September 18th, 2009 at 12:00pm
GM will let Opel and Russian automaker GAZ have access to its technology as part of the deal to spin Opel off. A judge has ruled that Toyota cannot seal a lawsuit which alleges the company hid rollover data. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline Detroit about why VW has some of the strangest car names in the business.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. GM’s technology will go to GAZ. Toyota cannot seal court cases involving roll-overs. And why VW has some of the dumbest car names in the business.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, September 18, 2009. And here’s what’s going on in the auto industry.
In an unexpected turn, General Motors will let Opel and Russian automaker GAZ have access to its technology as part of the deal to spin Opel off. The German and Russian automaker will have to pay GM licensing fees for any GM technology they use, but this also applies to technology that is not yet in production. We’ll have to see if that includes all the technology that goes with the Volt, as well as the Opel Ampera.
A judge has ruled that Toyota cannot seal a U.S. lawsuit which alleges the company hid rollover data. Bloomberg reports that the judge ruled the case is already “irreversibly public.” A former lawyer of Toyota’s filed a lawsuit saying the company hid engineering and testing data in 300 roll-over cases. Bloomberg, by the way, filed a request that the judge not seal the case.
After a down year, the Auto Show in Detroit in 2010 looks like its picking up. According to the Detroit Free Press, the main floor of the show is already full and organizers hope that automakers that didn’t make the show this year will be back. New to the show will be an area called Electric Avenue where electric car makers can display their vehicles. Even though there will be more to see, press days are only Monday and Tuesday, meaning no more Sundays.
GM dealers are asking for more vehicles in October than the company anticipated. According to an internal GM report obtained by the Detroit News, dealers want up to 4 times as many vehicles than it had intended to build. Demand was particularly high for the Chevy Equinox, Buick LaCrosse and GMC Terrain. GM attributes the increased demand to the cash for clunkers program, low inventory, and its new 60 day satisfaction guarantee.
Autoblog reports that the subcompact Mazda2 is coming to America. Jim O’Sullivan, the company’s President and CEO of North America, told dealers that the car will go on sale sometime around the end of next year. Hiroshima is expected to show a U.S.-spec version at this year’s LA Auto Show in early December. In Japan, the 2 is sold as the Demio. It shares the same architecture as the Ford Fiesta.
A couple weeks ago we showed you some sketches of the next-generation Hyundai Sonata, but now the company has officially revealed the 2010 model. Its design is a lot more stylish than the current version. You can see a bit of Volkswagen Passat CC in the front end, the swoopy surfaces and the short trunk lid. According to Autoblog, the North American version of the car will go into production early next year as a 2011 model. A hybrid version is expected about a year after launch.
Does it really matter what the name of a car is? I used to think it made no difference whatsoever. Now, I’m not so sure, and we’ll be talking about that right after this.
Naming cars is a creative undertaking. Automakers typically hire companies that specialize in naming products. And this week on Autoline Detroit my guest is Nina Beckhardt, the president of a company called Namebase. In the following clip we talk about the way Volkswagen names its cars. And joining in on that discussion are Jean Halliday from Advertising Age magazine, and Peter De Lorenzo from Autoextremist.
By the way you can watch that entire interview on our website right now at AutolineDetroit.tv.
And, since its Friday you know what that means, yeah, TGIF! But it’s also time for me to give you this week’s answer to our trivia question. We asked you for the engineering term that automakers use to describe the perfect air-fuel ratio in a gasoline engine, which is typically a ratio of 14.7:1. And the correct answer is, stoichiometric. A stoichiometric air-fuel ratio is considered the ideal one. As always we picked the winner’s name at random from all the correct answers and the winner is: David Setser from Hamilton, Ohio. Congratulations David, you just won this stylin’ Eye’s On Design poster.
Before we go, I want to remind you that NEXT WEEK MONDAY – September 21st – we’re having Tom Stephens, GM’s Vice Chairman of Product Development in the studio. Starting at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, you’ll be able to watch LIVE as we tape an episode of Autoline Detroit. Then the discussion will continue in an exclusive web-only broadcast in which we’ll be taking some of your questions and comments.
You can submit questions in two ways. One, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, just make sure you put “Tom Stephens Question” in the Subject Line so we can find it easily. Two, you can leave us a voice message by dialing 1-620-288-6546.
Anyway, that’s it for today’s top auto news. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.