Episode 977 – Here Comes Super-SAAR, GM Spot Welds Aluminum, First Drive of CODA EV

September 24th, 2012 at 11:42am

Runtime: 11:32

Ward’s predicts September sales will hit the best SAAR in three years. GM figures out how to shed pounds by spot welding aluminum. John McElroy takes his first drive of the CODA electric car and gives his initial impressions. All that and more, plus a report from KPMG about using the cloud to improve the automotive supply chain.

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Hello and welcome to a new week of Autoline Daily. We have our first test drive of the CODA electric car coming up, and a report on how automakers can use the cloud to improve how they work with suppliers, but first the news.

STRONG SAAR (subscription required)
Car sales could be strong in the U.S. this month. WardsAuto forecasts that sales will hit 1.16 million units in September which translates to a SAAR of 14.6 million units. And that is the best it’s been in three years.

Looks like that spat between China and Japan is easing up a little bit. Toyota announced that it is reopening all its factories and dealerships in China today.

And speaking of Toyota, it will be offering hybrid versions of 21 of its vehicles in the next three years. It wants to sell more than a million hybrids a year worldwide.


Volvo CEO, Stefan Jacoby is on sick leave and will temporarily suspend his duties after suffering a mild stroke last week, we wish him a speedy recovery.

When Honda showed us the new Accord, it pointed out that it is welding steel to aluminum with a new welding technique it calls friction stir welding. Now GM says it’s developed a new way to spot weld aluminum, which eliminates 2 pounds of rivets. The secret is a new welding tip, what they call a multi-ringed domed electrode. Spot welding aluminum is almost unheard of, and this will allow GM to do it quickly and a lower cost than riveting.

Last week I got a chance to drive the CODA electric car, and here’s what I thought about the car.

(John McElroy’s impressions of the CODA are only available in the video version of today’s show.)

CODA has a pretty impressive management team of people who have worked at GM, Ford, Chrysler, Ferrari, Mitsubishi and Porsche Engineering. They know what they’re doing and CODA is worth keeping an eye on.

Coming up next, a look at how automakers can use the cloud to improve how they work with their supply chain.

Don’t forget to check out our live coverage of the Paris auto show this Thursday morning starting at 10AM Eastern time right from the floor of the show itself. Now from a report from KPMG of how automakers can use the cloud to improve their supply chain.

(KPMG‘s report on the cloud is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

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14 Comments to “Episode 977 – Here Comes Super-SAAR, GM Spot Welds Aluminum, First Drive of CODA EV”

  1. JB Says:

    Will this new spot welding of aluminum be used for the c7 corvette and upcoming truck lineup ??????

    thanks in advance for your best guess.


  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why would John spend so much time reporting on that POS Chinese electric car? You gotta be dumber than a Smart buyer to put down almost $40k for this K-Mart blue light special blast from the past.

  3. Lex Says:

    John McElroy,

    I remember maybe twenty years ago that GM had designed a very similar battery configuration to that being used by Coda. GM called it the “Skateborad” which would allow multiple “Top Hats” to be sold on this “Skateboad” battery design. This concept by GM I believe was going to be used with the second generation of the EV1. How is it that Coda is avle to use this technology configuration for it’s batteries?

  4. Lex Says:

    Correction: GM Skateboard was an Electric Hydrogen fuel cell with storage batteries versus all batteries but the concept is the same.


  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I think John was impressed with the technology involved in the Coda,definitely not the styling,lol.

  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The “Cloud” has put me into a ‘Fog’; okay maybe I’m dense, but what the heck is the Cloud? Is it an acronym for something, a company name (or what). I’ve figured it is some sort of process, but, if it was defined (somewhere), I sure missed it.

  7. C-Tech Says:

    The Coda seems more like a design exercise to impress other manufacturers to adapt their (Coda’s) technology to current production cars rather than produce a recycled electric car.

    I understand how Cloud technology can help manufacturers and suppliers. The real question is will a manufacturer be willing to share the raw sales (demand) data with suppliers on a real-time basis?

  8. Lawrence Says:

    Very nice and comprehensive report about this enigmatic EV with China origins. Everyone seems to suggest that this is a Lancer design-based body, but doesn’t Pininfarina get some credit here?
    John, am assuming they fixed the high frequency flashing of those tacky LED turn signal lights because you didn’t mention them.
    I wonder what the Chinese taxi companies pay for this Saibao model in China when the conversion is done by Qingyuan.
    I liked this little car from the first time I saw it in Beijing, and obviously Coda’s early brainstormer Miles Rubin did too. He called it the Javlon.
    The thermal control system may keep the batteries from being too chilly in mid-winter, but what about the passengers?

  9. Bradley Says:

    I know there are typically some context subtleties implied by the term “cloud”, I still think it is silly.

  10. Brett Says:

    The term “cloud” came about because when people were drawing network diagrams, the point of interconnect between the local network and the Internet was a “router” (or firewall) symbol and a lightning bolt between that router symbol and a cloud that represented the large, nebulous entity that is the Internet.

    The idea behind refering to it as “the cloud” is that you don’t really know where the data or applications live. They’re just “out there in the cloud”.

    I couldn’t begin to tell you even in the most general terms where my two websites are hosted. My hosting provider does, of course, but I only know that they’re tucked away in the corner of some server in some data center that is probably somewhere in North America. Out there somewhere in “the cloud”.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Isn’t “the cloud” located in those H-bomb-proof salt mines in Kansas, so it will be safe from nuclear war?

  12. C-Tech Says:

    Kansas has salt mines?

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    See: http://www.needcoffee.com/2010/09/07/underground-vaults-interview/

    Search “kansas salt mine vaults” or similar if you want to know more.

  14. Brett Says:

    The nuclear survival paradigm is the source of the decentrialized, multipath, packet-based network system that is today’s Internet. Originally an Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) project known as ARPAnet, it was commissioned by the Department of Defense for that reason.

    There is no specific location and there is no single way to get from “here” to “there”.