Episode 923 – Guangzhou Limits Car Sales, Chrysler Considers Small Truck, Navistar Adopts SCR

July 9th, 2012 at 11:55am

Runtime: 8:36

The city of Guangzhou, China, like Beijing and other large cities in the country, is limiting car sales to try to reduce pollution and traffic jams. Chrysler is considering a small, unibody lifestyle pickup truck targeted at outdoorsy millennials. Truck maker Navistar announced it plans to use selective catalytic reduction to reduce greenhouse gases in its diesel engines. All that and more, plus a look at the most expensive MINI you can buy.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for July 9th. Boy, it’s good to be back from vacation, and here’s what’s going on in the wonderful world of automobiles.

New-car sales came in stronger than expected in the American market last month. Analysts were worried because the annualized sales rate sank to only 13.8 million units in May, but the SAAR actually picked up to 14.1 million units in June. We saw big gains from Toyota and Honda since a year ago they were flattened by that big earthquake that hit Japan. So if we look who’s doing best in the last month, instead of compared to a year ago, the Detroit Three actually picked up some market share, but that was completely thanks to General Motors, which had a good month. Japanese and Korean automakers actually lost some share. And the Europeans gained the most, thanks to big sales increases by Audi and Volvo. But if you have to single out a single brand, then Cadillac gained the most in the month-to-month comparison.

Here’s another reason why new-vehicle sales are slowing down in China. The city of Guangzhou, like Beijing and other large cities, is limiting car sales to try to reduce pollution and traffic jams. But car dealers in Guangzhou were forced to pull an all nighter to try and keep up with people who wanted cars before the restrictions kicked in. Bloomberg reports 57 stores at an automall were open ‘round the clock to serve a horde of car shoppers big enough to fill four soccer fields!

Speaking of China, the Obama Administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over China imposing duties on American-made cars. Vehicles with engines larger than 2.5-liters face anti-dumping duties in China. That’s about 80 percent of the vehicles the U.S. exports to the country. China says cars imported from the U.S. were selling below market value in the country. The Obama Administration says the fines are in retaliation for the U.S. imposing duties on Chinese made tires.

Automakers just don’t seem interested in making compact pickup trucks for the American market. This once-thriving segment died with the Ford Ranger. Trucks like Toyota’s Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier sort of carry the banner, but they’re bigger. The Honda Ridgeline is too expensive. So, seeing a product vacuum, Chrysler may be developing a compact truck. The Detroit Free Press reports engineers are considering a small, unibody lifestyle pickup targeted at outdoorsy millennials. Built off a car architecture, it could offer everything most buyers need in a utility vehicle.

NAVISTAR ADOPTS SCR (subscription required)
Truck maker Navistar bet it could meet emission standards with exhaust gas recirculation and in-cylinder controls. Even though the technology was originally developed by the EPA and licensed to Navistar, the EPA told the company that the system just can’t make diesel engines clean enough. That killed sales and the company’s stock price. So Navistar finally threw in the towel and announced it plans to use selective catalytic reduction which uses urea to filter the exhaust, which is what every other truck maker uses.

Coming up next, a look at the most expensive MINI that you can buy. You are not going to believe the price that they have dared to put on this one.

MINI has a new model, the most expensive one that it’s ever come out with, as Patrick McKenna the Manager of Product Planning at MINI USA tells us.

(The MINI Goodwood report is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

Fifty thousand dollars? That takes cojones to price a MINI at that level, I don’t care how exclusive they call it. But if MINI can find customers willing to shell out that kind of money, more power to them.

Before we go, don’t forget to tune in for Autoline After Hours this Thursday night, for the second-annual Automotive Fantasy Draft, where we pick the kind of car executives we’d want to be running our own car companies. That’s this Thursday starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for joining us again, and we will see you tomorrow.

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27 Comments to “Episode 923 – Guangzhou Limits Car Sales, Chrysler Considers Small Truck, Navistar Adopts SCR”

  1. HtG Says:

    This Saturday I attended the ALMS race at Lime Rock in Connecticut. So what? Well, here’s some photos of how some of the companies involved in the series interact with the race fans. Some other stuff too, like my comments, all G rated.


    I would like to thank the guy that bought my Miata for funding my great Canon camera.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Thanks for sharing Herman, looks like you had a blast. that Mini is a Maxi ripoff. IMHO.

  3. Bradley Says:

    I would like to issue some kudos on the compact truck segment. The compact truck will eventually have a piece of the pie again.

  4. HtG Says:

    Lime Rock is a good place to see racing because there are no seats and the track is short. This means you can move around the track and see all the turns up close. I also got to see four wipe outs, and HS are some of those cars loud.

  5. Jim Hall Says:

    John trust me when I tell you that the Mini Goodwood is worth every penny of it’s MSRP. Sumptuous and absolutely stealthy at the same time.

    Fun to drive too. Well, after the John Cooper Works powertrain package is fitted. That said, it is something of a challenge to keep clean both inside and out though.

  6. HtG Says:

    thanks Jim, for giving me the courage to admit that I actually like that Mini. Really. Weirdly. That interior is great. Maybe I’m not such a peasant.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Only bested by the Aston Martin IQ

  8. C-Tech Says:

    For the Goodwood Mini, I am sure there are enough rich people willing to buy an exclusive Mini. What will its value be a few years down the line when they get rid of it?

    I hope Dodge will seriously consider offering this truck. I believe with a strong 2.4L 4cyl and the 3.6L V6 offered, it will sell 75K to 100K units.

    Welcome back John and the team, I hope you all enjoyed your time off.

  9. Chuck Says:

    HtG – nice pix from Lime Rock – thanks for sharing! Not everything is shown on TV broadcasts.

  10. MJB Says:

    Gotta say, the lines on that last Chrysler small pickup concept look awfully reminiscent of the Honda Ridgeline – (high belt-line).

  11. dcars Says:

    Congratulations BMW you have done something that the British could not do. Successfully sell a small car with a questionable reliability and charge a lot of money for it.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks for the flickr link, HtG. Great pics.

    Won’t the benchmark for the used appeal of the Goodwood Mini be the “old” Minis fitted out by custom coach builders? I’ve seen a few of those at shows, and they are cool. I have no idea of their value compared to “regular” old Minis, though. As far as the used value of a Goodwood Mini in a few years, I’d be willing to bet that it will be worth substantially more than a 4 cylinder 5 Series BMW with vinyl seats that cost the same amount.

  13. Chuck Grenci Says:

    A bit ironic that Chrysler is talking about reviving the compact pickup after they lead to the demise of the compact pickup (originally) by offering the mid-sized Dakota (which all/most of the manufacturers matched by enlarging their previously compact-sized pickups); maybe not so ironic (and more brilliant). It will be interesting to see what Chevy does with the new Colorado (needs to be enough compacted to keep a differentiation between full sized and reduced size).

    Already too many ‘Mini’ models, and now another one; sheesh (and ridiculous expensive to boot).

  14. Chuck Says:

    Perhaps a Mini pickup is the answer to an unmet need!! ;-) )

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I first read about the Mini Goodwood a year or so ago. It is not a new model, per se, but a very luxuriously trimmed out copy of the first “new” Mini, the hardtop/hatch.

    Of the newer Mini models, the roadster is the only one I like very much. The Countryman is too big, and the Coupe just looks funny. Maybe BMW knows what they are doing, though. I guess those models are selling ok, but not to me

  16. Brett Says:

    Perhaps BMW should reach back a bit and bring forth a modern interpretation of the Morris Minor. I’m sure they can snag to naming rights for cheap and simply reapply the current driveline of the Mini. Sort of the reverse of what British Leyland did when the took the Austin A40 engine from the Minor (and the Sprite and the Midget) and stuffed it the original Mini.

    Hey, there was a cute little pickup truck version of the original Minor. Maybe they could snag some of the potential small pickup buyers from Chrysler! (I’ll bet people would go nuts for an Estate or the Shooting Brake)

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That Morris Minor would be good as the next Mini, if they want to break out from being FWD only. Of course, the Mini name would have little relevance to the past if any of the cars were not FWD.

  18. dcars Says:

    I think a new Morris Minor would be a hit.
    FYI thanks HTG for the pictures.

  19. Dave Says:

    LOL, what a joke that Mini is. I’m sure there are 1000 people on the planet with way more money than they know what to do with, though. But I can think of hundreds of cars I’d buy for $52k before that one.

    I’m surprised there aren’t more companies doing the small truck thing. There are lots of people who want the versatility of a truck bed and a bit of towing power, but can’t afford to get a full size one (the truck and its gas).

  20. cwolf Says:

    I think it’s a good idea Chry is getting back into the small truck market. But I sure hope it looks nothing like the one shown. There is just wayyy too much and too large of parts made of plastisized rubber on it. 10 min. to wax the paint and 2 hrs. to remove the wax residue off the plastic before it turns white! Actually,this would be a good niche for Mazda to explore. IMO,the P/U should be no larger than the old Ranger,yey not as pettite as the Subaru Ute(?). And a small diesel,perhaps? I think VW has the same idea in the works.

  21. GlennE Says:

    A new Dodge Rampage! yippee!!

  22. Brett Says:

    My only beef with my Ranger was that I couldn’t get a longbed with the extended cab.

    I’d say that a FWD Morris Minor clone would be reasonable considering that the New Beetle was FWD, front engined and the original was rear-engined and RWD. Precedent and all that.

    Great pix of LRP. It’s a great track to bash around.

  23. Zieke Says:

    Well John, I am as amazed as you are at the (high end?) Mini. 52k will buy a very nice used Lexus, Merc, or Bimmer that will ride much better and handle almost as good if you need to think you are a street racer. Otherwise you can also use one of those as a really fine vehicle to get you and 3 others to the opera in style. Good luck to the Cooper salesfolks. They will need it to get rid of their high priced cracker boxes.

  24. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Re 22; slight correction. ;)
    52k will/can get you a ‘new’ Lexus, Merc or Bimmer (or Cadillac, Corvette even, etc., etc.)

  25. Josu Says:

    John, you can bet that Cadillac will keep on growing in the next months, look at what they have till june, one car at the end of its live cycle, the CTS, one crossover and the Escalade an SUV also at the end of its life cycle, is obvious that they were having a sales slide, but in june they added the XTS, not exactly and “Enthusiast Cadillac” and it simply doubles its car offeiring. So when the “big one”, the ATS, get into the market, Cadillac probably will grow much, much more. Those guys will triple its car offering in a year. Of course, I am speaking about cars, not trucks or crossovers.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    This MINI is a fashion statement for the same demographic who pay $50K for a wrist watch that doesn’t keep time as well as a $20 Timex. They are selling 1000 of them world-wide. Some people just have spare money, and spend it in ways most of us don’t understand.

    Anyway, I guess the news regarding the car is that they are now being delivered. The entire description was out a year ago.

  27. HtG Says:

    If I’m, let’s say Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, and I have a pied a terre in Miami, then adding 50K in the parking garage of my building where I have a million dollar pad, doesn’t sound so wacky. I fly in from the coast and have everything I require for my lifestyle.