AD #1196 – Tesla’s New Name, Infiniti Shakes Up Management, Volvo’s All-New Engines

August 19th, 2013 at 11:52am

Runtime: 8:27

Tesla is forced to change its name for the Chinese market because the company’s name had already been registered. Infiniti poaches a top executive from one major German automaker and names a new design director as well. As a part of Volvo’s new Drive-E initiative to reduce the impact on the environment it will build a new line-up of 4-cylinder engines. All that and more, plus we take a tour in the interior of Jaguar’s F-TYPE.

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Welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily, as we cover the industry that never sleeps. Here are some of the latest developments in the global automotive industry.

TESLA = TUOSULE, IN CHINA
Last week we reported that Tesla is running into problems in China because its name and several websites with the Tesla name have already been registered by someone making electric golf cars. The company’s choices were to offer more money for the name or sell under a different name, and Tesla chose the latter. According to Gasgoo, the company has been renamed “Tuosule” in China. However, the EV maker still can’t sell any cars because it must establish a separate sales company, which is still under approval, since it won’t be selling its cars through dealerships.

INFINITI SHAKES UP MANAGEMENT
Johann De Nysschen is shaking things up at Infiniti. He just poached Porsche’s Chief Operating Officer in North America, Michael Bartsch, who will become vice president of Infiniti Americas starting in September. Bartsch began his career at Holden before moving on to Porsche. And Infiniti named Simon Cox the Design Director of its design studio in London. Cox is a thirty year veteran of the auto industry and has worked with a number of companies including Peugeot, Ford, GM, Lotus and Isuzu.

HOW SWEDE IT IS
As a part of Volvo’s new Drive-E initiative to reduce the impact on the environment it will build a new line-up of 4-cylinder engines, one a common rail diesel and the other, direct-injected gasoline. The diesel will not be available in the U.S. The gasoline version comes as a 240 horsepower turbocharged engine or a higher performance 302 horsepower turbocharged and supercharged version. The engines will be pared to a new 8-speed transmission, can be teamed with electrification and are up to 100 pounds lighter. The new Drive-E powertrains are developed in-house at Volvo’s R&D department in Sweden.

IS “GREEN” BECOMING PASSE?
Is the public really interested in alternative fuel vehicles? According the the Consumer Federation of America, the answer is a resounding yes. It says that plug-in hybrids and electrics are in strong demand, with strong sales gains. But a company called Phoenix Marketing International says it finds the public’s interest is falling. It reports that 31 percent of U.S. car buyers the want green cars, but that’s down from 35 percent at the beginning of the year. It says the reason for the drop is an improving economy, a desire for performance and the fact that green cars may not be in vogue like they were a year ago. So are green cars in demand, or not? I guess we’re just going to have to keep track of the sales figures.

CONTINENTAL & CISCO TEAM UP
Continental, the giant automotive supplier company, is teaming up with Cisco, the IT company to collaborate on developing the technology needed for connected cars. In fact, they have a vehicle that demonstrates a proof-of-concept for this technology. Continental has all kinds of automotive know-how, while Cisco is very adept at wireless communication and managing information in the cloud, so it’s a natural combination. And of course, they’re both working on preventing hackers from breaking into the system. I think we’re going to see a lot more of this kind of non-traditional collaboration between different suppliers as the connected car opens up all kinds of new business opportunities.

IT’S THE BEE’S KNEES
Last week we showed you some teaser shots of a concept truck that Ram was readying for the Woodward Dream Cruise. Now we’ve got shots of the whole truck and all the info on it as well. Called the Rumble Bee, it features a unique interior and exterior, 22 inches black wheels and an upgraded suspension, which drops it 2 inches. The truck is powered by a HEMI engine, which even has a special Rumble Bee cover, and is mated to a 8-speed transmission that plants the power through a 4.10 rear gear, so that thing ought to git up and go.

Coming up next, a tour of the interior design of the stunning Jaguar F-TYPE.

JAGUAR F-TYPE INTERIOR
(Tour of F-TYPE interior can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Say did you catch our live webcast of the Dream Cruise? It’s a pretty good show if I say so myself, and you can catch it on our website at Autoline.tv or check out the Autoline channel on YouTube. I’ve got a video there that I shot of a drifting competition in amongst the ruins in Detroit, that’s actually pretty cool.

But that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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20 Comments to “AD #1196 – Tesla’s New Name, Infiniti Shakes Up Management, Volvo’s All-New Engines”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hey! Taxi, Taxi, TAXI HEY!!! why didn’t he pick me up?

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    John, with so many top executives moving around (different car companies) like ‘musical chairs’, are there any that stand out that have stayed where they felt passionate and have gone through ups and downs (within their own company) and stayed loyal to their brand? The standard spiel heard, is that wherever they work, it is the best place, as well as the best product available. I’d like to recognize those that hung in there when the going got rough.

  3. Brett Says:

    Feigned enthusiasm is the term that comes to mind listening to the fellow touting that Jaguar’s interior. I did not feel that it was a case of British reserve, either.

  4. HtG Says:

    3 I had to turn it off myself, Brett, though the guy was asked.

  5. Chuck Grencic Says:

    Though Jaguar would have you think that they ‘hit it out of the park’ with the new F-Type, I’m thinking a solid ‘double’, okay maybe a ‘triple’; but I can’t think that it is going to go down in history as a classic.

  6. Bradley Says:

    #3

    Yea, I appreciate Jaguar adding content to John’s show, but that was a bit on the dry side.

  7. T. Bejma Says:

    Will wonders never cease? The BRITISH Top Gear likes the C7!!!

    http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/chevrolet-corvette-stingray-first-drive-2013-08-19

  8. cwolf Says:

    I like the Jag., but I’m not a fan of the deep dashboards or the thick pillars. Is an accent required to buy one?

  9. cwolf Says:

    T.B, I hit paydirt! My new neighbor is head comptroller for an automotive group. As long as I leave my keys, any of his drivers are mine for an afternoon. Cool huh? A C7 arrives in 2 weeks, then I requested the V8 ATS or a CTS, whichever is available. I also put on my list the Impala, new Volt and even a Prius. The group sold their GMC dealership and are thinking about dumping Chevy,too! After remodeling their stores, GM came in and demanded they tear up what was done to conform to their specifications costing hundreds of thousands. From my viewpoint, it looks like you guys are cooking your oun goose!

  10. T. Bejma Says:

    Cool cwolf, although you are going to have to wait a while for a V8 ATS (don’t make one) and V8 CTS (probably going to have to wait for the V unless you want the current version). The Impala is a great car. I managed to snag a LTZ in the rental car lot at ATL and was impressed with the ride, comfort and the HUGE trunk!

    I know about the dealer specification issues. GM basically paid every dealer 50% of the re-modeling costs, so the dealers were in no way mistreated, no matter what your neighbor said.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9, 10
    It sounds like they remodeled “prematurely,” without waiting to see what GM might want. My local Chevy dealer had to do some remodeling, but they hadn’t done anything in about 40 years.

  12. cwolf Says:

    T.B, I’m sure splitting the remodel costs is do-able for most dealers,but how would you like to be the chosen one to place this burden on the many small dealers, like the few country ones in my neck of the woods?

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Gee, these automakers treat their dealers like $hit instead of wining and dining them, after all, they represent the manufacturer in everything, sales, financing, service because no major oem sells directly to the customer.

  14. T. Bejma Says:

    Pedro,

    The best way for an automaker treat a dealer well is giving them something good to sell and GM has done a good job of that lately. If the dealer treats the automaker and it’s customers bad, then it hurts the dealer’s own business as well as the OEM. Every OEM gives tons of money to the dealers in spiffs, rebates and incentives as well. With dealers not being tied to the OEM’s except by a franchise agreement (piece of paper only – no money exchanged except for the vehicle costs), the automakers have very little control over the dealers.

  15. HtG Says:

    Left out captive finance arm, TB. CK will get on you for that.

  16. cwolf Says:

    T.B, you are correct the automaker does good for the dealer by giving them good products to sell and there are many. However, the”spiffs” you mension are prolly of more benifit of the automaker than the dealer,eh? GM will be offering incentives for the next month, including the new Impala. It seems more plausible the reason has to do with matchimg the Japanese tit-for-tat to prevent market share loss than any interest in the dealerships.

  17. T. Bejma Says:

    #15

    Good catch HtG. Forgot about that one.

  18. T. Bejma Says:

    Boy, I wish CK was around… ;-)

    Cadillac doing better than Buick in China [and right on the heels of BMW and Audi].

    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2013/08/09/088538-cadillac-among-top-three-luxury-brands-j-d-power-asia.html

  19. Chuck Grenci Says:

    On Cadillac doing well in China: maybe another reason that Cadillac should move ahead with a ‘like’ model of the Elmiraj (future next Eldorado); this new shape has “panache” and should have world appeal.

  20. Richard Says:

    There Jonathan Sandys goes again with the rhetoric. What’s so “fantastic” about a “1+1 cockpit layout” and how does it become a “term that places the emphasis on the driver as the centre of this car”? All it says to me is that there is barely enough room for 2. And that pop up a/c vent module is just another thing that WILL break on this car. It has no bearing on true luxury, style, nor aesthetics. As nice as that steering wheel is, Jonathan needs to go back to design school if it took him 18 months of his life to create. It would seem to me that VW pretty much did most of the work on that because it could easily pass for the one in the Golf GTI.