February 17th, 2012 at 12:21pm
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposes new rules to curb distracted driving. Porsche’s gumbo-evoking, not-yet-unveiled SUV gets a new name. Tesla and Mercedes and Mercedes and Renault are partnering up and swapping parts. All that and more, plus Seamus McElroy has the latest details about the new Hyundai Azera and Genesis Coupe.
This is Autoline daily for February 17, and now, the news.
DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL!
The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing new guidelines to limit driver distraction. It wants to reduce the complexity, length and amounts of inputs, limit them to one hand only, and not require a driver to glance away for more than two seconds. It also wants to disable certain devices unless the vehicle is in park including text messaging, internet browsing, navigation entry and 10-digit phone dialing. Hallelujah! Maybe this means we won’t have to go through a three-step process to go from AM to FM like on the Mercedes E-Class I’m test driving this week.
SEVEN THOUSAND SMACKEROOS (PDF)
As we reported yesterday, GM posted record earnings, and that will translate into a bonanza for its UAW workers. Each one will get a $7,000 profit-sharing check. And that is going to provide a big economic stimulus for the communities where those workers work.
DUCATO DELIVERS THE GOODS
Fiat already announced that it’s going to sell the Doblo commercial van in the U.S. Fred Diaz, the CEO of the RAM brand, told us they’re also considering bringing in the Daily and Ducato as well. But it sure looks like more than just a consideration for the Ducato. One of our loyal Autoline Daily viewers snapped these pictures of a Ducato that FedEx is already test driving in Michigan. Keep an eye out, people, and send us any pictures of unusual vehicles that you see out on the road.
MACAN MEANS TIGER
Porsche is getting ready to launch another SUV. We’ve known about the Cajun for some time now, but the company just released a few more details about it. Most importantly, it’s dropping that working title in favor of a name that doesn’t conjure up the image of Louisiana hillbilly. The Cajun is now officially called the Macan, and rumors suggest it will share the same architecture — and other major parts — with the Audi Q5. Not a bad thing. The Macan will be built in Leipzig, Germany, and we’ll report more details on the car when they become available.
TESLA GIVES MERCEDES A JOLT
Tesla is already supplying Daimler with battery packs for the electric smart car, and in another vote of confidence, Mercedes-Benz will use a Tesla-built powertrain for an upcoming EV. According to technology blog Gigaom.com, the deal includes the whole shootin’ match – the battery back, electric motor, gearbox and software. As for which Benz model gets the electric guts . . . your guess is as good as ours.
MERCEDES-RENAULT SWAP MEET
In related news, Mercedes and Renault are going to swap platforms. We’ve known for some time that the next smart will be on a Renault platform, but now Renault will get the Mercedes architecture to develop a luxury car. Between Renault, Mercedes and Tesla, this shows how difficult it is for one automaker to go it alone anymore.
THUS SAYETH THE ECONOMISTS
Three years ago as the American auto industry was plummeting into its worst sales decline in history many people said it would never recover. But on Autoline This Week I have three chief economists who beg to differ. Here’s Mustafa Mohatarem, Chief Economist with General Motors commenting on this topic.
Also joining me on this week’s show are Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, the chief economist at Ford, and Charlie Chesbrough from IHS Automotive. They say we’ll see record sales in the American market by the middle of this decade, and you can watch that entire interview right now at Autoline.tv.
Manufacturers have a lot of new product coming this calendar year and Seamus McElroy is out west right now driving some of it. Here’s a first look at a couple new models from a hot brand.
It’s Friday and you know that means: another episode of RoundAbout on Autoline.tv. Here’s host Craig Cole.
Tonight we’ll tell you about the latest Chinese fad that allows the People’s Republic to skirt annoying seatbelt alarms. Plus, we’ve got a look at what it was like to drive around New York City in 1928 with our RoundAbout Rearview segment. Check all that out as well as a new game of Dungeons & Dealers at 6:30PM Eastern Time at Autoline.tv.
And that wraps up this week of reports on the latest developments in the global automotive industry, thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.