January 30th, 2012 at 11:45am
The National Automobile Dealers Association just released its latest Dealer Attitude Survey and for the third time in a row Hyundai topped the charts. Luxury sales in China skyrocketed last year. The California Air Resources Board approved new regulations that mandates that one out of every seven new cars sold in the state must be zero-emission by 2025. All that and more, plus a look at all the aerodynamic tweaks GM engineers made to the Chevy Malibu Eco.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for January 30th. I hope you had a great weekend.
24 HOURS OF DAYTONA
Certainly all of us motor-racing fanatics finally got over our withdrawal symptoms from not watching any races for the last couple of months. This weekend’s 24 hours of Daytona was an amazingly good race, lots of wheel-to-wheel battling, and when the checkered flag fell, Ford swept the top three positions in the DP prototype class, while Porsche swept the first three spots in GT.
HYUNDAI TOPS DEALER SURVEY (pdf)
It seems like every week a new customer-satisfaction survey pops up. We have a pretty good idea which brands consumers are pleased with, but what about dealers? Which automakers do they like best? Well, the NADA just released its latest “Dealer Attitude Survey.” This twice-yearly study polled nearly 15,000 dealerships across the country. It measures things like franchise value and automaker policy decisions. Add it all up and for the third time in a row Hyundai topped the charts. Subaru, Lexus, Kia and Mercedes-Benz rounded out the top-five spots. Sure wish they would release which automakers the dealers hate to do business with.
LUXURY SALES IN CHINA SKYROCKET
Car sales in China slowed down a lot last year, but that’s not the case for luxury cars. While the overall market grew by about 2.5 percent, the luxury segment rocketed up by 30 percent. And it shows no signs of slowing down. Audi, the top luxury brand in China, sold over 300,000 vehicles there and it hopes to top a million units within three years.
CHRYSLER HIRING BLITZ
More good news for Chrysler. Next week the company is set to add some 1,600 workers at its Belvidere assembly plant to start building the 2013 Dodge Dart. The facility is also home to the Jeep Compass and Patriot. The hiring blitz has already started and the new crew will begin working sometime in July. Chrysler is adding shifts at other plants as demand for new cars starts to recover.
CALIFORNIA PASSES STRICT AUTO RULES
Selling cars in California just got more difficult. Last week the California Air Resources Board approved new mandates that one out of every seven new cars sold in the state must be zero-emission by 2025. The new rules say 1.4 million electric or hybrid cars must be on roads by that time. It also calls for a 75 percent reduction in smog-forming pollutants and a 34 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions. So why can California pass its own rules? That’s because the state started regulating emissions before the feds, and the Supreme Court grandfathered it in to make its own rules.
RUSTY CAR ART
Here’s something that’s pretty cool. Artist Bo Lundvang is creating pictures of automobiles by rusting out pieces of sheet metal. Autoblog reports that he starts out with a 40-inch x 20-inch piece of sheet metal wrapped in white vinyl. He then cuts out the profile of the image, removes the negative and lets it rust. Once it’s to his liking, he seals it with several layers of clear coat to protect the piece of art. No prices are listed but you can click the link in today’s show notes to check out more of his work.
Coming up next, we’ll take a look at all the aerodynamic tweaks they made to the Chevy Malibu Eco.
CHEVY MALIBU ECO
The cheapest way to make a car get better fuel economy is to make it more aerodynamic. And with CAFE standards getting tougher all the time, now automakers are adding bits and pieces to improve aero that they pretty much ignored in the past. Let’s take a look at how GM engineers tweaked the Chevy Malibu Eco to come up with a coefficient of drag of only .29.
You know, aero numbers are like horsepower ratings. Unless the exact same test procedures are followed using the exact same equipment, the numbers can vary greatly. Some automakers are making aerodynamic claims for their cars that can be called fairly optimistic.
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And that wraps up this show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.