December 14th, 2012 at 11:55am
It looks like Jaguar will be the next in a line of automakers to go diesel in the U.S. Backup cameras are about to become required equipment, but John McElroy has a common sense alternative that will be easier on consumers’ pocketbooks. A new vehicle from a Chinese automaker has failed the “sniff test” so don’t breathe too deeply. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week, which commemorates 30 years of Honda manufacturing in America.
TGIF! It’s Friday, and this is the day when YOU get to vote on crucial issues in the automotive world. Today you’ll be voting for car and truck of the year, but first, the top stories.
JAGUAR GOING DIESEL
Audi just announced three new diesel models for the U.S. market. Porsche is putting a diesel in the Cayenne. Chevrolet, Jeep and Mazda will offer diesels next year. And soon Jaguar will join the list. Adrian Hallmark, the global brand director at Jaguar, tells Autoline that Jaguar is going to offer a 2.2-liter turbo diesel in its big XF sedan, probably in the 2015 time frame. We estimate that could give the XF a combined fuel economy rating of about 30 miles to the gallon, which is just under 8 liters per 100 kilometers.
LIGHTS, ACTION, CAMERAS!
Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, is about to finalize regulations that mandate rear view cameras in all vehicles. Here’s my Autoline Insight. I think the Secretary is making a mistake. Rear view cameras have problems. The lens can get covered by rain, snow or mud. In some lighting situations the cameras don’t work that well. And once those cameras become commonplace I fear they’ll just blend into the background for most drivers who will not even give them a cursory glance. A better solution is the ultrasonic sensors that emit a beeping sound when something is behind a vehicle that’s backing up. They work in all weather, they’re far cheaper than a camera system, and they give drivers a warning even if they’re not paying attention. Please, Mr. Secretary, if you truly want to save lives and prevent injuries, dump the mandate for cameras and go with ultrasonic sensors.
THAT TRANSIT IS VANTASTIC
You’re aware of course of the upcoming Ford Transit commercial van which will eventually replace the E-Series in North America. And you probably know it comes in three sizes. We knew that too, but when we saw this graphic, it really hit home how much variation in size there will be. The Transit will be offered in three body lengths, two different wheelbases, and three separate roof heights. The Transit goes on sale next fall and will be built at the company’s plant in Kansas City, which by the way, is in a right-to-work state.
OH, THAT SMELL
Ah, that new car smell! Well, here’s one car where you won’t want to breathe it in for too long. The Haval H6, from Chinese automaker Great Wall, just failed an air quality test for the inside of a vehicle. It had over three times the legal level of formaldehyde, which can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing. Great Wall blamed the high levels of formaldehyde on aftermarket accessories, like floor mats and seat covers.
Alright, it’s time for the last Autoline Poll of 2012. Yesterday we told you about the finalists for North American Car and Truck of the Year. In the car category it came down to the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Cadillac ATS. On the truck and utility side the finalists are the Mazda CX-5, the Ford C-Max and the Ram 1500. My fellow jurors and I will be voting for the cars and trucks we think should take home the trophies, but before we do that, it’s your turn. We want you to the pick one car and one truck you think should win. As always, vote by clicking the link under today’s show on Autoline.tv. We’ll reveal the results on Monday, so don’t think about it too long!
Honda recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of manufacturing in America. It’s an impressive story and we’ll be filling you in on the details coming up next.
Autoline This Week is all about Honda’s 30th anniversary of building vehicles in the US. The following clip will give you an idea of what it’s about. The show starts with me talking to Jeff Tomko, the plant manager at Honda’s facility in Marysville, Ohio.
(The preview of Autoline This Week is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
This is a good show and you can watch it in its entirety right now at our website Autoline.tv. Or, if you live in the United States or Canada, check you local television listings, because Autoline This Week can be found on many public television stations from coast to coast.
Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook where we post photos and provide instant impressions on the cars we’re test driving. Some of the Autoline crew is out in Arizona testing the new Toyota RAV4, and they posted this photo. Check out all our updates on the Autoline homepage or at Twitter.com/Autoline. If Twitter’s not your thing, visit Facebook.com/AutolineNetwork.
And that wraps up another weeks of reports, we’ll see you next week.
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