August 16th, 2012 at 12:08pm
Don Butler, the vice president of marketing for Cadillac tells Autoline when its plug-in electric vehicle, the ELR, will become available. Kia released details on the new Sorento before it officially debuts at the Paris Motor Show. Red Bull Racing took one of its Formula One cars to New York City to “sing” the U.S. national anthem. All that and more, plus a look at Meritor Wabco’s next-generation electronic stability control system for large trucks which has a feature that makes competing systems look primitive by comparison.
Hello and welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily. And now the news.
Electric car sales are nowhere near what some experts were predicting just a few years ago, but Cadillac is charging ahead with its upcoming model, the ELR. Introduced as the Converj concept car a few years ago, it’s based on the Chevrolet Volt technology, but will offer a luxurious interior with premium materials and better performance. Don Butler, the vice president of marketing for Cadillac tells Autoline that customers will be attracted to its beauty and the fact that it represents a responsible choice from a brand with a conscience. He also let it be known when the car will become available.
That interview with Don Butler will be shown in its entirety in an upcoming episode of Autoline This Week.
FISKER UNDER FIRE
Speaking of luxury electric cars, Fisker is in the news because a couple of Republican senators are attacking the company. As you’ll recall, Fisker got $529 million in government loans on the stipulation that it create 2,500 direct and indirect jobs at an ex-GM plant in Delaware to make its new model, the Atlantic. But its existing car, the Karma, which is made in Finland, has not met sales goals. So Fisker stopped preparation at the plant in Delaware and laid off all but 16 people employees. And now those Senators are wondering why it got any government money in the first place.
BMW COOKS THE SALES BOOKS
Speaking of luxury cars, the battle between BMW and Mercedes-Benz is taking an interesting turn. According to The Wall Street Journal, BMW is using controversial tactics to game the system. Apparently the Bavarian-based automaker busted out its checkbook and offered dealers special one-day incentives on July 31, the last day of the month. Dealers got discounts up to $7,000 on 2012-model-year cars, but the vehicles had to be reported as sold that day. That goosed sales to just over 21,000 units, about 1,900 higher than Mercedes. BMW included demonstrators in that figure – cars sold to dealers for customers to test drive. The funny part of this is that BMW and Mercedes always say they don’t care if they’re No. 1 in car sales, that all they want to do is satisfy their customers. As the old saying goes, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.
NEXT-GEN KIA SORENTO
Kia is set to debut the next-generation Sorento at the Paris Motor Show. The crossover features a number of significant upgrades, not the least of which is the architecture. It’s built atop a brand-new platform. Expect better safety, more technology and enhanced refinement. In the engine compartment Sorento will offer buyers a host of different powertrain options including gasoline and diesel engines that are smoother and quieter as well as more efficient. Six-speeds are standard across the board, in either manual or automatic form. Front- and all-wheel drive versions are available. Funny, for a vehicle that’s on a new platform, it looks exactly like the old one.
F1 CAR PERFORMS NATIONAL ANTHEM
Formula One is coming to the Big Apple next year and to help get the word out Red Bull Racing took one of its cars to New York City, to sing the national anthem with the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty in the background. You heard me right, to sing the national anthem.
As you can see the revs are being controlled by a couple of techs with a computer. Pretty impressive and a whole lot more in tune than when comedienne Roseanne Barr butchered the national anthem when she sang it at a baseball game some years back.
Coming up next, heavy trucks put a lot more miles on the road than any passenger cars do, and yet those trucks lag behind cars when it comes to safety and convenience equipment. After the break, we’ll show you how that technology is starting to migrate from passenger cars to the big rigs.
ESCsmart FROM MERITOR WABCO
Effective this year, stability control is mandatory on all passenger cars sold in the U.S. Surprisingly though this relatively simple safety feature is NOT required on large commercial vehicles. NHTSA is looking into the issue and will likely mandate it soon. In the meantime, supplier company Meritor Wabco is leading the way. Its next-generation stability control system, called ESCsmart is under development. Beyond keeping tractor trailers and other heavy vehicles shiny-side up it has one feature that makes competing systems look primitive by comparison.
It’s amazing that they actually give the ESCsmart system the ability to adapt over time. This is an innovation I haven’t even heard of in passenger cars. It’s interesting they’re bringing it to market on the commercial side. Meritor Wabco’s ESCsmart system is expected to debut in January of 2014.
But sure to tune in tonight for Autoline After Hours when we’ll be down at the Woodward Dream Cruise. Even though the event officially starts Saturday, all those Dream Cruisers are already cruising on Woodward Avenue, and that gives us the perfect backdrop for After Hours. So join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best in-depth discussions about cars that you can find, along with our pals Jim Hall and Mark Phelan. That’s tonight starting at 6 P.M. Eastern Time.
And that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.