Episode 237 – Weak Dollar Hurts Japan, Frankfurt Attendance Down, BMW Lovos Concept

September 28th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 7:08

The American dollar is sinking against other currencies, and that has hit Japanese automakers hard. Attendance at the Frankfurt Auto Show was down by 150,000 people compared to the last show. BMW comes out with another really weird concept car. All that and more, plus a look at the new BMW 5-series GT.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. A sinking dollar is hurting Japanese automakers. Attendance at the Frankfurt show was way down. And BMW comes out with another really weird concept car.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, September 28, 2009. And now, the news.

The dollar is sinking against other currencies, and that has hit Japanese automakers hard. Bloomberg reports that Toyota’s, Honda’s and Mazda’s stock got hammered today since they rely so heavily on profits from the American market. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are also slashing production in Japan because exports are plummeting. I think the weak dollar is going to emerge as a major story in this industry as it will become a major barrier to those countries which export to the American market, which has been the greatest source of profits for Asian and European automakers for a long time.

The AFP says that attendance at the Frankfurt Auto Show was down by 150,000 people compared to the last show. 850,000 people attended this year’s show, down from a million in 2007. There were 30percent fewer exhibitors, too. Even so, show organizers say they expected the decline, and that attendance was actually better than they expected.

Hyundai won’t offer a V-6 engine for the 2011 Sonata. According to Ward’s, the car will have an upgraded version of its four-cylinder Theta engine with direct injection. The company also plans to get rid of the V-6 option for the Tuscon. Hyundai says 85 percent of Sonatas are equipped with four-cylinders. I’m sure fuel economy regulations had a big impact on that decision.

Over the weekend a part owner of Swedish luxury car maker Koenigsegg said the company may pull out of its deal to buy Saab from General Motors, if it didn’t receive billions in loans from the Swedish government by Wednesday to help complete the deal. However, according to Reuters, the CEO of Koenigsegg says there is no deadline for the loans and the deal is still on track to be finalized by the end of October.

Have you ever heard of Mitsuoka? It’s a low-volume Japanese automaker that builds absolutely wacky-looking cars. Aiming to expand its business, the company will start renting its OROCHI and HIMIKO models in Japan, and selling vehicles in China. Even with dealerships in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the company’s ambitions are modest. It hopes to sell 35 units its first year. But maybe that’s not such a humble goal. The vehicles are expected to cost 50 percent more than they do in Japan where the OROCHI already sells for $87,000.

It’s a fish, it’s a porcupine, NO, it’s the BMW Lovos concept! According to Autoblog, the name stands for Lifestyle of Voluntary Simplicity, but there’s nothing uncomplicated about this prickly design study. Created by a 24 year-old Pforzheim University graduate in Germany, the model’s body is constructed of one part that’s used 260 times. The foldable “scales” contain photovoltaic cells that can change angle to follow the sun or act as an air brake. Wild!

Coming up next, a look at the new BMW 5-series GT. It’s not as weird as the Lovos but it is different.

BMW has been coming up with all kinds of niche vehicles, as it seems to try and plug the gaps in every market segment. Here’s the latest car it’s come out with that seems to be a test as to whether a luxury car can be a hatchback.

It’s very interesting to me to see BMW come out with so many niche cars. I hope for their sake that these things sell, because it sure seems like an expensive strategy.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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29 Comments to “Episode 237 – Weak Dollar Hurts Japan, Frankfurt Attendance Down, BMW Lovos Concept”

  1. Nick Stevens Says:

    John,

    As you should know, Honda and Toyota make most of their cars sold in the US right here IN the US, so they would care less about the Cynical, corrupt clowns in wash DC that have let the dollar fall, while these hypocrites always pay lip service claiming they favor a ‘strong’ dollar. Nonsense! The $ today is worth THREE CENTS back in 1915! OR, one dollar back then is worth more than 33 US $ today.

  2. Tony Gray Says:

    Craig called that 5 series GT a BEEMER! Dude, it’s BIMMER. Beemers are motorcycles, Bimmers are cars.

    We expect a full apology in tomorrow’s Autoline Daily.

  3. Tony Gray Says:

    And that Mitsuoka looks like the byproduct of a drunken one night stand between a Ferrari and a previous generation Buick LaCrosse.

  4. Denis T Says:

    With regards to the Mitsuoka…Now we know how a Buick Sports car would look like, port holes and all! Is GM going to sue ?

  5. Craig A. Cole Says:

    @Tony Gray

    Oh the humanity! Will my humble apology ever restore our credibility? Too late, I can hear the BMW Car Club of America coming after me with pitchforks and torches.

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    BMW’s NEW car buyers are getting older. The 5 GT targets these people, who have difficulty sinking in a low seat, and like the higher seating position and higher roofline of the ungainly GT hatch-coupe or whatever this creature is.

  7. Nick Stevens Says:

    Same thing in the X6.

  8. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Beemer,bimmer,krautmobile….who cares.

  9. paulstewart Says:

    Whoever has (t)hor set him free !

  10. Thor Says:

    Yawn….

    PS that’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine” to you, Irisher!

  11. paulstewart Says:

    I don’t know that doesn’t sound like the self-centered/I’m God’s blessing/ to the universe/unapologetic thor I know.

  12. paulstewart Says:

    You can do better than that…

  13. paulstewart Says:

    I knew it whoever that is, it’s a bad imitation.

  14. paulstewart Says:

    G.A. Branigan is that you ???

  15. Jude Says:

    John,

    The 5GT is NOT a revolutionary step in luxury cars.

    Luxury cars with hatchbacks are nothing new, but none of them have been successful enough to create an enduring segment. Cars like the Rover SD1, Rover/Sterling 800, Citroen CX, and Citroen XM are cases in point.

    BMW is just resurrecting someone else’s unsuccessful idea and calling it their own.

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    No Paul.I can’t stand that boor,I damn well wouldn’t fake being him.

  17. Richard Sutherland Says:

    The BMW 5 Series GT and the upcoming Audi are trying not play catch-up to Porsche with the Panamaera. I think you are right John, this has to be an expensive venture for BMW and Audi both, however they can’t bare to concede a niche to Porsche, even though their cars are posers, due the competition in their home market of Germany.

  18. Jim foley Says:

    To Tony Gray, They have been called BEEMERS since the 60;s back when people wouldn’t own a foriegn car!

  19. Tony Gray Says:

    Dearest Jim I am only here to inform the great unwashed. As enthusiasts, I would assume that folks on this site would endeavor to use the proper terminology.

    Alas, there are probably some who refer to a 326 Pontiac as a small block, call an alternator a generator and think their local politician is honest. These too must be corrected at the first opportunity.

  20. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @Tony:I am pushing 60 yrs old and I have always heard BMW’s reffered to as “beemers”.Maybe where you live and hang out there is a difference,but not anywhere I ever lived or worked.”great unwashed” huh?

  21. Salvador G. Says:

    JohnMc.

    Whatever happen to state cars(or wangons), doesn’t BMW make a state vehicle, if you want a car with luxury and plenty cargo interior -that’s a state car, Am I wrong on this??

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Do you mean “estate car?” That is what the Brits call what are referred to as “station wagons” in North America. BMW makes them, and they even import a few to America.

  23. paulstewart Says:

    My apoligies to you sir,that is to G.A. Branigan for impuning your good name by accusing you of being a boor, I mean a (t)hor. Take care. G.A.

  24. Tony Gray Says:

    Jim/GA: I hope you know I am just pulling your chain.

    But seriously, the BMW community has come to a consensus, albeit not unanimously, that Bimmers are the 4 wheeled variety and Beemers/Beamers are the bikes, with or without sidecar.

    Those outside that group can call them what they want. Kinda like the way the Classic Car Club of America has designated “some” pre-war vehicles as Classics, and others not so deserving.

  25. Tony Gray Says:

    Oh yeah, Bruce Willis, as David Addison called them Beemers too…in Moonlighting.

  26. Salvador G. Says:

    Really, is ESTATE, since I started watching the BBC topgear I assume they said state cars, hunm!!!
    Anywho you know what I meant.

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @Paul and Tony:It’s cool.Truth is I’m not really into cars like I used to be.I love 4×4′s.Not the wild rock crawling thing,but off roading up in the mountains.I hope every day to get some news on diesels,for this country.My musclecar days are over and I don’t really miss them as I have many things that take up my time.This winter I will be putting together my very last harley.When I’m finally able to buy a diesel JK,I’ll probably just fade away ;}>

  28. Thor Says:

    Look at this pathetic Paulstweart’s posts. Every time he writes something here, it is 100%, exclusively about that terrible “Thor” person. He sure needs to see a shrink. Better, a TEAM of shrinks. With Viennese accents to boot.

    Get a life, pitiful creature!

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Salvador,

    I learned about the “estate car” and “saloon” terminology when I was in Scotland in the U.S. Navy years ago. Otherwise, I might not know those British terms.