November 7th, 2012 at 11:58am
Maserati plans to boost sales over 8 times the current amount by 2015. Could the new Quattroporte help to reach that mark? Ford is bucking the trend in China. Sales were up nearly 50 percent thanks to the new Focus. Hurricane Sandy drives up used car prices, but may help overall sales. All that and more, plus John responds to your questions and comments in today’s edition of You Said It!
Hello and welcome to post election edition of Autoline Daily. If your candidate won last night congratulations. If not, wait till next time. Now let’s get to what’s going on in the world of cars.
MASERATI PLANS TO GROW
Maserati leaked out pictures of the new Quattroporte, which is going to debut at the Detroit auto show. You can see how they dropped the leading edge of the hood down lower, and how the car features crisper lines than before. They extended the DLO rearward, and wrapped the tail lamps into the rear fenders. Is it me or are these taillights inspired by Audi’s styling? And look how beautifully they’ve designed the engine cover, and yes the car still comes equipped with an engine built by Ferrari. Last year Maserati sold a little over 6000 cars. But the company plans to boost that to 50,000 a year by 2015. In the US market the Quattroporte starts at just over $127,000.
HYUNDAI-KIA TO PAY BIG PRICE
Hyundai and Kia will pay a hefty price for overstating fuel economy claims. Moody’s Investors Service estimates that reimbursing customers could cost the automaker $100 million a year. The automakers market share in the U.S. is also expected to fall slightly next year because of the controversy and due to no new models being launched. But in somewhat good news for Hyundai-Kia, Moody’s says the incident won’t hurt their credit ratings.
FOCUS DOMINATES FORD SALES IN CHINA
Ford is bucking the trend in China. Overall, car sales are slowing down in the market but thanks to the new Focus, Ford sales were up nearly 50 percent in October compared to a year ago, to about 60,000 units. According to China Car Times, the Focus accounted for over half of Ford’s October sales in China, totaling more than 33,000 units. The company is in the midst of a big push in the country, and could be benefitting from Chinese consumers turning away from Japanese brands.
USED CAR PRICES UP
Used car prices are expected to rise after Hurricane Sandy destroyed thousands of vehicles. The National Automobile Dealers Association, or NADA, is predicting that prices of used vehicles up to 8-years-old will increase from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent. In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit used car prices rose about 3 percent, but that was a much larger storm. This should boost to the auto industry because a large portion of damaged vehicles will have to be replaced.
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
Have you ever wanted a McLaren F1 like driving experience? Well that is what one man told Trinity Motorsports Group of Lima, OH he wanted from his Porsche 911. The company reconfigured the standard 2-plus-2 layout into single-center-seat that you see here. The hardest part of the build was trying to keep the dash as factory looking as possible said Shawn Bayliff, owner of Trinity Motorsports Group. But the company does carbon composite work that made some of the fabrication easier. The total cost of the build was $85,000 not including the original purchase price of the 911. Now Trinity is building a coupe version of the car with a manual transmission that should be finished in the next 30 to 45 days.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!.
A lot of you have a lot to say about what Toyota should do with the redesign of the Prius. Steve Ashley says: “There are two types of ugly in this world, 1.ugly and 2. BUTT UGLY!!! The ’70s Datsun F10 comes to mind. Toyota needs to scrape the current Prius styling and START OVER!”
I think he means scrap the current Prius styling, but since they’re going to have to scrape clay maybe he’s got it right.
Lex is on the other end of the argument. He says: “What’s wrong with the current design of the Prius? Let it remain the same as the iconic VW Beetle remained the same for decades.”
Kit Gerhart heard me say that one of the things that makes Volkswagen so successful is that it’s vertically integrated. He asks: “GM got away from vertical integration largely to get lower cost parts from low wage, non-union suppliers. Does VW pay their in-house parts suppliers the same wages as the assembly and powertrain employees, etc.? I don’t know, but I’m curious.”
Kit, my understanding is that they do pay them the same. But there’s not a huge wage difference as there was in the United States. Remember, just five years ago the total labor cost for a UAW worker was $75 an hour, whereas suppliers had a total labor cost of about $30 an hour. So what was a no-brainer to outsource all that work to suppliers.
Well thank goodness the election is over because Mitt Romney sure confused a lot of people about where Jeep production is going to take place. Don Bronn wants to know, “With Jeeps going to be made in China why should Americans buy them? JEEPS ARE AMERICAN! Americans won’t buy them anymore than they bought the new GTO made in Australia several years ago!”
Don, don’t worry. You’re not going to get a chance to buy a Chinese made Jeep any time soon, if ever. Yes Chrysler is going to make Jeeps in China and that’s exactly were those Jeeps are going to be sold. Chrysler will continue to make its entire Jeep line in the United States and will sell those vehicles to Americans.
Paul Kourie is curious about autonomous cars. He says: “I would like to know who you think will get there first? I don’t like to speculate but your knowledge of the industry I feel gives you a unique perspective on the next great automotive race, the race to autonomy.”
Paul my perception is that Audi is in the lead when it comes to autonomy. BMW is showing a lot of interest as well. And Ford has admitted that it’s working on it, too.
gmveteran says: “I too am mystified as to the lack of EV sales in Europe where petrol is so much more expensive than the States. Could it be that their electricity is also much more expensive and so the financial advantage is not strong enough to overcome the higher prices and lower range of EV’s?”
gmveteran, I think it’s that, and the fact that so many people in Europe live in apartments. So where do they plug-in their EV? Even though there are some public charging stations around they may be blocks away and that just makes an EV that much more inconvenient.
Thanks for all your letters and comments and keep them coming.
Hey before we go a quick reminder about tomorrow night’s Autoline After Hours. Our special guest will be Sandy Munro who has developed the software and methodology to calculate the cost of manufacturing a car. He’s got some eye-opening information on the true cost of making the Chevrolet Volt. So join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information in the business.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.