October 8th, 2012 at 11:59am
California temporarily lowered its emission standards for gasoline because prices skyrocketed in the Golden State. E85 must be priced 20% below gasoline or motorists have no financial incentive to use it. We take our first look at what will become the new 2014 Kia Forte sedan. All that and more, plus we take a look at the fashion aspect of the Paris Auto Show.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for October 8th. I’m John McElroy and here’s the latest news about cars and the automotive industry.
SKYROCKETING FUEL PRICES IN THE GOLDEN STATE
Well, maybe Hell has frozen over. California temporarily lowered its emission standards for gasoline because prices skyrocketed in the Golden State. They hit an average of $4.65 a gallon, which Bloomberg says is 22% higher than the national average. In Escondido, just outside of San Diego, they hit $5.75 a gallon. California’s stringent air quality standards for gasoline make it almost impossible for refiners outside of the state to blend fuel for California. A power failure at one refiner and a fire at another crippled the state’s ability to produce gasoline and that led to the jump in prices.
HEY E85! LET’S BRING IT DOWN A LITTLE
Speaking of the price of fuel, the Renewable Fuels Association says that E85 should be priced significantly cheaper than it is. It says the wholesale price of E85 is 70 cents a gallon cheaper than pure gasoline, but at the pump it’s only 37 cents cheaper. Fuel distributors are pocketing the difference. E85 delivers about 20% lower fuel economy, so unless E85 is 20% cheaper than gasoline, motorists have no financial incentive to use it. Without that mark-up for ethanol, it’s possible lot more motorists would use it. The U.S. currently has over 8 million Flex-fuel vehicles on the road.
GM FUEL CELL RESEARCH RELOCATES
General Motors announced it is moving its hydrogen fuel cell research to Pontiac, Michigan. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM is closing its fuel cell lab near Rochester, NY where it’s been for years. GM says it will help having its powertrain research in one location and it will also save money.
HYUNDAI/KIA SALES UP IN CHINA
Last week we reported that car sales for Japanese automakers in China are plummeting because of anti-Japanese sentiment. And now Bloomberg reports that Hyundai and Kia are the big winners in that dispute. Last month the two combined sold nearly 128,000 vehicles in the China which is 9.5 percent higher than their previous record.
BOASTED VOLVO SALES BOOST A SALES BUST?
And speaking of China, Gasgoo reports that Volvo will miss its 2015 sales target in the country. Geely’s chairman Li Shufu boasted he would boost Volvo sales to 200,000 cars a year after Geely bought Volvo. But the company is severely underperforming the overall market. Volvo is forecasting sales of 46,000 vehicles this year in China.
KIA’S NEW FORTE SEDAN
We now have our first look at what will become the new 2014 Kia Forte sedan, thanks to Chilean blogger Ramon Rivera. The new Kia Cerato, also know as the K3 in South Korea, is on display at the Santiago Motor Show in Chile. And that will be the new Forte in the North American market. The design borrows from Kia’s upcoming flagship, the Quoris, and brings in an upscale cabin design that we have seen in recent Kia releases. No word yet on any powertrains, but we’re expecting a 40 mpg rating on the highway. The Forte should debut in the U.S. at either the Chicago or New York Auto Shows.
PORSCHE CARRERA S WORKS OUT IN THE ‘RING
Looks like Porsche has reclaimed the title of fastest production car at the Nurburgring. The new 911 Carrera S lapped the ‘ring at 7:37.9. According to PorscheBoost that is a full two seconds quicker than the time it posted last year. Not to mention a few tenths of a second faster than the Lexus LFA, Corvette ZR1, Nissan GTR, and Ferrari 458 Italia. Not too shabby if you ask me.
Coming up next, we’re going to take a look at the fashion aspect of the Paris auto show. We’re going to look at what the models were wearing, and we’re not talking about the cars.
MARGERY KREVSKY’S AUTO FASHION TIPS
The Paris Auto Show gave us a look as some of the newest cars coming out, but Paris is also about fashion. We ran into Margery Krevsky at the show who was there to evaluate how automakers are dressing their models and subject matter experts to create the kind of look that they want at their display stands. You may remember Margery from the “Sirens of Chrome” shows that we’ve done with her, but let’s let her tell you what she found in Paris.
(Today’s look at the fashion at the Paris Auto Show is only available in the video version of the show.)
Margery Krevsky gave Autoline a little scoop while we talking to her that she hasn’t announced yet. Starting with the LA Show next month, she’s will be providing the product specialists or models for GM’s four brands at North American auto shows. So congrats to her.
Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours this Thursday night, besides having the best insider information of what’s going on in the industry, we’ll have Candace Wheeler, a Technical Fellow at GM and one of the foremost experts in the world about fuels. All kinds of fuels. So join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for Autoline After Hours.
And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.