February 25th, 2013 at 11:44am
Chinese automaker Chery hired top-level designer Hakan Saracoglu from Porsche. Volkswagen announced its earnings for 2012 and the company posted some jaw-dropping numbers. Jeep is so excited about bringing the Cherokee back that they released pictures before the official introduction at the New York Auto Show in March. All that and more, plus Autoline Daily correspondent Seamus McElroy has our first look into the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
It’s good to see you back with us for the start of a brand new work week. Here at Autoline Daily it’s our job to keep you up to date with the latest developments in the automotive industry, so let’s get to it.
GM TO OFFER 4G
General Motors just took an important step towards getting customers more interested in its cars. It’s partnering with AT&T to put be the first automaker to put 4G LTE connectivity in most of its 2015 U.S. and Canadian models. Besides being faster and more responsive, 4G allows customers to create an in vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot, stream video in the back seat, or get real-time traffic updates. The system is integrated with the electrical system and uses an external antenna for better coverage and connectivity. GM plans to work with other carriers to offer 4G for Opel and Vauxhall. This is a very astute move for GM to bring younger, tech-savvy customers into its showrooms.
CHERY HIRES PORSCHE DESIGNER
Chinese automaker Chery is taking a page out of Kia’s design book. Just as Kia hired a top designer from Audi. Chery hired Hakan Saracoglu from Porsche. He worked at Porsche for 15 years and helped design the exteriors of the 918 Spyder, Boxter and Cayman. He began his career at Ford in Europe and graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. You watch, in one design generation Chery is going to have fantastic looking cars, and that could truly vault the Chinese automaker onto the global automotive stage, just like it did at Kia.
VW MAKES CARS, MINTS MONEY
Volkswagen announced its earnings for 2012 and the company posted some pretty impressive numbers. It sold 9.3 million vehicles, up nearly 12 percent. That boosted revenues by more than 20 percent to $252 billion. That pushed its pre-tax profit to a jaw dropping $33 billion. Net profits came in at a very impressive $8.3 billion. Meanwhile, things don’t look so rosy over at Daimler. On Friday we told you that CEO Dieter Zetsche only got a 3-year renewal of his contract instead of the customary 5-years. Now we’ve learned that the board trimmed Dieter’s pay package by almost 6 percent even though he still earned $11 million, and management members on the board saw their bonus whacked by 28 percent. Daimler is falling behind BMW and Audi and let me tell you, nothing focuses executives’ attention like cutting their compensation.
XL1 POWERTRAIN MOVING UP!
Last week we got to see the production version of Volkswagen’s XL1, a plug-in diesel hybrid that could be the most fuel efficient vehicle ever produced. However, with its hand-built carbon fiber and aluminum body it does not seem the XL1 is slated for mass-production. So now there are talks that the same 2-cylinder TDI engine and electric motor powertrain will go into Volkswagen’s 2-door hatch, the Up! which has a better chance for higher production capacity. The word is that the Up! Hybrid is still in the developmental stages and we may not see a production version till sometime in 2014, but what a smart move for VW to get more volume production for that powertrain because it will lower the overall cost.
JEEP CHEROKEE IS BACK
Jeep is bringing back the Cherokee with the official intro at New York Auto Show in March. But they’re just so excited about the news that they just had to release these pictures before the fact. What an interesting interpretation of the Jeep front end graphic. And notice the almost Kia-like grille on the lower front fascia. Jeep claims that it will have 45 percent better fuel economy, I’m guessing that’s compared to the Jeep Liberty. And that leads me to believe that the 2014 Cherokee will be getting a diesel. It will be built at Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly Plant in Ohio and will arrive in dealer showrooms by the third quarter of this year.
Speaking of Jeeps with the word Cherokee in their name, let’s take a look at the refreshed Grand Cherokee, coming up next.
2014 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE
(Video and interviews for the Grand Cherokee can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
Thanks for that report, Seamus.
And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.