AD #1180 – MINI Design Evolves, GM Outsells Toyota Worldwide, First Peek at the Acura NSX

July 26th, 2013 at 11:52am

Runtime: 7:19

With the unveil of its Vision concept, MINI shows off the design direction of future cars. GM boosts its global car sales and even manages to outsell Toyota. Acura offers up a first glimpse at its NSX prototype before it laps Mid-Ohio Raceway in August. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week with Johann Jungwirth, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development in North America.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, and the end of the work week. Later on in the show we’ll show you why Mercedes-Benz thinks touch screens are bad in big cars, but first let’s get to the news.

Mini showed off a concept vehicle which shows the next design direction for the brand, what they’re calling the Mini Vision. Notice that the grille is a lot bigger, is no longer split by the bumper and the fog lamps are moved inside the grille, which is also flanked by air intakes located just in front of the front wheels. The hood scoop is less pronounced, and the belt line highlight now carries down the front fenders into the front wheelwell highlight. The headlamps are now LED’s and more elliptical. It’s interesting to see how much they changed, and yet left the car instantly recognizable as a Mini.

General Motors reported its earnings yesterday and there’s good news and bad news in the numbers. GM managed to boost its global car sales by 4%. It was up in every region of the world, except Europe. Its revenues went up by almost the same amount. They hit $39 billion, up $1.4 billion from a year ago. The really good news is that GM’s operating profit was up more than 7%, thanks to solid results in North America, a huge improvement in South America, a massive reduction in losses in Europe, but strangely a big drop in GM’s International Operations, mainly China. GM blamed that on lower wholesale deliveries, a poorer mix, lower prices and higher costs. But the bad news is that GM’s net profit fell 19% from a year ago, and we’ve got to believe those issues in its International Operations are to blame.

GM also outsold Toyota worldwide in the second quarter. Not by much, only 10,000 units, but still, GM pulled out ahead in the last three months. Toyota was hurt by the anti-Japanese backlash in China and the weak Japanese market. The company says it will sell 10 million vehicles this year, which would be an industry record. But these latest sales numbers show that GM is not out of the running, not by a long shot.

Free-trade negotiations between the U.S. and Europe could lead to something automakers have wanted for decades. WardsAuto reports that the two sides are in discussions to recognize each other’s safety standards for cars. In other words, cars tested in the U.S. could be sold in Europe without having to pass additional tests and vice versa. Japan and South Korea have similar standards to Europe, so this could lead to a global harmonization in standards. Automakers have dreamed of common standards for at least forty years and this would definitely save them lots of money.

Car imports to China fell 10% during the first half of the year. Gasgoo reports German luxury brands were hit hardest, imports from BMW, Mercedes and Audi dropped between 3 and 23%. And this will hurt their bottom line because they don’t have to split import profits with their Chinese partners. Surprisingly, American imports bucked the trend and saw their share rise more than 4%. And this is despite U.S. cars being slapped with hefty tariffs.

Acura released an image of its NSX prototype to promote its unveil before the IndyCar race at the Mid-Ohio Raceway. The car will take a ceremonial lap around the track before the race on August 4th. The prototype keeps the same styling and proportions as the Concept that was shown at the Detroit Auto Show. It’s powered by a mid-engined hybrid V6 with all-wheel drive. The production version won’t debut until 2015.

Coming up next, Mercedes-Benz thinks that touch screens don’t make much sense in big cars.

On Autoline This Week, our television show, my guest is Johann Jungwirth, the president and CEO of Research and Development for Mercedes-Benz in North America. He has some interesting things to say about how drivers should interface with all that electronic content coming into cars. Take a look.

(The preview of Autoline This Week can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

Csaba Csere, formerly of Car And Driver magazine and Mike Austin of Popular Mechanics are also on that show and you can watch it in its entirety on our website,, or check your Public Television listings if you live in the US and Canada because we’re practically available coast to coast.

And that wraps up this week’s reports, have a great weekend and please join us again here on Monday.

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33 Comments to “AD #1180 – MINI Design Evolves, GM Outsells Toyota Worldwide, First Peek at the Acura NSX”

  1. ColoradoKid Says:

    GM outsells Toyota ???

    Excuse me folks … but I’m afraid not ;

    4.91 million ( Toyota ) vs 4.85 million ( GM ) keeps Toyota in the lead . With VW (4.7 million ) closing in FAST !

    Beware GM . The ‘ Evil Empire ‘ BORG ( VW-Audi ) have you directly in their sights ;-)


    Acura NSX – Yes please …. minus the hybrid bit


    MINI Vision Concept – ” Much Ado About Nothing ” from MINI …. once again . zzzzzZZZZZZZZ

  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – re; GM’s ‘ profits ‘ Told ya so ! :o

  3. Bradley Says:

    Acura NSX!! Yippee!!

  4. HtG Says:

    Apparently I’ve been immoderate. Awaiting

  5. Bob Petrach Says:

    #1 – Read the jalopnik article – it confirms what John said – “It should also be noted that, in the second quarter, GM slightly outsold Toyota.”

    The sad part is sales up and profits down @ GM.

  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    GM in 2nd quarter outsells; no biggie, just reporting the news.

  7. HtG Says:

    Gm profit

    Detroit News reported that GM profit was partly down due to a $200M share buy back in Korea.

    “GM’s overall net income was down slightly in the second quarter from $1.5 billion earned a year ago. But it beat analyst estimates when factoring in special items that cost about $200 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 75 cents a share, down from 90 cents a share in the same 2012 quarter. GM made 84 cents when including 9 cents of special charges, mostly related to costs of acquiring GM Korea preferred shares.”

    From The Detroit News:

  8. HtG Says:

    Mini Mocks Mandidate’s Manhood. Carlos Danger ahead…

    How’s that for some extreme doofus d’internet commenting?

  9. Wim van Acker Says:

    #6: I would think a share buy back does not affect profit. It is an allocation of funds AFTER profit has been made as far as I know. Could any finance specialist shed light on this?

  10. ColoradoKid Says:

    @ HtG – The other aspect affecting GM’s ‘ profits ‘ that no one is talking about ( except the financial insiders ) are the plethora and over abundance of incentives / subprime loans / discounts etc on offer in order to move stock

    Old business adage ; You can sell a million widgets a day … but if your profit is zero you’re spinning yourself into a downward spiral from which you will never return


    The TRUTH …. about what GM owes the US Tax Payer

    Ultimately …. its us ( tax payers ) that’ll really be taking it in the shorts when all is said and done ….. from ‘ America’s ‘ car company . Hmmmn . Hate to see what things’d be like if GM was China or Russia’s car company cause with friend like GM ….. WTH needs enemies ?

  11. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – That Wiener fellow really is ( a wiener ) isn’t he ;-)

    Sheesh … between Weiner / Martin / Snowden and Kate .. one can’t get a lick of pertinent , meaningful , important and relevant news to save ones life !

  12. HtG Says:

    10 newsmakers are on vacation. When’s shark week? And I don’t mean ‘Landshark of Brooklyn,’ though I bet I could pitch that.

  13. HtG Says:

    and by 10 I meant 12

  14. Jon M Says:

    In your opinion, John, do you see the convergence–or at least acceptance–of safety standards between the U.S. and Europe much like the switch from the English to the metric system and U.S. GAAP to IFRS?

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It would be great if the U.S. and Europe had the same safety AND emissions standards. Then, we’d actually be able to buy small diesel hatches and wagons, other than just one brand, VW.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    We’d be “taking it in the shorts” a whole lot worse if GM had shut down, as you would have preferred, putting about a million well paid GM and supplier people out of work.

  17. T. Bejma Says:


    Of course there are incentives. That is what it takes to move the oldest fleet in the industry. As the major launches progress through the end of next year, you will see incentives drop (as they already have on all of the new vehicles). Believe me, our leaders know this understand it and have no problem letting us know why it is.

    The real worry should be with Ford whose margin is not much better than GM’s with a MUCH newer portfolio…

    You know, even with incentives, ATP (Average Transaction Price) on the ’13 trucks was up 5% in June over last year. That is 5% more pure profit.

    Add to that the great reception of the new Impala, the new Trucks by consumers, and all of the JD Power awards and it is a good sign we are headed in the right direction…

  18. T. Bejma Says:


    Amen brother. Also the $150 BILLION (!!!) in pensions the taxpayers would have had to pick up through the PBGC if GM went under. The real truth that no one wants to realize…

  19. M360 Says:

    #16 – I just hope it never happens again that GM falls so far they have to be bailed out. It happened twice at Chrysler and GM still seems kind of arrogant. Maybe that’s because I’ve lost respect for GM and it’s going to take a very long time to get it back. I thought they were smarter than that. Now, I like Ford Motor Company more every day and their products.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like some Ford products, like the Focus hatch and C-Max, but I don’t much like the company. Those ads bragging about not being “bailed out” were a real turnoff, especially since they had their own problems, but earlier than GM.

  21. HtG Says:

    I can’t wait for that day GM is no longer owned by the US, and the True Believers line up around the track at Warren to flip half of America the full bird. Now that’s some arrogant.

    (let me translate, please; this debate is pointless and tiresome)

  22. Bradley Says:

    Yes, GM does still seem very arrogant. I believe some of it is genuine arrogance and some of it is their insistence to spin everything to glorify themselves. Like Lutz’s comments about putting so much content in the cars, made them heavy and therefore lowered MPG. SPIN, SPIN, etc.

    That exact attitude is what will push some even further away from GM.

  23. HtG Says:

    22. The Institute for the Irony Challenged has some free beds. Give ‘em a call.

  24. HtG Says:

    Sorry, Bradley, I get wound up about 2008.

  25. HtG Says:

    A short off topic film about an old Ferrari soon to be auctioned.

  26. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > Automakers have dreamed of
    > common standards for at least
    > forty years and this would
    > definitely save them lots
    > of money.

    Please, not so fast. A problem with standardization is, you can standardize mistakes too if you’re not careful. An advantage of NOT standardizing safety standards is, excessive demands by one country don’t carry over to others.

  27. Bradley Says:

    No worries HTG.

  28. C-Tech Says:

    Return of the NSX is good news. I liked the style of the old one and I like the looks of the new one.

    New job (sucks) does not allow me to post as often. On the style subject of where to place the fuel filler, thanks J. Hall for the explanation. I have a follow up question, with Plug-in hybrids and EV’s is there, or will there be a standard spot for the plug? I have seen center, right and left!

    Part of the past problems in the industry has been excessive attention paid to quarterly reports which led to failure of the long term focus on success.

  29. Lex Says:

    Can you imagine the cost reductions in manufacturing if all vehicles had the same safety and emission standards globally!!!
    This would greatly reduce design engineering, testing and production costs world wide and make vehicles more affordable for the masses. Henry Ford would be jumping for joy!!!

    Now if all nations in the world would adopt left hand drive configuration as the standard the OEM could ship vehicles world wide without a second thought. All the OEM’s would need to do is have the instrument panel electronically display in any language or measurement the owner / driver desired.

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    FIAT SpA’s Formula for ‘ Success ‘

    1) Take one perfectly good and reliable donor car ( Suzuki SX4)
    2) Cloth it in a ” Pagliacci ” clown suit
    3) Take a page from Dodge/Chrysler/JEEP’s ” Lost in Translation ” play book and undo most everything good about the original donor car … including its reliability
    4)Charge too much for it

    And you get …. this ;

    Yeah …. that worked out real well . So … err … would somebody mind reminding me exactly why it is so many still think Marchionne’s a genius ?

  31. HtG Says:

    I feel your pain, CK. On the other hand, the 500L makes for a good doofus detector. Maybe it’ll be the volume nameplate for the dealers, letting them put the little sports cars on the floor.

    (I apologize to any doofuses who may be offended)

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the 500L is a dog, but CK, you really need to get over your obsession that other Chryslers, like 300, Charger, and GC are “lost in translation.” They are very good products, for the price, if you don’t get carried away with the options list.

    Back to the 500L, it, like the Countryman, should have larger displacement engines, but there is a lot more wrong with it than the engines. Getting a manual transmission would help, but it would still be uncomfortable and ugly.

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    #30 maybe Sergio is trying to emulate another paisan, Iacocca and tring to do magical things with the same basic architecture.