November 19th, 2012 at 11:26am
A partnership with Chery will help Jaguar Land Rover cut vehicle costs in China. Spanish carmaker SEAT is struggling to sell cars in China, so its parent company is stepping in to help. Honda and Nissan have cut profit forecasts due to protests over disputed territory, but one Japanese automaker is actually increasing theirs. All that and more, plus we take a look at Volkswagen’s all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid.
Hello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. Later on in the show we’ll share the results of our latest poll, but first let’s get to the news.
JLR, WITH A CHERY ON TOP
China is now the largest market for Jaguar and Land Rover, so its parent company Tata is willing to spend $1.7 billion to build a plant in China. Remember, if cars are imported to China they get hit with 25 percent tariffs, so this will help JLR cut its prices significantly. Of course, foreign automakers are only allowed to build plants if they are partnered with another Chinese company, so JLR is going in 50:50 with Chery. The new facility will include an assembly plant, engine plant and R&D facility. Both companies will also collaborate on developing a new brand. Here’s my Autoline Insight. China keeps insisting on foreign companies developing new brands in China, because it wants to develop its own chief engineers. While China probably has more engineers than any other country, they still do not have the capability of developing a world class cars from scratch. They either have to copy or modify existing designs. China figures that by forcing foreign automakers to work with Chinese engineers in developing new brands, it will finally reach the day when it doesn’t need the foreigners at all.
VW HELPS SEAT IN CHINA
Like most European automakers, Spanish carmaker SEAT is struggling. But it’s even having trouble selling cars in China. So its parent company VW is pitching in. SEAT will start selling its compact car, the Leon, at Volkswagen dealerships in China, in addition to its own dealers there. According to Gasgoo, the Leon debuted in China in March with a price tag between $38,000 and $47,000. But sales were so bad the company lowered the price by over $13,000 last month.
SUBARU BENEFITS FROM NO PLANT IN CHINA
And speaking of China, we’ve been following how sales for Japanese automakers in the country have tumbled due to protests over disputed territory. But one Japanese automaker is actually benefiting from the disagreement. Subaru’s stock jumped 83 percent this year, mainly because the company doesn’t have a plant in China. Subaru boosted this year’s profit forecast by 40 percent while Honda and Nissan have cut theirs. But while this is a good short-term gain, analysts say the company will need to boost its presence in China in the long-term.
HONDA CR-Z GETS MORE POWER
The 2013 Honda CR-Z will go on sale in 2 days and gets a few new upgrades, including a higher voltage lithium-ion battery pack that increases horsepower and torque while improving fuel economy by 1 mpg. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, the only hybrid in the US to do so, and a CVT is also available. Styling upgrades include revised interior trim along with a new front fascia, a new finish for the 16-inch alloy wheels, an aerodynamically functional new rear diffuser and two new exterior colors. MSRP for the CR-Z starts just shy of $20,000.
YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD
Well, well, well. Up to now the Autoline Daily polls have been narrowly decided. Not on today’s. We pointed out that Ferdinand Piech is probably going to be the chairman of the board of Volkswagen until he is 82 years old, so we asked you, “How old is too old to run a car company?” 11 percent of you said anyone over 65 is too old. 10 percent of you said anyone over 70 is too old and another 11 percent said anyone over 75. But 68 percent of your said no one is ever too old to run a car company. I want to thank everyone who voted, and now you can get back to your rocking chairs and games of checkers.
2013 VW JETTA HYBRID
(2013 Jetta Hybrid can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show)
It’ll be fascinating to see how the hybrid version of the Jetta sells against the turbo diesel. It could tell us a lot as to how hybrids and diesels compete directly against each other.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.