August 11th, 2011 at 11:55am
Many auto analysts are a bit weary, and rightfully so given the threat of another economic downturn. Honda, long the darling of Consumer Reports has come under the gun as its model line loses favor with the reviewers at CR. Chrysler is back to partnering with Kettering University for engineering students, after eliminating the program during bankruptcy. All that and more, plus You Said It!
This is Autoline Daily for August 11, 2011. And the turmoil in the global stock markets are starting to take a toll on the automotive outlook.
WIMPY ECONOMY AHEAD
A lot of analysts are taking another look at the US economy and don’t like what they see. IHS Automotive is today changing its outlook for the rest of this year regarding car sales. Our team caught up with Rebecca Lindland, the firm’s director of Strategic Review, who tells us that based on American consumer confidence, they see the market continuing to soften.
Consumer Reports lately has been hammering Honda for things the Japanese carmaker is not typically criticized for. Brakes, fit and finish, and driving dynamics are tops on their list of gripes for the 2012 Civic. While the outgoing Civic scored a 78 on the CR survey in 2006, the new model musters only a 61. Other models in their lineup have seen similar drops like the Odyssey moving from 91 for the prior model to 83 in 2011. While the redesigned vehicles at Honda are earning poor marks from Consumer Reports, the new designs are faring even worse. The all new Insight managed a measly 54 and the CR-z a 57 rating. Here’s some Autoline Insight, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before strong selling models like the Accord begin to fade in the marketplace in the face of stiff competition with newer and better vehicles.
CHANGING LEADERSHIP AT LEAR
Auto supplier Lear announced that its CEO, Bob Rossiter will step down from the position on September 1st. He will remain as an advisor until next May to help with the transition. Replacing Rossiter is company CFO, Matt Simoncini, who helped restructure the company while it was in bankruptcy.
Chrysler announced that customers who get financing through its leasing arm, Ally Financial, will not have to make payments for 90 days. The promotion includes all 2011 and 2012 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram truck models. And applies to contracts of up to 60 months. The program is part of the company’s “Summer Clearance Event” which ends on September 6th.
CO-OP PROGRAM BACK AT KETTERING
And speaking of Chrysler, in order to help develop engineering talent, the company announced that it will renew its relationship with Kettering University which is located in Flint, Michigan. Chrysler ended its relationship with the engineering school when the financial crisis sent it into bankruptcy three years ago. It’s a co-op program that starts in the fall and allows students to work at Chrysler from freshmen year until graduation.
A Vietnamese crosswalk is a great place if you’re in a car, or even on one of the multitudes of motorcycles seen in this video. It is, however, not so wonderful for the comparatively soft and squishy humans trying to cross the street. This brave soul would draw praise from Evel Knievel for his death defying stroll through traffic.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
Mark Says: GM unveils their products too far in advance, like the Camaro and Volt. They unveil them years in advance. Honda and Toyota that show their products 2 to 3 months before you can buy them. Why does GM do this? Doesn’t this just help their competition with detailed information and dampen demand on existing GM products?
Mark, you’re exactly right. GM should surprise and delight people just before the cars hit the showrooms.
HtG saw our report on the power to weight ratio of cars and says.
I’m working on lowering the power to weight ratio of my cars. It involves backing off the starches and booze.
HtG, I bet that works!
Dave Says: Everyone seems to hate Smart cars, but yet a number of other brands are introducing cars that seem to be about the same shape and size. Do these other auto makers know something we don’t?
Dave, the problem with the smart is not the size or shape. It’s with the gawdawful transmission and the terrible way it rides. Fix that, and there’s nothing wrong with the smart.
RAFI N. Says: The revival of Lincoln is all fine and dandy, but it would be great if Ford also changed back the names. I mean I consider myself to be a car fanatic, but I still can’t tell the difference between an MK-this or MK-that. I’d much rather be in a Lincoln Continental than in a Lincoln MK-something.
RAFI N, guess what? I can’t keep all those mumbo-jumbo letters mishmash straight in my head either.
Don MacConnel Says: It’s great to hear that Lincoln is on the move to get a truly distinctive vehicle. That might make ol’ holy water Dan Ackerson eat his words about what it would take to bring Lincoln into competition with Cadillac.
Don, I think Dan Akerson is going to learn that eating crow tastes pretty good if you put some jalpenos on it.
MJB wants to know: John, you sure that wasn’t Sigourney Weaver circa 1986, and not Nancy Gioia you had on Autoline Daily?
MJB, you can’t believe how many people have told me that Nancy Gioia looks like Sigourney Weaver!
EYE50MM says, I would Love to see a sitcom made up of all the Autoline Daily guest hosts. John would be the main character. Jim Hall the crazy uncle, Christie – John’s attractive daughter, and Peter De Lorenzo – THE EXTREMIST!
EYE50MM, I about fell off my chair laughing when I read your comment.
Don’t forget to join us tonight for Autoline After Hours with our guest Ed Welburn, who’s in charge of all design at General Motors. Peter De Lorenzo and I will be getting Ed to talk about the latest design trends in the industry, and where he’s taking design for all of GM’s brands. And don’t forget you too can put your questions to Mr. Welburn tonight on Autoline After Hours.