July 19th, 2012 at 11:35am
Earlier in the week Opel named a new interim CEO and now the company is replacing its chief financial officer and the head its of research and development. Honda is investing $40 million to increase production at its plant in Indiana, which will boost capacity by about 50,000 units annually. The Ford Mustang is now available in the Philippines. All that and more, plus a look at the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL.
It’s Thursday, the 19th of July, 2012. Welcome to another scintillating episode of Autoline Daily with yours truly, The Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo bringing you the latest news from the automotive beat.
OPEL SHAKE-UP CONTINUES
The shake-up at Opel isn’t over yet. Earlier in the week, the company named Thomas Sedran its new interim CEO, and now the company is replacing its chief financial officer and its head of research and development. Michael Lohscheller will take over as CFO, leaving his current position as CFO of VW of America. Michael Ableson will take over as the head of Engineering. The two will start their new positions September 1st. We’re in the last days of Opel from where I sit. GM is either going to make it fly over the next six months, or the company will have to walk away, just keeping the R&D capability.
FIAT EXTENDS PLANT SHUTDOWN
And speaking of struggling European automakers, Fiat will extend a summer shutdown at its plant in Naples, Italy because of slumping sales in the country. According to the AP, the plant, which builds the Panda, will halt production for an extra two weeks. In the first half of the year, Italy’s car market has shrunk 20 percent, compared to a 6 percent decline for the overall European market.
TOYOTA GREEN LIGHTS LF-LC?
Lexus is getting serious about this whole image thing. Rumors abound that Toyota has given the green light to bringing the dramatic Lexus LF-LC 2+2 Hybrid Sport Coupe concept to production. Designed by the company’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, California, the LF-LC coupe was named the best concept car in the annual Eyes On Design Awards at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January. And even though the LF-LC coupe was labeled “a pure design exercise” by Toyota and Lexus minions in Detroit, the ultra-positive buzz generated by the smokin’ hot Lexus did not go unnoticed in Japan, apparently. The old Toyota would have filed that praise away and continued on their journey of building bland-tastic appliances. The new Toyota, led by family scion Akio Toyoda, is much more aggressive and prone to just go for it, which in this case would be a superb move. We hope they do it and we applaud the cojones behind the decision. We just hope they don’t screw it up making it “production ready.”
HONDA BOOSTS U.S. MANUFACTURING
Honda is turning up the wick in the Hoosier state. The Japanese automaker is shelling out $40 million to increase production at its plant in Greensburg, Indiana. It will also hire about 300 more workers. Manufacturing capacity should increase by about 50,000 units annually to about a quarter of a million vehicles. The facility is home to the Civic, Civic Natural Gas and the Acura ILX. The Civic Hybrid will soon be built there as well.
MUSTANG HEADS TO PHILIPPINES
As you know, the next-generation Mustang is supposedly going global, but Ford may be getting a jump-start on this push. America’s pony car is now available in the Philippines of all places. V-6 and GT premium models are on the menu. Deliveries start in September. This is the fourth vehicle Ford has launched in the country in 2012. The Mustang follows the Explorer, Focus and all-new Ranger pickup.
2013 MERCEDES GL
(The Mercedes GL overview is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
Mercedes has really stepped up its game with the new GL, apparently. According to Craig, the 2013 model’s interior is very, very nice, with a stitched leather dash cover and other premium materials throughout. We’ll see how it plays in the market.
It’s time to wrap up today’s show, but before I go, I want to remind you to join us for Autoline After Hours tonight. John and I are going to be chatting with Joel Ewanick, the head of all marketing and advertising at General Motors. This is going to be a great show, so tune at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time for some of the best insider discussion in the automotive business.
And that’s it! As always, thanks for watching and/or listening. I’ll see you later tonight.