July 27th, 2009 at 12:00pm
RHJ says if it gets Opel it might sell it back to General Motors. By 2012 Ford aims to reduce the cost of its hybrid systems by another 30 percent. Nissan gives another tantalizing glimpse of its upcoming electric vehicle. All that and more, plus a walk around with the designer of the new 2010 Ford Taurus.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. RHJ says if it gets Opel it might sell it back to GM. Ford slashes hybrids costs by 30 percent. And Nissan gives another tantalizing glimpse of its new electric car.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, July 27, 2009. And now, the news.
Reuters reports that RHJ, the investment company that’s in the running to buy part of Opel, says it might sell Opel back to General Motors after both companies get through their restructuring and are back on their feet. Canadian supplier company Magna is the other bidder for Opel, and wants to work with Russian automaker GAZ to use Opel technology to make new cars.
GM is making numerous changes on its international executive staff, including a change at Holden, its Australian subsidiary. Mark Reuss, who had been running Holden will return to the U.S. to play a major role in GM’s product development. He will be replaced at Holden by Alan Batey, a long time veteran in GM’s overseas operations.
Dealers are being told by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to destroy the engines of cars traded in under the cash for clunkers program with sodium silicate. According to Bloomberg, dealers must replace the oil with the chemical and run the engine for a few minutes to kill it. NHTSA noted that some cars turned in under Germany’s scrappage plan were resold and it doesn’t want the same to happen in the U.S. Dealers face up to $15,000 per infraction if it violates the rules.
Even though China surpassed the U.S. in car sales this year, its imports and exports of vehicles have fallen for the year. According to Gasgoo.com, imports have fallen 34 percent while exports have plunged 60 percent in the country for the first half of the year. Imports have dropped because dealers built up a large inventory by the end of last year and they are also pessimistic about future auto sales.
Ward’s reports that by 2012 Ford aims to reduce the cost of its hybrid systems by another 30 percent (subscription required). That reduction is incremental to the 30 percent it already took out of the system in the Fusion. One example of how the company is doing this is how it switched from using chillers to cool the battery pack on the original Escape Hybrid to air cooling on the Fusion. Ford is working with its suppliers to keep costs down on upcoming lithium-ion batteries.
Nissan previewed an upcoming electric vehicle in Tokyo. The prototype is based on the company’s compact Tiida – or Versa in North America. It features a lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the floor that should deliver a range of 160 kilometers or about 100 miles. In other Nissan news, the company announced that it’s working on its next-generation CVT. At 7.3:1, the newly designed transmission’s ratio spread is 20 percent higher than other CVTs. It’s also 10 percent shorter in length and 13 percent lighter. Look for the new transmission to debut in the “near future.”
Coming up next, a walk around with the designer of the new 2010 Ford Taurus, we’ll be back right after this.
Last week on Autoline we took an in-depth look at Ford’s redesigned 2010 Taurus. Let’s take a walk around the car with the man responsible for its new look.
Look for the hot new Taurus to start arriving on dealers shortly.
And that’s it for today’s news. But don’t forget to tune in for Autoline After Hours on Thursday night at 7 p.m. Eastern, when our guest will be Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics. He always has great insight. On another note, we’re working on a story all about hypemiling and would like to know your driving tricks to get the best fuel economy possible. Give us a call at 1 – 620 -AUTOLIN, that’s Autoline without the “E,” or the full number is 1-620-288-6546.
Anyway, that’s it for today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.