February 23rd, 2012 at 12:00pm
In somewhat of an unexpected move GM named Jon Lauckner Vice President and Chief Technology Officer starting April 1. Images of the all-new Volvo V40 were leaked before the car debuts at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Honda announced its top executive in North America will also become the second-highest executive in the company. All that and more, plus a look at the all-new Toyota Prius c.
Welcome to Autoline Daily for February 23 as we cover some of the latest developments going on in the automotive industry.
GM APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF R&D
In somewhat of an unexpected move, GM named Jon Lauckner Vice President and Chief Technology Officer starting April 1. In addition to his current position as President of GM Ventures, Lauckner will be responsible for the company’s R&D efforts. He is replacing current CTO Tom Stephens, and the current head of R&D, Alan Taub, who are both retiring.
VOLVO V40 IMAGES LEAKED
Every day automakers are leaking pictures of cars that will debut at the Geneva Auto Show. Autoblog came across these pictures of a sleek looking Volvo V40. No other details about the car are known, but after it debuts we’ll let you know more.
HONDA SHUFFLES MANAGEMENT
In a sign of how serious Japanese automakers are struggling with the strong yen, Honda’s top executive in North America will also become the second-highest executive in the company. Tetsuo Iwamura, who is already COO for North America will also become executive vice president and an executive officer of Honda worldwide. Honda is also appointing Erik Berkman to head its R&D operations in North America, the first time that has not been held by a Japanese. Berkman used to run Honda Performance Development, its racing operations in the U.S.
HYUNDAI IMPROVES TRANSACTION PRICES
Just to show you how far Hyundai has come, the Elantra is now selling for a higher transaction price than the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. USA Today reports that the Hyundai Sonata is also closing the gap on the Camry and Accord. The two Japanese automakers have consistently captured the highest transaction prices in their segments and this could be a threat to their future profitability in the American market, which is where they make most of their profit.
THE 99% SPRING
We know the UAW is getting involved in various protests. President Bob King made the union’s intentions clear about a year ago. Now, a right-leaning news outlet found documents on the UAW’s web server indicating the union is training some 100,000 non-violent protesters. It’s cooperating with 43 other groups to form a mass occupy-style campaign, called “The 99% Spring.” Can the UAW pull all these disparate groups together into one big protest movement? We shall see, but it looks like this spring could be an interesting time in America.
SOUPED- UP SCOOTER
Colin Furze, a British tinkerer and stuntman has done the impossible. Well, not impossible, rather, insane. He’s souped-up a mobility scooter with a potent 125cc motorcycle engine. The result is a top speed in excess of 70 miles an hour . . . and tons of laughs! This thing ABSOLUTELY RIPS! With rear-wheel drive it even gets squirrely. But the thing that amazes me about this thing is that it’s a total sleeper. He’s kept just about everything you can see stock, right down to those tiny, little tires. ME WANT!
Thanks for that report, Craig. Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours tonight. Our guest will be Rob Nichols from GM’s Performance Build Center where they build some of the most powerful engines in the world. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for some of the best insider information in the business.
That brings us to the end of today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.