Episode 480 – China’s Technology Grab, More Paris Previews, Scion’s Jack Hollis

September 17th, 2010 at 12:10pm

Runtime 8:30

China drafts up a new policy requiring foreign automakers to hand over hybrid and electric vehicle technology to their domestic counterparts. Chevy reveals a number of the vehicles it will debut at the Paris Motor Show. Shareholders approve a plan that will split Fiat in two. All that and more, plus we talk to Scion’s Jack Hollis to see how the company plans to curb flagging sales.

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This is Autoline Daily for Friday September 17, 2010. And now, the news.

Yesterday we reported about how China wants to dominate the global automotive industry. Today it’s the front-page story on the Wall Street Journal. It reported that the Chinese government is drafting up a new policy to force foreign automakers to give their latest hybrid and electric vehicle technology to their Chinese joint venture partners. China wants to be the global leader in this technology before the decade is out. In fact Toyota has postponed the introduction of the Prius in China until these rules are clarified. By law, foreign automakers must form a joint venture with a Chinese partner and take a minority position in the company. Up to now suppliers have been exempt from this rule, but it seems like it may now affect them as well when it comes to making components for hybrids and electric vehicles. While this policy is still in draft form, foreign automakers are dead set against it. But none of them will say so publicly for fear of being barred from the booming Chinese market.

Speaking of joint ventures in China, Gasgoo reports that Toyota plans to form a JV with Brilliance Automotive to make specialty vehicles. Brilliance already has a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz to do the same thing. And just to show how incestuous these relations in the auto industry are getting to be, the AP reports that Mercedes is looking at licensing hybrid technology from Toyota.

And while automakers are forming more and more partnerships with other automakers, Fiat shareholders just approved a plan to break the company into two separate parts. The AFP reports that the company will be split into Fiat Auto and Fiat Industrial. Fiat Auto will have all the car brands including Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati and all the component operations. Fiat Industrial will include its commercial truck company called Iveco and its agricultural tractor company known as CNH. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says this will give Fiat Auto greater freedom to operate as it sees fit.

More on the upcoming Paris Auto Show. Here’s a sneak peek at four cars Chevy will unveil there. First up, the redesigned Aveo. It looks similar to the Aveo RS concept that was shown at the Detroit Auto Show this year but it’s a bit more toned down. In Europe the new Aveo will be available with 3 gas engines and 2 diesels with start/stop technology. The Aveo goes on sale next summer.

Next up, the Captiva which has a new front end design and a redesigned interior. The SUV features 3 rows and can seat up to 7 people. The new engine line-up consists of two gas engines and two turbo diesels which can be mated to a new six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The Captiva goes on sale in Europe next spring.

Chevy will also show a vehicle that I know some of you have been interested in, the Cruze hatchback. There isn’t a whole lot of details on this car, I would imagine it comes with the same powertrain options and features as the sedan. The press release didn’t mention what it will be available with. The Cruze hatchback goes on sale in Europe next year.

And finally the Chevy Orlando will make its world premiere in Paris. It’s based on the concept shown two years ago at the same show. The van features 3 rows of theater style seating for up to seven passengers. It will be offered with three engine choices, one gas and two diesels. Production starts this October and it will go on sale across Europe starting early next year.

Are car thieves getting lazy? In the US, they are at their lowest levels in 20 years. According to Consumer Reports, nearly 800,000 vehicles were stolen last year, a 17% drop based on data from the FBI. That’s the good news. The bad news in that only 42% of those vehicles were recovered, the lowest in 25 years. The FBI says more sophisticated thieves are why recoveries are so low.

Sales at Scion have fallen off a cliff in the last couple of years, but Toyota says that the brand is still doing what it was supposed to be doing. Sound confusing? We’ll get that straightened out, after the break.

My guest on Autoline Detroit this weekend is Jack Hollis, the vice president in charge of Scion. Even though sales at Scion have plummeted, Hollis says they have a lot of new products coming that will revive the brand, and besides, he says Scion is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing, bringing in buyers who would otherwise not set foot in a Toyota store. Here’s a clip from that interview.

You can catch that entire interview with Jack Hollis from Scion at our website, AutolineDetroit.tv, where he gives a lot more specific information of how he plans to get Scion back on its feet.

And that is it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry, thanks for watching, we’ll see you on Monday.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

35 Comments to “Episode 480 – China’s Technology Grab, More Paris Previews, Scion’s Jack Hollis”

  1. dcars Says:

    I have to admit that my mother test drove Scion’s little car (one she never would have considered!) due to it’s price. She is 78 years old and thought it was a pretty crappy car. It sent her directly to another manufacturer! A friend of mine had the sporty little coup version and that thing was was not good. The it noisy, the ride was terrible and the seats uncomfortable.

  2. Don MacConnel Says:

    Hand over technology to Asia? Why worry, they’re experts at reverse engineering everything from chips to software.
    I wish our manufacturers would quit sending away their seed corn.

  3. Chip Bliem Says:

    Instead of doing the R&D on their own, the Chinese have the brass b–ls to make a “policy” that forces the automakers to hand over their advanced technology. Beats stealing in secret. Next they will force out the foreign “partner”, and nationalize the companies. And the idiot economists and politicians still think we don’t need industry in our country.

  4. Don MacConnel Says:

    Thank you Chip Bliem!

  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

    China is still a communist country despite what some people think and their latest move is yet more proof that will force the technology out of foreign companies.They are nobodies friend.Of course the greed of the foreign companies doing business in China will prevail and they will “sell out”.

  6. LEX Says:

    Chip Bliem you hit the nail on the head.

    John McElroy mentioned the very same thing last night on AAH. The Chinese will use what ever means necessary to gain global domination.
    The Administration needs to ramp up R&D and Production in the US, and impose trade sanctions against those nations looking to bleed technology and jobs from the US.

    I will say it again, If General Motors launches it’s IPO, no matter who the Institutional Investing House buying these securities, the Chinese will purchase from them a controlling interest in GM and carve it up like a peking duck.

    The GM Bailout will have been for nothing because the Chinese (Government) Automakers will take all the technology, scrape the plants, dismiss the work force and move production to Mainland China. NATO and EU need to re-evaluate their current and future investments in China ASAP.

  7. LEX Says:

    Maybe Fidel Castro would welcome capital investment from a US Automaker in Cuba.

    Maybe Iran would like Nuclear Technology from a US based supplier.

    Maybe we should stop giving everthing away to those who are wanting to over power us and bring us down!


  8. John V. Says:


    Western companies see China’s huge population as a final frontier in market growth. We are selling our souls to these commie b__tards on so many levels.
    Our leaders should be tried for treason!

  9. HtG Says:

    I’m doing some time here in DC and want to share a bit….

    So I’m driving to the post office across Rock Creek Park, which for you rabble is a subduction zone.

    A man pulls alongside at the intersection of Klingle and Adams Mills and Porter, asking for directions to Connecticut(!). I say to follow me, and he says this place must have been designed by Adolph Hitler and the Devil.(MInd you he has a Garmin on his windshield). I drive along, hearing him saying something about Revelations. At Connecticut he stops beside me and says he is a conservative(I care deeply) and is going to some Family Council meeting at a hotel where Sarah Palin is to speak. He then tells me that Hitler was to the left of him.(true, he was a Socialist tyrant, but it misses the point). I tell him, ‘there’s a lot of good reasons to be angry today.’ We go our separate ways.

    Now, what car was he driving?

  10. John V. Says:

    Either a Mercedes or a Toyota.

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’m getting my eyes surgically slanted and gonna learn Chinese cause we’ve been letting these commies screw us for years now and it’s only getting worse.

  12. HtG Says:

    John V is right!!! It’s even better though. It was the Prius, Holy Roller Edition.

  13. John V. Says:

    As my kids would text: LOL!

  14. shan Says:

    It drives me crazy to see domestic car companies finally the resolve to bring over some products that’s designed for the European market, only to be “watered” down for the US Market. It makes absolutely no sense, marketing wise…. to take away what makes those cars so appealing to consumers wanting something so unique. The sport version of the Ford Fiesta is a prime example. Why? Because it’s not even planned to be here in the near future.

  15. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    If your car gets stolen and you cant recover it then Look in China, India, Russia/Eastern Europe, Africa for it.

    The Chinese arent screwing us. We just passed the Torch, like Britain passed the torch to us. 150 years ago England was the worlds factory, we overtook them, and now its China’s turn. Its time for us to refocus on a new American economy that can make us a 21st Century Superpower-not the 20th century Superpower economy of manufacturing, and stop dicking around with these bandaid policies that keep Conservative Budget Hawks happy when we should be spending some real money.

    $2 Trillion in Stimulus is not going to fix an Economy that cracked under the pressure of $600 Trillion to $1.5 Quadrillion Dollars in shit securities.

    That’s like putting band-aids on several gun shot wounds.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A new-to-USA European I like is the new Regal, except that there is no wagon or hatch, and no high efficiency power train. They make other body styles of the car and sell them in Europe, and they have diesels. To my knowledge, neither will make it over here.

    I’m surprised the nut case in DC was driving a Prius. I would have expected a Hummer or Excursion.

  17. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Who cares about Deficits anyway, we never pass on debts to new generations, we pay it off quickly through Hyper Inflation ALWAYS.

  18. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Since the baby Boomers messed up the economy in the first place they are going to pay to fix it through higher prices, higher taxes, AND NO RETIREMENT!!!

    I think it’s laughable that people are still selfishly worried about retirement. If you retire expect a life a poverty eating cat food. Or, did you think we were going to let you reitre in peace while this country rots from the inside out?

    We demand tribute for your transgressions.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The car that made Scion was the old xB. While it didn’t perform very well, it was quirky looking in a way that appealed to quite a few people, and it got good city gas mileage. They lost it with the new xB. While it’s better than the old one in many ways, it’s too conventional looking, and it is a gas hog. The car, and especially the engine grew too much.

  20. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Your Generation along with Gen X got sold down the river spending 30% of your income on retirement 401Ks etc.. What a shame they led you astray. I may be a Gen Y Kiddo, but I knew years ago it was a scheme. I tried to warn you guys, but nope you didnt listen.

    Trusting your retirement income to big companies, and markets, what a laugh. Trusting people that cant even pay people a decent wage was asking for trouble.

    Government and Corporate Pensions are the next Domino to fall.

    If I was a Baby Boomer, Id use that retirement money, quit my job and start a business that will generate income (and hire others) so I wouldnt have to work as much as I got older. That would be sweet.

    Now that’s the life.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    I agree, Kit, they it made it too big and heavy so the 1.8 Corolla engine was too small for it, the Camry 2.4 is just too thirsty for this car. My son owns one and on a recent highway trip,even my light foot could not get more than 30 mpg.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    They should offer the 1.8 in the xB, in addition to the 2.4. It would be on the slow side, but would be adequate for most people who would buy the car. The xB isn’t a lot bigger than a Matrix which is sold with both the 1.8 and 2.4. I have a friend with a Pontiac Vibe with a 1.8 and automatic, and it drives ok and gets decent gas mileage.

  23. XA351GT Says:

    WOW ! I have to give the Chinese government credit, that takes huge stones to say that. I think EVERY foreign maker should agree to withdrawl completely in every aspect of the business from China and what them fall on their faces. GIVE US YOUR TECH . Geez that is unbelievable. Give us your tech so we can finally pass all the US standards and then undercut you in price and take market share away from you with your own tech. Yeah I hope they are ALL stupid enough to do that. What a bunch a arrogant bastards.

  24. stas peterson Says:

    This is little different to what the Japanese did to establish their “domestic” auto industry before WWII.

    They blandly announced one day that every subsidiary of a foreign automaker had to sell out to native Japanese interests in 30 days or so, or else.

    Needless to say the subsidiarys were sold for pennies on the dollar and provided the basis for Nissan, Toyota and Mazda among others.

    At the time Ford had extensive Japanese investments as did GM.

  25. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The Bamboo Curtain is going to draw up again, just because of the resistance to technology
    sharing by foreign automakers.

    If you dont like the deal, dont sell it in China plain and simple.

    At least they are smart enough to not want foriegn brands to make money in their country, and then not profit off of it themselves.

    Too Bad Arrogant America didnt do that in the Old Era back when the Japanese actually had superior technology and fit and finish to American cars. The Progress that US Automakers are showing now WOULD HAVE HAPPENED 20 YEARS AGO!!!

    China is not going to be this Submissive Humble Asian country LIKE JAPAN you can just push around like what you’re used to.

    They will kick your asses out of their country if you do not comply, and there’s nothing you can do about it either. Becuase the fat cats wiped out most Americans disposable income, you’re dependent on Chinese car sales now.

    You want to make money there=FOLLOW THEIR LAWS, like we forced Japan, Germany, and Korea to do here.

    What risk war, an international incident with a country that has More reservists then we have people in this country.

    Yeah, this government whether its a Dem or Repub Administration will laugh at you.

    International Tensions over cars, please.

    Do what they say or no Money, it’s called a hostage situation. Economic dependency on China leaves you with little choice.

    And besides, if you dont give them the tech somebody like Hyundai or VW 2 companies Racing to be “China’s Car Company” like Toyota is America’s Car Company WILL!!!

    Hyundai’s Blue Drive system is more advanced than every mild hybrid setup Detroit has.

    If they cant get it from you they will get it from Hyundai or whatever, while your asses get kicked out of China and go bankrupt as you still cant get more than a 10 Million Unit SAAR in America. The tax Payer by then will have no sympathy, and the weakest dying brand will go.

    That Will be Buick, because without China it’s bye bye Buick.

  26. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    No Buick=No GMC

  27. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    You industry guys want to play tough, but this is about feeding your families here. This government will not spend another nickel to help while GM has 4 brands and 2 of them could be cut.

    GM would bleed a river of (JOB KILLING) red ink without China, and without China Ford’s Stability would be severely compromised.

  28. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    The Best way to avoid a big problem is to get money into American buyers pockets to get back up to 17 Million SAARs and more in order to take the China Dependency out of the equation.

    China knows that Americans or Europeans for that much matter dont have money to buy cars. That’s why they are hammering down now.

  29. XA351GT Says:

    Hey Smoke ,
    Have you been hitting the pipe again? China may pass us but we didn’t demand the UK GIVE us all their tech. We learned it ourselves or bought into it.
    Also aren’t you the same guy last week telling us we should feel bad for the union and then this week say tough luck to those that worked all their lives to have some a**hole on Wall St burn them on bad investments? A bit of mixed messages don’t you think?

  30. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    No Im not saying tough luck. Im saying stop trusting these guys with YOUR FUTURE, and put your retirement money to use for the betterment of society, and yourself.

    Or do you want to be like those Eastern (Spreading West) European old people who live like serfs because their government/corporate pensions crapped out on them, which will happen here in the future too?

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    Jack Hollis, get real, Toyota has nothing that young people would want to buy, so those who first get a Scion look to more upscale brands like BMW or Acura to move up to, also he mentioned the positive dealer experience would drive them to stick with Toyota, has he been keeping up with JD Power surveys? Toyota has been trailing competitors in that category for years.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect Hollis hopes the Toyota brand will have something to offer Scion buyers who can’t afford BMW or Acura, or Lexus, when they want to “move up” a little.

    I agree that Toyota doesn’t have much in the way of “excitement” right now, but some young people I know buy cars like Matrix and Corolla when they want something more “civilized,” than their 20 year old Civic with the coffee can exhaust.

  33. dcars Says:

    I’m convinced the only way to protect our jobs and lifestyle here in the US is to make companies like Toyota share it’s Hybrid technology and only allow companies like Honda, Hyundia, BMW etc to sell products here with partnerships with US firms. It’s our country lets make the rules that benefit us.

  34. Ulisse Di Bartolomei Says:

    Speaking about the Fiat hybrids, the technology double clutch with electric motor between has been stolen by a patent that Fiat Company has never wanted to purchase, but only shamelessly to copy. I invite to visit my blog where her “vitality” of the Fiat planners it appears in all of evidence:

    Whoever appreciates an honest industrial ethics in defence of intellectual ownership should spread out the history reported in my blog. If the industries can afford unpunished to copy the ideas and defending it need very expensive legal action, to which target need the patents? How our young people can find intellectual courage if the economic potentates crush the rights of the single ones?

    Ulisse Di Bartolomei

  35. ulisse di bartolomei Says:

    Patent fraud. About the Fiat hybrids, the technology double clutch with electric motor between has been stolen by a patent that Fiat Company has never wanted to purchase, but only shamelessly to copy. I invite to visit my blog where her “vitality” of the Fiat planners it appears in all of evidence:
    Whoever appreciates an honest industrial ethics in defence of intellectual ownership should spread out the history reported in my blog. If the industries can afford unpunished to copy the ideas and defending it need very expensive legal action, to which target need the patents? How our young people can find intellectual courage if the economic potentates crush the rights of the single ones?
    Do You have a good idea on as I could act for defending my rights? I beg You to leave a comment in my blog. Thanks and good time to everybody.

    Ulisse Di Bartolomei