AD #1117 – smart forjeremy, Buick Unveils Riviera Concept, Renault Alpine A110-50

April 22nd, 2013 at 12:01pm

Runtime: 7:02

Let’s take a look at some of the hottest unveils from the Shanghai auto show. The forjeremy from smart has got to be one of the weirdest special edition models ever to come out of a car company. Buick unveils a Riviera concept with show-stopping looks. Renault reveals a new model from the iconic Alpine brand, called the A110-50. All that and more, plus we take a look at why there is a sudden interest in opposed piston engines.

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Welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily, we’re glad you’ve joined us. Today’s show is all about what went on at the Shanghai auto show and there’s a lot of interesting eye candy to look at.

In what has got to be one of the weirdest special edition models ever to come out of a car company, here’s the forjeremy from smart. Designed by fashionista Jeremy Scott who counts Lady Gaga and Kanye West as clients, it features a white leather interior with diamond stitching. And yes, it is going into production as we speak with a starting price of only $43,000. Like the rest of the smart line-up, it will only be available in extremely limited production.

Honda unveiled two new concepts. First up is the Concept M which is a Multi-Purpose Vehicle that was developed mainly for the Chinese market. Honda didn’t reveal any other details other than it will go on sale sometime next year. The company also revealed a small Acura SUV developed primarily for the Chinese market called the Concept SUV-X. There aren’t many details about this concept either but Acura says it will be built in China and hit the market in the next three years.

Ford is resurrecting an old name from the past on this brand new concept car. It’s the Escort, a name Ford first used in Europe in 1968. The company is hinting that this 4-door notchback would be an entry level car. With all the major car companies working on a $10,000 car for growth markets like China, could the Escort represent Ford’s answer to the VW UP?

Nissan took the wraps off this futuristic looking concept called the Friend-ME. The four-passenger sedan was developed to appeal to Chinese customers born in the 1980’s known as Bālínghòu, kind of the equivalent of Gen Y in the U.S. The platform for the Friend-ME is based on current sedan architecture and is powered by a hybrid powertrain.

Now lets take a look at the concept Riviera from Buick. Some of the technology that went into the concept is a plug-in hybrid system that can be charged wirelessly, and four-wheel steering. But the real show stopper is the Riviera’s looks. With its long raked forward silhouette, over-exaggerated design features and large gull-wing doors. Kind of reminds us of Hyundai’s HND-9 concept at the Seoul auto show.

And speaking of Hyundai, it unveiled its China-exclusive mid-size sedan, the Mistra. The company feels it will fit Chinese customers’ needs and preferences and will position the car between the Sonata and Elantra. It will hit showrooms later this year.

The newly-established Haval brand, which is a part of Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors, pulled the wraps off its new concept SUV. Called the H7, it features a body-on-frame design, 4WD and a hybrid powertrain. Based on the photos it looks production ready and should slot well between the brand’s H6 and H8.

Even though Renault officially showed pictures of the new Alpine A110 last year, now we get to see the production version in still life form. Renault says it will have a 400 horsepower V-6, which is not very exotic by today’s standards, unless the car comes in somewhere around 2,000 pounds or less than 1,000 kilos. That would truly give it a super-car power to weight ratio. It will be built by Caterham in France.

Coming up next, why the sudden interest in designing engines that use opposed pistons, that is, using two pistons in one cylinder? More on that, right after this.

Our guest on Autoline After Hours last week was David Johnson, the CEO of Achates Power, a company that’s come up with a radically different kind of engine design, one that uses two pistons in each cylinder. In principle this is similar to the opoc engine from Eco-Motors. So why the sudden interest in opposed piston engines? Here’s a clip from that show.

(Clip from AAH can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

And of course you can watch that entire show on our website at It is jam packed with all kinds of good information.

But that brings us to the end of today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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47 Comments to “AD #1117 – smart forjeremy, Buick Unveils Riviera Concept, Renault Alpine A110-50”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    What a day in the automotive news world ;

    The SMART Forjeremy …. that isn’t ( very smart at all )

    The Buick Riviera concept … that shouldn’t be ( what part of GM’s whizz kids missed out on the fact the Chinese DO NOT want Hybrids [ or EV’s )

    The news that the Chinese in fact are not buying Hybrids

    The Renault Alpine ( anything but an A110 ) travesty that in fact will most likely never be ( no money in Renaults or Caterhams bank accounts for further development )

    And finally … in a desperate moment Ford’s resurrecting an aged moniker no one cares about any longer

    Eeesh …

  2. guy firor Says:


  3. Brett Says:

    Everything old is new again, it seems. Fairbanks-Morse has produced a highly regarded, opposed-piston diesel engine since the 30s. They used the heck out of them in diesel submarines during WWII and are still favorites today where an engine is required that runs full-time at 80% or more of its rated load and is dead-nuts reliable.

    I liked hearing the name Escort in use again. Upon hearing it, the name John Buffum came immediately to mind. Ah, memories.

  4. Chuck Grenci Says:

    John mentioned very limited production for the new SMART (forjeremy edition); well that makes sense cause there will certainly be LOW demand.

  5. Bradley Says:

    I really enjoyed the concept cars, thanks! There must have been an interruption in my connection. The piece on the next-gen compact truck with 35 mpg was left out. :)

  6. ColoradoKid Says:

    #2 Not to be contentious or anything but errr…. what part of an over complicated … overly stylized …. no doubt vastly over priced if they ever made it ….. Camaro with a few Buick references tacked onto to it with Elmer’s and a Hobby Lobby glue gun do you think would stand a bats chance in Parma ( Ohio ) of selling … errr …. much of anywhere …. never mind N Georgia ?

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Will the new Escort be rear drive, like the 1968 variety?

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    As if that Dumb car needed any more negative things attached to it, you now got the sleaze bag Kanye West also mentioned along with its name, YUK!!

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    Where will this Escort fit with the Fiesta in Ford’s line-up?

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    So what is the biggest rip-off in the auto industry today the IQ posing as an Aston Martin or this ridiculous looking dumb-ass that looks like the offspring of the original Batmobile and a shopping cart.

  11. C-Tech Says:

    Never mind C.K., That Riviera might make me part with new car cash (with the right drivetrain oriented the right way)!

  12. Duke Says:

    Pedro, like John stated, from initial info offerings, the Escort appears to be an down-scale car FOR the Chinese market (possibly for other emerging SE Asian markets). Apparently it also has a larger rear seat than the Focus – but the idea is down-scale. You should appreciate things like – probably roll-up windows and such.

  13. Jon M Says:

    I don’t know if I’d say the special edition Smart car is going to be a limited production model. I think it would be better to say its production will be in line with demand, which is to say to extremely limited. Be it for the ridiculous price or the ridiculous features, I think it is safe to say demand will be inline with supply and vice versa.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    I do love manual everything, hate power doors, windows. cannot stand those little key thingies that you push to unlock doors and trunks, everywhere you go all you hear is beep, beep, beep, then I think it’s my phone and it drives me nuts!! Bring this Escort here, it will sell better than the Fiesta for sure!

  15. C-Tech Says:

    Given the tension between China and Japan, is Honda being optimistic about recovering sales in China?

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    #15 they’re selling them as American Honda, that is why!

  17. aliisdad Says:

    Love that new Ford Escort..Sort of is a 3/4 Fusion as Corolla is a 3/4 Camry in styling..
    Ford really had been doing a good job of styling its sedans of late!! Any word on engines or availability??

  18. XA351GT Says:

    C/K @#1 bite your tongue. I still have my 2 Escorts(ZX2 2 doors) They still run great and get decent mileage even compared to the new cars in their class. I see nothing wrong using a name plate that people recognize and some of us even remember fondly. Given a chance I’d grab a MK2 UK Escort in a hot minute. Why the hell Ford never broght that or the Cortina stateside in the 70s when they needed fuel effiecent cars I’ll never know. Especially with the bad rap the Pinto and maverick got at the time.They could have made them Mercurys like all the foriegn Fords they did bring over.

  19. W L Simpson Says:

    If you push a certain button on the Riv dash, it will flap it’s wings & overfly congested areas.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    #19 LOL

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Unlike the Pinto or Maverick or Granada or Fairmont, the Escort was NOT an embarrassment to Ford, like the Cavalier or Cobalt was to Chevy.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ford brought the Capri to the US in the 70′s. It was a sportier cousin tothe early, rear-drive Escort

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    I believe the only Escort available here was the FWD version, unless I’m mistaken, my local high school still has a fleet of them for the student driver’s ed classes, not a good used car buy, driving in a closed lot at 5 mph and constantly braking, those engines must have tons of sludge in them, no high speed driving EVER!

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the rear drive Escorts were never sold here. They were popular in the UK, though, when I was there in the navy in ’70-’71.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    There are quite a few of them on sale locally at a very nice price,in very nice condition just wondering how reliable they are with the heavy duty use that I give my crapolla

  26. cwolf Says:

    The Escort was the first new car the wifey and I bought after graduating. It served us well: It hauled a lot of camping gear with the rear seat cushion removed. Somewhere around 100K,the alum. head cracked. We got rid of it 2 weeks before. Don’t think I’ll buy anything with the name Escort because of it!

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Gee, something about them aluminum engines, Corolla leak and burn oil like crazy and the Escorts crack, oh well so much for modern technology. I wish I could trade down to a pre 98 Corolla with its iron block 1.8, much more durable and reliable motor.

  28. cwolf Says:

    No matter where you look, all the attension is on the Chinese Auto Show. If you think about it, who in the heck should give a rat’s a$$ about what happen in China when it comes to cars for that country? Dollar for dollar, my John Deere tiller and mower has and prolly will continue to outlast almost anything found on their roads!

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    that smartforjeremy should have been called smartforsteviewonder, at least he can’t see that atrocity!

  30. cwolf Says:

    @29 pedro
    I like it!!! +10

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, the biggest weakness of the Escorts sold in the US, was that most of engines used were “valve crashers,” and all had timing belts. It was not advisable to neglect changing the belt when the “official” mileage arrived.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Iron blocks with aluminum heads always sounded like a bad mix, both for corrosion and uneven expansion. There are a lot of them out there, though.

  33. XA351GT Says:

    31 Kit, The newer Escorts were zero clearance. The early ones weren’t. I had a 86 EXP that broke the belt. All I did was replace it and drive it another 30K .

    All Escorts from 1981 on were FWD . The 1st 2 generations of UK escorts were RWD. They were Rally kings.

  34. Andrew Charles Says:

    The Escort is not Ford’s answer to the VW Up!, rather it is a competitor for the Chevrolet Cobalt (there’s a new one for Brazil and Russia), Nissan Almera/Sunny (a.k.a Versa sedan) and Peugeot 301, each of which, like the future Escort, sits below the standard compact sedan in price (Chevy Cruze, Nissan Sylphy/Sentra, Peugeot 308 respectively).

    The new Alpine will not be built by Caterham, but once again in the old Alpine factory in Dieppe. Formerly Soc. Automobiles Renault Alpine, Caterham has taken a 50% stake and will get their own version (think Alfa 4C v. KTM X-bow). Since the last Alpine the factory had been building low-volume models under the RenaultSport brand (which included an open sports car and a Clio subcompact with a mid-engine V6 instead of a rear seat).

    Fairbanks-Morse still offers their opposed-piston diesel, but from announced contracts it appears their real business is replacement parts for the old Alco diesel still popular with small railroads, and conventional diesels built under license from English and German manufacturers.

  35. T. Bejma Says:


    Even though the Cobalt (which was a giant leap ahead of the Cavalier – I owned both) got beat up for it’s plastic interior, it has actually proven to be very reliable. Several on the road in SE Michigan (where we are VERY hard on cars). Hard to call it an embarrassment…

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Cavalier, at least the later ones, were also reliable. They are a little “rough around the edges” compared to some of the competitors, but not bad cars. I see a lot of them on the road, and the newest ones are almost ten years old.

  37. RonE Says:

    I had an ’82 Escort wagon, 4 spd. Cracked head after about 6 years, did an engine swap and drove it for a total of 10 yrs. The ’82 was nothing to brag about, but I got a lot of miles out of that car. Both of my kids learned to drive using this car.
    Bought a ’92 Escort 4 dr. hatch, 5 spd., drove it for 9 years and only glitch was a radiator replacement. Very reliable car with good mileage. Quite similar to a Mazda. I would have purchased an ’01 Escort, but most of these cars were going to rental agencies so I bought a Mazda.

  38. ColoradoKid Says:

    Escort revisited ;

    The original RWD were brilliant and legendary on road and on track ( especially when they had one of the Cosworth’s under the hood … ooops … meant bonnet )

    The FWD one was more than adequate …. had a bit of a go in WRC as well and was well worth the price of entry

    The later Escorts … though never bad were a bit long in the tooth and needed to be replaced by the Focus .

    But truth be known … the Escort name has long since been forgotten by most ( outside the gearhead community ) .. bears little or no relevance to this ‘ new ‘ Escort … and therefore should not have been revived … Its revival being an exercise in futility on behalf of Ford ‘s marketing mavens


    Renault Alpine ( cough .. hack ) A110 ;

    Sorry Mr Charles but according to both Renault and Caterham the ‘ new ‘ A110 will be built by Caterham in the UK … not Alpine Dieppe . Fact is Dieppe is not much of a factory ( more a tuner shop these days ) and part of the reason Renault ( as in fact ‘ Alpine ‘ outside of Renault does not exist ) partnered with Caterham was to gain the manufacturing capacity Renault does not have and cannot afford to expand into .

    But ….. there’s still that nagging question of both Caterham and Renault having ZERO funds ( Caterhams p…ing what little profit they’re making into their futile F1 effort ) to develop the ‘ new ‘ A110 to production ready status. Add to that there’s almost ZERO demand for the A110 with most than initially expressed an interest now pulling out due to the economy in the EU/UK .. so truly … a snowball has a better chance surviving the depths of Hades than the A110 does of ever seeing the light of day .

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The “new” Escort would fit into the Chinese market, the same way the Escort fit in the the US market during the few years of overlap, where both Escort and Focus were sold. The Escort was a similar size, but cheaper car for those few years.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit and TB why the name changes on the Cavalier to Cobalt now to Cruze, if not to make people realize that the new one is much better than the one it replaces, Impala, Malibu have both stayed the same, should have brought back Chevy II or Nova for that matter, both of them have positive name recognition, not so the other 2.

  41. ColoradoKid Says:

    GM/Chevy’s definition of a Bargain ;

    With bargains like that …. who needs thieves – car jackers and con artists

    Saddest part is though … according to Chevy’s press release there’s a line up of gullible Gulliver’s to purchase this blatant consumer rip off …. MMtB strikes again ( More Money than Brains as a reminder 0

    Aint it nice the way GM keeps repaying the American Tax Payer/Consumer …. over and over again for baling them out ? Such a nice company . No wonder I refuse to give them a dime more of my money


    Pedro – 40 – My point exactly when it comes to the Escort moniker …

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    Were you guys aware that some BMW engines don’t have any dipsticks, not for engine, not for transmission, you gotta rely on some electronic crap to tell you that you need oil and then you don’t know how much to put in, talk about a disaster waiting to happen!!!

  43. David Sprowl Says:

    The Escort looks like, well an updated Escort – boring!

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    CK the 2 dudes from Colo on Youtube who test cars just did a video touting the virtues of Jeep ownership and how great they are, I’ll bet G.A. would have something to say about that.

  45. willi Says:

    loved my ’70 Riv

    would like to see this one open up in a garage

    not to mention birdshit and oceanspray :)

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m glad my MINI has a dipstick, at least for the engine.

    The electronic crap in the dipstick-less BMW’s had better be reliable, given the recommended 15K mile oil change interval.

  47. Andrew Charles Says:

    Sorry C.K., I don’t know what dumbass gave you that info, but Renault and Caterham have said no such thing. I quote directly from the current info from Renault: “The future vehicles will be distinctive, differentiated, and carry the respective DNA of Alpine and Caterham Cars, the automotive division of Caterham Group. They will be built at the Alpine plant in Dieppe, Normandy, in France.”