Episode 713 – Early Frankfurt Reveals, Brazilian Market Cooling Off, Test-Drive Test-Track

August 30th, 2011 at 10:59am

Runtime: 6:53

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.


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This is Autoline Daily for August 30, 2011. And now, the news.

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’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.

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’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.

Thanks, Andrew

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.

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53 Comments to “Episode 713 – Early Frankfurt Reveals, Brazilian Market Cooling Off, Test-Drive Test-Track”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    I was thinking about the Ford Ecoboost torture test and the one thing that they cannot duplicate is the wear on the engine caused by starting the car cold, over and over again, which can not be duplicated, according to most experts, most of the engine wear occurs at start up.

  2. W L Simpson Says:

    Re: Intellilink —-I was working for EAL the night one of “our” planes went down in the Everglades on final approach.
    The cause ?—– driver distraction !

  3. Ralph Kercheval Says:

    In the IntelliLink piece they are showing the Ford My Touch System!! Was there an editing miscue or are they using a very similar system??

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    With Buicks new intellilink that would be only in Buicks is ANOTHER distraction from driving.Every manufacturer has their own ‘pet’ system and none of them integrate with the other.Doesn’t seem to make much sense if they want autonomous vehicles,now does it.

  5. tj Martin Says:

    First off . WHY ???


    I understand why Lotus wants Murray in their corner : the question being ………… WTH would Murray allow himself to be associated with Dany Bahar in any way shape or form ?


    (not so ) IntelliLink ;

    Isn’t it just a bit dumbfounding that all the auto makers are jumping over one hurdle after another to stuff a ton of very pricy Safety Nannies on cars : whilst designing in a thousand and one distractions along with a multitude of Blind Spots from the designers

    Am I the only one that sees this as just a bit COUNTERINTUITIVE ?


    Brazils Economy Cooling ;

    And just will folks learn that rapidly rising Third World economies that favor a minority at the expense of the majority is always destined to FALL as quickly as it rises

  6. GPL Says:

    tj, I think you answered your own question. The mfg’ers want the buyer to pay for the distractions and then pay for the nannies to save them from the distractions, and there is more margin in options than the vehicle.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    If they build them and they don’t come then maybe they’ll stop building them, but seems that everyone that buys a new car, doesn’t want to feel “left out” so they add all those stupid gadgets to their new cars. So they will on keep making them and putting them in.

  8. tj Martin Says:

    @ GPL 36

    Thats what many others think as well , including me .

    Just thought I’d let someone else post the answer this time

  9. tj Martin Says:

    OK … maybe this’ll fire up some conversation

    In post # 5 , section 2 ( IntelliLink ) I asked the question … which GPL gave the answer ( #6 ) I was hoping for from someone .

    So ….. Here’s the followup question ;

    Assuming … that our assumptions for the reason behind this counterproductive trend to load up a car with 1001 gadgets to distract you along with a multitude of Blind Spots to make life more difficult ……. In order for the auto makers to be able to justify and sell you more and more Safety Nannies / making more profit , while in fact making cars more dangerous to drive , are correct ;

    Is this not a return ( as if we ever left ) to the Pre- Nadar days when manufactures to a number said to _____ with driver safety and convenience …. who really cares how many get hurt or killed …… We Just Wanna Make Money ?

  10. tj Martin Says:

    WHEN WILL E/V’s Catch On ?

    Mr Justus asks

    When E/V’s actually work / don’t self ignite / are practical for all around driving / are priced reasonably / when the infrastructure (eg power plants enhanced grids etc ) is in place …..

    And more importantly Mr Justus …..

    When E/V’s are no longer JUST expensive playthings for the well heeled and are actual Cars eg modes of reliable/ viable transportation

    Thats When Mr Justus !!!!

  11. Jon M Says:

    John, you are spot on with your insight on the EV study. Most automakers know first hand (and those that don’t should learn from those that do) that estimating sales AND consumer responses is a crap shoot. Accounting is easier when using historical figures; however, estimating sales volumes is an analysis managers are always reformulating to better prognosticate what NO ONE can know for certain. It’s akin to consulting a clairvoyant to play the lottery!

  12. HtG Says:

    In my hearing of the clip, the manufacturers are responding to consumer demand for electronics. If people will pay good money to have their phone sync to the car, you may have to build it. Young people live attached to their gadget; just walk down the street sometime. (I don’t, but that just means I’m old. Even though I spend most mindspace on the coming landscape for gadgets)

    On EVs, I’d say that when govt test cycles show the benefit of start-stop tech, then we’ll see more of such mild hybrids, if that’s the term. Heck, Malibu won’t have a spare tire to save a sliver of weight.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Cars like Volt could catch on, if they weren’t so bloody expensive. Still, there are people with spare money waiting in line to buy one. My local Chevy dealer in Indiana has two “sold orders” for cars they may not receive for months.

    I doubt that pure electric cars will ever be “do everything” vehicles for most people. The don’t and won’t have long range, and I doubt that any batteries in the forseeable future will take a really fast charge, like time equivalent to gassing up a conventional car. You need a charge rate of thousands of amps, and batteries won’t take that.

  14. HtG Says:

    I also wonder about costs on EVs in comparison to the costs of some other gear on cars. Some people will pay a big premium for powerful engines, electronics gear, or fancy wheels(looking at you Mini folks), but suddenly when it’s about battery tech., out comes the green eyeshade. I won’t pay for power since I’m already barely keeping out of jail with not much more than 100hp.

    Why can’t more people become irrational about EVs?

  15. HtG Says:

    whoa, quiet over here today. Guess I’ll have to figure some way to pull tj’s tail.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Regarding EV’s in Germany, if they follow through on their plans to shut down the nuclear power plants, they’re not going to have spare power available to run cars for many years.

  17. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Pull Tj’s Tail !!!! The noive !!!

    Sheesh … toss up two perfectly good posts to incite a bit of discussion …. hardly anyone replies and ………… HtG wants to pull my Tail ???? Thppppppppt !

    As to the E/V issue …. well as I’ve stated here as well as many times in the past … the simple fact is E/V’s At This Point In time DO NOT work . Period

    So spending a dollar or two on nice wheels for the MINI or say the Auto Hatch on my Benz makes reasonable sense because …. They Both WORK !

    Whereas spending a dollar or two extra on a pretentious E/V ( and a reminder here folks .. the VOLT is not an E/V its an over priced overly complicated Hybrid ) that hardly ever works , stands a good chance of morphing into a Mobile BBQ ( which every E/V to date has been guilty of , as well as the Hyped Hybrid VOLT ) and costs a bloody fortune to adjust maintain and especially repair that DOES NOT WORK makes Zero sense

    @ Kit – You must have a bunch of money to throw away folks in your neighborhood , waiting in line for their VOLT because as the news lately has shown , the thrill is gone and the VOLT is no longer selling . Fact is if Chevy build any more VOLT’s they’ll have to start Blue Light Specialing them .

  18. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    E/V’s in Germany . That … like Obama’s E/V delusions are a product of the German Government … not any desire on the part of German consumers .

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Ampera looks like the Volt with Lady Gaga mascara added to it.

  20. HtG Says:

    The Ampera nose looks much better in the flesh, Pedro. I won’t comment about the other thing.

  21. HtG Says:

    So tj, how do the EVs fail when they go all 4th of July in your garage? AOG, or a manufacturing defects?

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, there isn’t a lot of money to throw around in my neighborhood, but there are two people who have enough to want to buy a Volt.

  23. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    So ….. decided to be civil ehh ? :o

    Mary Mary .. quite contrary .. How does your E/V go BBQ ?

    So far the main culprit seems to be the electronics that regulate charging etc . Second on the hit list is the batteries during recharging . Third seems to be the wiring looms that are getting overloaded both when recharging and driving

    Fourth … especially in the case of the TESLA etc, is high performance driving that creates so much heat in the batteries , electronics etc as to go all BBQ on you .

    All of the E/V’s on the market as well as most every one being tested ( that the manufactures will admit to ) have gone all BBQ from all four at one time or another.

    So maybe all E/V manufactures should give away half a cow and a box load of marshmellows so at least you can have a tasty meal while your car goes up in smoke .

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If Volts are really piling up at dealers in the few areas where they sell them, they should expedite the rollout for sales nationwide.

    Whatever anyone thinks of the concept of the Volt, what it should be called, etc., it DOES WORK. Read some reviews. Even most enthusiast magazines say it drives decently. As far as the price, $41K is way too much for it to be a good economic proposition. We all know that.

    As far as “what it is,” to me, it’s mostly an EV that becomes a series hybrid when you run the battery down.

  25. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    So is there any way that I’m not seeing to get WQXR in my car ?

    An App for the iPhone or something ?

    Me likes Q2 muchly . I’m enjoying the Cafe Concerts as well

    Good call HtG .

  26. tj Martin Says:

    # 24

    Yeah it may work some of the time , but NYTimes etc has reported several instances of the VOLT morphing into a $45K ( the more realistic price ) BBQ like its E/V cousins .

    Also the magazines that have rated the VOLT highly also receive extensive advertising from GM as well as that very real Government censorship on any negative VOLT reviews because Obama and the Government want it to be sold regardless of the realities involved .

    What isn’t being said publicly is damning at best about the VOLT …. Fact is its down right ugly . Like running out of battery to the point of not starting the next day , that mobile BBQ thing , batteries wearing out/ not accepting a charge after less than 5K etc etc

  27. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    Make sure when your neighbors get their VOLT deliveries they have a smoke alarm in the garage as well as several Electric Fire Fire Extinguishers . You might consider investing in a couple yourself to keep your own home intact .

    Just a thought .

  28. HtG Says:

    I just checked the inventory at Curry Chevrolet. They have no Volts in stock. These guys weren’t gouging people when the things first arrived either. The key here is that Curry is in Scarsdale NY, where there is supposedly money suitable for tossing. But I did see that the first Sonic is ‘in transit’; there’s even a VIN listed.

    Q2 Can you get it on the iPhone and then patch into the GLK? Yes, Q2 plays the stuff you haven’t heard too many times. Wait for the choral music.

  29. HtG Says:

    Q2 trouble. Here’s a link to trouble shooting. You can also write to them.


  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Google seems to come up with only one Volt fire, quite possibly caused by the home brew EV sitting next to the Volt.

  31. HtG Says:

    Q2 tj, I find Q2 on the itunes radio list. Does the iPhone play it?

  32. tj Martin Says:

    # 30

    VOLT fires were reported in NYTimes CAR Autoweek AutoCar etc so maybe Google has deleted the links because of that ………………….. ……………………………………….. blankety blanking cens…….

    Dad burn it what’s the happs ? Every time I try to type out cens… the blinking screen goes blank

    OK that was OTT but do remember the time during 9/11/01 when James Taylors ” Fire & Rain ” was banned by the FCC along with several other songs by the Government that doesn’t exercise its ability to cens………… did it again .

    @ HtG No Q2 in the apps store , but yes the iPhone will play it if I go online . Phooey .

  33. Dave Says:

    No studies or projections needed, electric cars will catch on instantly when they make sense for the average car shopper. They’re smooth, quiet, lower maintenance, better for the environment, all features that people really like. But they need to be less expensive and have greater range, and until that point they will continue to be a fringe player bought only by rich people who either are techies or need a status symbol. You can fancy them up with whatever futuristic packaging you like, but the vast majority of people will buy a realistic people mover that looks pretty much like everything else out there. All we need now is the next new battery technology (hopefully not owned by a big oil company again!) and we’ll be good to go.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The same volt fire, probably caused by the home brew electric Samarai, came up several times using google, twice from AutoWeek. The same incident was covered by the NYT more than once.

  35. Chuck Grenci Says:

    If I had the money I think I’d buy the Converj (ELR) just for the body (looks); I don’t think the propulsion system would make any difference (but I think the Volt ‘innards’ are pretty cool) so it would be a slam dunk for me.

  36. XA351GT Says:

    Okay I know that Buicks and Lincoln both have grilles with vertical bars ,but Buick is now using the Lincoln logo according to the video shown. What’s up with that???

  37. Jonathan Brown Says:


    Always a facinating show! Can’t wait for thursdays’ autoline after hours!

    Do you think the new ford Evos is a precursor to the 2015 ford mustang? or the next fusion sedan coming shortly.. That Evo’s showcar from ford is smokin hot!!! Needs rwd and a 5.0 liter v8 along with a dual clutch transission….and that would be a ford all of us would try and buy…

  38. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As cars are becoming more then just a way to get to point B from A,it reachs far deeper then that.


    I find that article extremely disturbing.

  39. GPL Says:

    Are EV’s worth their price? On a daily basis I see people driving around in all kinds of high to medium dollar metal – Aston Martin, Bently, Ferrari, Lambo, Porsche, MB/AMG, BMW/M, Jaguar, Lexus, Infitity, GT500’s, ZR1’s, CTS-V’s, SRT-8’s, of various flavors…and some of that’s in student parking at the high school (I’m serious), not to mention the kids in the late model 4×4, HD, crew cab, long bed pickups with custom paint, every bolt-on chrome accessory imaginable, massive lift kits, massive wheels/tires, and soot belching from their chipped, propane injected diesel engines through their 6″ pipe tips. How much of their parents’ money do you imagine they dropped on those?

    So if folks want to drop mid 5 to 6 figures for whatever bling or performance turns them on, I’m not going to slight anyone for dropping $40k or more on something that makes their greenie-weenie tingle regardless of whether not it lives up to the hype. Now whether my government gives them my hard earned tax dollars for that privilege is another issue…

    Like others, I can’t find any Volt related fires other than the one that also involved the DIY EV including searching on the NY Times website itself, and the article that I just read regarding the flagging interest in the Volt also notes that GM has cut back on marketing while the plant is shut down for retooling. I’m not saying the Volt is a great car, but I’m not throwing stones.

  40. GPL Says:

    “…the one thing that they cannot duplicate is the wear on the engine caused by starting the car cold, over and over again, which can not be duplicated…”

    Actually, I think it can…by starting an engine in a cold environment over and over. I don’t think that is a particularly difficult condition for the turbo, though, because it usually isn’t on boost on warm-up, and in the case of the Ford engine, they’ve integrated the exhaust manifold into the head to move the turbo closer to the combustion chamber to bring the turbo up to temp faster.

  41. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    All the VOLT fires I read about were due to the charging unit and the battery pack , not another car ( I really am smart enough to suss out the differences you know )

    And yes even the links I had to the articles ( found them this morning ) no longer work .

    Hmmmmn :(



    OK time to drop the bomb and destroy a lot of illusions here ( I know mine were crushed after reading this … much as I suspected it to be the fact )


    Read it and weep gentlemen . I know I did . This’ll put a whole new slant on your views towards magazines , both print and online as to what their REAL purpose is .

    Guaranteed you’ll never look at a review of anything in print or online the same ever again .

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, if there are all of these fires, why doesn’t even one come up in a google search, except the thing in Connecticut which comes up multiple times?

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, if there are all of these fires, why doesn’t even one come up in a google search, except for the Connecticut thing which comes up multiple times?

  44. HtG Says:

    @41. I clicked a link on that blog to read another post, and what did I find, tj? An advert for Curry Chevrolet, the same dealership I went to yesterday to check on Volt inventory. The internet is much worse than simple magazines.(Hi Mr Cheney, oh it’s Mr Fung now? Hey, cool)

  45. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit

    Please take a moment to actually READ post #41 where I stated quite plainly that all the links I had to the articles in question no longer work ( not the first time BTW I’ve seen this ) therefore Googling now non – existent links would of course come up with nada . Thats how Google works . Link dead . Link gone !

  46. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 43

    In my humble opinion its six for one – half a dozen for the other

    My recent experience of having CAR Automobile and Auto Bild have not only the same article word for word but the same cover as well : along with OCTANE and Classic Porsche magazine repeating identical articles , along with the current plethora of Happy Face biased reviews has me on the fence as to who is worse . Print or Online

    Personally , from my pint of view of late , if they’ve got Ads on them they’re probably equally as bad .

  47. tj Martin Says:

    Another story that appeared online that was promptly pulled off which I know first hand was completely accurate because …

    Just before the Ferrari FF was announced there was an article about the Focus Group Ferrari had put together to get opinions on their next concept which everyone else but this one article assumed was the FF .

    All the subsequent articles stated honestly that the over all reaction to the concept was extremely negative .

    But only one said what the Actual concept was .

    The Jeep Grand Cherokee based Ferrari SUV

    Three days later , link and article … gone !

  48. HtG Says:

    I just read something interesting, if you’re tj or McElroy. In Niki Lauda’s book on GP driving, he says one way to correct oversteer is to quickly stab the throttle. Now, which driver was known to skip his car around turns, just on the limit? That’s right, Senna. So tj, do you think this is what he was doing as a style? Anyone else do this?

  49. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Senna was the all time pro at left foot braking , eg balancing the throttle and the brakes thru any given turn to counteract over or understeer .

    To get a real sense of Senna’s style , go to YouTube and search for the video of Senna testing the Acura/Honda NSX with a split screen showing the view out the front and a camera on his feet dancing on the pedals . You’ll see the dance and what he’s doing as well as why .

    FYI once you get your head around this technique IT WORKS like nobodies business . Best place to learn it ( like all driving technique except shifting ) is in a non shift GoKart . Which is exactly where Aryton refined this technique


    To all of you . This Is a very ADVANCED driving technique , not to be attempted in a Road Car on public streets and highways until it is absolutely mastered .

    Mess this technique up even a little and the results can be devastating .

  50. HtG Says:

    Yep, I’ve seen the NSX clip. The one with the white socks. (Nerd!…NOT!) Is this how AS was said to be driving the car over the limit? Is he bouncing the weight of the car onto the tires to increase their potential grip? I’ll have to try it out tonight. Thanks tj!

  51. tj Martin Says:

    # HtG


    Yes this was the key to Senna’s speed thru the turns and his Franz Klammer like , constantly seeming to be on the brink of disaster as viewed from the outside . That very fine line balance of the throttle and the brakes in combination

    But please HtG DO heed my warning . The ONLY racing techniques I know that can get you into even more trouble than the Senna left Foot braking are the Rally techniques of Hand Brake Turns and the Scandinavian Flick , both of which I’ll no longer teach unless A) The student in question is a very advanced driver and B) He/she is willing to spend an entire day perfecting them .

  52. HtG Says:

    I was just kidding, tj. Did I retell Vic Elford’s story about learning to handbrake turn a 911 for Porsche? He said, you come foot braking into the turn a little sideways to increase stopping force, then pull the handbrake to swing the car around. Four wrecked cars later, you’ve got it!

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Seen 2 Fiat 500 in past 2 days, a new Fiat dealer just opened up locally, I had no idea area people were so car illiterate, both were driven by young women, honestly, car looks worse in person than in photos.