Episode 169 – Billion$$$$ Coming Soon, Nissan to Make EV’s In USA, Kia Sales Going Strong

June 22nd, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 8:42

Loan money the government set up to help automakers retool plants and develop fuel-efficient cars could be coming soon. Nissan wants up to half-a-billion of that money to build electric cars in the United States. Last month Kia posted over an 11 percent jump in worldwide sales compared to last May. All that and more, plus John’s impressions of the 2010 Chevy Camaro.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. U.S. government money for fuel-efficient cars could soon be on the way. Nissan may make EVs in the USA, and someone forgot to tell Kia there’s a global recession going on.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, June 22, 2009. And now, the news.

Loan money the government setup to help automakers retool plants and develop fuel-efficient cars could be coming soon. In an interview with the Detroit News, Ed Montgomery, the White House’s head of recovery efforts in auto communities, said he believes grants from the $25 billion set aside for retooling plants for green cars and a $2 billion program to help companies develop batteries, will be awarded in the near future.

And right on the heels of that announcement, the Nikkei Daily reports that Nissan wants up to half a billion of that money to build electrics car in the United States. It would build them at its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, where it currently makes the Altima, Maxima, Xterra, Frontier pickup and Pathfinder. Reports say Nissan will also make lithium-ion batteries at the plant together with NEC. Nissan will first begin producing EVs in Japan, and also plans to make them in Europe and possibly China.

While most automakers are feeling the effects of the global recession, Kia is bucking the trend. Last month the company posted over an 11 percent jump in worldwide sales compared to last May. And Kia’s global sales so far for ‘09 are up a modest half-percent, but hey, that’s not too bad given the current climate. Kia’s growth is fueled by sales in markets like China and Korea.

And speaking of China, Shanghai GM, the General’s joint venture with SAIC, sold its 2-millionth Buick in China. The company began manufacturing and selling Buicks in 1998 and it’s now its strongest market. It took eight years to sell the first million but only three years to sell the second.

The Detroit Free Press reports that after the dust clears, suppliers could be profitable by 2012. The trick is surviving today’s lean times. Many of these companies have downsized so much that they can breakeven in a 10-million unit market. Having a variety of customers around the world and building parts for different types of vehicles are key to making it to 2012.

Coming up next, a peek at what we’ve got in the garage this week, we’ll be back right after this.

Since it’s our job to cover the industry, we get all kinds of new vehicles to test drive and review. Here’s a quick look at what we’ve got “in the garage” this week. Right now I’m testing a new twenty-ten Camaro. It’s a V6 model with an automatic transmission. From an enthusiast standpoint it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it’s likely to be the best-selling version. Here are some of my thoughts on Chevy’s reborn ponycar.

The base version of the Camaro offers surprising performance – and it’s pretty affordable, too. With leather seats and an automatic transmission my test car stickered for right around $30,000.

Also, you may have noticed the instrument cluster flashing red. Don’t worry, the car doesn’t come with a strobe feature, that’s just the way it looked on tape – it’s something to do with the frequency of the light and the shutter speed of the camera.

Anyway, that’s it for today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll be back tomorrow.

36 Comments to “Episode 169 – Billion$$$$ Coming Soon, Nissan to Make EV’s In USA, Kia Sales Going Strong”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    You know, I think they did a great job with the rear quarter of the new Camaro. I always thought that was one of the significant drawbacks of the Aussie sourced GTO.

    And the twin strips of rubber from a V6 Auto….gosh!

  2. Gerald Thompson Says:

    John–I loved your Camaro test drive. I had a chance to drive it at the 2010 GMFCO fleet preview in Arizona in May (there were 10 of them there)and passed figuring I could drive one anytime at my local dealer. Boy was I wrong. They don’t expect any for ‘stock’ for months! Keep up the great work!


  3. Donan Iacovone Says:

    Very nice update from Nissan, government monies, Kia’s progress, and of course your review the new Camaro. I was impressed that you reviewed the video and noticed the red tach light flashing and commented that it was not happening in the car. It only appeared that way on video. Keep up the nice work. I always look forward to the autolinedetroit.tv updates.

  4. Alex Kovnat Says:

    We note that the 2010 Camaro tested by Autoline Daily had an automatic transmission. An automatic tranny in a sport/performance car? What sacriledge!

    I suppose its the kind of automatic transmission that uses planetary gearing – a basic idea going all the way back to 1940 when the Hydramatic transmission was offered as an option in Oldsmobiles. Even today’s much improved planetary gear automatic transmissions are not what I imagine a performance car enthusiast wants.

    I’m hoping that within the next few model years, if automatic transmissions are to be used in sports/performance cars, they will be double-clutch layshaft transmissions with servo manipulation of the clutches and shifter forks. The idea is to upshift (and downshift) automatically if the driver wants, or allow the driver to activate upshifts and downshifts manually if he or she desires, depending on what mood one is in at a given time.

  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I know I’ll get flamed for this…..BUT,I just don’t care for the looks of the new camero.The new mustangs captured the flavor of the old ones,the new challenger did an almost equally good job of blending the old with the new,but the camaro just doen’t look right at all.The belt line is just too high,it throws the looks way off.The “chopped” roof looks very much out of place on a Camero,imho.Laying down some nice posi’s from a v6 auto is impressive.BTW,it’s not a 4 speed ancient gm auto is it?

  6. pedro Fernandez Says:

    G A: the auto tranny in the Camaro is a new 6 speed, that was the result of a joint FOrd-GM venture into developing more advanced transmissions that was done a few years back. It took the combined efforts of two companies to develop a modern transmission. Chrysler was not involved in this, that’s one of the reasons that their drivetrains are behind the rest.

  7. ej Says:

    Are you kidding me?! (Japanese) Nissan wants / expects $500,000,000 of U.S. taxpayer money! That’s not even funny…

  8. 007 Says:

    That Camaro sounds like a Chevy Chevette when started up, what’s that you say? It’s “sporty” with it’s V6 and automatic? I correct myself it sounds like a Chevette T100 (which coincidentally used the same dash materials).

    John, love you Man, but… If we all got a dollar for each time you used the descriptor “Hunkered Down” today, we could upgrade to a V8 model with a stick! I bet THAT would look really, um… Hunkered Down???

  9. Ron Says:

    Why can’t domestic auto manufacturers place the fuel fill door on the driver’s side of the vehicle?

    I have been at some gas stations where the fill hose would not reach around the rear of the car to the fill door. One time this happened after waiting behind a line of cars to fill mine up.

  10. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Lets not forget that Nissan is partly owned by our friends and allies the ever dependable French. So we bailed out their asses(literally) during WWII and now we will do it again. Ah but we love gay old Paree in the spring!! Hunkered down reminds me of US troops being attacked in Iraq, not the feeling I want when driving a car.

  11. William Says:

    I agree with G.A. about the looks of the Camaro. I guess I must be blind, but I just do not see the resemblance between the old Camaro and the new. The Mustang and the Challenger? Totally. A 300 hp V6 is impressive, but it won’t be a car I buy.

  12. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Looked around the internet for prices on the new Camaro and all dealers in area are getting over msrp and even carsdirect.com is getting a couple of grand over msrp on the car also. It’s back to supply and demand and rip off the consumer. They’ve done it with just about any new car, and of course there will be people willing to pay over invoice regardless, they even did it with the Pt Cruiser when it first came out. and now its sitting there same thing will happen to the Camaro

  13. Grant Fisher Says:

    I enjoyed your reportvery much on the 6cyl Camaro. You related to the bulk of the drivers for that car. We all can’t practically have the big V8, and you really covered the attributes of this car -for me considering buying one.
    grant fisher,
    Mississauga Ontario Can.

  14. Salvador G. Says:

    Oh, Man – if the goverment intends to give away billions… WHY they don’t make it a competition?? You know – give away a couple of billions to the first American manufacturer that wins the 24hr of LeMans on a hybrid or full electric, lets race those suckers.

    Also, John McElroy; you said that ‘the flashing on the instrument gauges were cause by the shutter of the camera” That’s too bad, I thought that looked kind of cool as the car rev-up. Can you asked Chevy to install stuff like that on the car (plus a couple of Turbos) to make it more exciting.

  15. paulstewart Says:

    Hey’ pedro just be a little patient between 6-11 months you’ll find them at a reasonable price. Unless you have to be first on your block. AND G.A. is right I’m not all that happy about how the Camaro looks myself. But if it can sell, Great.I saw a brief glimpse of 2 different front end/fascias about 2 years ago over in Wareen,Mich.The 1 I like was turned down as you can see on the version that is currently for sale.

  16. Don MacConnel Says:

    John, you didn’t have to sell me on the 2010 Camaro. It is beautiful and that darn 3.6L V6 is amazing. I had hoped they would get a more reasonable for the SS version but that’s not going to happen.

    A friend reminded me that I’ve been building up a variety of Chevy V8′s for over fifty years and perhaps it’s time to buy myself some clean hands and spare time. If so, it’s going to be Rally Yellow. I can picture myself hunkered down in it and I know some roads in northern Michigan where Wednesday nights get interesting.

  17. paulstewart Says:

    O’ by the way pedro the French as I write this has a military base in N.E. Africa that is garrisioned by 3,000 French Troops & 1500 U.S Troops including U.S. Apache helicopters. It’s their base and we are sharing it. And the French are soon to have on trial 5 pirates from the East side of Africa. And the French bailed out our asses(literally) with the French Navy at the end of the Revolutionary war. Just a friendly reminder. Lest ‘ye forget.

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    True,the french aided our cause for freedom during the revolutionary war.We,on the other hand bailed them out of WW I,II,and Vietnam,lest ye forget.

  19. paulstewart Says:

    G.A. I really wouldn’t count Vietnam, really would you ? I think WW 1 & 2 = In My Book our Independence. But hey that’s just me. I was really hoping for better on the Camaro. But let’s hope it’s still in Production in 3-4 years and the great front end I saw, will be on it by then. Fingers are crossed. And the French in Algeria were 10 time crueler/vicious then we wer in Vietnam. Take care.

  20. Carl E. Says:

    John great review of the camaro. You touched on some design features that no one else has mentioned since the car was designed.

  21. paulstewart Says:

    Where’s Thor ???

  22. G.A.Branigan Says:

    First american soldier killed in action in french indo china(vietnam) was in 1946.1954 saw the debacle at Din Bin Phu(sp)where more american lives were lost(flying in american supplies)for the french.I spent 2 years there myself,it counts in my book.

    Why would you say that WWI & II equal our independence? yes the french were most helpful,but without their help it just would have taken longer and cost more lives.Without our help in both WW I&II the french would never have achived their freedom,and without our help in vietnam,they would have perished most certainly,jmho.

  23. paulstewart Says:

    They Helped Us Before We Were.

  24. paulstewart Says:

    My Father has 2 Purple Hearts & 1 Bronze Star and has absolutly no anti-French Sentiment that prevailed during the recent invasion of Iraq. He landed on the 2nd day in Normandy went through France,Belgium and part of Germany.

  25. paulstewart Says:

    And it does not count in my book bub’ care to have a beer. I’m buying, I live in Michigan. Let’s talk.

  26. paulstewart Says:

    That 1st American citizen was in the O.S.S.

  27. paulstewart Says:

    ’nuff said !

  28. John V Says:

    McElroy’s gonna have to put a Don Cherry delay on this site if digressions from car stuff get any worse.

    My three domestic cars (1996 Olds, 2007 Jeep, and 2009 Chrysler minivan) all fill on the left. Whe I had cars with right side fill, I just pulled up close with the right side, then the hose always reaches! If you look carefully at your fuel gauge, you may even have a little arrow head that tells which side the door is on as a reminder. Take a look.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:


    Some American cars have the gas filler on the right, and some on the left. I suspect most of the cars with the filler on the right are European-derived designs like my Malibu. In small towns in Europe, even now, there are a number of gas stations where you “drive up to the curb” to get gas, and the filler needs to be on the right (or the left in the UK or Ireland.) BTW, if you have a car with the gas filler on the right side, you pull up on the LEFT side of the island of a typical gas station so you won’t have to drag the hose over the top of your car.

    Also, Regarding things French, I hope Roger Penske will sell some French cars as Saturns. The Citreon C4 diesel I rented last summer was a great little car.

  30. Reno Says:

    The US government giving a transplant finacial assistance. Is the honorable Sen. Shelby behind this? If not him, who is shooting the US car industry in the foot again?
    I was in an arguement about which one I would own, a touring V6 304hp w/manual 6spd vs a 426hp steet warrior. The 6 will be just fine. Thanks for laying that patch. When the time comes, lets us know what a SS convertible sounds like with the top down going up Woodward… Remember that Z28 commercial with the two kids i-d’ing exhaust notes from the bedroom?

  31. Eugene Relation Says:

    Here you go, talking about nice cars and how car manufacturers are holding on in these rough times (barely). But I read somewhere that it is the less expensive cars, that weren’t even considered a valid alternative, that are holding on real good right now. For example the Romanian manufacturer Dacia and the Dacia Sandero model. It supposed to be selling good in western Europe. Any thoughts on that?

  32. Drew Says:

    The exterior of the new Camaro is ugly……and the interior of the new Camaro is fugly!

  33. Richard Sutherland Says:

    I’m more impressed with new Camaro after this brief test. I really wasn’t too excited before.
    I’ve owned a 67 rs/ss, 75LT, 86 Z28, 1998 SS, and 78 Pontiac Trans AM, all purchased new. None of them were really satisfying cars, rather they were good for their time in history.
    I was going to buy a new Hyundai Genesis Coupe, but I will now test drive the Camaro before the final decision. All that power, good mileage, and refinement too? Whats not to like?

  34. Drew Says:

    What’s not to like??

    The ugly exterior and interior with sub-par quality materials used for the interior. Look at that hideous dash!!

  35. rlhMARINES Says:

    I’ve tested the 2lt v6 2010 camaro with 19″ tire package for about a week now and this car is great. The handling reminds me of our bmw. The 6 speed auto that was built and designed soley by gm and not in collaberation with ford, has paddle shifters like the corvette. This car will almost out run mustang gt’s. I was not a big fan of the gauges at first but I love them now especially lit up along with the DIC. This car is a star on the streets, people of all ages love this car.

    GM and Ford joined forces on a fwd family of 6 speed auto transmission’s to save money.

  36. mettech Says:

    Nice Camaro review.
    Next time, please open the hood and trunk.

    Please do more reviews.