July 17th, 2012 at 11:33am
OnStar’s people behind the blue button are looking at enabling their customers to rent out their cars while not in use. BMW will start building their X1 CUV in China, freeing up capacity at the X1′s German plant for export to the USA. Opel gets a new leader to reshape GMs struggling European brand. All that and more, plus we look at how Ford is combining stop-start technology with its EcoBoost engines.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.
ONSTAR DEVELOPING CARSHARING
Say, why should you park your car for eight or nine hours at work every day and just leave it sitting there? Maybe some of you would like to have your car pay for itself. That’s why GM’s OnStar is teaming up with a company called RelayRides, which offers what is called a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace. The service allows car owners to rent their car out when it’s not being used. Renters reserve a car, and unlock it using their smart phone and OnStar. An owner can potentially earn hundreds of dollars a month renting his or her car out. By signing up with Relay Rides, car owners automatically get a $1 million insurance policy, while renters are covered with a $300,000 policy. OnStar says that sharing one car leads to 13 other cars coming off the road, leading to less traffic.
BMW X1 COMING TO CHINA, U.S.A.
BMW will start selling its X-1 CUV in the U.S. this fall. BMW has not sold the X-1 in the U.S. up to now because it says its plant in Leipzig, Germany could not keep up with demand in other markets. But a new plant in China is freeing up demand and that will allow BMW to start shipping X-1’s to the U.S.
NEW LEADER AT OPEL
Last week General Motors essentially fired its head of Opel and its European operations, Karl-Friedrich Stracke. Now Reuters reports that GM is expected to name Thomas Sedran, who currently heads operations, business development and corporate strategy at Opel, as the CEO on an interim basis. Sedran previously worked at Alix Partners, the corporate restructuring company.
TOYOTA CUTS SIENNA 4-CYL
Toyota is going to drop the 4-cylinder engine for the 2013 Sienna in the U.S. market and will only offer the 3.5L V6. Well no wonder, the four only delivered one more mile per gallon than the much more powerful V-6, which gets 18 mpgs in the city and 25 on the highway. The 2013 Sienna gets a few upgrades and a starting price just over $26,000.
LOTUS DROPS PARIS SHOW
The news at Lotus is going from bad to worse and now it will be a no-show at the Paris Auto Show this fall. Something tells me we are soon going to see Lotus up for sale, once again.
NISSAN’S NEW HATCH-LING
Nissan unveiled its new global B-segment hatchback today. The company says it wants to make the Note the most user friendly car in the segment. It includes Nissan’s Around View Mirror, an invention that makes reversing and parking easier. Powerplants for the Note include naturally aspirated and supercharged three cylinder engines with stop-start technology. Nissan’s information on the Note lacked specific numbers for many statistics, including fuel economy, engine output. There were no numbers about the transmission either, but that’s because the Note comes with a CVT.
Speaking of stop-start technology, it sounds like it would be very easy to add to a car. But it’s actually a lot trickier than you might think. And we’ll show you what we’re talking about right after this.
Dan Kapp, the director of power-train research at the Ford Motor Company was on Autoline After Hours recently and talked about stop-start technology. While conceptually it sounds easy to do, there’s actually a lot of technology used to make the system as seamless as possible.
By the way, check out episode 153 of Autoline After Hours, Dan Kapp has a lot of really good information about where power-train technology is headed.
And speaking of Autoline After Hours my guest this Thursday night is Joel Ewanick, the head of all marketing and advertising at General Motors. This is going to be a great show so join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for some of the best insider discussion in the automotive business.
And that brings us to the end of today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.