February 15th, 2010 at 12:00pm
Toyota is voluntarily calling back some 8,000 Tacoma pickups, but this one’s not their fault. BMW will start using some of the same components from the 7 Series in the new 5 Series. All that and more, plus we’ll show you what this MyFord Touch is all about.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Yep, another Toyota recall, but this one’s not their fault. BMW makes 5 Series using parts from the 7. And we’ll show you what this MyFord Touch is all about.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, February 15, 2010, and now, the news.
You may be sick and tired of hearing about all these recalls at Toyota, but here’s another one. The company is voluntarily calling back some 8,000 Tacoma pickups. A small number of 2010 models with four-wheel drive may have tiny cracks on part of the front driveshaft that could cause the shaft to separate from its joint. But this one is a supplier problem. This part was manufactured by supplier Dana, which also ships the part for some Ford and Nissan models.
And amid a lot of speculation that electronic throttle controls may be at the heart of its unintended acceleration problems, Toyota submitted a letter to the U.S. Congress denying there was a fault with the electronics that led to its massive recall. According to the AFP, in the letter sent to the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the recalls, the automaker said it “is convinced that there is no problem” with the electronics in its vehicles.
Reuters reports that Mercury will get a new small car based off the company’s c-segment platform. Our guess is that it will probably be based on the new Focus. Rumor has it the company will show a redesigned Milan at the New York Auto Show. So maybe that will be it. This could finally signal that Ford truly is going to keep the Mercury brand.
Speaking of Ford, it wants to help its dealers reduce their energy costs. According to the Detroit Free Press, three of its dealers are participating in a pilot program that could reduce their energy costs by about 20 percent. Although one of the dealers participating in the pilot expects an 80-percent drop in costs by installing things like LED bulbs, light sensors and low-flow toilets. It’s a voluntary program and dealers who make the changes will also likely qualify for federal and state tax incentives.
And talking about cutting costs, BMW will start using some of the same components from the 7 Series in the new 5 Series. In fact, Bloomberg reports that 70 percent of the components in the new 5 will come from the 7. BMW is trying to cut its purchasing costs by 4 billion euros, and by sharing components it gets greater economy of scale. BMW thinks it can cut the cost of a 5 Series by 15 percent with this strategy. That would shave more than $7,000 off the manufacturing cost of a typical 5 Series. But don’t expect the price to go down that much.
A lot of people are making a lot of money off the old GM’s bankruptcy. According to the Detroit News, lawyers and consultants have billed Liquidation Motors $90 million in fees. In fact, GM’s bankruptcy estate has hired so many lawyers and consultants, that it hired a consultant to oversee them all, and that consultant hired two consultants to help him. Some say this will become the most expensive bankruptcy case in American history and the final bill could top $1 billion in professional fees and expenses, leaving very little money for creditors who are owed the money.
Coming up next, we’ll take a look at what this MyFord Touch is all about.
Several years ago Ford started a technology offensive when it introduced SYNC. Now, the company is pushing the envelope even further with a significant update to its infotainment system.
As you’d expect, the latest generation of SYNC offers all kinds of features, but the big news is its redesigned user interface. Called MyFord Touch, it features two five-way control pads on the steering wheel. Each one is tied to a multi-function LCD screen in the instrument cluster. The left display handles vehicle-related things like the odometer and safety alerts, while the right screen is dedicated to infotainment – think audio, navigation and phone.
Ford discovered that five-way buttons are the easiest controls for people to use, and by keeping things simple it’s aiming to keep drivers safe.
Emphasizing touch, the center stack on the 2011 Lincoln MKX – one of the first vehicles to get the technology – has no knobs. Instead, it uses touch-sensitive buttons and sliders for audio volume and fan speed. Don’t worry, voice control is still a big part of the system and engineers improved the speech recognition and simplified its command structure.
Besides UI advances, the company is expanding in-car connectivity so you never have to be out of the loop. Ford has built a media center right in the car. It offers two USB ports, an SD-card reader and three RCA jacks. User Interface Engineer Jason Johnson explains what you can do with all of those inputs.
Beyond infotainment, Ford found another clever use for the USB jacks. You can export all of your personal settings to a jump drive and transfer them to another vehicle equipped with MyTouch. That way if your lease is up or your spouse gets a new car you don’t have to reconfigure everything.
Look for Ford’s brand-new user interface to debut on the 2011 Edge and Lincoln MKX.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.