November 16th, 2012 at 11:47am
An inside source explains the full story on why Toyota and others are suing Mexico over fuel regulations. The turbocharger and dual clutch manufacturer BorgWarner is getting a new CEO. Mercedes-Benz takes the wraps off a futuristic SUV concept for the LA Auto Show. All that and more, plus on Autoline This Week, Csaba Csere and Jim Hall join John McElroy to discuss which EVs are winners and which are destined for the dustbin of history.
TGIF — Thank God It’s Friday — and that means it’s also TFAAP — Time For Another Autoline Poll! But, hold your horses because that’s coming up later in the show. Plus we’ll have a preview of Autoline This Week with my guests Csaba Csere and Jim Hall. Now, let’s sally forth.
WHY TOYOTA IS SUING MEXICO
Yesterday we reported that Toyota is suing the Mexican government to prevent it from adopting US fuel economy standards. Last night I got a call from a very highly placed industry source to give me the background to this story. Two years ago Mexico hosted a global conference on climate change. Then Mexican president Felipe Calderon, promising to be the greenest president ever to serve Mexico, swore the country would adopt U.S. fuel economy standards. But the U.S. standards contain lots of flexibility, some would say loopholes, that give automakers credits for flex fuel cars, electric cars, and other adjustments. The Mexican standard does not provide any flexibility, it simply demands that automakers achieve 35 miles per gallon by 2016. Automakers are up in arms about it and that’s why Toyota, Chrysler and others are suing the government to prevent that standard from being adopted.
BORGWARNER GETS NEW CEO
BorgWarner, the supplier company that plays such a significant role in the turbocharger and dual clutch transmission business, named a new CEO yesterday. James Verrier will take over for Tim Manganello on January 1st. Anyone who follows the Indianapolis 500 will remember seeing Manganello handing out the BorgWarner trophy to the winner of the race, which the company has been doing since 1936.
CHEAPER IS BETTER
We’ve all heard the anecdotes about people driving out of their way for cheaper gas but now we have the scientific proof. This is one of the early findings from research being done by the University of Michigan and the Department of Transportation. They are tracking 3,000 cars equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle communication in effort to improve traffic flow and reduce traffic fatalities. But researchers say they’ve gathered more data than they expected including the proof that people really do drive out of their way to get cheaper gas.
SOUNDS LIKE AN ENERGY DRINK
Mercedes-Benz just revealed a futuristic design concept called the Ener-G-Force. It was developed for the Los Angeles Design Challenge which was holding a contest for what a police car would look like in 2025. But Mercedes took it a step further and designed a civilian version and even built a full-size scale model. And since it’s for the future, the Ener-G-Force is all about being green. Recycled water is stored in tanks on the roof, which is transferred to something called a “hydro-tech converter,” where it’s converted into hydrogen to operate fuel cells. The electricity from this is kept in storage units that are accessible in the side skirts. And four wheel-hub motors are what make the Ener-G-Force move.
OK, youse guys. Time for our Autoline Poll, and for this we’re going back to a story we reported earlier in the week. On Monday we told you that Volkswagen’s 75-year-old Ferdinand Piech will remain chairman at least until 2016, and he could be sticking around until the ripe age of 82. So, here’s the question: how old is too old to run a car company? Should the lifers be broomed out to make room for new blood, or do you say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Tell us what you think by clicking the poll link below today’s show. As usual, we’ll reveal the final tally on Monday’s Autoline Daily. Now get off my lawn, unless you want to hear how I used to walk to school uphill, in the snow, both ways!
Coming up next, we have got a fantastic review of almost all the electric cars out there and what their prospects are for the future.
The topic for Autoline This Week is all about electric cars, just about all of them. I invited Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics, and Csabe Csere, formerly the editor of Car and Driver to tell me about their test drives in those cars, and how they think the EV business is going to go. In the following clip I asked them to give me their impressions of the Tesla Model S, which just won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award earlier this week.
Csaba and Jim know so much and are so good at explaining their points of view that you’ve got to watch this show. It really is that good. I promise you that you’ll learn a lot.
Anyway, that wraps up another week of following one of the funnest industry’s in the world. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you on Monday.