AD #1167 – GM Headed to Myanmar, Bosch’s Plan for Hackers, Opel Unveils Monza Concept

July 9th, 2013 at 11:52am

Runtime: 9:38

General Motors announces it will be the first automaker to start selling new cars in Myanmar. While at a recent technology conference in Germany, host John McElroy asks Bosch executives how they plan to prevent autonomous cars from being hacked. Opel revives the Monza nameplate with a concept that will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. All that and more, plus Autoline Daily correspondent Seamus McElroy takes a look at the newest version of Mercedes’ biggest money maker, the E-Class.

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Welcome to the latest from Autoline Daily as we strive to bring you the latest developments in the global automotive industry.

And just to show you how global it’s becoming, General Motors announced it will be the first automaker to start selling new cars in Myanmar. That’s the country that used to be known as Burma. Until recently the country faced international sanctions for its human rights violations, but with a democratically elected government taking hold, the economy is opening up. Myanmar has a population of over 60 million people. GM will only sell the Chevrolet brand there for now. And Peugeot announced it is going to start selling cars in Mongolia, which has a population of less than 3 million people. Peugeot says it will sell fully loaded versions of its highest priced cars there. Automakers are looking in every nook and cranny around the world in their search for new customers.

As autonomous cars come closer to reality there is growing concern about hackers being able to take control of those cars. At a recent technology conference in Germany I asked Bosch executives how they plan to harden autonomous cars to prevent hacker attacks. They told me Bosch has a multi-layered strategy. The first line of defense starts with the traffic servers that are feeding information into cars. They need robust firewalls. The second line of defense is developing a dual electronic architecture in cars, one that only operates the controls in the car and a different system that operates the infotainment systems. The third line of defense is encrypting both of those systems. What a world we live in when we have to worry about hackers taking control of our cars. But it’s good to know the auto industry is working on staying ahead of this potential problem.

In another sign Tesla is becoming a legit car company, the EV maker will start trading shares on the Nasdaq next week. Bloomberg reports Tesla will be added to the Nasdaq 100 Index, which tracks the biggest companies on the exchange. As you know, Tesla’s stock has skyrocketed on the New York Stock Exchange this year, which closed yesterday at over $120 before this announcement.

And in other EV news, Nissan announced it will add quick charging stations at more than 100 of its dealers in the U.S. by April of next year. The company is partnering with AeroVironment, which will build and install the quick chargers. The stations can charge a depleted LEAF to about 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes.

If EPA-estimates are correct, the new Corvette Stingray will be the most fuel efficient sports car on the market. It rates the 2014 model with the 7-speed manual transmission at 17 mpg city and 29 highway or for our friends across the pond, that’s about 14 L/100 km city and about 8 L/100 km highway. Not too shabby for a car with 455 horsepower that will start around $55,000. EPA-estimates for Stingray’s with the 6-speed automatic will be coming out soon. Now if they would just stop dribbling out information about this car and let us drive the dang thing!

One of the highlights at this fall’s Frankfurt Motor Show may be a brand new Opel. The company is reviving the Monza nameplate with a new concept. It is said to focus on efficiency and connectivity with its “ground-breaking powertrain solution” and its infotainment system represents a “quantum leap” in development, although, they didn’t elaborate on what those points mean. At least we get to see what the car looks like, well, just the front end. But from this angle it looks great. We kind of think it looks like a tamer version of Acura’s new NSX.

Coming up next, a look at the newest version of the biggest money maker for Mercedes, the 2014 E-Class.

The E-Class is an important car for Mercedes. Based on its sales volume and profit margin, it puts more money to the bottom line than any other passenger car in Mercedes’ line up. In the U.S. last year, the company sold over 60,000 of them, which is about 20 percent of its U.S. sales. Here’s Seamus McElroy with a look at the new model.

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class isn’t a completely all-new vehicle but the company considers it a significant refresh compared the previous model. That’s because there’s a new powertrain, technology and styling.

(Soundbite about design can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Mercedes also loaded up the 2014 E-Class with a number of different safety features it refers to as “Intelligent Drive.”

(Soundbite about technology can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

The 2014 E-Class offers a number of different powertrain choices. A hybrid, a new four-cylinder diesel and two gas engines, a 3.5L V6 and a 4.6L V8. The engines are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and also includes stop/start technology. I test drove the 3.5L V6 sedan with direct injection and all-wheel drive, what Mercedes’ refers to as 4MATIC. I found it to be very smooth and refined. It is comfortable to ride in and has impressive acceleration and braking. The fuel economy for that model, including the wagon version, is 19MPG in the city and 29 on the highway.

The wagon, sedan, and hybrid are available now while the diesel and AMG will be released later this summer in the U.S. Starting prices range from $51,400 for the diesel and up over $100,000 for the AMG version. The E350 4MATIC sedan we drove starts at $54,400.

Before we go, remember to join us this Thursday night for Autoline After Hours. Our guest will be Art Anderson, the chief engineer on the Fiat 500L. What a surprisingly good little car that is and I really look forward to this show, so join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider information in the business.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching and please tune in again tomorrow.

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31 Comments to “AD #1167 – GM Headed to Myanmar, Bosch’s Plan for Hackers, Opel Unveils Monza Concept”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I wouldn’t underestimate the power of the ‘hacker(s)’; even with triple redundancy and encryption, if for some reason ‘they’ decide, hacking automobiles will “ring their bell”, it is going to be “Katy bar the door”. Just the constant efforts used to make everyone have a ‘bad day’ with the “PC” crowd should make that point clear.

    Great news on the Corvette (mileage) numbers (some already see over 30 mpg hwy with the current car) would expect the same with the C7.

    The Opel Monza sure has the looks (IMO); make it , but make it ‘right’ and perhaps it could help same the Mark.

  2. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Sorry, “save the Mark”

  3. HtG Says:


    One thing that’s going on in the computer hardware field is built in security. Companies like Intel and ARM have been keenly aware for years that keeping out hackers needs to be built into the hardware itself. So if Bosch is on it, bear in mind they’re getting help from the big boys.

    (Not that I’d trust a chip built by Hauwei)

  4. HtG Says:

    From Appleinsider comes this piece on Apple’s patent for on screen controls for cars. The article emphasizes feedback to the drivers fingers which will help in keeping eyes on the road.

  5. 003 Says:

    Monitoring (or more) by the NSA (and by extension, the IRS, etc) being a separate issue, I assume.

  6. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I can’t help but wonder what in hell makes Bosch think that they can design and build a computer system for autonomous cars that are hack-proof? Maybe they are wasting their time and ought to sell their tech to our govt.Seeing how that China and north Korea can and do hack into systems much more sophisticated and ‘hardened’,on a regular basis.Then what about hacking into the traffic management system and have them feed that bad info to the cars computers and nav systems.When someone says something can’t be hacked,thats like a red flag in front of a bull.I’ll stick to driving my own damn car thank you…

  7. Steve Weintraub Says:

    Re: Corvette mileage, isn’t the Porsche Boxster or Cayman rated higher?

  8. HtG Says:

    5 The way I hear it, Bosch’s systems are being compartmentalized so that if there is a breach, it’s still lots more work to get to another section. Kind of sounds like the engineers aren’t planning for fool proof, 1000% impermeability.

  9. HtG Says:

    The other big hole in security is us. Fooling a user into giving access to a Black Hat is a tried and true scheme. Kid sticks a USB into his infotainer, you open an attachment. Imagine if some baddies got hold of something like our Olympic Games software, and figured out how to cut the oil pressure while disabling the warning indicators; we did something like this to Iran just now. The trick involved getting infected computers in country and then using Bluetooth to get onto smartphones which workers at the facilities carried to work. I’d never feel unhackable, though I don’t think anyone cares too much about me.

  10. HtG Says:

    And if you’ve got traffic servers running your car, how should the CO2 footprint of a car be calculated? Today’s centers use lots of electricity both to calculate and keep cool.

    Oop, talking too much today. ;)

  11. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I am not ‘anti-technology’ per se.I’m here aren’t I?Having said that,not all ideas are good ones,some need a lot of developing,like the autonomous car and it’s related systems.No matter how well thought out,and constructed,it all has to be for a price point.Bean counters only understand the costs vs roi and little more it seems,hence we have recalls,and lots of them from most OEM’s.Safety issues,mechanical issues and computer issues.The OEM’s can only do so much then the rest falls to who? private companies that build/install/maintain/and maybe charge us a fee for using their traffic and nav management systems? This is a whole different ball game just for me to get to the VA and back again.I want no part of it,and if I need too,I’ll buy an old truck with no computers to fail etc.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    All this autoauto talk and BS when it’s never gonna come through as a viable alternative to actual driving, what happened, did they give up on flying cars and interstellar travel? Just imagine these hackers setting up accidents just for the thrill of it, why they have already managed to mess with traffic signals, resulting in some serious accidents already.

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: They sure have.But ‘pie in th’ sky’ folks think that we will be protected in our driving and that ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime,or yours.They must also believe in unicorns…..

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    I recall when “2001 A Space Odyssey came out, they were predicting lunar settlements and giant orbiting space stations, what we got is a post-apocalyptic looking, former industrial north.

  15. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #7 Steve
    Boxster and Cayman both great cars (and superior mileage), however: smaller and less powerful. And 29 is pretty darn good (in any event).

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7, 15
    Boxster get a little better mpg than Corvette, but not a lot. The highway rating of the Boxster S manual is actually one mpg lower than the manual ‘Vette.

  17. cwolf Says:

    ya better be careful of saying too many nice things about the Vett’s good mpg’s or the attack dog will go after TB to dispute the praise.

  18. HtG Says:

    It’s such a stunning mpg number. With wide sticky tires and a big ol’ engine to turn over. That thing must really cut through the air.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    They must have had a tail wind, skinny driver, over-inflated tires, going downhill all to help it along!

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The ‘Vette would have low drag, except for those big tires, but the really tall gearing helps get that highway mpg, even with the big engine. Also, I think the C7 will have cylinder deactivation at light load.

  21. HtG Says:

    Such an impressive engineering accomplishment; All that performance at that price. The interior also looked great to my eye. I can’t wait to see Seamus and Sean fight it out for who gets to drive it first.

  22. XA351GT Says:

    Hmmmm, so they are preparing for hackers on autonomous cars. Pretty much tells me that every time there is a problem they will blame hackers to escape blame for failures. Also did anyone else ever wonder if the people selling you antivirus software and services aren’t the same ones making the viruses in the 1st place.

  23. W L Simpson Says:

    C7 shift pattern—-1st, 2nd, 7th.

  24. HtG Says:

    Here you is, GA, an article on how cars can be hacked. From EETimes,

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The good thing is that, for now, the steering wheel is actually mechanically connected to the steering of the car, and the brake pedal, even on my Prius, is connected to a hydraulic master cylinder plumbed to wheel cylinders. I am probably strong enough to override unwanted steering or power inputs, at least for now.

  26. HtG Says:

    Giving me nightmares, Kit. What if you’re going down the road at 35mph and oncoming traffic is doing the same? A signal is sent to the electric motor boosting the steering(self parking Lexus), and it’s Christopher Walken in Annie Hall as the brother.

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ HtG: Good article,but it still didn’t go far enough,ie: the pissed off employee at OnStar for instance,or the pissed off tech at your local dealer etc.So many ways to do this and I don’t even have a devious mind.The canbus,and some spoon fed malware via the usb/aux inputs etc are all ways into the onboard stuff.Think about just this…..electric steering.I have it on my nox,wireless throttle,on my nox,stability control/abs etc.I have them all.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, if the unwanted left steering unexpectedly came at the wrong time, I’d probably be in deep sh!+, even if I had the strength to override the motor. Maybe non-power steering would be a good thing.

  29. HtG Says:

    Check this out. An article on Intel buying a security company. Keep in mind they bought McAfee a couple years ago, saying that deep level security was crucial. Intel is quite serious and so is ARM. When I listen to the ARM people it’s clear that security is fundamental to how chips for mobile and infrastructure are being developed.

  30. HtG Says:

    Nerd Alert

    Here’s a pdf on ARM Holdings program to develop security for the mobile world. It’s being built into the chips. I have no idea what Bosch is doing, and don’t see their name on ARM’s site as a partner(ten years ago they worked together, I think)

  31. Don B. Says:

    Ok I was not a Eurofile in the late ’70s, but Chevy had the ‘H’ body Monza here and it was a full line, hatchback, coupe to wagon. Opel had the Manta which was a 2 or 4 door. I think your graphics guy hinted at it with the ‘Opel Manza VS’ section. But GM now being global it can go either way.