Episode 705 – Opel’s Frankfurt Reveals, Rear-Wheel-Drive Kia, Cadillac Converj Confirmed

August 18th, 2011 at 11:50am

Runtime: 7:46

Opel plans to make a big splash at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show with three world-debuts: the Astra GTC, the Zafira Tourer and the Combo.  Here’s a shocker, Kia will start building a rear-wheel-drive car next year.  It’s also developing a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.  GM has given Cadillac’s Converj concept the go-ahead.  In keeping with Caddy’s three-letter nomenclature, the production version will be called the ELR.  All that and more, plus an exclusive look at the new Mopar 11, a heavily modified Dodge Charger.


Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone, Dow Automotive Systems and Hyundai

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | Zune | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher

This is Autoline Daily for August 18, 2011. And now, the news.

And boy, do we have a lot of product news coming out leading up to the Frankfurt Motor Show. Opel plans to make a big splash with three world-debuts: the Astra GTC, the Zafira Tourer and the Combo. Opel will also show a production version of the Ampera and seven new ecoFLEX models. But the big news is an experimental vehicle exploring a new interpretation of mobility. What does that mean? We have no idea, but we’ll report all the details from the Frankfurt show when they become available.

Early pictures of the new Porsche 911 have leaked out prior to its Frankfurt debut. And even though it’s an all-new car, it sure looks like all its predecessors. That is, quite literally, by design. Here’s what Walter de’Silva, the Group Vice President of Design at the Volkswagen Group had to say about the new 911 when he was here in our studios.

RWD KIA (subscription required)
Here’s something of a surprise. According to Ward’s, Kia will build a rear-wheel-drive car starting next May. It will be sized somewhere between the Hyundai Genesis and Equus sedans, and it too debuts at Frankfurt.  A coupe version is also being considered but has not been confirmed.  Hyundai-Kia engineers are also developing a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.  The basic design is finished and it’s undergoing testing.  Look for it to debut within two model years.

GM has given Cadillac’s Converj concept the go-ahead.  This luxury-level Chevy Volt debuted at the Detroit Auto Show back in 2009.  In keeping with Caddy’s three-letter nomenclature the production version will be called the ELR.  It uses the same powertrain as the Volt, but look for technical upgrades that give it a longer EV range.

Last year Volkswagen purchased nearly a 20 percent stake in Suzuki but apparently that relationship is already starting to dissolve. According to Truck Trend, Suzuki has nothing to show for the partnership and is frustrated about not being treated equally. VW too is disappointed that the partnership hasn’t brought more success in India where Suzuki dominates the market. Now the rumors are that Suzuki would like to deepen its ties with Fiat. It makes sense because the two companies already collaborated on the SX4 which Fiat sells in Europe as the Sedici.

Coming up next, we’ll give you a look at the newest car to get the Mopar brand.

Last year Mopar came out with the first ever car branded as a Mopar in the history of the brand. Called the Mopar 10, it was a heavily modified Dodge Challenger, and it instantly sold out. So now Mopar is coming out with the Mopar 11, a modified Dodge Charger. We asked Pietro Gorlier, the CEO of Mopar, to take us through the car and show us what it has.

The Mopar 11 also has strut braces on the front and rear of the car that tie the shock towers together to increase the structural rigidity of the body and to enhance the handling of the car. They definitely stand out against the black background under the hood and inside the trunk. And what Mopar car would be complete without a pistol-grip shifter? But owners get more than just go-fast components; they also get the personal touch with a special owner’s kit.

Goodies in the owner’s kit, goodies on the car, OK, what’s this going to set you back?

Just under $40,000 for a car like this is a pretty good price. In fact, when they announced they were going to build only 1,500 Mopar 11s, the dealers bought them all within 48 hours.

By the way we’ll be at the Mopar display tonight for a special edition Autoline After Hours looking at the Woodward Dream Cruise, the world’s biggest car show, that attracts over a million spectators and over 30,000 classic cars. We’ll be using the latest in live webcasting technology thanks to LiveU, which gives us the ability to go anywhere we want on Woodward at the same time we bring it to you, LIVE. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information on cars and the industry that builds them.

And that wraps up this show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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

50 Comments to “Episode 705 – Opel’s Frankfurt Reveals, Rear-Wheel-Drive Kia, Cadillac Converj Confirmed”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    “ELR” would have been better served to have stayed as the “Converj”. JMO

    MOPAR-X(s) would have been better served to have stayed Dodges (special editions). JMO

  2. tj Martin Says:


    Somebody please tell me this is an early April Fools joke !

    $52,000 for a MINI ?

    I’m not sure who’ll be the bigger fool with this one . MINI for trying to sell it , or the folks crazy enough to buy one !

    RWD KIA – An even bigger joke . RWD KIA . Yeah right ! What’s next an AWD Ferrari and a Maserati SUV ? Oh heck ! Those already exist .

    We’re doomed

  3. Buzzerd Says:

    I always figured being a designer for porsche would be the easiest job in the world. All the cars look the same and they never change, sort of like Aston Martin.

  4. MJB Says:

    So will Chrsyler be coming out with one (model) Mopar per year? Is that why the first one (from last year) was the Mopar 10, and this years is the Mopar 11?

    That’d make sense. Keep them down to limited production runs and make only one model per year.

  5. MJB Says:


    Yeah, like being a weatherman in SanDiego.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    Mopar, really? is this the brainchild of Sergio the Magnificent? dumb ass idea! I don’t see AMG-S or AMG-E or AMG anything else being used.

  7. HtG Says:

    that Goodwood Mini and the Gucci500 need to get a room.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    VW keeps trying to bite off more that it can chew, did they not learn anything from both GM and Toyota trying to be the biggest instead of the best??

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    And Kia needs a rwd vehicle between the Genesis and the Equus, really? What’s the difference between those two (size-wise) now, couple of inches here and there; don’t think we need another Kia. And this next comment with tongue in cheek: Kia announces their new (just reversed engineered from the Chevrolet Volt) electric; it will be called the Ohm-Boy! :)

  10. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    # 5

    I beg to differ . Being an On Air weatherman anywhere is the easiest job there is .

    What other occupation will pay you $100,000 + per year to be WRONG all the time


    @ pedro

    So what would you get if you crossed the 500 Gucci with a MINI Goodwood ?

  11. Jon M Says:

    @ tj Martin

    I agree with you on the Mini. But it’s no early April fool’s joke. How many people pay a huge premium for cheaply dressed up Chevy Tahoes in the form of Cadillacs? It’s the same as buying a $52K Mini with Rolls-Royce icing. I imagine that the wealthier (and those that believe they are) have too much discretionary income burning holes designer pockets and just can’t seem to find a better alternative.

  12. tj Martin Says:


    Yeah pedro …. you tell em !

    So what the heck was wrong with the Challenger R/T , SuperBee etc monikers that Marchionne would prefer MOPAR over them ?

  13. tj Martin Says:


    Actually I knew about the Goodwwod MINI over a year ago ( you should of heard the Brits at CAR yell and scream telling me what a fool I was …… :o Jokes on them ! ) yet it still bugs the heck out of me .

    $52K for a MINI . even compared to the Cadillac Badge Engineering bunch , is obscene . The only thing out there right now thats worse being the Cynical Cygnet ( Aston Martin )

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Highway robbery at its best, it makes the Caddy Cimawrong look like a bargain!

  15. HtG Says:

    Is it me, or is it cool to have brand advertising all over yourself? I’m quite sure tj wouldn’t have an Apple sticker on his Precious.(grrr rufff rufff, om nom nom)

  16. Rich Says:

    OK John, I’ve got to ask which “Go Fast” parts you were talking about on the Mopar 11…

    *is it the blue strip on the exterior? (no)…

    *the blue strip on the seat? (no)…

    *strut braces (maybe on a road track but who would road track this beast…er car, so again, no)…

    * 20′s wheels (umm, I don’t think so, no)…

    * the Serial number badges (we don’t need no stink’n badges, no)…

    * OH, the high end owners manual maybe (didn’t someone else use the iPAD’s, and yet again, no)…

    * FDR…ding, ding, ding we have a winner (if your only concerned about 0-60.

    So, is the ONLY thing that makes this car go faster for the money is the FDR (which is probably available as an option)? Don’t get me wrong, it’s probably a good deal for a unique vehicle BUT it’s not really much more “go fast” to it is there.

  17. tj Martin Says:


    #15 Actually ………. I did…….. on the MINI ……… back window ……. medium sized Apple decal ………….. still contemplating whether or not to put one on the Benz . After all it and the Apple decal are both white …………….

    ( CHOMP ! )

  18. HtG Says:

    NO! don’t you dare do that

  19. tj Martin Says:

    OK ! Here it is folks !

    Stupidist corporate move by an Auto Maker 2011 contestant number three , as well as a further sign the fools at SAAB are clueless and well on their way towards extinction ;


    Read it and ……… well ……… laugh or cry . your choice .

  20. tj Martin Says:

    # 17

    But…. but….. but ……… HtG ! We’ve ( Mrs Tj and I ) been Apple heads since the second commercially available Mac ( me because of of Apple supporting Music to Film software and the Mrs because of her Higher Ed career )

    I gotta show my allegiance to the Mother Ship ( as well as my disdain towards the ” Dark Side ” ) somehow and Apple doesn’t sell T-shirts or Ball caps anymore ! Snif :(

  21. MJB Says:

    @15 “Is it me, or is it cool to have brand advertising all over yourself?”

    Ask the ‘rice boys’ in their Civics. (Please don’t flame me – I used to be one of those rice boys – but only for a hot minute)


    “What other occupation will pay you $100,000 + per year to be WRONG all the time?”

    They’re never wrong in San Diego. 80degrees and sunny every…single…day. Oh, how I long to move the wife and kids there.

  22. SalvadorG. Says:

    - I called today’s show for ‘Shenanigans!
    - There is no such thing as a Porsche 911 designer
    - that’s like the British Empire or Unintended Acceleration.

    - Also,
    -HtG Says:
    Is it me, or is it cool to have brand advertising all over yourself?

    - No, unless your actually planing on winning the next 500 or Monaco.

  23. HtG Says:

    tj, if you decide against the logo sticker you can still get a ‘It’s Magic’ tramp stamp
    hypocrisy confessional; I have a small decal from my Miata shop on the side window of my car.

  24. tj Martin Says:

    Hey I’d rather see a bunch of branding decals on a car than the 1001 ” I’m Into This / Support That / Fight the Other Thing ” bumper stickers that crowd the ____ end of way too many cars on the road !

    Yeah like I care that your kid is an Honor Student !

    Honor This ! I say !

  25. tj Martin Says:

    Current Best Attempt by one of the Big Three to Spin a Lawsuit ;


    You betcha . Old GM and New GM . Riiiiiight !

    Now I’ve really heard it all . Well this and saabsunited.com’s attempts to Spin the SAAB pay raises .

    Ugggh :(

  26. capt guy Says:

    rear wheel kia’s equals nascar

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just when GM starts making some kind of half-ass comeback, things like this come up giving their detractors more ammo to never trust them. Old GM, new GM, what’s the diff? It’s still GM.

  28. MJB Says:

    23 +1

    You said it.

    What’s up with ‘bumper sticker guy’, anyway?

    Guess I’m just too vain to plaster my car with bumper stickers. Window decals are a bit of a different item – assuming they are small. But bumper stickers? They’re about as ugly as front bumper license plates – which, by the way, haven’t been required here in Michigan for at least the past 30yrs.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As far as the expensive MINI, that is nothing new. They were doing the wood/wool/leather treatment on old Minis 50 years ago. The MINI is a retro inspired car, after all, and there are people out there with a lot of spare money.

  30. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    A minor Historical Correction;

    Back in the day it wasn’t MINI that was doing the High Ticket cars . Those were all custom built , customer order only by the likes of Radfords , Broadspeed etc. Kind of the Hollywood Customs of the MINI world back then .

    Your only options from the dealer was basic interior , slightly less basic interior and the Cooper hot rod set up .

    So this High Zoot MINI thing is definitely a BMW MINI invention

    Can’t say I much approve either

    ( info from ; ” MINI -50 Years ” Sold the car but kept the book . For nostalgias sake you know )

    @MJB – My worst bumper sticker sighting of late ;

    ” Hung Lo’s Kung Fu Emporium & Tattoo Parlor ”

    I wish I was joking but ……….. :(

  31. tj Martin Says:


    Here’s a little factoid about bumper stickers from Harvard Medical Schools Psychology department ;

    They’ve proven over a study of some 10,000 people that folks who place bumper stickers on their cars are more aggressive in nature . The more bumper stickers the more aggressive .

    So I guess that’d make the PRIUS driver ( sorry Kit ) I saw yesterday with …… count em …….. 22 bumper stickers ( all radical to semi radical ” Green ” sayings ) one step away from Gengis Khan on the aggression scale .

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, re. #30,
    Yes, I know it was third party people rather than Austin-Morris doing the fancied-up old Minis, but the end result was the same, a double-priced car that had a very fancy interior that was rather out of character with the car itself.

  33. MJB Says:

    Yeah, ‘bumper sticker guy’ (or, actually, as I have noted just through visual observation is usually a gal) is the type who is always first to tell you what they are thinking (about everything) before you even ask.

  34. GPL Says:

    “Yeah like I care that your kid is an Honor Student!”

    No stickers on my cars, and I hate those too. If my (not yet school age) kids ever bring home such a sticker and ask me to put it on my car, I’ll just explain to them that knowing that they are better than the other kids is its own reward. :)

  35. tj Martin Says:

    @ GPL


    Two thumbs up ( your answer to the kids request )

    @ Kit


    I guess I see a difference between a custom modified car created for an individuals good or bad taste , versus the manufacture intentionally catering , or in this case Creating a wave of obnoxious bad taste .

  36. tj Martin Says:

    SAAB Story ; Todays Edition

    For anyone who hasn’t read the link and or followed up on saabsunited’s pathetic attempt to justify the SAAB board awarding itself a good 400% plus pay raise .

    saabsunited in their sad attempt at SAAB Loyalty ( read Chesterton’s definition of an absolute patriot ) they are trying to claim that the former Spyker board , now SAAB somehow deserves this 400%+ raise , because ( ahem ) its such a bigger company to ( cough hack hack bleahhh ) manage

    So now not only is it OK to give your upper management exorbitant raises for moving more and more production overseas ( read Mulally )

    Now its also justified to give even bigger pay raises to a bunch of thieves that have done more damage to the company ( SAAB ) in 12 months then GM ever accomplished over their entire stretch of ownership

    Aint that nice !

    Aren’t you , Joe Public , possible Union employee or shareholder just so very glad to hear being incompetent is now a positive business trait worthy of large and multiple financial reward ?

    Methinks we should all live under this new Status Quo .

    John ? I want a $2.3 million a year bonus for doing next to nothing on the ALD site . Ahhhhh make it a cool $3 million

    That sounds like a good start to me .

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve always considered CEO’s to be grossly overpaid, but the latest SAAB story takes the cake, with the “head” of an obviously doomed brand wanting/getting lots of money on the way out. Is the world screwed up, or what?

  38. HtG Says:

    the word is looting, tj

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just read a report online that says a study finds less interest for the Volt from buyers who would consider it, reasons are price, no availability and lowering gas prices

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    Despite its aging model, Escape is selling very well for Ford and now the new Kuga is gonna replace it, this is a big gamble to take, the new one may not be as attractive to buyers.

  41. HtG Says:

    what’s up with this article, tj? Flash mobs in KC


  42. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    First the good news . the ” Senna ” movie is coming to KC .

    Here’s the release dates for the entire US ;


    Second . the ” Flash Mobs ” This has been a real problem since last summer and has only escalated for Summer 2011.

    What it amounts to is parents who’d rather not deal with their kids , dumping them off on the Plaza ( which is normally such a wonderful place to be by the way ) on Friday and Saturday nights where as unrestricted teens will do , they have been raising Hell . Had one approach me in early July threatening me if we didn’t give him our money , asked the little ____ if he had a gun , he said no , told him I was old enough to bring him into this world yet still young enough to take him out of it , looked at me ( I’ve got that I Will Hurt You look down ) and ran away .

    Anyway this last weekend it peaked with guns being fired and kids getting wounded so now the City is FINALLY taking t seriously .

    Which could have something to do with the fact that our pretentious ass of a Mayor was on the Plaza when the gunshots were heard .

    So its real . Its getting real serious and no the Mrs and i no longer go to the Plaza on Friday or Saturday nights .

    NOT because I’m afraid of getting hurt , but because i don’t want to spend any time in jail for what I’ll do if another punk threatens me and the Mrs .

    Cutting my teeth as a 19 year old playing REAL Biker Bars ( Blues Band ) is where my attitude comes from

    If a pack of 1%’s doesn’t scare me what chance does some 16 year old punk have ?

  43. HtG Says:

    Here’s where I started reading


    Really, a kid challenged a six and a half foot tall male? That’s some amateur brazenness. Did you read about the yobs that just got multi-year sentences in the UK for inciting riot by phone?

  44. HtG Says:

    I remember in the late eighties seeing something similar in the Village. Young adults were just walking out of a chain bookstore with merchandise. I think it was on Bleeker or Greenwich Ave. They looked like it was a just a law breaking thrill; it wasn’t about need at all. I wonder what kids today are thinking.

  45. tj Martin Says:

    I wonder what todays PARENTS are thinking !

    Dumping their kids on a public Plaza till midnight and beyond

  46. HtG Says:

    they’re thinking that the mall is a safe place to hang out, just like when they were kids. maybe it’s a bad time to be young.

  47. tj Martin Says:

    # 43

    These kids have more cojones than brains , partly because they are getting zero upbringing in the home .

    So like in their Video games they think they’re invincible .

    Unfortunately should another approach me i’ve got ZERO tolerance regardless of age or gender for threats

    Having shoved aside more than my fair share of Gypsy kids in Italy has made me a bit numb to age considerations

    ( FYI thats the only and accepted way to deal with the Gypsy street urchins in Italy )

  48. tj Martin Says:


    No they ( the parent ) just would rather not have the responsibility of dealing with their brats on the weekend

    This fact has come out in several police and news interviews

  49. tj Martin Says:

    Something positive to end this mornings conversation ;


    Nice to see another of my mentors make the news .

  50. HtG Says:

    I’m just guessing you’ve seen La Femme Nikita(Eric Serra), tj. Can you ID the painter whose works is transformed onto the screen?