AD #1204 – Renault COO Gets Booted, Honda Uses Phones to Enhance Safety, Kia Niro Concept

August 29th, 2013 at 11:35am

Runtime: 8:12

Renault’s Carlos Tavares is shown the door in the wake of his outspoken statements about GM and Ford. Honda puts smart phones to work in enhancing automotive and motorcycle safety. Kia previews its Niro concept ahead of Frankfurt. All that and more, plus a demo of Pioneer’s aftermarket radio solution, the AppRadio 3.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily.

The big story in today’s news is that earlier this morning Carlos Tavares “mutually agreed with Renault” to cease his functions at Chief Operating Officer and go find another job. You’ll remember we reported two weeks ago that he said he’d love to go run General Motors or Ford, because his boss, Carlos Ghosn, wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon and Tavares wanted to run a car company. Well that’s the kiss of death in any large corporation. You don’t announce that you’d love to go work for the competition and expect to keep your job. But I think Mr. Tavares knew what he was doing all along. Typically when a senior executive leaves a car company he or she agrees to not to work for a competitor for a year. So Tavares may have increased his chances of landing the CEO at GM or Ford by leaving Renault now, and making headlines so everyone in the industry knows he’s available. I don’t think he’s got a snowball’s chance at Ford, but at GM? Who knows? The upcoming GM CEO transition is a difficult one to figure out right now.

Honda showed off two technologies yesterday that could reduce pedestrian and motorcycle accidents. It’s all got to do with apps and a wi-fi technology called DSRC, or dedicated short range communications. The pedestrian system allows a smartphone to communicate with a car so that both will know when they are coming dangerously close to one another, like when a pedestrian steps into the street from behind a parked vehicle. Same with the motorcycle system. It uses DSRC to warn the driver of a car that a motorcycle is approaching that may be obstructed by other vehicles. Honda is still testing the systems but says it’s indicative of the kind of safety technology it would like to put into production. It also announced that the Odyssey became the first minivan to get a full 5-star crash rating.

A few days ago we showed you teaser shots of a new concept car Volvo will have at the Frankfurt Motor Show. but the company just couldn’t wait and has now revealed the whole car. Called the Volvo Concept Coupe, it’s the first of three concept cars that’s meant to demonstrate the company’s design capabilities. But it also showcases some advanced technology including a plug-in hybrid powertrain that features a 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine with a super and turbocharger. It also has autonomous capabilities which Volvo hopes to have integrated into its cars before the end of the decade.

And speaking of Frankfurt, Kia revealed a new b-segment concept called the Niro. It was designed at the company’s design studio in Germany and it features a new powertrain which will be revealed at the show next month. Kia says it will gauge customer response at the show to determine if the Niro will end up in showrooms.

Are you feeling left out of the infotainment bonanza because your car is not up to date? We’ll have the latest aftermarket solution from Pioneer Electronics after this.

If your vehicle is a couple years old, there’s a good chance that the technology in your center stack feels ancient compared to the phone in your pocket. Pioneer Electronics recently stopped by the Autoline studios to demo its latest aftermarket audio unit, called the AppRadio 3. Plugging in your smart phone allows the capacitive touch screen to access the apps, GPS and data connection on your device. Here’s Ted Cardenas, the vice president of marketing for Pioneer’s car division.

(Our demo of the Pioneer AppRadio 3 is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

Using your smart phone’s processor and internet connection results in a significant discount. AppRadio 3 is available now for a suggested retail price of $500. Compare that to Pioneer’s top-of-the-line touchscreen unit for $1,200. You can see if your phone is compatible by checking the Pioneer website.

Very interesting technology. Say, don’t forget to join us tonight for Autoline After Hours. Our guest will be Jeff Luke, the chief engineer of GM’s full-size pick-ups. I’m sure any of you who are in any way involved with the F-series, the Ram, the Titan and Tundra will want to tune into this one. Make sure you get your questions in and join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information in the business.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, please join us again tomorrow.

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40 Comments to “AD #1204 – Renault COO Gets Booted, Honda Uses Phones to Enhance Safety, Kia Niro Concept”

  1. T. Bejma Says:

    Kia Niro reminds me a lot of the Isuzu Vehicross…

    Like the Volvo concept, very cool.

    Using your smartphone to warn you of pedestrians, run your car infotainment, etc. All cool things and very good ideas. Sounds like the flip phone is going the way the cassette tape, VHS and the CD…

  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    #1 – Amen +1 .. and once again ( in a Blue Moon ) we are in total agreement … on the KIA that is .

    If that aint a Cut&Paste Xerox’d Vehicross shrunk down a bit I don’t know what is .

    But … considering this is KIA we’re talking about ( the H/K twins being the epitome of Cut/Copy/Pastiche & Paste design ) .. no surprise here what so ever . Then factor in who’s in charge of KIA’s design team ( Herr Schreyer ) …. and well … is anyone even a little bit err… surprised ?

    As to the Volvo though ? A design completely out of balance looking like a cross between an Ant Eater and some 12 year old’s idea of automotive design that was later sat upon by a rather large elephant … hence the hideous ungainly proportions

    You really go for the Vulgar and the Inane when it comes to design now …. don’t you T ? Technology as well I’m afraid ;-)

    Hmmn…. how to inject some semblance of ‘ Taste ‘ into this boy ? …. errr …. been trying to do that for decades teaching … Its hopeless . Either you get it ( and hence develop it ) … or as in Mr Bejma’s case … you do not …. get it that is . Se la vie ;-)

  3. ColoradoKid Says:

    Blacklisting Revisited

    In case anyone’s concerned this mornings post was too harsh on the automotive industry when it comes to blacklisting media who dare to print .. put up negative reviews of their products .. let me guarantee you the US M/C manufactures are ten times worse

    Just try and so much as have a website like ALD dedicated to M/C’s and allow even the commenters on board to post negative reactions to anything Harley Davidson , Victory and now the ‘ new ‘ Indian are making/considering and watch how quickly you’ll have one of the Indian / H-D / Victory police at your door threatening to blacklist you immediately if you do not prevent negative comments completely .

    Seems when it comes to US Auto and M/C manufactures … they can dish it out left and right ( towards the competition and their potential customer base ) but when it comes to taking it they’re like a bunch of spoiled , over protected 5 year olds… throwing a tantrum the minute anyone dares to say anything negative

    Rant over .

    PS; Discretion prevents me from saying why I know this . ;-)

  4. T. Bejma Says:

    I think the Volvo looks a lot like the old P1800 which was very stylish in it’s day and to me still looks fresh compared to the cookie cutter, melted in the sun designs out there now…

  5. Lex Says:

    Does the $500 price tag of the Pioneer Appradio 3 include installation? This is the future of in car infomatics. Let you smart phone drive the media in your vehicle.

  6. HtG Says:

    2 any insights in re Tavares from across the pond to share, CK?
    Honda warning app

    But how does it work for someone walking near traffic? Can it distinguish between potentially dangerous cars and those that aren’t important? How much juice does it use on your phone?(if it’s transmitting and receiving that’s costly)

  7. HtG Says:

    5 gotta agree, Lex. If kids get this head unit, they can transform something like an old Civic which has a big opening in the dash and is tinkerer friendly.

  8. Rumblestrip Says:

    The Pioneer App radio is nice, but I’d rather not be limited by THEIR choice of apps. Want to really knock it out of the park, mirror my apps, or smart phone screen on the radios. I’ll go ahead and use an iPad Mini in my car, my choice of apps, and much more flexible as well.

  9. T. Bejma Says:


    That is why no one should ever use one single source for any information and always take everything you read with a grain of salt.

    As an example, I travel a lot for work and use Android Apps (Foursquare, Yelp, etc.) to find places to eat. I read the reviews and with even the best places have bad reviews sprinkled in. Are they disgruntled employees that want the business to do bad? Are they just picky people? Did they give the place a 1 star because someone mixed up their order, but the food was great? Point is, you can not rely on one source for any information and the educated consumer will have a better chance of winning in the end.

    Do I think TTAC should be blacklisted? No. Do I think that TTAC is always impartial and fair? NOT A CHANCE! Same goes with any review, comment and even word of mouth…

  10. HtG Says:

    electronics day

    Since we’re on the subject, yesterday ARM announced that it was buying a startup which was working on standards for the internet of things. When ARM does this you can expect that they will be bringing a unifying standard to the industry in a few years. Keep tuned.

  11. XA351GT Says:

    #4 I was thinking the same thing . The Volvo is like a updated P1800.

    If the Kia is like the vehicross I guess that is why I liked it then. I always thought then cool in a unusual kind of way. Definitely not like everything else that was out there.

    The Honda system seems to be expecting everyone is carrying Smart phones. I could see this as a potential problem with drivers not paying attention as much because they would be relying on the system to alert them of peds or cycles.

    Again the pioneer system assumes everyone has a smart phone. Some of us do not.

    Tavares , really you think that this is a great career move? It’s like someone who hooks up with someone who cheated on their spouse. Do you think that they won’t expect you to do it again to them this time.

  12. M360 Says:

    No mention of it in today’s AD news, however, Ford is now ready to build 30% more Fusion vehicles to meet demand. Way to go, Ford.

  13. Phoenix Mark Says:

    I liked the Volvo, I saw it on other websites and it looks good from all angles.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kia concept looks nice, except for the upswing doors, more distractions and more technology to help avoid killing the distracted, seems to me the smartphones are indeed smarter than some who use them while walking and crossing busy streets.

  15. GM Veteran Says:

    The Volvo concept sure has a lot of Aston Martin in the side view Love the sophisticated and interesting interior though. Reminds me of some of GM’s best interior styling jobs from the 1960′s (Riviera comes to mind).

  16. ColoradoKid Says:

    In Car High Tech Infotainment meets …. Liability Law 101 … head first ;

    Bam !!!

    Kind of slick and yet sort of sick at the same time if you ask me . Get clobbered by some Dweeb texting his Virtual Online FaceBook girlfriend …. and you can sue both him and the girlfriend for a godawful amount of money in the courts . IMO you should be able to hold FaceBook liable as well …

    So the Law gone too far …. or just the Law finally catching up with all the liability , injuries and damage this junk is creating ?

    In this case I’ll go with … Law Catching Up

    Now if they’d just extend this interpretation of the law down to pedestrians as well …. HtG and the rest of us will be very happy indeed !

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ CK: Interesting and timely. The whole infotainment craze is a lawsuit waiting to happen,especially that piece on the new Pioneer/smart phone thing.

  18. HtG Says:

    It’s Over

    Not five minutes ago I was following a Camry as it did a little swerve around a cop car that had rolled its snout into the Camry’s lane from the STOP sign at the right. I looked at the copper, and you guessed it, reading a text.


    Not five minutes before that on the highway I had the pleasure of sharing the road with a Subaru whose driver could barely keep it in his lane. Yes, I mean no, he did not once cease to put down his cell phone which he was spending most of his attention reading.

    :( when’s happy hour tonight? Oh yeah, 6 o’clock when ALD begins.

  19. HtG Says:

    Driving IS the distraction

  20. C-tech Says:

    I think Pioneer is on to something since many people do have the newer phones and the infotainment there will just play through their interface. I would consider it and upgrading my phone.

    The Volvo concept looks interesting

    It seems that if you are willing to make public comments like Mr. Tavares, you might turn off some of the gatekeepers you need to impress at the car companies you wish to run.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG smart phone distraction is an epidemic, just the other day, while shopping at my local market, I got rear ended by a cart being pushed by a distracted shopper who did not see me cause she was looking at her phone instead of ahead, next time I will drop to the floor in pain and see what happens.

  22. C-tech Says:

    It seems to me with Nissans’ announment of an autonomous car by 2020 they believe all the pieces will be in place in the next 2 years to develop this car for production (5 years to develop a car from a clean sheet). If so, how much will this car cost? Will autonomous cars put car haulers out of business, after all they should be able to drive themselves to the dealers lots from the factory or train depot?

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Don’t these robo cars depend on GPS to get them places? if so, there are many areas in my town that GPS does not recognize, or they send you to the wrong place. I don’t have it, but others I work with tell me that they got late to a job site cause the GPS sent them to the wrong address. while I rely on familiarity with the area or I use Google maps.

  24. ColoradoKid Says:

    Volvo Concept Revisited ;

    Funny that it took an overseas associate to point out the resemblance this Volvo thing has to the old Lincoln LS .. minus two doors and a bit squished of course ( told you an elephant sat on it ;-) )

    No … what Volvo needs to do if they want to regain sales is do do themselves a 21st century version of this ..

    … ala BMW MINI . Now that done right … along with moving production as well as development back to Sweden … might just get Volvo’s sales back on track …. though with the head of steam Subaru’s building right now … I kind of doubt it … but at least it’d be interesting … not to mention catching the attention as well as possible business from two characters as diverse as Kit and myself


    22,23 …. Talked to our academic friend last night ( Artificial Intelligence ) about this …. in his own words ;

    ” Nissan’s just blowing smoke up everybody’s ______ “

  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    Cadillac ElMiraj

    OK … the rumors are hot and heavy ( even from GM’s local true believer ) that the ElMiraj may make it into production in sedan format

    So ….. let me just say this now and get it over with ;

    IF the marketing Mavens over GM/Cadillac way have the brains as well as common sense to market this as The American Luxury Muscle Car ( think about it … thats what they were in the good ol’ days of Cadillac ) …. and I do say IF … rather than in any way shape or form try and compare it to anything from Mercedes BMW or Audi ( cough ) for that matter ….. IF ……

    They may just finally have themselves a winner .

    BUT … if they go down the same old dead end sales wise road as they’ve been going down going some twenty years now and try to compare the ElMiraj to anything from the Terrible Trio of BMW – Mercedes and ( hack ) Audi …

    Well then …. the ElMiraj I’m afraid will be destined to be a genuine Sales Mirage when alls said and done … just like every other car …. good or bad … Cadillac has tried to compare to the Germans

    Nuff said .

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That is an interesting case. If it could be proven that the person sending the text knew the receiver was driving, there could be a case that the sender is liable. Still, the person driving didn’t have to read it at the time. I don’t until I am at my destination, and red lights don’t qualify as a destinarion.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I think that, to get my business, Volvo would need to get ownership back to somewhere other than China, along with getting development and production back to Sweden. I know what you’re saying, though, and I agree.

  28. HtG Says:

    26 yeah, when I read the story yesterday in the NYPost it appeared that the non-driving texter would have to have a reason to know the other person was driving. You’d have to prove that.

    The human compulsion to communicate is strong.

    But now that I read the court ruling, it seems the remote texter must also know that the recipient will also read the text,…

    “…that the sender also knew or had special reason to know that the driver would read the message while driving and would thus be distracted from attending to the road and the operation of the vehicle.” p.22

    How kewl is that?

  29. HtG Says:

    From the decision, p.25

    “However, if the sender knows that the recipient is both driving and will read the text immediately, then the sender has taken a
    foreseeable risk in sending a text at that time. The sender has knowingly engaged in distracting conduct, and it is not unfair also to hold the sender responsible for the distraction.”

    Rots of ruck proving this

  30. Brett Says:

    re: Car audio

    Unless you’ve got a vehicle with a really oddball system, practically everything today is DIN format with an ISO connector.

    I did some judicious eBay shopping for a single DIN head unit with only a USB port (for flash memory) and an SD memory slot in the face. This is because I’m tired of fooling around with CDs while driving.

    I got the head unit shipped from Hong Kong for $50. I ordered a Metra install faceplate for $15, and, from England an adapter harness to marry the ISO port on the back of the new unit to the proprietary 2006 Mitsubishi Outlander harness for $18.

    For less than $100, I replaced the factory rig with a much more sophisticated unit (RDS, etc.) that can hold an 8 gig SD card and play several thousand songs without any attention on my part.

    I used a single phillips screwdriver to remove the two screws that hold the center stack in place and to R&R the six screws that hold the DIN plate onto the back of the center stack panel.

    That is the ONLY tool that was required.

    I’ll sure be glad when American cars convert over to the ISO plug. Then there will be no need to ever buy another adapter.

  31. T. Bejma Says:


    A wagon version???? Thpppppphhhhhhtttttt!!!! UGLY with a capital U!!! This design looks good in a coupe, but can not pull off the wagon. NO WAY!!!

  32. HtG Says:

    And at long last, the judicial money shot,…

    “We hold that, when a texter knows or has special reason to know that the intended recipient is driving AND IS LIKELY TO READ(my emphasis) the text message while driving, the texter has a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at that time.” p.29

    So you have to prove that the texter knew they would likely distract the driver.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28, 29
    Interesting, but yeah, how do you prove that the sender knew the recipient was driving?

  34. HtG Says:

    33 A very high standard, don’t you think? This case included phone logs: So I guess these are part of the evidence. But the key is that you need to show that the ‘texter knew it was likely that the driver would read the text that led to the accident.’ <<All those words in quotes are the threshold. Good luck with that

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems a very high standard indeed. I sure don’t know how you would prove that the “texter knew it was likely that the driver would read the text that led to the accident.” but I’m not a lawyer.

  36. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    As to how do you prove the person texting knew the person was driving and would read it. I have had people text me before with… “How much longer until you get here” I think that would qualify… anyone else’s thoughts?

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That would certainly seem incriminating.

  38. HtG Says:

    I think that the word ‘likely’ is the most important one. In a civil issue the threshold for liability is the slight tipping of the scales rather than proof beyond reasonable. But if someone wants to sue then the lawyers will be able to argue out a settlement before any actual trial. Honestly, my eyes got a bit glazed reading the opinion, but the judges applied a traditional test to determine the duty of care expected of the remote texter(see what I mean?). They likened knowing texting to waving a sheet of paper in front of a driver’s face as the proximal cause of any harm. The sick thing in this NJ case is wondering what a boy and girl could possibly have been texting each other so vigorously about.

  39. MJB Says:

    I don’t know, that whole DSRC technology from Honda for alerting pedestrians when they’re about to get hit by moving vehicles by sending alerts to their smartphones just seems about as useful as a hand-held remote control for ones car stereo – ridiculously redundant!

    I mean, HELLOOOO! How about just prying your dilated eyeballs from the faceplate of that skin-grafted tech appendage, and doing what I’m teaching my 3 & 5 year olds to do, look both ways before you cross the street?

    First cars that drive themselves. Next, cars that help people walk themselves…


  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A trip home from a restaurant last evening has me thinking that something should be required on cars, that isn’t. It would be much cheaper to do than some things that are required, like stability control. I’m talking about headlights that turn themselves on.

    On my 15-20 minute trip, in the dark, I saw not one, but two cars with their lights not on. I changed lanes in front of one of them, doing so carefully, as I generally do, and then found that this lightless van was behind, and in the lane I entered. It was far enough back that I would have changed lanes the same way, but I don’t like those kind of surprises when I drive. Then, a little later, there was another lightless car approaching from the opposite direction.

    It was about 9:00 or so, and hadn’t been dark too long, but it was dark, and the only way these people could see where they were going was from street lights, and from the headlights of nearby vehicles. Apparently they don’t look at the instruments much, or they might have noticed that they couldn’t see them.