September 12th, 2012 at 11:45am
Ford’s board of directors may be close to announcing a succession plan to replace CEO Alan Mulally and it appears Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, is the heir apparent. Peugeot just introduced the world’s first diesel-hybrid crossover, the 3008 HYbrid4. Nissan just unveiled a fuel-cell SUV concept called the TeRRA before it debuts at the Paris Motor Show. All that and more, plus a peek at what Ford is doing to reduce distractions while driving.
Nine, Ten, Eleven, TWELVE! That’s right; it’s the dozenth day of September, a mighty fine Wednesday for 2012. If you haven’t figured it out yet, John McElroy is out of the office. And I’m stepping up for him by sitting down, in this chair you can’t see, but it sure is comfortable. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics here, bringing you the freshest news that’s fit to broadcast. Let’s get started, shall we?
MARK FIELDS TO REPLACE MULALLY?
Alan Mulally is THE MAN. Since leaving Boeing in 2006 his leadership has steered Ford from certain tragedy to certified triumph. Now one of the biggest problems facing the company is choosing someone to replace him when he decides to step down. At 67 years old retirement can’t be too far off. As the Wall Street Journal reports the board of directors may be close to announcing a succession plan. As McElroy predicted more than a year ago in his piece entitled “The Race to Replace Alan Mulally,” Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, is the heir apparent. It’s reported that as early as tomorrow he could be promoted to COO, chief operating officer. You can bet this is a story we’ll be watching very closely going forward.
FRANCE BACKS OFF PSA CRITICISM
A few months back Peugeot received heavy criticism from the French government over plans to shut down a plant in the country and cut 8,000 jobs. But now the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study commissioned by the government concludes that the automaker does need to reorganize and cut jobs. While it agrees with the automakers plan, the report criticized Peugeot for not investing in emerging markets sooner and for focusing on building mid-level cars instead of high-end ones that are more profitable. The study says this left the company isolated and weak compared to several global competitors.
VW DEVELOPING LIGHTWEIGHT GTI
Weight is the enemy of, well, just about everything. Whether it’s excess fat around your midsection or too much steel in your car’s structure, unnecessary mass affects not just your health but your vehicle’s performance and fuel economy. In an effort to trim lbs. and cut kgs. Autocar reports Volkswagen is working on a limited edition Carbon GTI with a heaping helping of, you guessed it, lightweight carbon fiber, or FIBRE as they spell it. Featherweight alloys will also be incorporated in the vehicle’s architecture. All told claims this high-fiber diet could drop up to 440 pounds from the Kleiner GTI’s waistline. That could drop the curb weight to around 25-hundred pounds. Yeah, I’ll believe the 440 pounds once I’m back to a fighting 160 or so.
JLR UPGRADES PLANTS
Now for some news from once-Great Britain. According to the Wall Street Journal, Tata’s Jaguar/Land Rover unit is making a big investment in the UK. It’s pouring about 370 million pounds sterling into factory upgrades to boost output at its UK facilities. Global demand for its luxurious offerings is growing and they need to keep pace. The once-criticized PAG acquisition by India’s largest automaker is paying off in pounds. And I’m not talking about avoirdupois.
PEUGEOT 3008 HYBRID4
Back to Peugeot, the company just introduced the world’s first diesel hybrid crossover, the 3008 HYbrid4. It’s powered by a 2.0 liter diesel engine and a 27 kilowatt electric motor. Its fuel economy is 3.5 liters per 100 kilometers or about 67 miles per gallon. And it can move from 0 to 100 kilometers an hour in 8.5 seconds. The 3008 HYbrid4 is on sale later this month.
NISSAN TERRA CONCEPT
Nissan just unveiled a fuel-cell SUV concept called the TeRRA. The front wheels are powered by the same electric propulsion system currently used in the Nissan LEAF. And the back wheels feature in-wheel electric motors based on prototypes from its PIVO concept. And inside is just as funky as the outside. The instrument cluster is just a tablet, like an iPad, that can be removed by the driver. And the rear seats are staggered so they can be overlapped and brought closer to the centerline of the car. This allows the rear seat occupants a better view of the road ahead rather than the back of the driver’s head. Although it’s just a concept, Nissan says the TeRRA demonstrates the company is ready to mass produce fuel cell vehicles when hydrogen becomes more available.
Join us as we take a peek at what one automaker is doing to alleviate distractions while driving. It’s coming up next.
FORD’S DISTRACTED DRIVER TECHNOLOGY
Distracted driving is today’s hot-button issue. The prevalence of navigation systems, smart phones, MP3 players and the like creates all kinds of opportunities for motorists to take their eyes off the road and their hands off the tiller. But what if you could measure how busy a driver is and actually REDUCE potential distractions? Researchers at Ford are doing just that.
(Ford’s distracted driver technology is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
It’s fascinating what they’re doing here, but it does seem a little far off right now. Ford has NOT mentioned where or when this technology COULD reach the market so don’t go looking for it in the 2013 Fusion ‘cause you ain’t gonna find it!
Sound advice if I do say so myself, and a sound ending for today’s program. Once again I’m Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics wishing you a most enjoyable Wednesday, what’s left of it anyway. Why don’t you come on back and get some more Autoline Daily tomorrow, ya hear?!