Episode 796 – Bentley Sales Back to Normal, Ford’s New EcoSport, Bosch Bets Big on India

January 4th, 2012 at 12:00pm

Runtime: 8:18

Bentley sales are back to pre-recession levels and the super-luxury brand is considering building an SUV.  The price tag?  At least $140,000.  Ford will unveil a redesigned version of its popular EcoSport B-segment SUV at the New Delhi Auto Expo this week.  It’s an important product for the company and CEO Alan Mulally will be on hand for the reveal.  In related news, German supply giant Bosch is making a big investment in India.  All that and more, plus a look at the North American Truck of the Year finalists.

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This is Autoline Daily for January 4th. Here’s the latest news of what’s happening in the global automotive industry.

The luxury SUV segment is about to get a little more crowded. Vehicles like the Porsche Cayenne, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Range Rover are already on the market. Now Bentley is considering a high-end SUV, with a price tag of at least $140,000. And speaking of Bentley, its sales have bounced back to pre-recession levels. Last year the company sold just over 7,000 cars, an increase of 37 percent. The U.S. remained its No. 1 market, but China just passed the U.K. to sneak into No. 2 for the first time.

YOU SAY ALUMINUM, I SAY ALUMINIUM (subscription required)
Fuel economy regulations get really tight after 2015. That’s why Ford is expected to switch to aluminum body panels for the F-Series. According to WardsAuto, Ford’s pickups will extensively use aluminum, including the doors and fenders. Aluminum hoods have been used on the F-Series before and the new Explorer features an aluminum hood as well. Ford says it needs to cut 700 pounds per model before the end of the decade. And that kind of weight reduction will not come cheap. Look for prices to climb sharply.

EcoSport WITH EcoBoost
Speaking of Ford, it’s unveiling a redesigned version of its popular EcoSport SUV at the New Delhi Auto Expo this week. If you’re not familiar, it’s a B-segment-sized utility vehicle. Interestingly, the EcoSport was born in Ford’s little-known engineering center in Salvador, Brazil. Hau Thai Tang, father of the S197 Mustang that first debuted back in 2005, led the development of it. This is such an important product for the company that CEO Alan Mulally will be on hand in New Delhi for the reveal. It will be made in Brazil and India, with other locations to be announced. Two engines will be available – a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder and a 1.6-liter four.

BOSCH’S BIG INDIA BET (subscription required)
And speaking of India, Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier company is making a significant investment there. The German supplier will spend roughly $413 million to expand its footprint in India. Auto production in the country is expected to jump 11 percent this year and Bosch wants to be ready.

OK, back to the auto shows, specifically the one coming up in Detroit. Carmakers are slowly teasing some of the products they’ll be unveiling in Motown, and Nissan is part of the pre-show action. It released two VERY short clips showing off bits of its redesigned Pathfinder. From what we can tell, this will be a cleanly styled SUV. We’ll have all the details next week.

To promote its debut next week at the Detroit Auto show, Buick is showing teaser shots of its new crossover vehicle, the Encore on Facebook. The company has been revealing a new section each week and now three-quarters of it is visible. The last section will be revealed when it is unveiled next week and we’ll have more details about the Encore then.

Say, speaking of the Detroit auto show, who’s going to win the North American Truck of the Year Award, which is going to be announced there? We have three predictions coming up right after this.

Early next Monday morning the North American Truck of the Year will be announced at the Detroit Auto Show. It’s really the first big news event that will take place at the show. So who might win the award? I put that question to two of the jurors, Paul Eisenstein of TheDetroitBureau.com and Edward Lapham with Automotive News. Let’s go to that clip right now.

Speaking of the Detroit Auto Show, we’ll have two of the show organizers on Autoline After Hours tomorrow night – Bill Perkins, the co-chair, and Rod Alberts from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo as we get into what’s going on behind the scenes at this year’s show.

And then next week we’ll be webcasting LIVE from the floor of the show. Join us at noon on both Monday and Tuesday as we bring you the latest news and new car unveils, as well as first-hand interviews with some of the top executives in the industry. That’s Autoline LIVE from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show next week, right here at Autoline.tv.

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

59 Comments to “Episode 796 – Bentley Sales Back to Normal, Ford’s New EcoSport, Bosch Bets Big on India”

  1. HtG Says:


  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Whom do you refer, HtG?

    On to other things; agreeing with John on the X-3 for my pick of the NACTOY award.

    Bentley SUV, what the heck, why not; another niche/rich guy vehicle.

    Aluminum usage is down a bit (in the U.S); maybe the automakers can get a fair deal on raw materials. (We have an aluminum plant, in my neck of the woods, and there is a somewhat decrease in demand according to the local news).

  3. LS ford Says:

    At HTG. Barry Manilow?? I am lost…. :)

    I think in regards to aluminum and cafe standards. The requirement of vehicles to meet huge increases in MPG requirements are going to drive up vehicle costs. All manufactures will be struggling and investing huge moneies to reinvent the cars/trucks to meet these standards. And us tax payers will need to shoulder these added costs as the politicians we elected chose to instigate this policy.

    Rise up and voice your thoughts. Maybe we should not pay taxes until we get policies that reflect our issues, not law maker agendas.

  4. Geoff Says:

    Hey John just what are you guys calling a truck? The 3 you all named as “Truck” of the year dont look or act like a truck at all! I dont see a 2×4 or a load of dirt going in the back of any Land Rover Honda or BMW…. Really you should think of what a “Truck” does and who buys “Trucks”

  5. MJB Says:

    Bentley SUV… Why not?

    Hey, it’s apparent that the ultra luxury segment has room to grow. Look at what happened when Porsche knighted the Cayenne. That (in concert with the Panamera) turned out to be one of their best sales performers.

    Just because the masses won’t be able to afford one doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be built.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    #1 Where have you gone? common sense in the car industry?

  7. LS ford Says:

    Ahhh. I see now…..

    Thanks Pedro

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    Hey LS I’m not sure but it could also be the candidates for “truck” of the years since they’re not trucks at all!! Evoque! indeed! specially if you enjoy bringing in your new expensive purchase for repairs over and over again and getting treated like crap at the service dept. Oh yeah! put me down for one Evoque immediately.

  9. Lex Says:

    That Buick Encore looks to me to be a rebadged Saturn Vue, Opel Antra, Chevy Captiva. GM is back to it’s old ways! Incorporate some higher quality interior components and bump up the transaction price and see what sticks. I would rather see GM collapse GMC into Chevy and Buick into Cadillac as their two primary brands in North America. This would save advertising and production dollars, and probably make it more profitable in the long run.

  10. LS ford Says:

    Has anyone had that type of LR experience? I have owned several expensive cars, and I tell you (as Pedro says) the service is painful. From knowing that you have $800+ repair everytime to the well we cannot diagnose this problems as it seems fine to us. I FEAR owning any LR as the service has got to be terrible.

    So I wonder, if the Evoque is anything like a typical product by LR, it is only a matter of time before the bottom end luxury market gets fed up with bad quality. Lexus for example made great products and it has taken years for them to make a reputation with the luxury market.

  11. shan Says:

    Great! Now the rich can justify their status statement purchase of the Evoque if it wins 2011 Natoy. Meanwhile, us peasants can only read about this car in Motor-Trend….long with the Porsche reviews. Gotta love the great inequality in America :)

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    LS I guess it may depend on the dealer, the local Land Rover dealer has an appt system, a long waiting period and then you get some crappy econobox loaner. I have heard this from a few customers I’ve met and I ask them WHY? And the answer is I love the way they drive, yeah! specially in the So Fla snow and high elevations.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Shan to me and most car fans,the car magazines have not been relevant for many years now, who needs their months-old news and reviews and preference for cars most of us cannot afford when you got the internet to keep you updated with news and reviews and opinions that are up to date and “hot” off the shelf

  14. HtG Says:

    13. I briefly had an online sub to R&T, but who cares? Yet another shoot out between super cars? Talk about self love. And why do I care what these editors think? The likes of TTAC or DeLorenzo, or Autoline reviews make more sense.

    As for the truck of the year, why doesn’t the idea of a ‘mainstream purchase’ obtain like it does for the car choices?

    Wow, cranky today. Had to give the Miata to the dealer to fix a leaky hose I couldn’t reach. I find the treatment there is very good.

  15. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I was a Car and Driver subscriber for years (make that decades); I finally had to give it up when the format changed and so did the editors (Csaba Csere and his crew left and so did I). I still miss the editorials from the above mentioned editors; not to mention, years earlier, Brock Yates, David E Davis, etc). I’m currently trying AutoWeek (but less than fully impressed). I still think the ‘car mags’ are relevant (even with old news, through their in depth insight, they offer more than the flash news of the day) but I feel they are on an uphill battle to remain viable into today’s instant information age.

  16. HtG Says:

    If the mags went in a more technical direction, describing the newer drivetrains, chassis development, computers, marketing, and finance then I’d be more interested. I also read those same guys as you Chuck, but back then cars weren’t so uniformly good, and reviews weren’t repetitive like they have become in recent years. I like Autoline properties because of the depth; I remember stumbling across Autoline Detroit one sunday on Speed channel, and thinking, ‘who in the world are these adults?’

  17. Autos101 Says:

    #15 I have the highest esteem for Czaba Czere, he really knows his stuff, and I was part of the decision to give him a honorary degree at my university and having him speak at a commencement a few years ago. TOo bad he retired and is not around much any more.

    The late David E Davis was more frivolous than Czaba, but still very entertaining. He advised his readers that they should, once in their lives, own (or just drive?) a V-12 powered vehicle, and I may follow his advice in my next purchase (probably a bargain basement 7 series or S class with lots of miles)

  18. Autos101 Says:

    Yeah… Bentley SUV, bring it on,

    and then onwards to a Rolls Royce Pickup truck!

    Silver Vegetable, anybody?

  19. Autos101 Says:

    I like the comprehensive stats in Car and Driver’s thorough tests, but there is one number they should better NOT mention, or if they do, QUALIFY it, and that is their “real mpg” during their test drives.

    These MPGs are ludicrously low, and do not reflect driving the vehicle as any normal human being would, but driving then like maniacs around the track as if their butt was on fire.

  20. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #16 concerning finding AutoLine Detroit; almost the same conclusion you made (I found AutoLine on my PBS station) and was wowed.

    #17 Agreeing again, about Csaba (and it was my understanding that his dismissal from C&D was a little underhanded; I could be wrong but I thought I had heard that somewhere). I also remember Patrich Bedard (when he was chief editor; always topnotch). And concerning driving a V-12; got lucky and got to drive a V-12 E-Type (mid seventies, from Philly to Charleston, SC); not a power monster, but oh, so sweet.

  21. Chuck Grenci Says:

    “and then onwards to a Rolls Royce Pickup truck!”

    Anyone a John D. MacDonald fan, specifically Travis McGee series fan; (I’m remembering his converted 1930′s something Rolls he called Miss Agnes) but I digress, sorry. Fond memories though. :)

  22. Autos101 Says:

    American Honda sales fall for 8th straight month after quake. Dec. decline is 19%; drop for year is 7%

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/#ixzz1iWQ7zLZd

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Do you realize the Bentley SUV will unseat the Escalade as the preferred ride of the NBA crowd, “Yo Yo YO checkout my monster “B” with the 32” rims, ya’ll.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    more bad news for GM re the Volt, according to TTAC, sales were some 2 thousand units less than expected and even got outsold by the supposedly inferior, range-anxiety champ, the Leaf, I suppose these come with a prescription to anti-anxiety Rx Lexapro?. EV1 will soon have companionship in the unwanted EV car graveyard.

  25. HtG Says:

    I was also thinking along the lines of highly educated GCC princes driving out into the desert for a splash of falconry. Or an industrial magnate in Hong Kong being chauffeured to his pool club for R&R and kumquats. Can you imagine George Clooney in such a beast? Laughable.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When Bentley introduces their version of the Touareg, Cayenne, Q7, there will be almost as many versions as there were for the Chevy TrailBlazer, but not quite. The TrailBlazer set an all time of “badge engineered” vehicles. Over its lifetime, there were versions sold by Chevy, Olds, Buick, Saturn, Saturn, GMC, and Saab. That has to be some kind of record.

    I guess I’m kidding about the Bentley SUV being made from the Touareg, if it will cost $140K, but maybe not.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I forgot one, version of TrailBlazer. Isuzu had one

  28. MJB Says:

    @#26 & 27

    …Hence the name “TrailBlazer”.

  29. MJB Says:


  30. W L Simpson Says:

    The only thing Bent-lee buyers know about recessions is what they read in the funny papers.

  31. W L Simpson Says:

    Chuck, “Miss Agnes” was a 1936. Used to have every
    Travis book.

  32. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Thanks W.L., I still do have the series (great philosopher, Mr MacDonald; a shame he passed in 1986).

    And I’m one of the ‘Trailblazers’; I got one of the last Bravada’s; an ’04, still have it, and I love it. The Olds came with a lot of the toys that the Chevy charged separately for; since it was on its last legs (Oldsmobile), I got a good deal on my vehicle.

    And a comment on badge engineering. I don’t know why GM takes such a hit for doing it (badge engineering) as it is pretty much industry standard for quite a few of the mainstream makes. I’ll admit, mid ’80′s and the cars were next to identical (the GM midsized), but since, there has been quite a bit of distinction and uniqueness to the shared platforms.

  33. Dave Says:

    Is it just me or does that new Ford thing look a lot like the current Tucson (front)/Sportage (back)?

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I mentioned the TrailBlazer because, with 7 versions, I think it set an all time record.

    I had a first-year base (LS) TrailBlazer which I got mainly to use for the year or so that I did some towing. Since it was a new model, I came out pretty selling a year old after buying it with my employee discount.

    I was sorry they never put that 4.2 inline six in a car. It was a nice engine, but didn’t really show its potential in a 4400 pound SUV.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I mentioned the TrailBlazer because, with 7 versions, I think it set an all time record. I had a first-year base (LS) TrailBlazer which I got mainly to use for the year or so that I did some towing. Since it was a new model, I came out pretty selling a year old after buying it with my employee discount. I was sorry they never put that 4.2 inline six in a car. It was a nice engine, but didn’t really show its potential in a 4400 pound SUV.

  36. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have a neighbor with a Trailblazer from a few years ago and he’s very happy with the vehicle,no problems at all, he gave me a ride the other day and it felt solid and rattle-free, so I guess GM is quite capable of making decent vehicles as long as they’re lo-tech.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I liked my TrailBlazer, for what I bought it for. It had kind of wallowy handling, but I’m used to cars, not trucks. The TB was reliable, and towed decently with gearing, I think one step shorter than standard.

  38. cwolf Says:

    I have never given Buick much consideration in the past,but I like the direction in which they are headed. In many a way,they have limited themselves from that “unique style” in order to maintain that Buick “look”,but their interiors,comfort and quietness justs gets better with time. As a result,heft continues to be a consequence,along with fewer mpg’s and being under powered for the most part. Thanks to e-assist,the LaCrosse has leaped a major hurdle and makes claim of 36 mpg. For those Buick loyalist and comfort seekers the LaCrosse is a no brainer. Why give any thought of rebadging into the Caddy umbrella while Buick has such a growing momentum. I’ll bet the new Encore won’t disappoint. It may not be in the same league as tj’s MKG,but to many a dollar short, a pretty good alternative that doesn’t require premium fuel.

  39. XA351GT Says:

    Is it me or does the Evoque bear a more than passing resemblence to the new Explorer ? Was this designed while Range Rover was still part of Ford? Side profile ,even the headlight layout is very similar.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The closest car dealer to me is Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover. Their unit volume would have gone to less than half when Mercury went away, and they lost all those Grand Marquis sales. They are still there, though.

    I never go in there, but I’m curious enough that I will go in and see what the Evoque looks like.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The closest car dealer to me is Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover. Their unit volume would have gone to less than half when Mercury went away, and they lost all those Grand Marquis sales. They are still there, though. I never go in there, but I’m curious enough that I will go in and see what the Evoque looks like.

  42. Autos101 Says:

    Dec 2011 sales are out (all but BMW and Merc reported yesterday), and it seems that the “Prius Family” deal is going according to Toyota’s plan.

    Prius sales in Dec were 17,004 units, which is twice what the Stupid, Stupid Volt sold in the WHOLE 12-month Year! Or more than the total annual sales for 2011 of BOTH the Volt AND the even more ridiculous Nissan Leaf.

    Another shocking comparison, the ACCORD, which used to have HUGE sales every year, barely sold 17,667, almost as few as the prius! And the CHavy Cruze, which rounds off the top 15 december sellers, sold less than the Prius, at 16,675, even tho the Cruze was the most % up for the year at 53% or so.

  43. Autos101 Says:

    Imagine what will happen if the Iranians block the straits of Hormuz and, according to some oil analysts, the price jumps 50% and it is May 2008 all over again.

    They will have three shifts at the Prius plants and they will still not satisfy the demand!

  44. HtG Says:

    so who will pick up that demand? Besides, you think the 5th fleet has anything else on its mind? Iran is the reason I bang on about the USN and ‘the free flow of oil,’ and didn’t dump the Civic.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    101 did you read the TTAC piece on buying a 10yr old 7 series with the V12? very good price, low miles, excellent condition but then there’s the oil situation!!

  46. Autos101 Says:

    Pedro, no, I just came from a 90 min lecture (the third in 20 hours) and I’m dog-tired.

    a 10-yr old 7 is a 2001 model like mine, too old, the current 7 is its grandson, and its v12 has insignificantly more HP than my v8. the 2002 model was new but much uglier (Bangle Butt) and had no v12 the first year

  47. Autos101 Says:

    Pedro: can you please copy and paste the LINK of that TTAC article? I went back twice and looked at the last 24 hours of articles and I did not see one with that title. Maybe it was a footnote inside an article?

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sorry, it’s gone. I did read it this AM and it had to be TTAC these are the only 2 auto related websites I visit, Don’t understand!!

  49. HtG Says:

    servus, A1


    don’t you boys google?

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    I just found it by googleing it(article on buying a 2000 BMW 750IL) but you cannot longer see it directly in the TTAC website

  51. Autos101 Says:

    Pedro: It’s as I suspected. the 2000 is my own vintage, too old to buy now, and rather underpowered, it has, I think, a mere 322 HP, and you could get a 2002-2006 V8 with more power, or today’s V8 with 400 HP.

    No wonder it’s cheap. I still could test drive one to see if there is any big difference btw my sweet v8 and the v12.

  52. Autos101 Says:

    HTG: that’s actually interesting. because it is NOT just a 7 but a BULLETPROOF protection 7. Buy a gas station with it, you’ll need it!

  53. Autos101 Says:

    PS HTG I google all the time, but NOT when somebody sees sth and can give me a link!

  54. Autos101 Says:

    #47: That’s ridiculous! The same old car w/o armor is $5-10k today, and they ask for $32 or $36k?

  55. Autos101 Says:

    PS The guy whgo wrote the article obviously has no clue about used 7 prices (non-armored) 0when he says that the $32k is at the “high end” of these prices, it is TWICE (100%) as expensive as the most expensive non-armored ones.

  56. pedro fernandez Says:

    For hoodlums on a budget, I guess! Or if Ron Paul becomes President he may want to sell the current limo to Jay Z and get this one instead, part of his austerity plan.

  57. HtG Says:

    let’s keep politics out of it, Pedro!


  58. pedro fernandez Says:

    probably not as funny as the actual debate. Palin( Tina Fey) should act as moderator.

  59. Autos101 Says:

    Speaking of Bimmers:

    “BMW fended off a late-year surge by rival Mercedes-Benz to win its first title as best-selling luxury brand in the United States.

    BMW said today that U.S. sales rose 15 percent to 26,834 in December, for an annual total of 247,907. Mercedes said its sales last month climbed 28 percent to 25,701, pushing its tally for the year to 245,192.”

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20120105/RETAIL/120109953#ixzz1ibT7qx6l