August 30th, 2011 at 10:59am
Peugeot and Fiat are two of the latest automakers to release pictures and information on what they’ll be revealing at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Brazil’s auto industry has been red-hot for years, but now it’s running into headwinds. Anyone looking to purchase a new car might want to go to Naperville, Illinois. The city, along with 11 car dealerships, built a closed track to allow buyers to test-drive cars in a controlled environment. All that and more, plus a look at Buick’s new IntelliLink infotainment system.
This is Autoline Daily for August 30, 2011. And now, the news.
PEUGEOT HX1 CONCEPT
The floodgates for the Frankfurt auto show are starting to open. Peugeot just released pictures of its latest concept, called the HX1. It’s a rakish-looking MPV with room for six passengers. Thanks to clever design work and a low, flat body it slices through the wind with an impressively low cD of just .28. The HX1 features a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Its 2.4-liter diesel engine and electric motor provide a combined 299 horsepower with more than 88 miles per gallon – about 2.7 liters per 100 kilometers.
FIAT NUOVA PANDA
Fiat’s not missing out on the Frankfurt fun, either. The Italian automaker will reveal a new Panda at the show. No, Lun Lun didn’t have cubs. I’m talking about the latest version of its long-standing city car. The Nuova Panda offers a raft of engine choices including gasoline, diesel and natural gas, but most interestingly a pair of TwinAir two-cylinders are available. The naturally aspirated version delivers 69 horsepower while the turbo kicks out 85. Overall the car seats five and is just a few centimeters bigger than the outgoing model.
WHEN WILL EVs CATCH ON?
Undoubtedly we’ll see a lot of EVs at the Frankfurt show, but when will electric cars really sell in significant numbers in Germany? In 2022, according to a study by Ernst & Young. It says the EV market will hit a breakthrough once 100,000 electric cars are sold in Germany because that’s when people will really start to notice them. Germany plans to have 1 million EVs by 2020, but it has fewer than 4,000 of them right now. Here’s my Autoline Insight. I think these studies should be taken with a grain of salt. The Obama Administration wants 1 million EVs in the U.S. by 2015, and I haven’t met anyone in the auto industry who believes that’s going to happen. Electric cars may catch on someday but until then beware of all the hype.
BRAZIL COOLING OFF
Brazil’s auto industry has been red-hot for years, but now it’s running into headwinds. Ward’s reports that the slowing economy has caused inventory for local automakers to rise. Exports have slowed down at the same time the market is being flooded with cheap imports from Korea and China. They’re up to 35 percent cheaper than Brazilian-made models, and have captured nearly a quarter of all the cars sold in Brazil. Sales continue to rise in the country however, and are up over 9 percent compared to a year ago.
Anyone looking to purchase a new car might want to go to Naperville, Illinois. The city, along with 11 car dealerships, built a closed track to allow buyers to test-drive cars in a controlled environment. Cars.com took a tour through the facility which opened in 2006. It’s similar in size to a large mall parking lot and features things like a railroad crossing, a hill with a 10 percent grade, a cobblestone road and an emergency-braking area. About the only thing you can’t do is get a feel for highway driving, you can only get up to 40 miles and hour on the straightaway. Cars.com says it’s a great way to test a vehicle safely but drivers should still take the car out for a traditional test drive.
Connecting your phone to your car can be a hassle. Buick thinks it’s solved that problem with its IntelliLink system. More on that, after this.
The next step in connectivity is using your smart phone to control different operations in your car. Even Buick is getting in on the action. With a look at its newest connectivity system, here’s Andrew Justus.
Nowadays, the music, the information, the content that’s all in here has to make the jump to being in there. And IntelliLink is Buick’s way of connecting those dots.
People have an expectation; they want to bring their capabilities directly off their smart phones and into the vehicle. And not have to worry about hooking a whole bunch of things up and taking several steps in order to use some of those capabilities like Stitcher and Pandora.
On the surface it may seem like IntelliLink is just a wireless version of technology that already exists. What’s innovative is its ability to operate systems like Pandora and Stitcher as though they’re just another station on the radio.
Most of radio listening is done in the car, so it’s really the holy grail of all listening to radio. If you’ve experienced any type of driving you’re always listening to and enjoying music on the radio, so Pandora just brings that personalized, customized radio to the car.
Buick’s IntelliLink system, which will be standard on all 2012 sedans, is an example of its technology strategy where the brand plans to separate itself from the competition both in and outside of General Motors.
For Autoline Daily, I’m Andrew Justus.
Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours this Thursday night when our guest will be Clay Dean who heads up advance design at General Motors. We’ll take a deep dive into the stunning Cadillac Ciel concept car and what this means for the future of Cadillac design. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information of what’s going on in the world of automobiles.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.