November 22nd, 2010 at 12:00pm
Hyundai and Kia now sell more cars in Europe than Toyota and Lexus. Kia plans to start selling vehicles on eBay. Utility companies are finally admitting they’re worried that an influx of cars plugging into the grid may knock power out in some areas. All that and more, plus John shares his thoughts about the redesigned 2011 Dodge Journey.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, November 22, 2010. And now, the news.
HYUNDAI-KIA OUTSELL TOYOTA IN EUROPE
In a sign of just how fast Hyundai and Kia are moving up on the world stage, Bloomberg reports that they now sell more cars in Europe than Toyota and Lexus do. Moreover, Hyundai has new models coming next year specifically tailored for the European market, so its sales lead could increase even more. Hyundai and Kia are also taking market share away from Japanese automakers in the North American market. In Europe, they have three factories, in the Czech Republic, in Turkey and in Slovakia.
And speaking of Hyundai, even though it did not show it at the LA Auto Show, the company released these drawings of a car called the Grandeur, which it sells in the U.S. market under the Azera brand name. You can see how it carries the same styling theme found on the Sonata and Elantra, with a grille that has a similar kind of surface form, and in the flowing lines that run down the side of the car and into the rear. Hyundai will not say much about this design, but you can bet it’s headed for production and will be sold worldwide.
VW DEVELOPING NEW MICROBUS
According to Autoblog, Volkswagen plans to build a modern version of its iconic Type 2 van, but this isn’t the first time the company has flirted with reintroducing it. If you remember waaaay back to 2001, Vee-Dub planned on giving its Microbus concept the green light, but apparently it would have been too expensive to build. Fast forward to 2010, and rumor has it the project is back on. Auto Express reports VW is trying to decide how conservative or creative to make the design . . . but given how bland some recent Volkswagens have been I’d bet on boring rather than breathtaking. If this rumor is true, we’ll likely see a concept-version of the Transporter sometime in 2012.
KIA STARTS SELLING ON EBAY
Increasingly automakers are turning to the internet to help move metal. Whether they create a Facebook page to drum-up online support or start microblogging on Twitter, they can really reach new and younger audiences by turning to the web. Along these lines, Bloomberg reports Kia plans to start selling vehicles on eBay. Almost half of its 725 U.S. dealerships are enrolled to list their vehicle inventories on the popular auction site. GM tried something similar last year in California but let the program lapse after about eight weeks. We’ll have to see if mainstream car buyers will purchase vehicles from eBay. Speaking of social media, friend us and follow us! We’re on both Facebook AND Twitter. Just search for Autoline and you should find us.
HERTZ PARTNERS WITH CODA
Hertz announced it has teamed up with CODA, a California-based electric-car company, to make its vehicles available for rent at certain locations in Southern California. CODA’s cars, which are made in China, are 100 percent electric, can seat up to five passengers and have a range of up to 120 miles. The company claims that a full charge takes six hours to complete. The deal with CODA is part of a broader plan by Hertz to use its locations as a base for EVs and charging stations and will start its EV rental program next year.
UTILITIES WORRIED ABOUT EVs
And speaking of EVs, just as the first mass-market ones are getting ready for their debut, utility companies are finally admitting they’re worried that an influx of cars plugging into the grid may knock power out in some areas. According to the AP, just adding an EV or two to a neighborhood is almost the equivalent of adding another house and utilities worry about the cars stressing its equipment. Driving 10,000 miles will use around 2,500 kilowatt-hours which is 20 percent more than the average annual consumption of a home in the U.S. Plugging the EV in could also trip a circuit breaker if the circuit serves other appliances which could knock power out in other parts of the house. Until a network of charging stations is built, the utilities expect problems will occur for the next couple of years.
Dodge is coming out with a completely revamped line-up of vehicles that have undergone massive improvements. We’ll take a close look at one of them, right after this.
2011 DODGE JOURNEY
The Dodge Journey was always a well-sized vehicle with good packaging. The only problem was, it had a cheap-plastic interior, and a somewhat primitive powertrain. Well, for 2011, Dodge went in and fixed just about everything on the Journey that needed fixing. I recently got a chance to test drive one, and here’s what I thought about it.
The Journey is a perfectly sized vehicle for the international market and I’ve got to believe that Fiat is going to want to help Dodge sell these vehicles in a lot of global markets.
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And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.