Episode 772 – Sales Drop in China, Ford Adds New Powertrains in China, Camaro ZL1 Aerodynamics

November 21st, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 9:15

Car sales in China have been slowing all year and now the drop in sales is even hitting the luxury segment. But even with the slow down, China is still the biggest market in the world and that’s why Ford just announced plans to introduce 20 new engines and transmissions in the country. GM is considering a simple midsize work truck for the U.S. All that and more, plus a look at how Chevy makes the ZL1 Camaro slice through the wind.

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 November 21, and there sure is a lot going on in the news.

We’ve been reporting for some time that car sales are slowing in China. They’re still up 6 percent this year, which most countries would love to see, but that’s down considerably from China’s formerly torrid pace. Next year, analysts and executives say sales will slow more due to the end of some incentives and tighter credit control. But here’s where the real news is. The drop in sales is even hitting the luxury segment. Gasgoo reports that luxury sales have been slowing since September. In Shanghai, which is a bellwether for the rest of the country, registrations were down over 40 percent in October compared to September. Beijing also saw a similar decrease. The drop in luxury sales is attributed to small private businesses falling on harder times.

But even if it’s slowing down, China is still the biggest market in the world and that’s a key reason why Ford just announced plans to introduce 20 new engines and transmissions in China by 2015. The technology, which includes EcoBoost, will end up in 15 new vehicles. Direct injection, twin-independent variable camshaft timing and dual-clutch transmissions are also on the menu. Add it all up, and these advancements should deliver around a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

GM CONSIDERS MID-SIZE TRUCK FOR U.S. (subscription required)
And yet, while Ford is giving up on selling its Ranger midsize pickup in the American market, GM believes it can make a business case for that segment. Ward’s reports that GM sees a need for a simple midsize pickup that offers the best 10-year cost of ownership in the segment. It quotes Mark Reuss as saying GM would offer a truck with a smaller engine, perhaps with e-assist and maybe one that could run on alternate fuels. The idea is to come out with a work truck and that’s why Reuss says they would not go after the Toyota Tacoma, which offers lots of accessories and is a life-style oriented truck.

CAR SALES PICK UP IN U.S. (subscription required)
While sales are slowing down in China, they’re gaining momentum in the US. Last week we reported that GM’s sales chief in the U.S. expects this month’s selling rate to come in around 14 million units, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Now Ward’s says, the November’s sales rate for light-passenger vehicles could hit a 13.7 million SAAR. That does not include the heavies. Automakers in the U.S. are expected to sell 1 million vehicles this month, which is over a 10 percent increase compared to last year. More inventory, more fleet sales and year-end incentives should help the SAAR reach its highest total since cash-for-clunkers.

Former General Motors chairman John Smale passed away at the age of 84. He was also the former chairman of Proctor & Gamble and was the one who pushed GM to adopt brand marketing to sell its cars much like P&G sells consumer products. Under this strategy, GM unleashed a myriad of models, aiming for every conceivable consumer segment. But it turned out not even General Motors could afford to tool up and properly advertize so many models from so many brands, and it was one of the many strategies that ultimately forced General Motors into bankruptcy.

The spat between Volkswagen and Suzuki is only getting worse. Some reports say that Suzuki has terminated its two-year relationship with VW, but VW is having none of it. According to Bloomberg, Volkswagen won’t sell its shares in Suzuki! It owns about 20 percent of the company. Martin Winterkorn, Vee Dub’s CEO, is quoted as saying they’re in it for the long haul and will merely wait until a new generation of Suzuki management takes the reins because maybe they will want to cooperate. German stubbornness at its best!

Coming up next, a look at how Chevy makes the ZL1 Camaro slice through the wind.

Horsepower is one way to get a car to go faster. But if you can make a car more aerodynamic you can do the same thing. The trick is to make it do that and stick to the road. Here’s what GM did with the aerodynamics of the Camaro ZL1.

I think aerodynamics will become even more important later this decade as automakers struggle to meet fuel-economy standards. And I think there’s a lot more that can be achieved with active aero, where parts of the body adapt to the aerodynamic load.

If you like Autoline Daily, don’t forget that you can sign up on our subscription list so that you get all our updates delivered right to your email box. Just look on our website at Autoline.tv for the box that shows how you can sign up for free.

And that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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


64 Comments to “Episode 772 – Sales Drop in China, Ford Adds New Powertrains in China, Camaro ZL1 Aerodynamics”

  1. tj Martin Says:


    Think I’ll go on a vacation

    Oh wait ! I already am


  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Good show today.

    And kudos to Tony Stewart (best NASCAR race I’ve seen in years). And what a super reaction Carl Edwards expressed (in coming up just a little bit short).

    ZL1 and the Mustang; this is getting good, Go Camaro…….

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Smart idea not to go after the Tacoma, what with the reputation of the latter and the crappy record of the now discontinued Canyon and Colorado, GM should go down-market and keep prices affordable.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ I suggest that if you want to get more car news than you can handle, check in with TTAC.

  5. HtG Says:

    Aero. That was a cool piece from GM. Maybe one reason the Mustang people backed down from the GM challenge is that they know their car gets a little lifty at high speeds.

    Anyone seen the new Camry’s on the road? You can see aero shapes at the front and rear. The rear end is squared off on the sides and top, letting air release from the car. At the front there’s an obvious spoiler, and also a rubber liner occluding the air gap between the hood and nose. Any chance NASCAR nation will think this stuff is cool?

  6. HtG Says:

    So you’re on vacay, tj? Bored? Still not mimosa time out in the big middle? Maybe this will get you out of bed. Adam Carolla cracks up a Singer Porsche.

  7. Jon M Says:

    In reality, GM wouldn’t go after the Toyota Tacoma because they can’t. The Tacoma is a rock solid work or lifestyle truck, and better than anything comparable that GM ever has or ever could build.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    #7 but, but we keep reading everywhere that Detroit now makes stuff as good as anything out there, don’t you believe what you read?

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Did they throw away the tooling for the S-10? If not, they should build some more of them. The Colorado never sold as well, because it cost more, and probably wasn’t as good.

  10. tj Martin Says:


    Oh but how lax of me to walk away for the week without at least leaving you with one bit of news and insight . Hmmn . Maybe two

    First off my favorite Stronzetto is now announcing FIAT will be unable to complete the purchase of Chrysler in the next two years

    Anyone surprised by this , the Automotive News for Beginners class starts up in 2012

    May I suggest , since we’re ( US Tax Payers ) in a position to do this , that we call in our ( ahem ) loan to FIAT and take that money we’ve been piddling down that Black Hole , otherwise known as E/V’s and Alternative Energy ( Obama is batting zero so far on those bets ) tell Marchionne to keep his FIATs that no one with an ounce of sense wants , and reinvest that money into Chrysler/JEEP getting them back on track as well as jobs in the US

    MERCEDES BENZ insider bit ;

    It looks , if the little birdie that told me this from MBUSA is correct , like at least one of the B-Class models that’ll be coming to America will in fact be built in the US .


    I’d like to see the wind tunnel stats ( with and without ) on the so called Aero Improvements on the Camaro by an Independent tester as more often than not , what looks more aerodynamic usually is in fact much less .


    Speaking of Chrysler/JEEP the Wrangler has now been designated as the car with best resale value

    Year after year JEEP keeps plugging the thing out , with less and less reliability each and every model : yet folks keep a buyin them both new and used

    Automotive proof that P.T. Barnum was spot on correct

    You want to know why JEEP does nothing to increase the Wranglers reliability ? Why should they spend the money when folks keep buying them as is .

    Hmmn . Just when I thought the American Consumer might be wising up a bit , not buying the 500 and all … and now this

    Hopeless .

    @ pedro – I wasn’t commenting on ALD but rather the state of todays news or lack thereof

    Happy T Day all . Don’t take any wooden nickels and for goodness sake don’t buy an E/V 500 etc etc etc

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Did anyone catch JLow”s (not a misspell) oh so subtle Fiat 500 product placement on the phony music “award” show last night? It was enough to turn off, but I didn’t want to miss her “performance”

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Motorweek gave a glowing review of the new Jeep Wrangler, but then again they gave a glowing review of the Oscar Meyer Weinymobile too.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    #9 Yes, Kit how is it possible to mess that up, they went from a pretty decent reliable small truck to a larger under-performing, unreliable one. It’s mind boggling! Good question buI believe they ship those tooling presses to other countries to make cars over there.

  14. bob e K Says:

    # 7 try an American Vehicle, you may be surprised how GOOD they are….GMC/Chevy Ford or Ram are great trucks….as good or better than any of the competition….

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems like a lot of people just like Wranglers, never mind that they never take them any farther off road than their lawn. I probably know as many Wrangler owners as people with any other single car model, and they all like them, never mind the noise, bad ride, bad gas mileage, and suspect reliability. It’s a Jeep thing, but I don’t quite understand, except for the handful of people who actually drive them off-road.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Do you really want to take a $30k new vehicle off-road like that? I don’t give a crap what it was intended for, the couple of guys I know who like to off-road, use old Jeep beaters for that purpose and they take a lot of abuse, Kit: off topic I was looking at the Route 66 map in New Mex. and there are areas where the road just seems to disappear and you have to bypass it using I-40 I wonder if it’s even possible to take the abandoned portion and it won’t take you to a dean end?

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A little checking reveals that the S10 is still made in Brazil, and sold with 2 engines, a 2.4 liter gas, and 2.8 liter diesel.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve heard that it’s possible to find, and drive on parts of the abandoned Route 66, but it’s hard to find, and you might need an old Wrangler or something like that.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The one “hard core” off-roader I know in Indiana likes old Jeep CJ’s. He also has a Suzuki Samarai or two.

  20. W L Simpson Says:

    Fullsize trucks are bloated. My car club buddy’s
    Ford diesel RV 5th wheeler is a lot more semi than pickup.Handles that way, too.

  21. tj Martin Says:

    #16 & 19

    All the ‘ Hard Core ‘ and ‘ Overlander’ ( google Overland Journal for a definition ) off roader’s I know use Toyota’s ( everything from original very modified FJ’s to the newest ) with the occasional Land Rover Defender or Range Rover ( older ) but highly highly modified ( more for reliability than anything ; Step 1 remove all electronic accessories ) as well as the again highly modified JEEP ( most newer /some classic ) wrangler .

  22. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    Check this out if you’re serious about following Route 66

    The maps and GPS stuff is a bit lacking in details and drivable routes


    There’s several other guides , some better , some worse available as well , but it is doable

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The guy I’m talking about just likes to “play” off-road in mud and hilly terrain. He doesn’t even have some of the vehicles plated; he tows them to where he drives them.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW I love the morons who install a high air intake tube as if they’re gonna cross some 4 ft deep creek or river and never even go off-road.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    #18 See that would really be an adventure, not driving on the Route 66 replacement, the I 40 with its occasional deviations into the “business loop” old 66 and some still-standing structures.

  26. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Kit #9

    Your spot-on; GM had a winner with the S-10 (it was getting better and better and was already very good) but they got snookered by Dodge and were fooled into making a midsize instead of keeping the faith with the smaller pickup. The S-10′s were just as good as the Toyotas (of the day) but GM dropped the ball with the redesign of the Colorado. A better distinction between full size and small pickup needed to be maintained.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    There was a documentary on PBS a few yrs back with Martin Milner driving a vintage Vette like the one they used on that show, but he stayed in teh well paved and maintained portions of the “mother road”, I would love to travel the original one with all its imperfections and all, but you need an off-road vehicle for that

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    #22 TJ, that is the way to go, using that book, the online info is spotty and not well organized, like they say you get what you pay for and when you pay nothing, well………………

  29. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Mother road should be on every driving enthusiast’s bucket list.

  30. shan Says:

    I have always wanted a new Jeep Wrangler, but the practical side of me knows they still ride like crap on the highway are still noisy.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    I read somewhere that Jeep Wranglers have a high resale value, go figure!

  32. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ TJMartin:The people that continue to buy the JK’s don’t want to hear about the ‘common sense’ of NOT buying into the garbage that jeep keeps pouring out.A year ago I dropped out of the several wrangler jk forums that I belonged too.I just couldn’t stand to see all of the recalls for the jk’s and the owners just sayin’,”oh well…it’s a jeep thing”.Can you believe that??
    Talk about lemmings going to their death….
    I was ostracized for pointing this out.As the saying goes,”a fool and his money….”

  33. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    ” I read somewhere that Jeep Wranglers have a high resale value, go figure! ”

    Could that of possibly been post #10 or alternatively the Jalopnik site this morning ?

    Hmmmn ;-)

    Here’s another Route 66 book . Bit more out of date and not quite as detailed , but a much more interesting read


  34. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I am not brand loyal,so when shopping for a truck I bought a 2011 Z71 Silverado as most of you know.Next month will be one year with ZERO complaints/problems/or recalls,AND it’s cheaper then a JK.Hwy mileage is at 24+ @ 65mph on cruise.

  35. tj Martin Says:

    @ G.A

    Multi grazie . I knew somebody here was a former JEEP owner

    Shame on me for forgetting who :(

  36. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ TJ Martin: Yup that would be me ;}> The quality on the JK’s is nothing short of deplorable.Inside,or underneath,just a real POS.I had been hoping that Ford would have aquired them but it just wasn’t in the stars.Goodbye Jeep,it looks like we will never be together again.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    KBB’s “Best Resale Value Awards.”

    1) Wrangler
    2) FJ Cruiser
    3) Tacoma
    4) Hyundai Tuscon
    5) Audi Q7

    The only car on the list was Chevy Camaro at #10.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    #38 Actually I read it on TTAC Thanks for the book info, I am really thinking of doing this, wife says no way for her, she can stay with mommy in the meantime, I just need to figure out where I’m gonna start, and how far off the beaten path I wanna go.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    G.A. #34,
    What engine does your Silverado have, a 5.3?

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    I guess Jeep and Land Rover owners have more in common than just their passion for 4 wheeling, they both enjoy the aggravation of owning unreliable vehicles.

  41. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    Get especially the second book ( for her ) and let the wife have a good read . I’ll bet she’ll have a change of heart once she does . Lots of good stuff still on 66 w/ restaurants hotel/motels etc . Mrs Tj thought the section we did was a hoot !


    Yeah aint that a kick in the pants ? Buy a car w/decent MPG and watch the value fall into the toilet . Buy a pretty lousy MPG rough riding , poor handling ( FJ & Wrangler ) SUV though and it’ll be worth a bundle .

    Go figure . The logic of illogic

    @ G.A. – Yeah and a big thank you for putting the final nail in the coffin of my considering buying a Wrangler back then . I was already convinced by my research not to , but your horror stories sealed the deal

  42. Kate McLeod Says:

    Sadly, General Motors forgot what business they were in during the “brand” days. They only talked about brand. I don’t remember ever having a conversation about cars.

  43. tj Martin Says:


    My favorite Land/Range Rover quote .

    From a C&D comparison test between the Discovery / 4Runner/ Grand Cherokee , back when their reviews were objective and reliable

    ” The Land Rover Discovery is a great vehicle for getting you there , but don’t bet on it being able to get you back ”

    Suffice it to say I bought the 4Runner . Ordered it with the exact options they recommended as well . It was a winner and that combination later became the 4Runner Sport Package . Back when Toyota still listened as well . Old ‘ Odie ‘ ( 98 4Runner ) was one truly great car/truck I regret ever selling .

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    #5 Q7, wow I would have never picked that one, Tj wife is more of posh accommodations and leisurely travel, not the “adventure of roughing” it a bit. I will be most likely going with my son if I can convince him its worth the trip.

  45. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Yes,it’s the 5.3L with AFM,(Active Fuel Management).I installed a nice tonneau cover,cat-back dual exhaust,(flowmaster 40 series)and a Volant cold air system.Besides the obvious performance improvements,my chebby truck sounds even better then it looks….and it looks damn fine.No performance chips/programmers.It runs just fine with the breathing improvements.Oh yeah,it is a Z71 4X4,regular cab,VICTORY Red.

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    In general, Toyota pickups and hence 4 Runners are indestructible, not to mention Land Cruisers, that is one iconic mark that Toyota has just about abandoned. The FJ should have been the new Land Cruiser.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    My sister had an “old” Land Cruiser for a while, just because they were cool. It had a near-clone of a Chevy “stove bolt” six. Somehow, the Land Cruiser has turned into a $60-70K luxury tank.

  48. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    Get the second book and think 50′s kitsch , not roughing it , and then see what she thinks

  49. tj Martin Says:


    A bit of irony . Here I am discussing off roading and introducing you guys to Overlanding and what arrives in my inbox ?

    An email from the folks at OJ ( i know a couple of them ) asking if I wanted to sign up for the impending Iceland Volcano expedition

    Seems Katla ( the bigger Volcano that Eyjafallajokull traditionally sets off after its erupted ) has been a big bad Troll of late ; setting off 300 earthquakes in October alone and all guesses are its on the verge of going BOOM !

    Well I had to miss out on Eyjafjallajokul due to dealing with the inlaws long term care and it would give me a chance to hook up with some ‘ associates ‘ I haven’t seen in awhile ( go for it HtG . Your puzzle for the week )

    So the Mrs said yes and I gave them the big two thumbs up

    Now its a wait and see game .

    Thing is if Katla goes BOOM it’ll make the last one look like a smoke bomb at an OWS rally . Imagine what that’ll do to the current situation

    Hang on gentlemen .

  50. tj Martin Says:

    # 47

    You think the Toyota Land Cruiser’s become a Luxo Tank , have a gander at its Lexus LX sibling .

    Porky Pig on steroids

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There’s a list of Route 66 books, DVD’s, and other stuff at:

    I guessed low on the price of the current Land Cruiser. It goes from about $70K to near $80K. I bet not many people go rock crawling with those, not that they would be very good for that.

  52. cwolf Says:

    I agree. The s-10 was a lot better than the Colorado. The S-10 was a rust-bucket, but they ran well no matter how it was treated. The S-10 and early Ranger were just the right size small truck. I wish I could understand why a perfectly sized vehicle keeps getting bigger and bigger. I’m not crazy about the sail panels located on each side of the rear window….YUCK!!

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The early S-10 seemed to be especially rust prone, but the 94 and later ones not too bad. They used the 2.2 four and the 4.3 V-6 in the later ones. Both were good engines.

    If Chevy comes out with another smaller truck, I hope it is actually smaller. The current Tacoma is big, about 75 inches wide. That’s not very small.

  54. cwolf Says:

    Your comments of off-road vehicles made me think of a truck my family inherited. It was an International Scout;about a “67 ish. It was used in a quarry and on road construction for sveral years. I recall my relative hauling a small dozer up/out of the quarry. We drove it on Lake Erie to fish and to unload a hydroplane(boat) onto the ice. Due to the low gearing,I don’t think it could go over 65 mph. It was for sure,one tough ride,but you couldn’t kill that thing with a stick of dynomite. Another cousin from Needles,Calf. drove it home and used it for another 4-5 years as a desert rat. What a rugged piece of iron! Do you remember the International?

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh yes, cwolf back when the term SUV wasn’t even invented, you had the Scout, Bronco, Land Cruiser and Blazer and even Dodge had a Ram, but one of the toughest was the Jeep pick up truck. TJ actually a lot of those structures are now vacant and frankly, kind of depressing when you realize those days of independently owned Mom and Pop businesses are being swallowed by the big corporations and all the cookie cutter motels and eating establishments.

  56. cwolf Says:

    @ pedro: A friend from work and his girl traveled “66″ on their cycles 2 yr. ago. I was going to hold off saying anything until I had more to share,but I do recall some things. Of course, nothing really begins until you get beyond the mid-west. Beyond that point,the road looked exactly like it did on my trek 40 yr ago,except what remains is more aged(dumpy). Some old time motels,with the plastic matress covers, still exist along the way. He said most were clean or habitable and could be had for about $28/nite. Many a gas stations no longer exist, so stay full! He stated that there were some legs where you had no choise but to travel a newer road. But mensioned there were enough postings/signs along the way for those wishing to travel the old road. And yes,ther were some stretches where he felt uncomfortable traveling on. One thing that hasen’t changed are what resaurants can be found along the way. Let’s just say it is an experience you’ll never forget,yet will not become totally encompased by the whole RT.66 thing until they are included. A few years ago, I was on that road about 15 mi. est of Calf.,in orange grove country. My breakfast juice cost $3.75 for a 6oz. filthy glass full. It had a fly in it…NO JOKE! Can you guess? The waitress picked it out and walked away!!! You will have a good time because,at the end, you will know the way things used to be. Sounds like a swell trip.. Enjoy.

  57. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just quickly looking at the map from Ok City to Amarillo there are portions of 66 that just seem to disappear and you have to use the interstate 40 for a long stretch and then you can get back on 66 again, it’s just too bad they did not keep the old road intact the way it used to be. I guess nothing stays the same.

  58. Andrew Charles Says:

    GM do Brasil still builds the S10, and it’s the most popular pickup in its class in Brazil. However the Brazilians lead the design for the new Colorado now being built in Thailand (as part of the Isuzu-GM Light Commercial Vehicle JV), so you can say goodbye to the S10. It would not meet consumer safety expectations these days anyway. However the new Colorado is not just bigger than the S10, it’s also bigger than the old Colorado (still not as wide as the Tacoma, but longer). The problem is, in the rest of the world this class of truck has to handle not just quarter-ton, but 1-ton duties, and the full crew that requires. Since that crew is now bigger and heavier, that means a bigger truck to make room for them. Consider this—the cab size of the current Ranger extended-cab is just 64 cu-ft; in the new T6 Ranger it’s 92 cu-ft and the new Colorado will be almost as big (the old model is 86.6 cu-ft).

  59. cwolf Says:

    pedro: That doesn’t sound right! That IS too long of a stretch. I’ll talk to the the guy at work tomorrow and see how he traveled this jaunt. If’n ya have the time,there is no reason why you have to take 40. I’m sure ther are back roads! All ya have to do is head WEST!!! Be adventurous!!!!

  60. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cwolf, no facilities, no gas, no cell signal, no AAA come on man, might as wll send me to Iran.

  61. cwolf Says:

    pedro,come on man! The locals are prolly really nice..no teeth,smell a little,…but very nice!! And if’n yer lucky you could come home with a couple of their daughters!

    Just do it-really! You will be fine. Seriously!

  62. cwolf Says:

    I have another swell idea,pedro! Once you near Texas, trade one of your great Cuban grilled sandwiches (Sandwich Mixto?)for a sombrero…,then you will look like a local. If,by chance, you get picked-up by boarder patrol, tj can come to your rescue. Then he can complete the drive while you bask in the luxury of his new wheels. I mean…How much better can it get????

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh yeah and I forgot with a name like Pedro, I’ll get deported by the local Sheriff Buford T. Justice. He’ll think I just crossed the border in an old Corolla.

  64. cwolf Says:

    pedro: You’re a card with a fun sense of humor. Be nice to share a beer with you one day.