August 5th, 2009 at 12:28pm
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicts that the $2 billion addition to cash for clunkers will pass by Friday. Corvette will introduce a new racecar this weekend to compete in the GT2 category of the American Le Mans Series. Ford is looking to increase the amount of natural materials it uses in vehicles. All that and more, plus John gives us his take on the Lexus HS 250h.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. More news on the U.S. CARS program. Chevy readies a new Corvette racecar for the American Le Mans. And Ford looks into more plant-based materials.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, August 5, 2009. I’m Murray Feldman from Fox 2 News here in Detroit, filling in for John who’s still out of town. And that’s too bad, because today is a very special day. This is the 200th episode of Autoline Daily. Congratulations John and crew, here’s to the next 200. I’ll try save you a piece of cake. Anyway, here’s today’s news.
The cash-for-clunkers saga continues with news on several fronts. We’ll start in Washington where the Senate is still stuck on re-funding the program. However, the Detroit News reports, that Majority Leader Harry Reid predicts that they will, in fact, pass the $2 billion dollar addition by Friday, which is when the Senate goes on vacation. And now the head of the Democrats is backed up by his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, who says his party will not block a vote on more clunker money.
Once those funds are back in the system, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood predicts that this 2 billion should keep the program running until at least Labor Day, though the way consumers burned through that first billion in just one week we’ll have to see.
And finally, more government figures tell us that the Ford Focus was the number 1 clunker purchase across the country, but don’t cry for the imports. It turns out that the rest of the top five are all Japanese. Toyota’s Corolla finished as the second-biggest seller with the Honda Civic third and then back to Toyota with Prius and Camry rounding out the top five.
And speaking of scrappage plans, according to the AFP, Germany had a 30 percent boost in car sales for July, thanks to its own cash for clunkers scheme. Overall, sales in Germany are up 27 percent this year.
It already uses soy-based foam in some of its models, but Ford is looking to increase the amount of natural materials in its vehicles. Scientists at the company’s European Research Center in Germany are looking into a compound called “liquid wood.” The material is made from scrap wood chips and fibers – kind of like particle board – and offers a green alternative to petroleum-based plastic. It’s injection mold-able which means in the future it could be used for interior trim.
Honeywell developed a new, more environmentally friendly air conditioning refrigerant, and it just got approved for use in Japan. The new formula, called HFO-1234yf does significantly less damage to the environment when it’s released into the atmosphere. Refrigerants are rated on a scale according to their global warming potential, or GWP for short. 134a, the refrigerant currently in use has a GWP of 1,300. Honeywell’s new formula is rated at only FOUR! The approval by Japanese regulators is an important step toward its wide-scale adoption and the reduction of greenhouse gasses.
Today, the White House will announce which companies will receive grants for advanced battery research and plug-in development. According to the Detroit News, $2.4 billion will be awarded to 48 different companies. $1.5 billion will go toward producing batteries and their components, $500 million will be used for producing electric drive components, and the other $400 million will be awarded to test plug-in hybrids and pure electrics.
Corvette will introduce a new car this weekend at the Mid-Ohio race track to compete in the GT2 category of the American Le Mans Series. The car, called the C6.R, is based on the Corvette ZR1, and thanks to series rules the car will use many production-based components from it, like the body design, aluminum frame and chassis, as well as the steering system. Although unique to the race car will be a 6.0-liter small block V8 that puts out 470 horsepower. The C6.R will compete in the remainder of races left for the year.
Coming up next, John gives us his take on the newest Lexus hybrid, we’ll be right back after this.
Earlier in the week we previewed the Lexus HS 250h, the company’s newest hybrid model and the industry’s first dedicated, luxury hybrid. Recently John got some time behind the wheel of the new Lexus, and here’s a little of what he thinks about this groundbreaking model.
If you want to see the rest of McElroy’s review of the new Lexus HS 250h, jump over to the John’s Journal page of our website. There you can watch his entire test drive – and a whole lot more – a little later this afternoon.
Anyway, that’ll do it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. I’m Murray Feldman from Fox 2 News, Detroit. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.