Episode 723 – More Frankfurt Reveals, Redesigned Mustang in 2014, Toyota Resumes Production

September 14th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 7:40

More reveals from the Frankfurt Motor Show. We take a look at two-seat EV concepts unveiled by Opel and Audi. Ford’s Chief Creative Officer, J Mays, says the company plans to introduce a redesigned version of the Mustang in 2014. Toyota’s North American production has fully resumed. All that and more, plus guest host, Peter De Lorenzo, shares his thoughts on Porsche’s 7th generation 911.

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It’s Wednesday, hump day, September 14, 2011. Welcome to another installment of Autoline Daily. I’m the one and only Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo (like you didn’t know that) bringing you the latest news from the Frankfurt Motor Show, and beyond.

Kicking things off today, Opel revealed a funky looking EV concept called the RAK e. The two-seater is made from light-weight materials and only weighs about 840 pounds. To save money, the body is made out of conventional synthetic materials rather than expensive composites. This means it’s also recyclable. The front seat, steering column and armrests automatically tip forward to enable easy entry, which is a feature that can be controlled remotely with a smart phone. The RAK e can travel up to 61 miles on a single charge and can reach 75 MPH in 13 seconds.

In similar two-seat, slow-mo-accelerating news, Audi unveiled a soapbox racer in Frankfurt . . . well, not exactly. Called the Urban concept, it’s an open-air vehicle with wide-set wheels and exposed suspension parts, just like an Indy car. Unlike the Opel, its boxy body is made from carbon-fiber reinforced plastic to keep weight down. Also, it has no doors. You have to step over the sides to get in, just like you would a bathtub. It tips the scales at just 480 kilograms, all-in, a little more than 1,000 pounds. Electric propulsion is all the rage these days and the Urban Concept is a part of that fad. It’s powered by a pair of rear-mounted motors and a 7.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. Zero to 100 kilometers an hour should take around 17 seconds. That’s nearly as long as it takes our colleague Scott Burgess to eat a cheeseburger!

Unlike the dark ages when Daimler and Chrysler were together, Fiat and Chrysler are actually sharing. The Wall Street Journal reports the Pentastar Company will build a Maserati SUV in Detroit at its Jefferson North plant. The “Sergio Edition” of the Grand Cherokee, otherwise known as the Maserati Kubang concept, which was revealed in Frankfurt yesterday, will share the same architecture as the big Jeep and Dodge Durango. However, it will have unique styling and a Ferrari engine! Or so they say. Expect the sticker price to be north of 100 grand.

Surprisingly, a little Ford Mustang news came out of Germany this week. According to the Detroit Free Press, VP and Chief Creative officer, J Mays, told reporters they plan to introduce a redesigned version for the 2014 model year to commemorate the iconic pony car’s 50th birthday. Take a long, hard look at the new Ford Evos concept from the A-pillar back. A hint of the new Mustang profile? We shall see.

Toyota has fully resumed production in North America. The company’s production was slowed due to the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March and the ensuing supplier issues. Toyota says with its Japan-based production at normal levels it will focus on replenishing its dealers’ lots through overtime and Saturday shifts. And because of the good news, the company raised its production estimates by 15 percent for the fourth quarter.

CAR SALES UP IN BRAZIL (subscription required)
The Brazilian auto market continues to grow. According to Ward’s, through August of this year, passenger vehicle sales are up 7.5 percent to over 2.2 million units. Commercial truck sales are up over 16 percent as well. Analysts expect the trend to continue, they predict passenger-vehicle sales will hit 3.5 million units by the end of the year in Brazil.

Coming up next, a look at the seventh-generation Porsche 911.

This week Porsche unveils the seventh generation of its iconic 911 sports car at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Longer, lower, lighter and more efficient, the new 911 is unflinchingly evolutionary, a continuation of all of the traits, characteristics and yes, even some of the quirks that enthusiasts find so endearing and can’t seem to get enough of.

Interestingly enough, Porsche is far from the same company that existed even five years ago, let alone the one envisioned by Ferry Porsche in the early ’50s. After all, we are now talking about an automaker that’s targeting sales of 100,000 sports cars, sedans and SUVs by the end of this year, in case any romantic notions of “the little car company that could” still existed out there. Porsche’s radical transformation was fueled by the company’s shrewdly calculated move to exploit new segments and opportunities, despite purist protestations to the contrary (mine included), and it has paid off handsomely.

But in its quest for profitability, Porsche has created a brave new world for itself consisting of two drastically different hemispheres.

One has the Cayenne SUV and the Panamera, seemingly incongruous miscreants that operate outside of the historical Porsche mission of light, purposeful, responsive and innovative sports cars that have been the hallmark of the company since day one.

The other has the quintessential Porsche, the 911, as well as the Boxster and Cayman, each very true to the sports car mission that established the Porsche name as a calling card for motoring desirability around the world.

Make no mistake; Porsche has done a superb job in appeasing the hard-core faithful with a string of lusciously desirable sports cars that ring true to the Porsche mission, while energizing the consumerist hordes hungry for their next fix of brand adrenalin with an SUV and four-door that still march to the different drummer that defines Porsche. At least enough, anyway.

Porsche’s attempt at mollifying these groups while keeping its prodigious profit stream flowing unabated is a delicate dance. And as long as they can keep the fragile balance between the consumerists and the True Believers in play, then Porsche’s scintillating run of success looks like it will be in place for many years to come.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for today, and conveniently, the end of today’s show. Before I sign off, just a friendly reminder to check out Autoline After Hours tomorrow night. John’s still out so I’ll be the bus driver this week, hopefully keeping things on the straight and narrow, or at the very least, out of the ditch. James Tiberius Hall, captain of the USS 2953 Analytics will also be on the show as will Sharon Terlep of the Wall Street Journal. Check it out, AAH starts tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on our website, Autoline.tv.

And that’s a wrap, folks. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you tomorrow.

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29 Comments to “Episode 723 – More Frankfurt Reveals, Redesigned Mustang in 2014, Toyota Resumes Production”

  1. Dan Clemons Says:

    Thanks Peter!! I would own a Porsche if they were not so costly to maintain. Nice car with plenty of get up and go. $12,000 for a brake job is a bit much.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    From a Daimler to a Chrysler now a Maserati, that is one flexible platform.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    How many quirky urban electric ‘exercises’ does the world need. I know that some of the manufacturers are experimenting with new technologies (but perhaps they need to keep these in-house) as they most certainly won’t make production and don’t really show any prowess apart from other makers or where they are going in the immediate future.

  4. Jon M Says:

    We can only hope and pray Ford designers don’t follow in the retro design theme–one I call a lack of creativity under the pretext of retro design–with the next generation Mustang. Remember the pitiful Pinto stalemate Mustangs from ’74-78? Yeah, I’m trying not to remember either them, but I’ll laugh myself to death if they continue with that “retro” (i.e., uncreative) design style. I’m sure Ford won’t; after all, hasn’t Ford had enough time to hire designers with original ideas? And if the new design is good enough, maybe GM and Chrysler will again follow up with me-too designs of their born again pony cars.

  5. MJB Says:

    I’m liking that Audi Urban.

  6. dcars Says:

    I think it would be cool to own an out-dated 911 or 928; but then i’d like a new Vette too!
    I guess I can dream.

  7. HtG Says:

    Here’s my advice for Zuffenhausen; 2000lbs, 200hp 4 cylinder mid-engine boxer, convertible, 185 width tires, 6sp, 30,000 dollars, in white.

  8. HtG Says:

    Did anyone else get the emailer from Chevy, yesterday? I received a Private Offer, not available to the general public; 1500 dollars off a 2011 or 12 Chevy, and 3000 off a Vette. They instruct me to make a deal for a car using any available public incentives, then whip out my paper from GM. The offer covers the other GM makes as well, and can be transferred to anyone else in my household. My guess is I got on this list when I filled out a questionnaire at the Chevy booth at a recent ALMS event.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The retro styling on Mustang seems to work, but I agree, it would be nice to move on, if they get it right. The trouble is, they might end up with something that has the nose of a Focus and the rear end of a Taurus, or something similar. I’d rather have the retro styling.

  10. HtG Says:

    Does anyone remember the last time Porsche won anything in motorsport? Being in a Steve McQueen movie does count.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Porsche has some endurance events recently, Daytona Prototype in 2010. I think they won a class at Sebring fairly recently. They have not been in “big time” racing like F1 for many years.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #11 should be “Porsche has WON some endurance events recently….”

  13. Chuck Says:

    Porsches have won about 30,000 races by now. They just won 2 Classes in the last ALMS race Sept 03 and will more than likely win their class in the next Grand-Am race this Saturday at Mid-Ohio. The $12,000 brake job is for Carbon/Ceramic brake sets – $2500 covers the average full set with steel rotors and yeah that’s a lot of money, too!

  14. QuietStormX Says:

    When I heard that Ford is updating the Mustang in three years, I said wow. But then I said what is expected of ford for this Mustang update? Will they get rid of that old tech in the solid rear axel or redesign the Mustang like what GM has done with the hugely selling Camaro amd styling and power??? Or ill they be cheap and old tech again like the Mustang now.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and the NASCAR Panamera is on schedule for its debut in the 2013 Daytona 500. The official announcement is pending.

  16. cwolf Says:

    Like many of you,I’d like to have a used porsche 911 or preferably a boxster in my driveway after retirement. And a good way to stay on my wifes good side; It’s gotta be worth a ton of back scratches!
    God!,I sure hope the future Mustang does’nt have that look that mirrors soooo many others! Remodel at will, but please keep that Mustang look we have become acustom to,just like Porsche has.
    I am yet to be sold on anything EV,but the Audi Urban looks really cool!

  17. HtG Says:

    That retirement boxster might turn into a nightmare, cwolf. Type ‘boxster sucks’ into your browser, and think kabloohy thoughts. night night

  18. cwolf Says:

    I’ve heard the same,Kit,many times. It’s the look of the thing that has my heart.In the end my common sense wins over passion. But still….?

  19. cwolf Says:

    Ya know Kit, I’m a real sucker for two seaters since owning my MGC. I have always wanted an Austin Healey MK III. And like both cars, both require vigilant maint. which,for me, was half the fun of ownership. A two seater or a Mustang GT is in my future!

  20. HtG Says:

    Indeed cwolf, there’s a reason I know a bit about used Boxsters, and why I went with the Miata in the end. Those pre-2000 Boxsters are going for ~10K likely because of the word on the street. When the lump goes kabloohy it’s 20K to replace. Otherwise, I may not have been able to resist(this of course ignores the realities of regular servicing on a Porsche).

  21. cwolf Says:

    I don’t want to scare anyone away,but being a UAW member the ongoing negotiations are an interest. As you may know extensions have been agreed to for another 45 days for some and as long as “when ever.” “Bull Poop”ruhmor is rampant,but if I can sive carefully,I sense a slight adjustment to the tier2 hire wage being discussed and the 30% of the work force labeled as “Temporary” used in foreign plants may be intertwined. If the temp workers were to gain “full hire”status at the new wage,this could encourage the REAL workforce,by example, that the UAW is also a better option for them. And of course tier2 UAW workers. Once under GM,I am now a supplier to them and others as a tradesman. I expect to take a hit in wages. How much, I don’t know. For now I have to trust that my reps and Cindy Estrada don’t sell me too short. Logic,bebates and skillfull posturing has always been an underlying passion of mine, so let the negotiations go on!

  22. cwolf Says:

    HtG, I think I told you in the past that I too liked the Miata. Not my first choice if money was no object,yet a good affordable car that would be a welcome. Ahhh…this little beauty has a few reported flaws of her own,but again something I could live with.

  23. Phoenix Mark Says:

    I really liked where the Mustang evolution was going, until Ford cut the back corners off their latest refresh. The problem with redesigning an icon is that you have to be true to the original and be new at the same time. I give Porsche credit with the 911 over the years. Ford don’t screw it up.

  24. XA351GT Says:

    I for one love the retro stangs. You get a car WITH styling not a computer generated jelly bean. Ford did so well with it it spawned 2 imitators just like nearly 50 years ago.

    Jon M you may scoff at the Mustang II but it sold in huge numbers. nearly as well as the 65.I love the current Mustang from the front ,but they screwed up the tail rounding it off.

  25. Jesse W. Henry Says:

    Does anyone else think that Audi concept has a modern Prowler look to it?

    I also like the retro Mustang look and have no problem with them continuing to evolve it like Porche does with the 911. Last rumor I heard the 2013 will get a minor refresh with the rear end squared back off and the front having a smaller grill opening similar to the Shelby.

  26. cwolf Says:

    After reading the favorable comments about the redesign Mustang,I thought it deserved a second look. Yep, does’nt look like a REAL mustang and it sucks even more than the first time I saw it!

  27. RonE Says:

    Re: Early Boxters. I read some time ago where Porsche replaced the “Check Engine” light with “Change Engine.”

  28. AZCarnut Says:

    I’ve have a 2009 Challenger and a 2011 Mustang both are V6 and I love them both for styling reasons, milage, comfort and handling.

  29. rick james Says:

    land rover evoque looks exactly like new ford explorer or baby brother to new explorer and thats the high octane unvarnished truth