June 8th, 2012 at 11:45am
General Motors announced it boosted the range of the 2013 Chevy Volt. Opel just showed off the sedan version of the Astra, which will make its world premiere this August at the Moscow Auto Salon. Dany Bahar, the CEO of Lotus, was fired because of some sort of improprieties with his conduct. All that and more, plus a look at the new BMW 5 Series.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m John McElroy and here’s what’s going on in the world of automobiles.
MUSTANG GOES GLOBAL
As we reported before, the next generation Ford Mustang is going global. Now WardsAuto.com says Ford is gauging customer interest in Europe, and so far the reaction is very positive. Though gray-market cars have made their way outside of North America, Ford never really sold the car in world markets, even though it’s been making the Mustang for 48 years. And yet the Mustang is still one of Ford’s most recognized nameplates around the world. You can be sure if the company brings it to Europe it’s going to sell it in other global markets as well.
VOLT GETS A JOLT
General Motors announced it boosted the range of the 2013 Chevy Volt. The extended-range vehicle now gets a combined equivalent of 98 miles per gallon, up from 94. And its pure-electric range is now 38 miles, 3 miles better than before. Engineers reduced a buffer that makes sure batteries maintain their life and also modified material used in the battery cells. GM says the batteries don’t drain as quickly, have better storage capacity and work better in cold weather. The only downfall is the Volt will take about a half hour more to recharge.
OPEL AIMS TO BOOST SALES IN CHINA
In an effort to offset declining sales in Europe, Opel says it wants to boost sales in China. According to Reuters, the brand is aiming to sell 30,000 cars a year in China, last year it only sold 5,000. Opel also plans to start exporting vehicles to Australia at the end of the year.
OPEL ASTRA SEDAN
And speaking of Opel, it just showed off the new sedan version of the Astra. Opel’s most popular compact car is also sold as a hatchback, wagon, and coupe. The sedan comes with plenty of powertrain options. Seven engines are available at launch, four gasoline and three diesels and a six-speed automatic transmission is also available. The Astra sedan will make its world premiere this August at the Moscow Auto Salon.
DANY BAHAR FIRED
Last month we reported that Dany Bahar, the CEO of Lotus was put on suspension. Well, now his new bosses at the investment firm DRB Hicom made sure he was fired. Bloomberg reports he was dumped because of some sort of improprieties with his conduct, though no details have emerged over what that may entail. Bahar was working on a grandiose plan to introduce five new models in the next couple of years, but industry experts wondered how the tiny little sports-car maker could possibly pull off a feat that would have been impossible for more established companies like Ferrari, Porsche or even Jaguar.
TEXAS MAY INCREASE SPEED LIMIT
America is a big place. We have wide-open stretches of wide-open spaces. It’s always been curious why our speed limits are so low. Long-distance travel takes forever at 65 or 70 miles an hour. But all you speed freaks out there can rejoice because a velocity boost may be in the works in Texas. According to Fox News, the Republic could up the limit on a new stretch of toll road near Austin, the capital. Approved expressways in the state already have a top speed of 80 miles an hour – the highest in the country – but that could get a bump to 85, a move to help limit congestion. You know, cars are safer and more efficient than ever and I hope this is something other states consider for appropriate stretches of highway.
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Coming up next, a look at the new BMW 5 Series.
BMW 5 SERIES
(The BMW 5 Series review is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
Sales of the 5 Series are up only 7 percent in the U.S. market so far this year. But last month they shot up 34 percent. In fact, the 5 almost caught the 3 Series in sales, and the 3 has always been BMW’s top-selling model.
Before I sign off, make sure you check out RoundAbout tonight! The crew will be broadcasting a special Hall vs. Hall episode with brothers Jim and Bob Hall. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on our website, Autoline.tv. This is guaranteed to be an entertaining show, so don’t miss it! Also, if you’ve got any questions or comments for the Hall twins please e-mail them to RoundAboutShow@gmail.com. Again, that’s RoundAboutShow@gmail.com.
And that’s wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching and we will see you on Monday.