April 19th, 2010 at 12:00pm
Yet another chapter in the saga at Toyota. Delphi is profitable once again in North America. BMW is offering chauffeured tours of Munich, Germany in classic convertibles. All that and more, plus an interview with the latest guy that Hyundai stole away from General Motors to design its cars.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Yet another chapter in the saga at Toyota. Delphi is profitable in North America. And an interview with the newest designer at Hyundai.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, April 19, 2010. And now, the news.
TOYOTA SAGA CONTINUES
More problems for Toyota. It’s agreeing not to contest the record fine that NHTSA slapped on it. It faces yet another hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives next month about unintended acceleration, this time by Henry Waxman. And it got hit by yet another recall. The company says the cable that holds on the spare tire on the Sienna minivan could rust and the spare could fall off, creating a major road hazard.
And finally some Toyota news that’s not negative. Bloomberg reports that Toyota is going to come out with a hybrid minivan based on the Prius. It will have three rows of seats, use lithium-ion batteries and will be out next year. It will be the first of a family of new models that will be sold under the Prius name.
DELPHI BACK IN BLACK
And here is an eye-popping headline for everyone who follows the supplier industry. Delphi is profitable once again in North America (subscription required). Ward’s reports that after four years in bankruptcy, Delphi is back in the black and ready to grow again. It quotes Delphi’s chairman Rodney O’Neill as saying the company managed to snare $89 billion in new business over the coming years. He expects sales to grow from $11 billion this year to over $15 billion in the next two years. And says Delphi will invest 11 percent of its revenues in R&D, which is an extremely high percentage rate.
CHINA MANDATES MORE DOMESTICS
Earlier this month we reported that Geely was looking to position Volvo as China’s brand of choice for its government officials, and it looks like that could happen thanks to a new mandate. According to Gasgoo, the Chinese government is expected to mandate that more than 50 percent of government fleet purchases be from domestic brands. And the new guidelines will also exclude most vehicles made by joint ventures. China is expected to pay 100 billion yuan or about $14.5 billion on vehicles this year. Currently Audi is the brand of choice among China’s government officials.
CHINA TO SUSTAIN GROWTH
And speaking of China, car sales keep going up there and it’s expected to stay that way for the next several years. According to Gasgoo, analysts predict that sales will grow 20 percent per year for the next five years in the country. One reason is that the average income in the country continues to rise which should help car sales grow as well.
BMW OFFERS TOURS OF MUNICH
Giving visitors a unique view of the city Autoblog reports that BMW is offering chauffeured tours of Munich in classic convertibles. The drop-tops are part of the company’s private collection and include 326 and 335 cabrios from the 1930s, a 502 “Baroque Angel” from the ‘50s and more. The tour hits all of the big BMW attractions in Munich including its Museum and corporate headquarters, plus tourists are treated to a drive on the ring road surrounding the old city center. The three-hour trip costs 90 Euros, or about $120 and runs from April to October.
TRANSPLANTS WANT TO ORGANIZE?
“Transplants,” or foreign automakers that set up factories in the U.S. have basically avoided the UAW, but that may change going forward. According to Ward’s, Ron Gettelfinger, President of the labor group, says he’s confident the union will start organizing workers at European- and Asian-owned plants (subscription required). He says they’re getting a lot of phone calls from people about various issues, but he declined to comment as to what their concerns are. He says interest in the UAW is growing – mostly in plants located in southern states.
Coming up next, we’ll take a look at the latest guy that Hyundai stole away from General Motors to design its cars.
As we’ve reported right here on Daily over the last few months, Hyundai has really been making great strides with both products and sales despite losing some key decision-makers recently, like its North American design chief.
The man now in charge of keeping those next-generation designs flowing – at least from its Orange country studio – is Phil Zak . . . a General-Motors vet who designed the very hot-selling Chevy Equinox . . . and who hopes the look of all-new Sonata will continue taking Hyundai sales to new heights
One of the ways Hyundai is targeting that new universe of buyers is with something called Fluidic Design. That’s its new international design language that gives the vehicles – among other things – a richer, more affluent look.
Fluidic Design also speaks to the aerodynamic flow of the car. You can see that with the strong lines that start from the grille, creating – what Hyundai says is – an object in motion despite the fact the car may be standing still. It debuted on the 2010 Tucson Crossover followed closely by Sonata with others in the queue.
And we’ll see just where the brand continues to go and grow with new vehicles like the Elantra due out later this year as well as the Sante Fe crossover that’s not too far behind.
Don’t forget to join us Thursday night for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be Doug Fehan, the head of Corvette racing. That’s Thursday night live at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.