September 4th, 2012 at 11:40am
Automakers sold more than 6.5 million vehicles worldwide in July, an increase of more than 7 percent compared to last year. General Motors is shutting down its hybrid program for full-size pickups and SUVs. Engineering students in Belgium working with an automotive supplier called Materialise have made a body for a formula racing car using a stereo lithography machine. All that and more, plus a look at the new 2013 Nissan Sentra.
Hello and welcome back to Autoline Daily. It’s now September 4th, and here’s the news.
GLOBAL CAR SALES UP (subscription required)
Forget all this talk about car sales being in trouble around the world. According to WardsAuto, automakers sold over 6.5 million vehicles worldwide in July, an increase of over 7 percent compared to last year. And all regions except for Europe recorded gains. Through the first seven months of the year, global sales hit 48 million units, an increase of 6 percent. But much of the gain is due to Japanese automakers recovering from last year’s earthquake and tsunami which crippled production.
GM CANCELS LARGE HYBRIDS
It was probably inevitable. GMInsideNews is reporting that General Motors is shutting down its hybrid program for full-size pickups and SUVs, what it called its two-mode hybrid. In the Silverado, it delivered about four more miles per gallon than a base V-6 with a four-speed automatic. But the base price of a Silverado hybrid was almost $40,000, or about $17,000 more than a base non-hybrid version. For the first seven months of this year GM sold only 1,378 two-mode hybrids in the Silverado, Sierra, Escalade, Yukon and Tahoe. No matter how you want to look at it, it’s been a sales disaster.
HYUNDAI WORKERS END STRIKE
Hyundai’s South Korean workers are back on the job. They narrowly approved a new contract, which brings the company’s costliest strike in history to a close. Production lost was $1.5 billion dollars. Two big sticking points for the union were wages and work hours. Hyundai agreed to increase average compensation by some $24,000 over the life of the contract and to end overnight shifts. Here’s a fun factoid: Since the union was founded back in 1987, workers have gone on strike 21 of the last 22 years.
JLR CONSIDERS PLANT IN SAUDI ARABIA
Jaguar Land Rover is considering a new manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia. Reuters reports the company is looking at placing the plant next to a new aluminum smelter, to seemingly take advantage of using aluminum parts in its vehicles. Ratan Tata the Chairman of Tata, which owns JLR, says that in the long-term an assembly plant with a large press shop next to a plant that can make aluminum body parts creates an interesting business case.
RACE CAR CREATED WITH 3D PRINTER
First they called it stereo lithography, then it was referred to as rapid prototyping, now mostly it’s called 3D printing. But whatever you want to call it, it’s the future of manufacturing. It’s about using lasers to solidify plastics, or to sinter metals, into a product. Now some engineering students in Belgium, working with an automotive supplier called Materialise, have made a body for a student formula-racing car using a stereo lith machine. 3D printing allows you to make any kind of design you want, on the fly. One of the greatest revelations in my career was when I saw rapid-prototyping machines making parts to make other rapid prototyping machines. Not only can these things make products, they can make the factories and machinery needed to go build any product in mass production.
Nissan is on a roll right now. Every time you turn around is seems to be coming out with a new model. After the break we’ll take a look at the new Sentra.
2013 NISSAN SENTRA
While many of us enjoyed a relaxing holiday weekend, Nissan used its tie-in with college football to kickoff coverage in Dallas, Texas for the all-new seventh-generation Sentra – its second biggest-selling car – and an important player in the competitive compact-car segment.
The new Altima is already in dealerships. A new Pathfinder and Sentra are set to join it this fall. And Nissan has two more new models coming next year.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.