September 13th, 2012 at 12:00pm
Kia just revealed a new three-door hatchback called the Pro_cee’d before it debuts at the Paris Motor Show at the end of the month. Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn says the sales growth in China is slower than expected but the market is still very healthy. BMW is working with Pininfarina and Bertone to design and assemble limited-edition vehicles. All that and more plus John responds to your questions and comments in “You Said It!”
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, it’s September 13th, and here’s what’s happening on the global automotive industry.
ALL PRO_CEE’D BENEFIT KIA
Kia just revealed a new three-door hatchback called the Pro_cee’d before it debuts at the Paris Motor Show at the end of the month. It’s the third member of the cee’d family, which also includes a five-door hatch and a wagon. No other details were given for this sleek-looking hatchback but we will share them with you once they become available.
GHOSN: CHINA A HEALTHY MARKET
Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn says the sales growth in China is slower than expected but says the market is still very healthy. Even though the market has failed to meet expectations, Ghosn says he’s not worried about overcapacity because he doesn’t think that China will be hit by a recession.
STOP TO START THE SAVINGS
Ford surveyed American drivers and found that seven out of every 10 are changing their driving habits to save fuel. 64 percent of them drive less, while 41 percent drive more slowly. A surprising 10 percent even draft larger vehicles! Now Ford is coming out with what it calls Auto Start-Stop that can improve fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent! That’s in the real world. On the EPA test cycle it cuts consumption by about 3.5 percent. Auto Start-Stop is a $295 option and debuts in North America on the 2013 Fusion. It should save the average driver around $15 a month. At that rate it pays for itself in just a year and a half. When equipped with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and Auto Start-Stop the Fusion is projected to deliver 37 miles per gallon on the highway. I’ve been pretty critical of some of these stop-start systems, notably BMW, because they’re so harsh when they start. Ford wanted its system to be absolutely transparent, and has more than 25 patents for its system. We’ll let you know how well they did once we get a chance to test drive it.
GERMAN PRUDENCE, ITALIAN PANACHE (subscription required)
BMW is working with Pininfarina and Bertone to design and assemble limited-edition vehicles for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW. Bertone confirms it’s developing two MINIs that will be introduced in a few years. It’s also participating in a Rolls-Royce project. But Pininfarina has not confirmed it’s working with BMW.
In related news, Bentley has a new director of design. Luc Donckerwolke is taking the reins from Dirk van Braeckel who has gone to work with Walter de Silva at the mother ship, Volkswagen. Donckerwolke started his career at Audi back in 1992. Over the last two decades he’s worked all over the VW Group with stints at Lamborghini, SEAT and Skoda. Some designs to his credit include the Murcielago and Gallardo.
DROP-TOP FACE OFF
There’s a fascinating comparison in the October issue of Car And Driver between the BMW M6 convertible and the Camaro ZL1 convertible. Get this: the Camaro is 133 pounds lighter, has 20 more horsepower, 56 more foot pounds of torque, and has a lower center of gravity. But the BMW accelerates faster, out handles the Camaro, and gets better fuel economy. What gives? I thought the car with the better power to weight ratio would always win. Though Car And Driver doesn’t provide the answer, I think this shows that the torque curve and gearing play a critical role in any car’s performance. And sure enough the M6 develops peak torque at 1,500 rpm, while the Camaro hits the peak at 4,200.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said it!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
G.A. Branigan saw our report on Peugeot’s new diesel hybrid car, and says, “FINALLY….a diesel electric hybrid.I can’t help but wonder why it took so damn long for an oem to come with something we have talked about on here for years.”
Remember, diesels are expensive and hybrids are expensive and when you put the two together you have a really expensive system. Now, if gasoline is expensive, like $8 a gallon like it is in much of Europe, then you can justify the expense of an expensive system like that.
Kit Gerhart has this feedback for Ford and its MyFord Touch system. “Ford has about the most distracting technology in the world. What they need to do is SIMPLIFY what they put in the dash, use some real buttons and knobs, like a tuning knob for the radio, and make the touch screen buttons LARGE so you can hit the right one, even if you encounter a small bump.”
He’s got a really good point about hitting the right button on a bumpy road.
XA351GT loved our report on Alex Zanardi getting a gold medal at the Para-Olympics. “Okay I want what Zanardi is smoking. That boy is high on life to the 10th power. I wish I could be that upbeat. He has a most positive spirit. I hope he gets that 500 ride and does great in it. I know he’ll enjoy it no matter what. You go Alex.”
You know, I’ve never met Zanardi, but in all the television interviews I ever saw of him, he always came across as just a great guy. I hope he gets into the Indy 500 as well.
John M. is puzzled about that guy who turned in a 1929 Ford truck to buy a new one. “The question is how much the individual who owned the ‘29 Model AA truck received on trade? It sure was a strange thing to do considering they surely would have been able to yield a FAR greater return if they had sold the historic ride by virtually any other means.”
Good question, what did that guy get on trade-in?
2Kriss2Kross laments what’s become of Mitsubishi. “Sad to see Mitsubishi fall so low. I remember when they were just as competitive as Honda and Toyota. I think Mitsubishi doesn’t invest enough into their products, advertising, and the North American market. I’m sure they fare off better in other parts of the world.”
You’re right, they are doing somewhat better elsewhere in the world, but listen to what you’re saying, they used to be just as competitive as Toyota and Honda.
HTG is kind of miffed about journalists who drive fancy cars on dream roads. “Who drives their car where the journalists roam free? I haven’t been invited to a soiree at the Corkscrew or to the coast of Spain. I drive in the suburbs and it blows 24/7.”
C’mon HTG, you know we all have to grab whatever chance we get, like those corkscrew on-ramps when there’s no traffic in front of you, or that set of esses out on a country road on an early Sunday morning. Even us journalists have to do that because the occasional drive at Laguna or in Espana isn’t enough to feed out habit.
Thanks for all your letters and comments, and keep ‘em coming!
And don’t forget to join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, tonight for Autoline After Hours. We’ll have David Leone, the chief engineer for Cadillac joining us. If you want to know what kinds of products that Cadillac is working on to take on Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus, make sure you catch that show.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, please join us here again tomorrow.