August 8th, 2012 at 12:00pm
Official pictures of the new Honda Accord are out and the images are more of the same. Despite what the automaker might say, it’s yawn-tastic. Toyota says it will sell fuel-cell cars in the U.S. in 2015, though the cars will likely only be sold in certain areas where the infrastructure exists to fuel them. BMW’s Mini brand is earning some cute points and making a stir in track and field events at the Olympics. All that and more, plus an update from John at MBS.
Hello again and thank you for joining us. This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday August 8, 2012. I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, bringing you the latest news and the freshest opinion from the world of cars. Let’s get rolling.
NEW ACCORD IS BORN STALE
The next-generation Honda Accord is on its way. If you were hoping for a something a little visionary for a change, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, if you were looking for something Sonata-esque, then the 2013 version of the Accord might just be your speed. Maybe the interior received some major work, but the exterior – in either coupe or sedan guise – is “bland-tastic” with a capital “B.” The company describes it as expressive and sophisticated, calling it the “most sculpted and the most dynamic Accord yet.” Uh-huh. Whatever.
TOYOTA TO SELL FUEL CELLS
From the alternative-fuel beat, The Detroit Free Press reports Toyota plans to sell a fuel cell-powered vehicle in 2015. It would be available to both retail and commercial customers. The company is already THE hybrid leader so it’s understandable they’d want to be out in front of the next technological development, even if it is pie-in-the-sky. Distribution would likely be limited to California and a handful of other states with hydrogen-refueling infrastructures and enough group hugs to go around.
My friend John McElroy is still up in Traverse City, Michigan covering the annual Management Briefing Seminars. With another MBS update, here he is.
Well, this was the analysts’ turn at the Management Briefing Seminars, and we sure learned some interesting insights. Jeff Schuster, the head of forecasting at J.D. Power predicts that Toyota will be the biggest car company in the world by 2018, not Volkswagen. But he does see VW getting the No. 2 slot. Amazingly, he sees Renault-Nissan in the third spot, followed by General Motors and the Hyundai Group.
Meanwhile, Anthony Pratt the head of forecasting at Polk said that the longer people own a car, the less loyal they become to that brand. And as you know, car ownership is the oldest it’s ever been in the U.S., with the average car 11 years old. Moreover, by holding onto cars so long, the average car buyer will probably purchase nine cars in their lifetimes, instead of the 12 cars they’ve historically bought. And that will have an impact on automakers going forward. And Paul Taylor, the chief economist at the National Automotive Dealers Association points out that small-car sales have slowed down this year, while midsize cars, vans, minivans and pickups have been growing the fastest. And those are some of the highlights that I’ve picked up here at MBS.
Thanks, John. We look forward to more updates.
MINORITY-OWNED SUPPLIERS GET A LIFT
It’s hard enough being an automotive supplier; it’s doubly difficult being a minority supplier. To make things a little easier for them, two businesses have just teamed up to create a new company called Diversity Connections LLC. This joint venture is designed to help out the management of minority-owned suppliers. You know, the auto industry is always on the lookout for good minority-owned suppliers and this could give them a much-needed boost.
Bet you thought Autoline Daily would be a safe haven from Olympic coverage, but not today. Mini has deployed a fleet of quarter-scale radio-controlled versions of their Cooper hatchback to retrieve items like javelins from Olympic throwing events. Here we see a judge loading a discus into one of the cars. What’s interesting is the Olympic committee does not allow advertising at events, and somehow driving a tiny car around the infield isn’t advertising? Who knew?
AAH FANTASY DRAFT
The second-annual Autoline After Hours Fantasy Draft went down a few weeks ago. Which contestant carried the day? Stick around to find out.
So, which of the five contestants that competed in this year’s AAH Fantasy Draft took the checkered flag? Well, our official draft analysts Scott Burgess from AOL Autos and Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press have reached a verdict.
Of course if you missed the After Hours Fantasy Draft you can watch the recorded version at Autoline.tv. If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!
And that’s it for today’s show. Thanks for your time. Again, I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist, and weirdly enough, I’ll see you tomorrow.