March 7th, 2013 at 11:48am
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson touts the company’s research and development. New vehicle sales in the U.S. market are one of the truly bright spots in the American economy right now, but last month the sales growth came exclusively on the truck side. Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steering, or PAWS is the first system to feature independent and continuous control of the left and right-wheel steering angles. All that and more, plus guest host Murray Feldman gives his thoughts on how automakers can do a better job of winning over customers.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. It’s Thursday, the 7th of March, 2013. I’m Murray Feldman from FOX2 News in Detroit, filling in for John who can’t make it for today’s show but he will be back for tonight’s Autoline After Hours but more on that later, let’s get to the news.
AKERSON TOUTS GM R&D
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson was in the news yesterday touting the company’s research and development. He revealed that the automaker is working on two separate electric vehicles, one that can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge and another that can go 200 miles. To help reach that goal, the company is working to cut the average weight of its vehicles by 15 percent by 2016. This will help reduce fuel consumption by an average of 10 percent. Akerson says GM will have around half a million vehicles with some form of electrification on U.S. roads by 2017.
CARS DOWN, TRUCKS UP
New vehicle sales in the U.S. market are one of the truly bright spots in the American economy right now. But last month the sales growth came exclusively on the truck side. Passenger car sales actually fell ever so slightly, down 532 units. Trucks, on the other hand were up by nearly 43,000 units. As we reported yesterday, sales of hybrids, plug-ins and electric cars were up strong, but the overall market growth is clearly being driven by sales of trucks, specifically full-size pick-ups and crossovers. Strong pick-up sales mirror an improvement in the housing industry, but those strong crossover sales show that consumers continue to trade in their SUVs and continue to move out of passenger cars.
NOT JUST FOR MONSTER TRUCKS
In our latest edition of New Technology we take a look at Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steering, or PAWS. It is the first system to feature independent and continuous control of the left and right-wheel steering angles, and is standard equipment on the 2014 RLX. PAWS makes the Acura more stable and nimble by reacting differently to a variety of driving conditions. To enhanced stability the system will command both rear wheels to toe-in during braking and will steer the rear wheels with the front wheels at highway speeds, which also reduces response delay. For the more nimble feeling PAWS will turn the rear wheels opposite of the front wheels when the RLX is under highway speeds, which reduces turning radius and FWD power-on under-steer. The system uses two independent actuators that can adjust toe at each rear wheel plus or minus 2 degrees while it works in concert with Vehicle Stability Assist, Traction Control and Acura’s dynamic braking system. And if, for any reason, the alignment goes out of spec, we were informed by an Acura engineer that it does not require any special equipment or out-of-the-ordinary steps to return it to original spec.
Now lets get to the results of our latest poll. We asked you what your cylinder index is – the number of cylinders you have in your household. That includes cylinders in your car, bike, lawn mower or whatever you have. The median cylinder index for households is 20, the highest is 304 and the lowest is 1. The grand total for the 600 people who participated is 14,825. Wow, that’s a lot of cylinders. A number of you wrote in to tell us how you calculated your cylinder index and if you want to see how participants tallied their cylinders, click the link in today’s show notes. Thanks for participating in this week’s poll.
Coming up next, my thoughts on how automakers can do a better job of winning over customers.
Automotive assembly plants ran at 90 percent capacity last year as the automotive comeback picks up steam. That’s good. More jobs, more auto-workers, more suppliers, more dealerships, more sales people and more c-y-a-’s. More cover your assessments.
I’m talking about people hired by the big car companies to place ‘the call.’ It comes a week or two after the car buyer drives the vehicle home from the dealership. ‘Hi, it’s the dealership everything o.k, you like the car, the dealership experience was o.k., the sales person treated you well.’
And then they remind you that you’ll be getting a survey in the mail. It’s important to fill it out and if your responses are not all perfect it’ll hurt some of the nice people at the dealership.
I know someone who received ‘the call’ after a service visit. They weren’t happy. It took too long, people not friendly and the problem not fixed. Funny thing. Their survey must of gotten lost in the mail, because it never came.
A high ranking big three executive recently admitted to me that they don’t see alot of the complaints. He said we never know about these things. We know why.
I’m reminded of a big three engineer. The woman was in the beauty salon, overheard a customer near by complaining about a problem and the poor service she was getting on a luxury car. It was a car that this engineer happened to work on. The engineer took it upon herself to get the problem fixed within hours.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.
To those of you in the business who accept this system of problem hiding. I have just one thing to say. Every time a customer complains you have an opportunity, a face to face encounter to win that person over. And if you can do it. I bet they’ll repeat that story over and over.
Well that’s it for today’s show but before I go I want to remind you to check out tonight’s episode of Autoline After Hours. Joining John and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, is Michael Robinet from IHS, an expert in future product and technology. So tune in tonight at 6PM Eastern at our website Autoline.tv, for the best insider information in the auto industry.
And that’s a wrap, once again I’m Murray Feldman from FOX2 News Detroit, thanks for watching and I will see you next time.