Episode 951 – Cadillac ELR, Next-Gen Kia Sorento, F1 Car “Sings” National Anthem

August 16th, 2012 at 12:08pm

Runtime: 8:41

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.

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Hello and welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily. And now the news.

CADILLAC ELR
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.

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22 Comments to “Episode 951 – Cadillac ELR, Next-Gen Kia Sorento, F1 Car “Sings” National Anthem”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    So, part of congress finally got around to doubting Fisker; quite of few of our loyal Autoline Daily contributors (and I believe maybe John and Peter too; can’t remember) had our doubts quite a bit earlier on the money grant/grab.

    I’m glad to see the ELR is getting the go ahead; even if it isn’t an electrical success, I think it’s drop-dead gorgeous and just had to be produced.

  2. Jon M Says:

    $7K is a pretty enticing carrot to dangle in front of a dealership. But a one day sales blitz to earn such a prize would sure put the pressure on the sales staff. I’d love to audit some of those transactions. I’m sure none of those dealers cooked their books!

  3. HtG Says:

    That RedBull’s Renault engine sounds a little sloshed; you think the techs know that the US national anthem is derived from a British drinking song?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRwAoneiDMc

    try singing it as Foster Brooks, it’s much easier

  4. Will Says:

    Regarding the Sorrento, it seems vehicle styling has plateaued.

    To pick an arbitrary date, consider any 5 year time frame from 1950 (post war designs fully implemented) to 1980. Virtually any car sold at the beginning of such range would have seemed painfully out-of-date at the end of that 5 years.

    Nowadays, it seems many 10-year old designs are only slightly dated and many 5-year old designs are not dated at all.

    Consider how long the 1989 T-Bird, 1993 Probe, 1996 Taurus (ugly rump, but that was ugly at the time too), 2001 Aurora (the 1995 did not age well), 2006 Lexus IS, and the 2007 Saturn Outlook and Aura all remained fresh.

  5. guybob Says:

    WOULD LOVE TO SEE A BUICK RIVIERA CLONE BUT WITH NORMAL POWERPLANT. ELR IS BEAUTIFUL!!

  6. dale Says:

    Can Fisker claim Fire fighters as NEW Fisker employees?

  7. dcars Says:

    I guess F1 missed the US a lot to return here with two races on the schedule.

  8. Dave Says:

    F1 sings the National Anthem…They must have been watching seven year old Ford Mustang commercials…

  9. Brett Says:

    I confess that it’s a subjective observation, but I’ve always considered the styling of our 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS to be quite timeless compared to any of the subsequent models.

    People don’t believe me when I tell them it’s almost a quarter of a century old.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    #9 very true indeed!

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #9,
    I test drove an Eagle Talon which I think was the same generation as your car. It was the AWD turbo version, and I drove it on a rainy day. I generally don’t see much point in AWD for normal driving, but with that peaky turbo, and in the wet, the AWD really showed its value.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    #11 I did not get to rent a car cause my sister went along so we took her already aging 2 1/2 yr old, 24k mile Journey and the suspension has gotten softer, tires are starting to wear out, it doesn’t track straight anymore and after a heavy Fla summer rain on a back road, the car was swaying and shifting like a drunken tango dancer, I don’t get that even with my POS Crapola! I don’t know if its the tires or the soft suspension to blame for it, but it gave me no security at all with a fully loaded car, you’d think it would be more steady on its feet.

  13. cwolf Says:

    It would be fitting for Fisker to join forces with Chinese auto makers,Great Wall and Chery. Maybe with the added asbestos used in these Chinese wrecks, Fiskers would be less prone to fires!

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!!!

  15. Ed K Says:

    John,

    F1 is coming to New Jersey, not the Big Apple, let’s give credit where credit is due. It’s bad enough the Jets and Giants are called New York teams when they actually play in Jersey, let’s not start that misnomer with the Wee Grand Prix.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    #15 That’s right, they couldn’t run it in NY anyway, the potholes and decaying streets would tear apart those cars in a couple of laps. Plus Mayor Bedbug Bloomberg would tax them too much for polluting NY’s already polluted air.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I heard F1 was coming to NJ for the view of the NYC skyline, but they don’t care about saying where the race is actually taking place.

  18. Chuck Grenci Says:

    West New York and Weehawken; New York Metropolitan area (in any event). I think I remember them saying that they would park (a lot of people, driving) at the Meadowlands and bus spectators into the venue; good idea IMO.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    #18, you have to, I know that area well and there is just no place to park that many cars, although mass transit is very good, I remember in 1976 with the bi-centennial boat parade, traffic was a nightmare all over the Hudson river side of Jersey.

  20. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Born and raised myself (Clifton, NJ); living in S.C. now but am fairly familiar with the area. I would give mass-transit a grade of adequate (on the Jersey side of the river) but that only for routine day to day activities. I do have high-confidence that they (the organizers and the city/state) will pull off a good event.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    problem is that the main roads where the event is taking place are the same ones used by buses traveling to NY, but normally, mass transit is crowded for sure but I would consider it good compared to where I live now, where it’s almost non-existant. They built an underground train station in Union City which will come in very handy in this event

  22. John Says:

    John,

    Your comment about Commercial Vehicles being behind in safety and convenience is not entirely true. There are many systems and innovations that have been adopted accross the CV industry earlier than in automotive – Adaptive Cruise Control, Predictive Cruise Control, lane departure warning are probably more widespread in CVs than passenger cars. It is a very exciting business to work in!