November 11th, 2011 at 12:00pm
Chinese automakers are borrowing a military strategy from Mao Tse-tung called “Encircling the City from the Countryside.” Honda and Mitsubishi revealed several vehicles they will show at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Audi will no longer offer manual transmissions on its S4 and S5 models in Europe. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week about issues facing car dealers in the U.S.
This is Autoline Daily for November 11th, also known as Veterans Day, or if you’re old enough, Armistice Day, celebrating the end of World War I.
ENCIRCLING THE CITY FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE
And speaking of war, a report in the China Car Times says that Chinese automakers are borrowing a military strategy from Mao Tse-tung called “Encircling the City from the Countryside.” It’s all about how Chinese automakers who export are trying to encircle the developed Western markets by first getting into undeveloped countries, then semi-developed countries, until they’re ready to take on the developed countries. China is doing this by putting assembly plants in those developing countries, and by acquiring Western automakers like Volvo. Most Chinese exports now go to the Middle East and South America with cars priced less than $5,000. Chery, Changan and Great Wall are the biggest automotive exporters from China.
MORE TOKYO CONCEPTS REVEALED
Earlier in the week we showed you concepts from Suzuki and Nissan that will debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. Today we’ve got some more. Honda will have three vehicle concepts at the show. The AC-X is a plug-in hybrid that gives the driver a choice to have it perform aggressively or relaxed. Another one is an EV sports model tentatively called the Small Sports EV Concept. And lastly Honda will show a funky looking micro car designed for urban driving called the Micro Commuter Concept.
Mitsubishi also is showing off two vehicles in Tokyo. The Mirage is a compact vehicle designed to be sold in emerging and advanced markets. It’s powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder and mated to a CVT and the company hopes it will deliver 30 kilometers per liter or about 70 MPG. It will go on sale in Thailand starting next March. The PX-MiEV Concept is a midsize plug-in. It’s powered by the EV technology that’s in its i-MiEV plus a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It can travel over 50 kilometers in electric mode and 800 kilometers or nearly 500 miles combined with the engine.
SUMITOMO DEVELOPS CHEAPER BATTERY
Speaking of electrics, Japanese supplier Sumitomo says it has developed a cheaper alternative to lithium-ion batteries with a sodium-ion battery. It contains liquefied salt which helps cut the costs, and it’s also safer because it’s noncombustible. Sumitomo plans to start producing the batteries in 2015.
AUTOLINE LIVE FROM L.A.
Make sure to mark your calendar for next Wednesday when we’ll take you on a walking tour of the LA Auto Show. We’ll be using LiveU technology to bring you the latest cars as well as interviews with Mark Reuss from GM, Derrick Kuzak from Ford, Jim O’Sullivan from Mazda, Ben Poole from Infiniti, Michael Barstch from Porshe and John Krafcik from Hyundai. That’s next Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
NO MANUAL FOR S4 & S5 DRIVERS IN EUROPE
This next story is a hard pill to swallow. Audi will no longer offer manual transmissions on its S4 and S5 models in Europe. But in a weird twist of fate, Audi will offer manuals in the American market. That’s because in the American market, a true performance car has to be offered with an optional manual to have real street cred. Europeans have traditionally rejected automatic transmissions, viewing them as heavier, and less fuel efficient. But this move by Audi to drop manuals in the S4 and S5 shows how Europeans are fully embracing dual-clutch transmissions.
UAW FIGHTS WORKERS
From Autoline Daily’s Paradox Department we have a story about the UAW fighting WITH workers rather than FOR them. The Detroit News reports the union is squabbling with its clerical and janitorial employees over concessions. Turns out they’re represented by a different labor organization, the Office Professional Employees International Union. The UAW is insisting on layoffs but the workers are having none of it. They’re actually picketing Solidarity House! Hit the link in our show notes at Autoline.tv for all the gory details.
Car dealers across the country are starting to get sick and tired of car companies telling them to spend millions to spiff up their dealerships. More on that right after this.
AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
The National Auto Dealers Association in the U.S. is funding a study to determine whether all these factory programs forcing them to spiff up their dealerships is really worth it. My guest on Autoline This Week is Steve Wade, the chairman of the NADA, and this is a hot topic with him.
You can watch that entire interview right now at our website Autoline.tv. Also joining me on that program are Steve Finlay from Ward’s Auto Dealer and Jeff Bennett from the Wall Street Journal.
With an update of all the automotive news you DON’T need to know, here’s RoundAbout host Craig Cole over at RoAb HQ.
On tonight’s show we’ll take a look at Uganda’s first plug-in EV . . . that’s right, I said “Uganda.” Plus, have you ever seen a 230-ton Airbus stop and hover in midair? You will tonight. Also, in our Blind Spot story of the week we’ll discuss whether free speech extends to the stickers on your car. All that and waaay more at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.TV.
That wraps up this show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you on Monday.