s strategy for the company.
GM CUTS TRASH
Speaking of sustainability, GM now has its 100th landfill-free facility. It’s focusing on reducing waste and recycling or re-purposing materials like cardboard and old tires. GM says it recycled the equivalent of 38 million garbage bags at its plants worldwide last year, and has cut waste by 43 percent since 1997.
MERCEDES TINKERS WITH APPS
Automakers are scrambling to bring more social media applications into their vehicles, but they need to modify them so they don’t cause more distraction. Mercedes-Benz is now brining its app development in house to make apps like Facebook and Yelp safer for drivers. It formed a new operation called Mbrace2 reconfigure some features and eliminate others. Facebook in particular loses the ability to send custom messages, instead relying on ‘boiler plate’ responses. On Yelp, the system will focus on simpler star ratings rather than reviews and allow hands free dialing to the businesses being searched for.
2013 Dodge Dart
(The Dodge Dart review is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
Dodge has a lot riding on the new Dart. This represents the first time it will have a fully competitive car in the C-segment in the North American market.
Make sure you don’t miss Autoline After Hours Thursday night. It’s going to be the most unique show we’ve ever done. That’s the night we’re celebrating 15 years of Autoline and I’m inviting everyone who’s ever been on any of the Autoline shows to be here that night. We’re going to have a party that’s part of the show and a show that’s part of the party. So join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for what promises to be an internet first.
But that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.