AD #1284 – Hey, Where’s The Steering Wheel?, F1 Inspires Q50 Concept, Kia’s New Queen Bee

January 3rd, 2014 at 11:54am

Runtime: 7:50

- Germany Down, U.K. Up
- Hey, Where’s The Steering Wheel?
- Here Comes the Sun
- F1 Inspires Q50 Concept
- Kia’s New Queen Bee
- Autoline This Week Preview

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Yes, we’re here today. Even though much of the Northern Hemisphere is frozen solid, the Autoline Daily crew have reported for duty! So now let’s get to some of the latest developments in the global automotive industry. Today, we start our coverage in Europe.

And just when we thought car sales in Europe had hit bottom, Reuters reports that sales in Germany dropped over 4% last year to just under 3 million vehicles, the worst they’ve been in three years. But at the same time carmakers in Germany are having a hard time, things look much better for the industry in the U.K. WardsAuto reports that production there is up 4.5% through November and is on pace to hit 1.5 million units for the first time in six years. The UK is now the one bright spot in Western Europe, when it comes to sales of new cars.

According to an in-depth study by the consultancy IHS, autonomous cars are right around the corner and the day is coming when all cars will be able to drive themselves. It forecasts that sales of autonomous cars will hit 230 thousand vehicles in 2025, 11.8 million in 2035, and that all vehicles, both passenger and commercial, after 2050. It says North America will have the most autonomous vehicles, 29% of global market share by 2035. China will have 24% and Western Europe will have 20%. IHS also predicts that the technology will cost somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000 per car, but I think that’s a very high estimate. Both Google and Audi have told me they expect the technology to cost more like $3,000 and go down from there.

For decades, automotive designers have dreamed of developing solar powered cars, and now Ford has brought that dream one step closer to reality. Working with the Georgia Institute of Technology they came up with a trellis that you park your electric car under. On top of the trellis is a Fresnel lens that concentrates the sun’s rays as it moves across the sky and focuses them on the solar panel. That captures 8 times more energy than it would otherwise. Ford says it’s the equivalent of charging for 4 hours, putting 8 kilowatts of power into the batteries. Fresnel lenses were first developed for light houses in the early 19th century. They allowed a relatively modest light source to put out a powerful beam. Ford says it can make it out of plastic and that it would not be very expensive. The C-Max Energi that demonstrates this concept has a new type of photovoltaic cell that can bend slightly to fit the contour of the roof. This is an interesting concept and one that would appeal to a lot of EV advocates.

Infiniti is drawing more inspiration from its connection to the Red Bull Formula One racing team, especially with its new concept car. Meet the Q50 Eau Rouge. Many of you may already know, but Eau Rouge is one of the turns at the famous Spa race track in Belgium. The concept is based on the Q50 but is both lower and wider than the production version. Only the door and roof profiles stayed the same. It features a carbon fiber aerodynamics package, lightweight 21 inch wheels and a dual exhaust system. The Eau Rouge will be revealed at the Detroit auto show on January 13th.

And speaking of race-inspired concepts, check out this one from Kia, called the GT4 Stinger. It’s a rear-drive car that’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0 liter engine that pumps out 315 horsepower. It also features Kia’s signature grille design, custom 20 inch wheels and a carbon fiber front splitter. That’s all we know at this point but we’ll keep you up to date as more details are released.

So who is going to win the North American Car & Truck Of The Year award? More on that, right after this.

A little over a week from now the jury of the North American Car & Truck of the Year awards will announce the winners at the opening day of the Detroit auto show. I’m on that jury and I pulled in several of my fellow jurors for my television program Autoline This Week to talk about the different vehicles that were up for the award and to predict who will win. Here’s a clip from the show where we talk about the contenders for North American Car of the Year.

(The ATW preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

You can watch that show in its entirety on our website at, or check your local public television listings because Autoline This Week is available on many of those stations, or check out our YouTube channel, just look for the Autoline Network.

And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching and remember, we’ll be back here on Monday morning to help you keep up with the latest developments in the global automotive industry.

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70 Comments to “AD #1284 – Hey, Where’s The Steering Wheel?, F1 Inspires Q50 Concept, Kia’s New Queen Bee”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, they also predicted we would all have flying cars and be booking trips to the moon and fly from NY to London in 2 hrs, and blah blah blah even the supersonic airplane is gone and so is NASA as we knew it!

  2. XA351GT Says:

    Yeah okay all these autonomous cars will be on the road by when? I’ll believe if I see it. Probably by the same people who predicted that EV and Hybrids would have a considerable share of the market by now. The only way I see this happening is if the government forces them down our throats like so many other things today.

  3. XA351GT Says:

    As for that Ford with solar charging . Where exactly and how big is this trellis to be? I’m sorry I just can’t see these as practical considerations.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it too, with autonomous cars, if I live long enough. We could be wrong, though. I never would have imagined today’s smart phones 20 years ago.

  5. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Predictions are soon forgotten (unless it hits; then it’s “I told you so”); time for reporting the news not predicting the news.

    I was impressed by the new solar ‘system’(pun maybe/maybe not intended) ;) used to capture energy; now we are talking green.

  6. RumNCoke Says:

    That’s right. “Somebody” at GM (sounds like Mark Reuss to me) is letting the car guys do what they were always capable of doing. From those of us who supported the Big 3 in the Dark Days – geez, what took so long?

  7. HtG Says:

    Ford to retrofit millions of cars to become connected

    Gigaom reports that Ford will be able to download software to Sync enabled cars, which will allow smartphones link to the car’s screen.

    “The fact that Ford can flip a switch in 3.4 million vehicles and turn them into connected cars is impressive, owing to the way AppLink was originally implemented. Unlike many other connected-car infotainment systems, AppLink is a fairly lightweight platform. It’s basically a user interface and thin software client designed to interact with the smartphone. The handset not only hosts the apps but also provides the critical mobile data connection back to the internet.”

    You guys may be getting ready for Cobo, but there’s going to be plenty of action next week in Vegas.


  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    According to this site, current solar cells produce 8-10 watts/square foot:

    At 10 watts per square foot, it would take 100 square feet of solar cell, a 10 foot square, to produce 1 kilowatt of power. If 200 square feet of “trellis” could be focused onto the roof of the car, and if the solar cells can maintain the same efficiency with the really bright, and hot light focused onto them, you’d get 8 kilowatt hours of energy in 4 hours. John probably meant 8 “kilowatt hours of energy” rather than 8 “kilowatts of power.”

  9. Jon M Says:

    I’m hardly clairvoyant so I won’t make any predictions; however, if autonomous cars do make their way into mass market I’m willing to bet they’ll be purchased–or at least coveted–most by those who will then demand the windshield be converted, or be convertible into a screen that connects with what will then be the latest and greatest in “mobile” devices. After all, who wants to look at the road ahead when you can watch movies on such a large screen/windshield? By then perhaps those who dream of their car being nothing more than an extension of their Smartphone will finally realize their long awaited mobile “mobile” device.

  10. XA351GT Says:

    Jon M @ #9 I think they already have something like that. it’s called a simulator. LOL

  11. Buzzerd Says:

    I would say the big difference between things like flying cars and autonomous cars is that 1 -some of the technology is already in cars e.g. self parking cars. 2 – almost every manufacturer and many many suppliers are working and testing there systems as we speak. I would think this technology will slowly creep in to cars with features like a hands off cruise control and or autonomous parking lots.
    My question is where does the motorcycle slot into the autonomous roadway? or does it? Will you see a push to rid the highways of motorcycles, something many legislators and insurance companies would very much like.

  12. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Then there’s geezerz like me who still love to drive.We are indeed a dying breed.

  13. HtG Says:

    What’s driving like, GA, out there in Bigfoot’s backyard? What region of the state are you in?

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    …… and the award for the most American car maker of 2014 goes to ……

    Not only building the sled and sponsoring the US Bobsled team … but overall sponsor of the US Winter Olympic Team ( and … much of the coverage ) as well

    So much for the called .. ‘ American ‘ .. [ not so ] Big Three .. who’d rather put their money overseas than into US Sports … ( yeah … I’m lookin at you GM !!! )

    Nice to know who one’s friends and allies really are … aint it . Not to mention who puts back from whence it was received ;-)

    Efff .. the Big Three … Pretense of being anything remotely resembling ‘ American ‘ pretty much summing things up

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – The ‘ real ‘ question should be …. how’s it feel driving in your own backyard this morning ? :o

    Not to mention …. how’s it feel to once again after many a year to finally have a ‘ connected ‘ mayor in the drivers seat … ;-)

  16. HtG Says:

    15 Winter wonderland, little streets still white, bright sun, snow v. fluffy( I listened to Artie Lang being interviewed while shoveling), temps to hit 0 tonight.

  17. T. Bejma Says:

    Sorry for OT. Artie Lang? He’s still alive? Figured he was holed up in some rehab facility. What is he up to HtG? Who was interviewing?

  18. HtG Says:

    17 OT, TB. He’s interviewed for 1.5 hours by MarcMaron. (You mean I get to turn you on to WTFPod, TB?

  19. T. Bejma Says:


    Wow, slap your name on a half dozen bobsleds and all of a sudden you are the most American company? Thought you were going away and sparing us from all of this drivel…

    GM #3 in the world in sports sponsorships, BMW not even in the top 10…

    “Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC Truck Division are all parts of General Motors. Chevrolet has sponsorships with 12 MLB teams, 10 NFL teams, three NBA teams, three NHL teams, one MLS team, one WNBA team and one CFL team. It also has a partnership with NASCAR, specifically with several teams and nine speedways. Cadillac sponsors a PGA golf tournament and the coverage of the Tour de France. The GMC Truck Division has naming rights in an arena in Vancouver. It also sponsors eight MLB teams, one NBA team, one NFL team and two NHL teams. The truck division also has partnerships with a college football bowl and road racing. It also sponsors the U.S. Fencing Association and the CONCACAF football tournament.”

  20. T. Bejma Says:


    Thanks HtG, yeah, never heard of WTFPod. Looks interesting ;-)

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t even have much opinion regarding this type sponsorship being good, or a waste of money, but that list is interesting.

  22. PhoenixMark Says:

    #19, so that’s why GM charges so much for its cars and trucks. How much can all that money spent on sports team really move the needle in sales.

    Why does Coke and Pepsi advertise??

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Don’t they realize the best form of advertising is through word of mouth and recommendations, 9 out of 10 auto technicians recommend Toyota to a friend or relative.

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    What does ford sponsor,or chrysler?

  25. ColoradoKid Says:

    19 – Oh really Mr Delusional ?

    Hmmmn … best to be getting your stats straight oh great GM Arschkussen shill

    Regardless …. WTF’s GM when it M-A-T-T-E-Rs … on the W-O-R-L-D stage … backing Americans in competition ?

    Oh yeah … thats right …. nowhere to be seen … throwing money away on pretentious BS [ like TESLA } and setting themselves up for yet another …. Bailout … while sending more and more J-O-Bs overseas … under the pretense of more manufacturing in the US

    Pull your head out TB .. i know its been decades since you’ve smelled fresh air … but give it a try … its a bit … errr . disturbing at first when reality hits … but its so much more refreshing …. not to mention … profitable …. when you do

  26. ColoradoKid Says:

    HtG – A little something to get you thru the predicted hard winter y’alls in for ;

    Brought to you by ;

    and by;

    The Rosalind P Biteme Foundation

    and by ;

    The Norwegian Council for ; There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather – Just Bad Clothing

    and by ;

    CK’s Pancake Bar & Grill … Nomex Dress Casual and Sports Wear .. and soon to be .. Uncle Zonker’s Smoke Porch and main distribution center Worldwide

    [ Couldn't resist HtG .. and on the later ... I voted against ... thats a hell of a Pandora's box we've opened up here .. consequences no doubt to come ]

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ford has naming rights for the Detroit area football field, like Mercedes in New Orleans.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Chrysler has a major sponsorship in CK’s neck of the woods:

  29. ColoradoKid Says:

    19 … and then there’s that thorny little issue of just how much American content there is in GM’s products of late … especially their full sized P/U’s … hmmmn … ;-)

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    28 – Yeah well … ya knows what we all say about DU don’t you ? Anyone that pays more to go to DU than it would cost to go to Harvard or Yale … needs an education ;-)

    And anyway … as the point was made to TB .. its Americans … on the World Stage sponsorship I’m talking about .. not some pathetic naming rights for some University’s hockey team

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The weed thing will be an interesting, and educational experiment. I just hope the feds will “officially” refrain from enforcing pot laws, so we can really see how things go in CO and WA.

    I recently signed a petition to put a referendum on the ballot. I don’t know how I’ll vote, if it gets on the ballot, but I’ll be following how things go to the northwest.

  32. Buzzerd Says:

    @22 guess – think energy drinks, they sponsor a lot.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30, No disagreement on DU vs other universities that cost less to attend.

  34. Buzzerd Says:

    @T.Bejma – I knew it was too much to hope for.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The local content of GM products, as with other brands, is a mixed bag, depending on model. For anyone who wants to look it up, have at it:

    Yeah, 2014 GM pickups have only 40% “local” content, while Tundra has 75%. Apparently Ford hasn’t turned in data for the 2014 F series, because it isn’t on the list. The published data is for US/Canada content. US-only data seems to be hard to come by.

    A few for comparison, 2014 model year:

    MB GLK-Class 0%
    MB ML-Class 42%
    Ford Explorer 60%
    Chevy Traverse 72%
    Ford Fusion 30%
    Chevy Malibu 66%
    Toyota Camry 75%
    Toyota Prius 0%
    MINI Cooper 5%

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, sponsorship costs must be about 95% of the cost of Red Bull.

  37. HtG Says:

    Where is GLK assembled? 0% local? Not even paint?

  38. HtG Says:

    36 flipping genius, if you ask me. It’s caffeine and sugar, FFS.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37, The GLK is assembled in Germany, with mostly German parts. The ML and GL are built in Alabama, or some place like that.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38, I’ve never bought it in my life, but I tried some when they were giving it away at the Moto GP in Indy. It doesn’t taste very good, at least to me.

  41. Buzzerd Says:

    Red Bull – like all great brands, aren’t selling a drink, they’re selling a lifestyle.

  42. HtG Says:

    39 aah, ok
    Did anyone see that the crash of Paul Walker a few weeks ago in the Porsche GT happened at over 100mph? Dingbat driver.

    But it brings up the issue of autonomous cars. I look at an option on new Porsche Caymens that redirects torque to aid in steering, something a semiskilled driver can do with trailing throttle or brakes, and start thinking that even Porsche appreciates that’s customers driving fantasies don’t precisely match the curtains.

  43. HtG Says:

    Red Bull is pretty useful if you’re going to shovel snow, or whatever you like to call it, for a few hours.

  44. T. Bejma Says:


    The reason GM pickups sit at 40% is because the NHTSA now defaults to the lowest US content version of the vehicle and because one of the 4 Truck Assembly Plants is in Silao, Mexico, the number is lower. There is also a transmission plant in Mexico that supplies some of the FST tranny’s. Engines are out of Tonawanda in New York. This can be verified by the fact that the SUV’s (that share almost ever major component with the pickups but are only built in Texas) are at 65%.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37, By local, I meant US/Canada. You probably knew that. The GLK would probably be about 100% local if you are in Germany, and a Prius would be about 100% local if you are in Japan.

    I’ve seen that some people mix Red Bull with distilled spirits, but I’d think that would ruin perfectly good distilled spirits.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    44, @TB,
    Did they “average” production from all of the plants before the 2014 model year?

  47. HtG Says:

    I guess I thought GLK was put together somewhere way down south.

    Yep, RedBull tastes kinda funny.

  48. HtG Says:

    Air freshener funny

  49. HtG Says:


    It’s fun to make fun of RedBull, but watching deNysschen of Infiniti use Formula1 as a platform to build the brand of his cars will be instructive and impressive. I am always startled when Ferrari bosses refer to F1 as their ‘marketing,’ but maybe making itself useful meets F1′s current exigencies. I had to shake my head when john interviewed a Ferrari boss in China, when he flatly stated that F1 was marketing.

  50. T. Bejma Says:


    Yes Kit. If you look at the Avalanche from 2013 (only built in Mexico) it is 40%.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, the whole Red Bowl phenomenon is incomprehensible. They sell this funny tasting stuff at several thousand percent profit, and do it so successfully that they fund two F1 teams, MotoGP, crazy air racing, and who knows what else. Do people buy Red Bull because of the F1 team, or does RB just have very deep pockets because they were already selling the stuff? It seems like the latter.

  52. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ HtG: I live in the south western part of Oregon.About 35 minutes north of the cally border,and an easy ride to Mt.McLoughlin,(volcano)and about an hour from Crater Lake.

  53. Buzzerd Says:

    @HtG- if you like your snow shovelling with a siding of heart attack.

  54. HtG Says:

    Crater Lake. Now that’s beautiful

    Remember GA, don’t go in the woods alone, don’t wear bright colors.


  55. HtG Says:

    53 seriously, Buzzerd.

  56. HtG Says:

    51 incomprehensibility

    The power of branding is impressive. All the meanings we ascribe to names and identities. I was walking around the mall last week, going into the Adidas store or Macy’s, and you’re overwhelmed by the brands. This is why Peter D.’s perspective is so valuable to me; he calls it image wrangling, and it’s all the meanings we big primates put into brands and identity. The carcos do it like everyone else.

    Look at this Porsche video. They get it.

  57. HtG Says:

    Look at this Porsche vid on their return to LeMans in 2014. They’re filling the brand with meaning. Who isn’t moved by this? Audi, Toyota, Porsche, and maybe Ferrari soon? I’m certainly not immune.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pretty cool, and I’ve only seen it on my phone, without hearing the sound, in a restaurant. I’ll check it out under better conditions later.

  59. Buzzerd Says:

    @55 yes. You take a person and give them a strenuous activity add a massive dose of caffeine to further increase their heart rate and…. Certainly not everyone will have this problem but if you want to do a stress test at home this would be a good start.

  60. Kit Gerhart Says:

    57, 58
    I just watched it on a bigger screen, with sound, and yeah. What an ad!!

  61. Kit Gerhart Says:

    That ad is so good that it makes me forget, at least for a few minutes, that Porsche’s best selling model is an obese, badge engineered SUV.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    56, 57,
    I just watched them again, and both of those videos are incredible. It seems that most cars ads are about price and gadgets, but not about emotion like these ads. These guys could do an ad about Corvette history, that would help sell Suburbans.

  63. RonE Says:

    What happens when an autonomous car drives into a tunnel? Will it still be able to navigate?

  64. C-Tech Says:

    That Porsche ad reminds me of a similar Mercedes-Benz ad which combines their heritage, achievements, and future.

    Yes branding is important for converting that portion of the buying public which is inclined to your product into buyers. I still have my 90′s Porsche poster of a flying 911 with my name custom printed on the license plate. My son was not interested in the poster for his room, he has grown-up into a pick-up buyer. His poster? A Chevy truck.

  65. C-Tech Says:

    @ #63 Autonomous cars in tunnels, public funds will be used for tech which will send the signals into tunnels. For the distance tunnels which do not have technology, an autonomous car will route itself around the tunnel, or other obstruction.

  66. T. Bejma Says:


    Loved the Porsche video HtG – Thanks!

    I even posted it on our internal “Facebook Style” discussion board at GM with the question, “Why can’t our Marketing Firms come up with stuff like this?”

  67. HtG Says:

    Re/code(formerly AllThingsD of WSJ) has a preview of the Consumer Electronics Show next week in Vegas. The gist of the story is that cars are now a major focus of the show, with nine major manufacturers doing presentations. Indeed, Audi is leading off with a Monday keynote.

    “The car is the ultimate mobility device.”
    -Jen Sun Wang, nVidia

  68. ColoradoKid Says:


    .. and by

    Coffee , Cars & Kafka … for the discriminating , educated and intelligent Gearhead of all genres

    :o Thought a bit of humor a proper fare well … though .,,, ahh .. ,, but ….. well … we’ll see

    … and errr … I see y’alls M&M Express is about to take off as well now . Hmmmmmn .

    Beware HtG … once that train leaves the station …. there’s no turning back . And you thought driving now was a pain in the @$& now ? Just you wait mien freund

    ” Rocky Mountain Highhhhhh …. Colorado .. ”

    John Denver had no idea … well … errr … having known him and most of his band … methinks he probably did ;-)

    Take care HtG … you’re a real mensch …. even if you do like the Cherokee … hee hee

  69. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma – Before leaving I had considered a proper lecture on how much Red Bull spends on just US athletes and events alone forgetting their Air F1 etc involvement .. the price tag of Audi sponsoring World Cup skiing … skiers ( US also ) as well as the radical ski events never mind their auto racing … the cost of OWNING an F1 Team { Mercedes ] F1 engine supplier .. etc etc

    But then I realized what a complete waste of time it would be discussing World Class and Business with someone so entrenched in GM’s Culture of Mediocrity { Gee .. with what GM ‘ sponsors now … whats next ? Sponsoring Ivana Trump’s next Face Lift ? ]

    So there you have it . Though one more suggestion might be in order .

    Perhaps GM would be better served spending that money on genuine ( rather than the pretense of ) Product Development .. rather than ‘ naming rights ‘ for NFL teams etc

    In light of GM’s demise worldwide …. ya think ? ;-)

    Seriously though … in closing …. get that CV updated and in order son …. Clocks ticking …. and guaranteed the likes of your position are right smack dab in the middle of the cross hairs …

  70. pedro fernandez Says:

    Adding to Motorweek’s ever increasing credibility problem they test the Q50 w/o the steer by wire system everyone is talking about, I guess that was the only way they could avoid slamming the car down even more, they already said they lamented the departure of the more dynamic G series in place of this electronic crap that has lost whatever driving enjoyment the G used to offer.