April 11th, 2012 at 11:50am
A new study from the Center for Automotive Research says that the federal and state governments in the U.S. collected $135 billion in tax revenues from the auto industry in 2010. Ford is going to use a reality show on the internet to market its electric vehicles. Mercedes-Benz has updated its iconic G-Class. All that and more, plus John responds to your questions and comments in “You Said It!”
Welcome to Autoline Daily for April 11th. I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.
GOVERNMENT RAKES IN AUTO TAXES
A new study from the Center for Automotive Research helps explain why the government was so interested in bailing out the auto industry. In 2010, the production, sales, service and use of automobiles contributed $135 billion to federal and state tax revenues. And the auto industry accounts for 13 percent of all states’ tax revenue. The number includes sales taxes, taxes collected from employees at auto companies, taxes and fees from fuel, registrations and licenses from drivers, as well as corporate taxes. The report was funded by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
FORD PLUGGED IN
Ford is going to use a reality show on the internet to market its electric vehicles. Called “Plugged In,” the show will use celebrities and contestants on scavenger hunts that will also show viewers how to use and recharge electric cars. Bloomberg reports this will be significantly cheaper than a traditional television advertising campaign. And a key reason why Ford is going the cheaper route is that sales of all-electric cars are coming in well below early forecasts.
BUILD YOUR OWN AUTONOMOUS CAR
Autonomous autos are the future. They’re not here yet, but they’re coming on quick. If you just can’t wait that long, a guy has posted a step-by-step guide on the website Instructables.com of how you can build your own self-driving car right now. Of course it’s not a real vehicle, so don’t expect to take a nap on your commute to work tomorrow morning. This self-driving radio-controlled car was constructed out of basic electronic parts and is capable of sensing and avoiding objects in its path. Pretty neat!
NEW MERCEDES-BENZ G-CLASS
Mercedes-Benz has updated its iconic G-Class. This boxy brute received a host of minor upgrades including LED daytime running lamps, a brand-new center console and instrument cluster plus the latest version of the company’s COMMAND infotainment system. A new twin-turbo V-8 engine is offered in the G63 AMG model. It belts out 544 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, but best of all it features stop/start to save fuel.
SMOKE, SMOKE, SMOKE THAT CIGARETTE
I guess smoking cigarettes and driving fast cars go together. South Korea’s largest tobacco company, KT&G will launch a new cigarette named after Lamborghini, and will even feature the Italian automaker’s logo of a bull on cigarette packs. I don’t know, licensing a car brand on a pack of cigarettes sounds like a drag to me.
Coming up next it’s time for You Said It!
YOU SAID IT!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
A number of you responded to our report that six years after Lincoln changed from names to letters on its cars, the old names still have better name recognition. G.A. Branigan says, “Use the names the people know. Not sure it will help, but at least the public will know what they’re NOT buying.”
And Ckernzie says, “Bottom line on the Lincoln MKBS is that if car guys & gals, who live and breath this stuff, can’t keep your models straight then you’ve got a marketing problem! Admit the mistake, like the 500/Taurus stupidity, and change things back or you’ll languish in MarKeting hell.”
Amen, Ckernzie. All Lincoln did was copy what BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi do, and copying the competition will never put you in a leadership position.
Flatbackstrat didn’t like the way that I pronounced the name of Mazda’s baseball team, the Hiroshima Carp. “Hee row hee mah!!! It seems people are incapable of pronouncing it properly.”
I don’t know about that Flatbackstrat, I’ve heard people in Japan pronounce it both ways. In fact, half of them don’t say Mahzda, they say Maaazda.
EdK liked what he heard about the new Ram pickup. “I’ve been wondering for years why the automakers didn’t use air ride suspension at least in the rear for the pickup trucks since most go down the road with no load and stiff rear springs. Kudos Chrysler. Wish they would have given the mileage figures for the V-6 with the 8 speed auto trans. Do you know what they are projected to be John?”
EdK, all we know is that Ram says it’s going to beat the fuel economy of a base F-150 with a 3.7-liter V-6, which gets slightly better fuel economy than the 3.5-liter EcoBoost by the way. Anyway, that would suggest the Ram would get a combined 20 miles per gallon, or 24 on the highway. That highway figure is about 10 liters per 100 kilometers.
C-Tech loved our report on the Fiat Abarth, especially that you get a track day as part of the package. “I’ve seen the Abarth in person and it does look pretty cool. The track day is an excellent bonus at that price.”
C-Tech, I hope every performance car follows suit and offers a track day.
And finally, Lex reports that, “Based upon your recommendation I went to Katz’s Deli before heading over to the NY Auto Show. We had a great time at the show, and were able to walk off the pastrami on rye we had at Katz’s.”
Boy, those things are filling, aren’t they? But man, do they taste good. Thanks for all your letters and comments, we sure love getting them.
Anyway that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.