Episode 533 – Back-Up Camera Mandate, China #1 in Profits for Lexus, Z28 Camaro Revived

December 3rd, 2010 at 12:00pm

Runtime 8:43

The U.S. Transportation Department wants to mandate the use of back-up cameras in all vehicles by 2014. China passes the U.S. as Lexus’ most profitable market. Chevy is reviving the high-performance Z28 Camaro which should go on sale sometime next year. All that and more, plus a look at the 2012 ICONIC AC Roadster.


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This is Autoline Daily for December 3, 2010. And now, the news.

Well, they’re at it again. The U.S. Transportation Department is coming up with more regulations. It wants to mandate the use of back-up cameras in all vehicles by 2014. About 300 people are killed every year in back-overs and 18,000 are injured. Back-up cameras are becoming more common, but they’re only on 20 percent of vehicles today, the AP reports. My bet is that we’ll see an explosion of those rear-view mirrors that have a backup camera built into them. You can already get aftermarket versions of them for under $100, and for automakers they’re a whole lot cheaper than installing a video screen like they use on nav systems.

DID GM OVER PRODUCE FOR BETTER IPO? (subscription required)
Did General Motors deliberately over-produce vehicles leading up to the IPO to make its financial numbers look better? That’s what some people are saying. Cadillac has a 99 days’ supply, Buick has 85 days, Chevy has 71. Remember, as soon as a car rolls off the assembly line, an automaker books it as a sale, so the more you build, the better your financial numbers look. But on last night’s Autoline After Hours, Michael Robinet, an analyst with IHS Automotive said, be careful, don’t read too much into that, yet. He points out that GM did not have its traditional summer shutdown. They just kept on building cars. But GM probably will shut down over the Christmas holiday, which could help bring those inventory numbers down. However, if we get deep into January and GM still has sky-high inventory levels, then the conspiracy theorists are right, GM did goose production to make the financial numbers look better going into the IPO.

To promote its electric vehicle, the C-Zero, Citroen created a car-sharing service called Citroen Business Connected. It’s for companies and local governments that want to get EVs into their fleets. In addition to allowing employees access to the cars, the service will provide support for the setup of a charging infrastructure and monitor the battery charge remotely to ensure it’s properly charged for the next person to use. Remember, the C-Zero is really just a Mitsubishi i-Miev with a different name. Of course, Mitsubishi just changed the name of the i-Miev to the “i.” Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay. How are we supposed to keep up with all these names?

Over in china, GM just grabbed the top rankings in J.D. Power’s APEAL. The study looked at 82 attributes in ten vehicle categories with evaluations from more than 14,600 new car owners across China. The Chevy New Sail finished first in the Premium Compact Segment, the Chevy Spark took top honors in the Compact Segment and the Rong Guang, a vehicle made with Wuling, came out on top in the Minivan segment. Is the Rong Guang the opposite of the Right Guang? Ay, ay, ay, these car names!

A couple days ago we reported Rolls-Royce was charging astronomical prices for its cars in China. That’s not to say they’re reasonable anywhere else in the world, but nearly $1 million for a Phantom seems a little rich. In related news, Bloomberg reports China is now Lexus’ most profitable market, eclipsing the U.S. as Toyota’s luxury cash cow. But with the prices they’re charging it’s not hard to see why. In China, the LS 600 hybrid has a base price of 2 million Yuan. That’s about $310,000! In the U.S. that same car costs $110,000. You don’t need me to tell you that’s a big difference. Lexus sells a little over 200,000 vehicles in the U.S. and will probably sell about 45,000 in China. Maybe the Chinese will buy more of those LS 600 hybrids. Last month Lexus sold only 13 of them in the US.

With all the industry talk of EVs and fuel economy, here’s some good news for enthusiasts. According to the Detroit Free Press, Chevy is reviving the high-performance Z28 Camaro. Nothing has officially been announced yet, but the car is expected to feature a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine delivering anywhere between 500 and 600 horsepower. Look for the car to go on sale sometime next year as a 2012 model.

Coming up next, a look at a supercar built in Michigan that’s not from GM, Ford or Chrysler, we’ll be back right after this.

So what do you get when you want to create an advanced, high-powered supercar and money is no object. Well, you get the 2012 ICONIC AC Roadster. As you might guess from the name of the vehicle, the famous British company AC Cars was involved in developing the roadster along with ICONIC Motors, a small company just outside Detroit. Seamus McElroy filed this report.

While it may look like an old AC Cobra, I can assure you the 2012 ICONIC AC Roadster doesn’t have anything in common with the original.

Underneath the hood is a massive 427 cubic inch, naturally aspirated 6.8 liter, all-aluminum V-8 pushrod engine that cranks out, get this, 825 horsepower to go along with 680 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a custom six-speed manual transmission. And speaking of custom parts, just about every piece on the car was fabricated by ICONIC itself.  This is no kit car.

Thanks to that powerful engine and the lightweight of the Roadster, it only weighs about 2,400 pounds, 0 to 60 MPH can be achieved in under three seconds.

While those power numbers are real impressive, the car also features new technology called VEEDIMS which is a unique way to move power and data with a single cable through the use of hardware and software. Ethernet is used to transmit the data. Because of this, a lot of the wiring in a car can be tossed out. But there are other benefits as well.

Thanks for that report Seamus. VEEDIMS can be used for other non-automotive applications as well. And ICONIC plans to build 100 AC Roadsters right here in Michigan. But all that power and technology doesn’t come cheap, the company plans to charge $475,000 for the car.

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

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36 Comments to “Episode 533 – Back-Up Camera Mandate, China #1 in Profits for Lexus, Z28 Camaro Revived”

  1. HtG Says:


  2. tj Martin Says:


    Let me tell you . If these clueless Automotive Designers continue on with their current trend of designing cars with little or no regard to outward vision and blind spots the USTD will be needing to mandate cameras on all four sides of cars just so one can see where one is going , never mind backing up !

    The worst I’ve dealt with lately ?

    2010 Camaro
    2010 Cadillac SRX
    2010 Infiniti FX
    2010 Dodge Challenger
    2010 Chevy Equinox

  3. HtG Says:

    tjM, as you may have surmised, Backup cams really get me torqued. It just makes it too easy. But then I drove the Toyota minivan, and saw the genius as I saw just how close I was to the curb or another car as I parked. It looks like electronic aids like traction control and ABS and stability control and Volvo’s forward looking radar and all the rest, will take over for us and our supposed driving skill. Now if the gods can hear me, I would like an aid to tap the guy blocking the left lane on 95, so I can roar by in my Civic.

  4. Chuck Says:

    The big A piller is the result of the Federales mandate to strengthen the roof in rollovers. Small rear windows as far as I know are designers option, ie fair game.

  5. tj Martin Says:

    ICONIC Roadster ;

    Well seeing how Shelby hasn’t licensed this Blatant Rip Off of the 427 Cobra I’m guessing Ole Carroll may be having himself another Courtroom heyday with ICONIC

    But errr……. looking up ICONIC online , wanna guess what little tid bit of blatant Hypocrisy I ran across ?

    You’ll never guess who’s licensed to Lease the ICONIC Roadster . None other than Elon Musk and TESLA Motors . Just an ever so slight Conflict of Interest don’t you all think ?

  6. HtG Says:

    tj, I think Ol’ Carroll tried to trademark the AC name, but the courts told him to step off. I sure hope Seamus M. doesn’t get served with papers for having mentioned Cobra. Oop, now I said it too.

    Chuck, I got to sit in the Lexus LFA recently(really!), and noted the excellent forward visibility. The A pillar wasn’t more than 1.5 inches thick viewed from the driver’s perspective, so panning from side windows to windshield felt uninterrupted; this would make aggressive driving on a track especially fun.

  7. Jon M Says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if GM inventory levels are still high come late January. Such over-production for the artifical inflation of net income would be akin to channel stuffing; albeit not neccesarily at the end of a fiscal year. Besides, even if they do shut down over Christmas, its still post-IPO. Nevetheless, I would certainly call into question the ethics of GM if inventory levels prove sufficient to warrant the accusation. But then, who would be surprised? It would just be more proof that the new GM is the old GM.

  8. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ; You lucky So and So ( having sat in the LF-A ) I haven’t even seen one yet .

  9. tj Martin Says:


    But when have legalities and court edicts ever stopped Carroll from bringing up another lawsuit against his blatant copiers ?

    Especially when he offers such reasonable licensing fees ( donations to his favorite Children’s Charity )

  10. Jon M Says:

    Back-up cameras are just like mirrors, a driver has to check it for it to be of any use. I find too many in a given day who don’t check their windshields let alone their mirrors, back-up cameras, or any other rearward assisting device.

  11. HtG Says:

    tj@8, I guess that means you also haven’t seen one roar by at 100+mph, listened to that V10, and caught your breath as the carbon-ceramic breaks glowed red. Is that what you’re saying?

  12. tj Martin Says:

    HtG @ 11

    No I haven’t damn it . Now cut it out , you’re really making me jealous LoL :o )

    If its even half as good as the video Leno had on his site , the thing must be absolutely spectacular . Yes I’m a huge fan of the LF-A since they first began announcing the car .

    @ Back Up Cameras

    Back up cameras as an aid to reversing I have no problem with . My problem is that far too many cars today have such pathetic outward vision and horrid Blind Spots that you Can’t back up without the camera .

  13. Chuck Grenci Says:

    You don’t hear ole Carrol mention anything when it came to the Shelby Daytona Cobra coupe; like that wasn’t a ripoff of the Ferrari 250 GTO.

    And even though buying one isn’t in the cards (oh, unless the sweepstakes hits or something similar), I’m glad to see the Z-28 back in the fold; let the ‘Pony Car’ wars continue.

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @HtG ;

    Assuming you’re an LF-A fan as well , you should join me on the UK site I participate on next time they feature the LF-A . You’ve never heard so many Brits whine and complain about a SuperCar until you’ve read their comments on the ” Fridge ” ( as they call Toyota ) LF-A .

  15. tj Martin Says:

    Chuck Grenci

    Camaro Z28 ? Two thumbs up . The Blind Spots in the Car ? No thanks . Give me the BOSS 302 . When my lottery ticket comes in .

  16. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Ohio Says:

    RE: Back-up Cameras. I swear by mine. I had a Cervical Fusion a few years back and have had a rough time backing up. I purchased a Camera/Monitor kit off the internet and it’s the best thing I have ever done. I think they should be across the board in every vehicle manufactured.

  17. WL Simpson Says:

    reduce drag, replace ALL mirrors w/wide angle monitor & screen

  18. Ivan Sears Says:

    Interesting note on the back-up cameras, like everything else dependent upon the driver, they do no good at all if the driver ignores the display! Until we all relinquish our drivers’ licenses to robot drivers, some legislator will try to come up with ways to idiot proof the driving of the vehicles. I am all for technology coming to the aid of the driver, but first and foremost, the driver must know how to drive, and then focus on that task when behind the wheel.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    The more crap they mandate on new vehicles, the less I will be tempted to buy ANY of them. I will baby my simpleton Corolla to the point where it will hopefully live as long as me. (and that includes stop-start)

  20. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Id rather have these sweet designed cars around than the wallpaper paste we were forced to drive for “better vision.”

    Yeah Mandate backup cameras NOW!!!

    Hyundai might have made some design faux pauxs in the past, but at least they tried and since about 1995 every Hyundai has looked better than ANY BREAD BOX LOOKING TOY/LEX OR HON/ACURA WALLPAPER PASTE.

    Ok I take that back, as that 2001-2006 Elantra was just straight up Japanese boring.

    Hey if you guys like boring cars then fine. That’s what Toyota and GM are for.

  21. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Honda, Toyota, and GM will end up like they have in Europe=nothing but souless transportation devices for “Old People.”

    They just dont get it.

    Toyota/Lexus=Older Baby Boomer Car
    Honda/Acura=Younger Baby Boomer Car
    GM=Gen Xer Car
    HKAG=Gen Xer/Gen Y Car
    FoMoCo=Gen Xer/Gen Y Car

    Just look at em, and you’ll see what I mean

  22. Jon M Says:

    @ Hyundai Smoke -

    I’m not anti-Hyundai, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call their designs sweet and others wallpaper paste when they tend to mimic the design of so many others, including at least one you have mentioned. They are, however, a company improving overall, unlike some other companies that only claim to every so often.

  23. tj Martin Says:

    Oh goody its my favorite Punching bag H.S. again regaling us with his wisdom and insight .

    Here’s mine

    Hyundai = Pretentious Clueless fools who are unable to afford the car they really want , be it a BMW Toyota Honda etc. so they settle for a Hyundai which kind of looks like the Car they really wanted , but they know deep down inside its just a pathetic copy of the real thing . Liken a Monet Print instead of the Original Painting

    KIA = For Teeny Bopper Virtual Gerbils and Hamsters ( just look at the ads ) who though they’re in truth a bunch of Suburban Wanna Bes’ are tryingso hard to pretend they’re Hip and Urban but in truth couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    hey Smoke your beloved Hyundai was the first to start that weird Tiburon styling that has permeated through Sonata and now Elantra too that gives up safe rear visibility for the sake of looking stylish, as as Dirty Harry once said: “that’s a hell of a price to pay for being stylish”

  25. tj Martin Says:

    @ Jon M. Lets be honest here . Hyundai had no where else to go but up from where they were say three years ago . Back then they had to look up just to see Rock Bottom .

  26. HtG Says:

    tj, tell us the truth about the snow over there. Is it just like one huge District of Columbia?

  27. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ; Huh ! Aint no snow here in KC . You talking about the UK ? From what my friends there say its a major blow but then again they’re English and to them 4″ of snow is a National Disaster .

    Seriously HtG . I’m a Yank just like you . Born and Bred in NJ etc . I just participate on the UK site because its a magazine I’ve been reading since 1975 , I’ve got a couple of friends on the site , and I get a kick out of having it out now and again when the Brits try to slam every American car made along with Toyota etc. They’re a funny bunch .

    FYI it was on that site where I had my first run in with H.S. The moderators there finally ascertained that H.S. was a Hyundai Shill and booted him off site . He’s an International Pain in the (bleep )

  28. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ; And I’m still feeling pangs of extreme jealousy over your LF-A experience . Damn you anyway LoL :o )

  29. Jon M Says:

    @ tj Martin-

    I would agree about Hyundai. Since I haven’t seen any on fire in a parking lot in so long, though, I say they are improving. Their me-too design style, however, does not count in regards to “overall.”

  30. HtG Says:

    Oh, tj. If you only knew all the stuff I was holding back about the LFA. I didn’t want to put anyone in a funk; we know HS is pretty sensitive. One thing I’ll say-anyone who hasn’t seen this car moving at speed doesn’t really know what it looks like. All those angles and that boxy outline make an entirely different impression than a photo. I’ve seen the 458 in the flesh as well, and if you put LFA alongside it, you’d be reminded of talking to two beautiful women at the same time on the beach. It’s one of those times when the Lord’s presence is not doubted.

  31. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG ; Grrrrr

    Ah the heck with H.S. Tell me more .Hurt me so good . Please ! ( so what , you drove it as well ? ) Even from the photos I knew it was my Exotic of choice if I had the $ .

    I’ve yet to see a photo , video or angle I didn’t like . In the last round with the UK bunch I was arguing Ferrari Beating Performance with Toyota reliability and it looks like Nothing else on the road . Not trying to be an F1 Wanna Be etc. Just one damn fine and very serious car .

    The soundtracks from the videos …… well damn again . So I can only imagine what its like in person ….

    Lucky So and So !

  32. tj Martin Says:

    Well Heartbreak of Heartbreaks . Honda just announced they’re dropping the Element from their line up . Damn ! Another Ugly Car we won’t have to look at . :o )

    @HtG; Time to cook dinner for the wife , so tell me more Monday . About the LF-A that is .

    Night Night H.S. ( I’m sure it must be night where he is )

  33. Rope-Pusher Says:

    Is the engine in that Iconic AC Roadster 427 cubic inchs or 6.8 liters – can’t be both at the same time!

  34. C-tech Says:

    I am against mandating back-up cameras for all cars. This is a driver error issue. The government is driving up the price of all cars. If you don’t have kids (mine are grown, or at least think so) why should you be forced to pay for this excess especially if you are a careful driver? I’m all for building safer cars but John, when will they work on building safer drivers?

  35. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    LMAO TJ, you assume everybody wants those cars. BMW/Honda would be a better combo than Honda/Acura. BMWs look like Hondas anyway.

    Some people want to be different too, you know. But you wouldnt understand that badge my whore friend.

    KIAs are either bought by older White Female Social Workers, etc… who used to buy Pontiacs, Gays, Young Hip Hop Demographics, Latinos, older easygoing Liberal White guys, and party boys.

    Hyundai is more complicated to explain, because it has more segmented demographics that get drawn to it’s cars. It’s an Interracial Brand like Saturn was in one way (like Subaru is a Gay Brand), older easygoing Liberal White guys, fundamentalist Conservatives who like a good deal, Minority Professionals, Self Stating Entrepreneurs, 25-50 (Liberal Females), and Young Men in the smaller cars.

    Men are more attracted to the small cars like Accent and Elantra, while Women like the Sonata, Tuscon, and Santa Fe.

    I see more chicks in Genesis Sedan and Coupes then Men.

    A Certain Professional Wrestler (male) owns a Gen Coupe.

    Jon, there were some copies, but many times Hyundai did their own styling trying different things. Those different things they tried got Hyundia to this point. They’ve had many of the same designers for years.

    Mr. Piaskowski designed the Last Gen Hyundais, and many form the Generation before that. I dont see anybody saying anything about that. Do they?

    They were headed to this design path. Hyundais might have been derivative, but Hyundais also had a more aspiratonal character than many of the Mainstream Asian Brands.

    TJs assertion about Honda and BMW was Correct, but only in the past. I will admit that Hyundai did emulate BMW and Honda in ALL of it’s cars in the past. The Current 06-11 Accent looks like a product that had some BMW inspiration (trust me-this was for a reason as the plan is unfolding now, and that’s all I will say).

    The Elantra I tested seems to be benchmarked after Euro small Family cars like BMW 3 series Euro Spec 320i from 2005-2007 (that makes sense since Elantra was planned 5 years ago). The Advanced 1.8L (non Turbo-non GDI) Hyundai Nu engine I tested has exactly 148 HP like the Clod of a 2.0 from BMW.

  36. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    If I were Chrysler:

    1. Id just bring a FIAT Punto right now, and Grille and Badge it as a Dodge. Then in the future make a dedicated Dodge small car based off of a FIAT.

    2. Id bring a MiTo and a Guilietta and badge it as a Chrysler Subcompact and Compact for now, until the future stuff.

    Chrysler will have at least some small car credibility, and there still are a segment of Americans who only want an American Small car. Neons were shit but they still are popular cars even to this day. I can see Chrysler making tons more small car money in the future. They just need to get started now. IMMEDIATELY!!!