July 9th, 2012 at 11:55am
The city of Guangzhou, China, like Beijing and other large cities in the country, is limiting car sales to try to reduce pollution and traffic jams. Chrysler is considering a small, unibody lifestyle pickup truck targeted at outdoorsy millennials. Truck maker Navistar announced it plans to use selective catalytic reduction to reduce greenhouse gases in its diesel engines. All that and more, plus a look at the most expensive MINI you can buy.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for July 9th. Boy, it’s good to be back from vacation, and here’s what’s going on in the wonderful world of automobiles.
CAR SALES UP IN JUNE
New-car sales came in stronger than expected in the American market last month. Analysts were worried because the annualized sales rate sank to only 13.8 million units in May, but the SAAR actually picked up to 14.1 million units in June. We saw big gains from Toyota and Honda since a year ago they were flattened by that big earthquake that hit Japan. So if we look who’s doing best in the last month, instead of compared to a year ago, the Detroit Three actually picked up some market share, but that was completely thanks to General Motors, which had a good month. Japanese and Korean automakers actually lost some share. And the Europeans gained the most, thanks to big sales increases by Audi and Volvo. But if you have to single out a single brand, then Cadillac gained the most in the month-to-month comparison.
GUANGZHOU LIMITS CAR SALES
Here’s another reason why new-vehicle sales are slowing down in China. The city of Guangzhou, like Beijing and other large cities, is limiting car sales to try to reduce pollution and traffic jams. But car dealers in Guangzhou were forced to pull an all nighter to try and keep up with people who wanted cars before the restrictions kicked in. Bloomberg reports 57 stores at an automall were open ‘round the clock to serve a horde of car shoppers big enough to fill four soccer fields!
U.S. FILES WTO COMPLAINT AGAINST CHINA
Speaking of China, the Obama Administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over China imposing duties on American-made cars. Vehicles with engines larger than 2.5-liters face anti-dumping duties in China. That’s about 80 percent of the vehicles the U.S. exports to the country. China says cars imported from the U.S. were selling below market value in the country. The Obama Administration says the fines are in retaliation for the U.S. imposing duties on Chinese made tires.
CHRYSLER CONSIDERS SMALL TRUCK
Automakers just don’t seem interested in making compact pickup trucks for the American market. This once-thriving segment died with the Ford Ranger. Trucks like Toyota’s Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier sort of carry the banner, but they’re bigger. The Honda Ridgeline is too expensive. So, seeing a product vacuum, Chrysler may be developing a compact truck. The Detroit Free Press reports engineers are considering a small, unibody lifestyle pickup targeted at outdoorsy millennials. Built off a car architecture, it could offer everything most buyers need in a utility vehicle.
NAVISTAR ADOPTS SCR (subscription required)
Truck maker Navistar bet it could meet emission standards with exhaust gas recirculation and in-cylinder controls. Even though the technology was originally developed by the EPA and licensed to Navistar, the EPA told the company that the system just can’t make diesel engines clean enough. That killed sales and the company’s stock price. So Navistar finally threw in the towel and announced it plans to use selective catalytic reduction which uses urea to filter the exhaust, which is what every other truck maker uses.
Coming up next, a look at the most expensive MINI that you can buy. You are not going to believe the price that they have dared to put on this one.
MINI has a new model, the most expensive one that it’s ever come out with, as Patrick McKenna the Manager of Product Planning at MINI USA tells us.
(The MINI Goodwood report is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
Fifty thousand dollars? That takes cojones to price a MINI at that level, I don’t care how exclusive they call it. But if MINI can find customers willing to shell out that kind of money, more power to them.
Before we go, don’t forget to tune in for Autoline After Hours this Thursday night, for the second-annual Automotive Fantasy Draft, where we pick the kind of car executives we’d want to be running our own car companies. That’s this Thursday starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for joining us again, and we will see you tomorrow.