July 21st, 2009 at 12:00pm
Mark LaNeve, the head of sales at General Motors will not be leaving the company. The Chery Automobile Company is getting ready to do an initial public offering in China. The European Union is developing more flexible stamping technologies. All that and more, plus a look at Renault’s electric vehicle prototype.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Mark LaNeve is not leaving GM. Chery is ready to do an IPO in China. And Europe explores new ways to stamp-out car bodies.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, July 21, 2009. And now, the news.
Mark LaNeve, the head of sales at General Motors will not be leaving the company. A few weeks ago GM CEO Fritz Henderson sparked off a flurry of speculation when at a press conference he said LaNeve had sales targets to meet “this month,” which some took to suggest that maybe he wouldn’t be there next month. But the Detroit Free Press reports that LaNeve will be holding onto his job. Just a few weeks ago Mark LaNeve was our guest on Autoline After Hours.
Will investors ever buy stock in car companies again? As the Chinese stock market continues to recover, the Chery Automobile Company is getting ready to do an initial public offering, according to reports at Gasgoo. Chery is the largest home-grown, stand-alone car company in China. Chery is also in the process of merging with the Jianghuai Automobile Company, which makes vans, meaning Chery will soon be a bigger car company.
Automotive supplier Johnson Controls bucked the trend and posted a profit for the second quarter. According to the Detroit Free Press, the company posted a $163 million profit even though sales fell from the same quarter last year. In the last 12 months JCI closed 30 plants and cut 16,000 jobs.
Germany’s economic minister says that General Motors will not be able to include a buy-back option in a deal for Opel. According to Reuters, Germany won’t provide any aid to Opel and its new partner if that is part of the deal. Germany’s economic minister also said the bidders must put up more of their own capital to receive German aid in order to get clearance from the European Union. Canadian auto supplier Magna, investment firm RHJ, and Chinese automaker Beijing Auto are competing to acquire Opel.
BMW’s X6 Sport-Activity Coupe is about to get some competition, at least in the styling department. Acura has unveiled a production version the ZDX concept it debuted at the New York Auto Show last April. Like its Bavarian counterpart, the ZDX features a plunging roofline and all-wheel-drive. It sports a 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 and a brand-new six-speed automatic transmission – a first for Acura. No word yet on pricing or when it hits the streets, but when it does, the company says it will be positioned between the MDX crossover and the RL sedan.
Ward’s reports that the EU is developing more flexible stamping technologies (subscription required). A 20-partner consortium consisting of automakers, suppliers and research institutes is looking to reduce waste and cost in vehicle components. At the heart of the project are three advanced metal-forming technologies. One shapes material using interlocking wheels. Another uses lasers to create pinpoint weaknesses so metal can be formed more easily, while the third technology forms metal using electromagnetism.
Coming up next, a look at Renault’s electric vehicle prototype. We’ll be back right after this.
Automakers are racing to get electric vehicles out on the road. But even though they will look like gasoline-powered cars, they’re not going to perform the same. That’s why Renault is allowing test drives of its prototype EV, so motorists can get accustomed to driving one.
Renault’s prototype, a modified Kangoo be bop is powered by a lithium-ion battery mated to an electric motor. AESC, a joint venture between Nissan and NEC will supply the batteries for the vehicle. It says the batteries will deliver between 80 and 100 percent of its original capacity for an average of six years.
Charging the vehicle takes between six and eight hours when plugged into a 220-volt outlet. It’s designed to charge 80 percent of the battery in 30 minutes when plugged into a 400-volt outlet, however the infrastructure isn’t in place for this yet. And if you want to know how much juice it’s got left without getting inside, there is a display on the side of the vehicle.
The prototype is equipped with a Marchel socket that’s located next to the right-front headlight. But Renault hopes to equip its future EVs with a universal plug being developed by a consortium of automakers and energy companies.
The car can travel 100 kilometers or 62 miles on a full charge. And Renault says with its next generation battery, it will travel 160 kilometers, or just under 100 miles on a single charge. Although the Kangoo Express, the larger cousin to the be bop, will get the update when it hits the market in 2011.
In addition to the Kangoo Express, Renault will mate the technology to another existing model for release in 2011 and two purpose-built EVs are planned for 2011 and 2012.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But don’t forget to join us Thursday night at 7 p.m. Eastern, or 2300 hours GMT for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be Art Spinella from CNW Marketing, who will explain why the used car market is red hot right now. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.