February 21st, 2013 at 11:27am
The FCC is considering selling off more of the Wi-Fi spectrum in the United States and that has automakers worried. Audi will be pulling the wraps off its version of a plug-in hybrid next month at the Geneva Motor Show. The Golf lineup just got a little bigger with the introduction of Volkswagen’s Golf GTD. The D stands for diesel. All that and more, plus Autoline Daily correspondent Sean McElroy takes a ride in Acura’s replacement for the RL.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Coming up later in the show we have the results of our latest poll where you tell us about what you can and cannot live without in your car. But first let’s get to the news.
TESLA REPORTS EARNINGS
Tesla reported its fourth quarter earnings for last year. It sold 2,400 cars and took in $306 million. But not all that income came from selling the Model S. Tesla says $12 million came from work it’s doing for Mercedes-Benz, and an undisclosed amount came from Toyota since Tesla is making electric versions of the RAV4 for Toyota. Tesla lost $90 million for the quarter, and Wall Street doesn’t seem to know what to do with the company. Tesla’s stock is up 16 percent so far this year, but Merrill Lynch just downgraded it from neutral to underperform.
CONNECTED CAR THREAT
The Federal Communications Commission is considering selling off more of the Wi-Fi spectrum in the United States and that has automakers worried. That part of the spectrum, the 5 GHz band, is the part that automakers want to use for vehicle-to-vehicle communication. The connected car, as it’s commonly known, offers to dramatically improve automotive safety by making it almost impossible for cars to crash into each other. The FCC is aware of automakers’ concerns but says it wants to expand Wi-Fi technology and increase Wi-Fi speed.
AUDI UNVEILS PLUG-IN HYBRID
Audi will be pulling the wraps off its version of a plug-in hybrid, the A3 e-tron next month when it makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. It uses a 1.4-liter gasoline engine that puts out 150 horsepower mated to a 75 kW electric motor that pushes it to 60 MPH in 7.6 seconds. The e-tron version really looks no different from the gasoline A3, a sporty looking 4-door hatch. Audi currently has no plans to build the A3 e-tron, but is clearly testing the market. Plug-in hybrids have a bad rap right now for having a higher price tag and not delivering enough fuel savings to justify that higher price. And you can be sure an Audi version would not be cheap.
VW’S HOT HATCH DIESEL
The Golf lineup just got a little bigger with the introduction of Volkswagen’s Golf GTD. The D stands for diesel. It is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that puts out 184 horsepower and 280 foot-pounds of torque capable of propelling the Golf to 60 MPH in 7.5 seconds with the standard 6-speed manual transmission, a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. The sporty hatch looks like it is the diesel version of its gasoline-powered counterpart, the GTI. We here at Autoline think the GTD would look great rolling down any street in America, but unfortunately there are no current plans to release it here. The GTD will get its first public showing at the Geneva Motor Show next month and should hit European showrooms by June.
IT’S THE WEI WANG 360!
There sure are a lot of people with a lot of knowledge in the Autoline audience. Two days ago we showed you this picture of a dinky microvan that was shot on a trailer in Michigan. We had no idea what it is. But Tman knew. He told us that this is an extended version of the Wei Wang 306. It’s made by BAIC, which claims it can seat up to 8 people and is powered by a 1.3-liter engine. Thank you Tman for telling us what is is, but I sure would love to find out who brought it to Michigan (probably some automotive supplier) and what they’re doing with it.
Speaking of how smart you all are, we’ve got the results of our latest poll, and boy did it generate a lot of attention! We asked you to choose what feature in your car you could live without if you had to choose between the heater, the air conditioning or the radio/sound system. Only 9 percent of you said they could live without the heater. 25 percent of you said you could get by without any air conditioning. And 66 percent of you said they would give up the radio or the sound system. I’m amazed. I did not expect these results. I thought most people would get rid of the air conditioning.
Coming up next, we’re going to take a look at the all new Acura RLX.
2014 ACURA RLX
(Video and interviews for the Acura RLX can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
Thanks for that report, Sean.
Before we go don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours tonight where our guest will be Charlie Hughes, the former head of Land Rover North America who has an extensive automotive background. We’ll be talking all about branding and who’s doing a good job with it as well as those who are not. Join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider opinions in the business.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.