January 3rd, 2012 at 12:04pm
The Polk company says worldwide car sales could hit 77.7 million units in 2012, about a 7 percent gain compared to 2011. Mopar is set to unveil a couple of new packages at the Detroit Auto Show next week. A man in Southern California is looking to shatter the current land speed record of 763 miles an hour, by hitting 2,000 MPH! All that and more, plus John McElroy and two of his fellow NACTOY jurors predict which of the three Car of the Year finalists will win the award.
This is the first Autoline Daily for the year, 2012. Gee, it’s great to be back, and here’s how the automotive industry is getting back up to speed after ending last year.
2012 SALES FORECAST
You know, even though the final sales results for 2011 are still being tallied, that isn’t stopping forecasters from predicting car sales for this year. The Polk company says worldwide sales could hit 77.7 million units in 2012, about a 7 percent gain compared to 2011. Analysts say all regions will see sales gains except for Europe because of the debt crisis there.
DODGE CHARGER REDLINE
Mopar is unveiling a couple of new packages at the Detroit Auto Show next week. The Dodge Charger Redline offers three levels of upgrades. Stage one includes carbon-fiber aerodynamic bits, including a front splitter and rear spoiler. It also gets door scoops reminiscent of the 1970 Charger. Stage two includes a cross brace and a cat-back exhaust system, meaning new from the catalytic converter on back. It also gets new brake linings. Stage three includes a 426 Hemi that cranks out 590 horsepower. But that’s a crate engine intended only for the race track. Wink, wink, don’t drive it on the street, people!
CHRYSLER 200 SUPER S BY MOPAR
Mopar is also spiffing up the Chrysler 200, with a version called the Super S. Stage one includes a chin and rear deck spoiler, a new grille, side sills and black chrome badges, to name a few. Stage two includes a coil-over suspension that lowers the car, a cold-air intake and a new cat-back exhaust system for less back pressure and a better sound.
CRAFTSMAN TO UNVEIL MOWER AT NAIAS
Auto shows are all about cars, hence the name – AUTO SHOW. But toolmaker Craftsman will participate at next week’s NAIAS in Detroit. No, it’s not revealing a new line of wrenches or sockets, nope. It’s taking the wraps off its latest premium lawn tractors. Look for the CTX Series along with the latest Ford Fusion, Dodge Dart and BMW 3 Series. These “cutting-edge” mowers go on sale next month and are priced anywhere from $3,000 to $6,500. Look for them in the lobby area of COBO Hall. This is a fascinating move. I’ve never heard of a tractor being revealed at an auto show before!
RIDE THE LIGHTING
In an effort to expand its business in growing markets, French auto supplier Valeo just acquired an 80 percent stake in Chinese automaker Chery’s lighting unit. The joint venture will design, manufacture and sell lighting products mainly for Chery vehicles in China. And I think that will be an on-going trend, of established suppliers buying business in China, by buying Chinese suppliers.
NEW LAND SPEED RECORD ATTEMPT
How fast is fast? Well, at the end of the 19th century it was nearly 70 miles an hour! That honor goes to a bullet-shaped, battery-powered carriage from France. A few years later Henry Ford’s “999” racer clocked-in at almost 92 MPH. Today’s land speed record stands at about 763 miles an hour. FAST, but not fast enough. According to Popular Mechanics magazine, a man in Southern California is looking to SHATTER that score by hitting 2,000 MPH! Waldo Stakes is building a rocket-powered car called the “Sonic Wind Land Speed Research Vehicle.” Piston power won’t do the job, neither will jet engines. His motor of choice is a Redstone rocket, the same system used during the Apollo program. No doubt about it, this is a bat-poop crazy idea, and all I can say is good luck and wear your seatbelt.
Hey, who is going to win the North American Car of the Year Award next week? We have three predictions coming right up.
The North American Car of the Year will be announced next week. And that’s the topic on Autoline This Week. I asked Drew Winter of WardsAuto World and Lindsay Brooke from Automotive Engineering International to give me their predictions. Here’s what they had to say.
On tomorrow’s show, we’ll get into out predictions for the North American Truck of the Year award.
Be sure to join us tonight for Open Line with host Michelle Naranjo and company. The panel will talk with Rebecca Lindland from IHS Automotive about what to expect for 2012. Hop online or call in to ask your questions. Everything kicks off at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 5:00 p.m. Pacific at Autoline.tv. The number to call is 1-712-432-0900 and the PIN to get in is 911633.
And then, don’t forget to join us Thursday night for Autoline After Hours. We’ll have Bill Perkins the chairman of this year’s Detroit Auto Show and Rob Alberts from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association talking about all the changes they’re making for this year’s show. So join me and the Auto Extremist, Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information of what’s going on in this business.
Well, that wraps up this show. It’s great to be back with you for the New Year. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.