July 12th, 2012 at 11:30am
PSA says it will cut jobs and close a factory due to the languishing European economy. Opel is debuting its ADAM subcompact, a sportier alternative to the Agila it already makes. Amid mounting lawsuits and other challenges Mahindra finally pulled the plug on its move to launch a small truck for the U.S. market. All that and more, plus we pick the order for tonight’s AAH fantasy draft.
This is Autoline daily for July 12th. I’m John McElroy and here are some of the latest developments in the global automotive industry.
PSA CUTS JOBS
Well we’ve been reporting for some time that the European car industry is going to go through the kind of blood bath that hit the US industry three years ago. And now it looks like it’s starting to happen. PSA, the parent company to Peugeot and Citroen is going to close a plant in Aulnay, France that makes the Citroen C3. Bloomberg reports the company is going to cut 14,000 jobs. The company says it hopes these moves will help get it to a break-even standpoint by the end of next year. Here’s my Autoline Insight. These are half measures that will probably prove to be too little, too late. PSA, Renault, Opel and Fiat all require major overhauls and the longer they delay the day of reckoning, the worse off they’re going to be.
Speaking of Europe, Opel just unveiled a new subcompact called the ADAM which is a sleeker, sportier alternative to the standard Agila subcompact. The three-door vehicle offers seating for up to four people and is available with three gasoline engines at launch. Each is mated to a five-speed manual and comes with stop/start technology. Later, a small turbocharged, direct-injected, gasoline engine mated to six-speed manual will be available. The ADAM will make its official world debut at the Paris Auto Show in September and will hit dealerships in Europe starting next January.
MAHINDRA TRUCK AXED (subscription required)
Looks like Indian truck maker Mahindra has thrown in the towel in its effort to crack the US market. Last month a group of dealers in the U.S. sued Mahindra for fraud and conspiracy over agreements to sell its low cost pick-up trucks. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that the company has dropped its plans to develop a pick-up for the American market because of regulatory changes and market conditions. While we won’t see a Mahindra truck on the road anytime soon, the company does sell tractors in the U.S., with over 10,000 sold last year.
CHINESE CAR SALES
Car sales in China came in stronger in the first half of this year than analysts were expecting. Passenger vehicle sales were up more than 7% to 7.6 million vehicles. While that’s the kind of growth most countries would love to have, it actually shows the Chinese market is slowing down slightly. And analysts believe the second half of the year will be weaker. Even so, the Chinese car market continues to show remarkable resilience.
DODGING RAIN DROPS
Poor visibility is one of the biggest problems for drivers out in the rain at night. A main problem is light reflecting back at the driver after it reflects off rain drops in mid-air. Carnegie Mellon and Smart recently joined up to develop headlights designed to eliminate 70-80 percent of visible rain by changing the beam pattern of the headlight to shine only where the rain isn’t. The system adjusts the headlight every 13 milliseconds and loses only 6 percent of the original light in the process of dodging rain drops. Researchers say the system would make a thunderstorm seem more like a drizzle as far as visibility is concerned, but will be less effective in snow and hail until it can be improved. The office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation helped fund the research.
Coming up next, get ready for the second annual Autoline After Hours Automotive Draft! We’ll have more details coming your way, next!
AAH FANTASY DRAFT
Tonight’s the night for the second annual Autoline After Hours Automotive Draft! Five separate team owners will face off in a battle royale to assemble the best management teams in the business. But what will the drafting order be? Who gets to pick first? Don’t worry, we’ve got it all taken care of.
We’re going to be having a lot of fun on tonight’s show, I hope you can join us, but that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.