October 1st, 2012 at 11:30am
Nissan is offering huge discounts for the Leaf in the U.S. in an effort to boost sales. The Greek government is subsidizing the construction of a Formula One race track despite the country’s financial woes. Analysts say Europe needs to take out at least 5 million units of capacity. All that and more, plus we’ll take a look at why the Dodge Charger got to be as good as it is.
Hello and welcome to a brand new month of Autoline Dailies since today is October 1. I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.
TESLA NEEDS CASH
Makin’ cars ain’t easy. Meeting safety standards, hitting fuel economy targets, delivering quality, is an enormously difficult AND EXPENSIVE task. Tesla has come farther than most startups, but the EV-builder is facing a cash squeeze. It wants to sell as many as 8 million shares to raise as much as $225 million. Meanwhile it lowered its 2012 revenue target by $200 million and cut production of its Model S. The company blames suppliers. So far Tesla has built 255 Model S’s.
LG CHEM WORKERS ON FURLOUGH
Workers at a LG Chem battery plant in Holland, Michigan are on rolling furloughs. According to MLive, that’s because of low sales of EVs. The plant is supposed to be making batteries for the Chevy Volt but hasn’t produced a single battery since its groundbreaking in 2010.
NISSAN OFFERS LEAF DISCOUNTS
And in other EV news, Nissan is offering huge discounts for the Leaf in the U.S. in an effort to boost sales. Nissan is offering the Leaf for only $219 a month with $3,000 down for 32 months. That’s down from $250. At the end of August the Leaf had a 114-day supply and only 4,200 have been sold. Nissan hoped to sell around 20,000 Leaf’s in the U.S. this year.
GREECE SUBSIDIZING F1 TRACK
If you want to know why the economy in Greece is teetering on the brink, here’s a primo example. The Greek government is subsidizing the construction of a Formula One race track! The total price tag for the circuit is 95 million Euros and the government is kicking in nearly 29 million! I don’t get it. They’re having riots in the streets because of financial irresponsibility and they decide to spend money on a track? The last thing the world needs is ANOTHER F1 track.
If you caught our live coverage of the Paris auto show, you saw Peugeot’s concept car, the Onyx. But in case you didn’t catch us live, take a look because this supercar was my favorite of the show. It’s a hybrid V-8 powered mid-engine supercar, but that’s not what caught my eye. Instead it’s the combination of copper doors and fenders juxtaposed against satin-finished carbon fiber that make this car so attractive. We haven’t seen this much bright work on a car since the end of the brass age a century ago. Even though the copper panels are bright and shiny, Peugeot says the idea is to let them naturally turn green over time, to acquire a historic patina and to show this is a living vehicle. I doubt this car will ever go into production, but I hope it inspires the auto industry to use exterior materials in new and novel ways.
EUROPE NEEDS TO CUT CAPACITY NOW
The Onyx will probably never go into production, because Peugeot is in deep trouble. In fact, the entire European industry is in deep trouble. Most automakers are wailing that they are going to have to cut production capacity. Analysts say Europe needs to take out at least 5 million units of capacity. That’s about 20 assembly plants, 10 engine plants, 10 transmission plants, and thirty stamping plants. And that translates into at least 115,000 workers. So far almost none of these cuts have happened, and the industry is wracking up billions in losses. In fact, every day they postpone the Day of Reckoning, the more money they lose, the weaker they get, and the easier they make it for the Chinese automakers to waltz in later this decade. Make no mistake, the Day of Reckoning is going to happen. Europe, we need you to be bold, because you lose by waiting. Anyway, that’s my Autoline Insight.
Coming up next, we’ll take a look at why the Dodge Charger got to be as good as it is.
(Today’s look at the Dodge Charger is only available in the video version of the show.)
Earlier in the show I said it ain’t easy building cars. Well, it ain’t easy doing stand-ups, either. And that’s why Craig was so happy he nailed that take.
A programming note here. There will not be an Autoline After Hours this Thursday since both me and that Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo. will be out traveling. But we will be back the week after this.
And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.