April 30th, 2010 at 12:00pm
Volkswagen presented a new, three-cylinder engine at the Vienna Motor Symposium in Austria. Toyota is setting up a new quality-control division dedicated to feeding customer concerns into the design process. Chinese automaker Brilliance has to stop exporting cars to Europe. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit all about some of the greatest car movies of all time.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Volkswagen comes out with a 3-cylinder diesel. Toyota forms a new quality division. And Chinese automaker Brilliance has to stop exporting cars to Europe.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, April 30, 2010. And now, the news.
BRILLIANT IT AIN’T
China may take over the auto industry someday, but not just yet. Gasgoo reports that Chinese car company Brilliance Automotive will stop exporting all vehicles to Europe. Those cars received poor crash ratings and Brilliance is having a hard time meeting European emissions standards. In a related development Bloomberg reports that a couple of other Chinese automakers are recruiting Japanese automotive engineers to help them figure out how to meet safety and emissions standards in Europe. I would hasten to point out the reason we haven’t seen any Chinese cars end up in the United States – as of yet – is that American emission and safety standards are even stricter than the ones they have in Europe.
DAEWOO TO DO DISAPPEARING ACT
Yesterday we reported that GM would dump the Daewoo brand name in South Korea and replace it with Chevrolet. That prompted GM to contact us and say, “Hey, wait a minute! Not so fast. The press release clearly states that we’re keeping the Daewoo name.” So I dug a little deeper and here’s what my sources tell me. GM was going to dump the Daewoo brand all at once but ran into a backlash from its union and a government agency in South Korea. So now it’s going to phase the brand name out. Every time a Daewoo model gets phased out, the new one will be badged as a Chevrolet.
TOYOTA’S NEW QUALITY DIVISION
In an interesting step to improve its tarnished reputation, the AP reports that Toyota is setting up a new quality-control division dedicated to feeding customer concerns into the design process. In related news, an outside panel of industry experts has been assembled to conduct a broad review of the company’s operations. The independent, seven-member group is lead by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Rodney Slater. It also includes Brian O’Neill formerly of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It will advise Toyota’s North American affiliates on quality and safety issues.
3-CYLINDER DIESEL FROM VW (Login required)
In what seems to be the latest automotive fad, Volkswagen presented a new, three-cylinder engine at the Vienna Motor Symposium in Austria. The 1.2-liter TDI diesel delivers 75 PS – about 74 horsepower – and 180 NM or torque, which is roughly 133 pound feet. Look for the new engine under the hood of the company’s super-efficient Polo BlueMotion. Vee-Dub hasn’t released any fuel economy figures yet, but don’t be surprised if this thing can circle the Earth four times on a single tank.
STEEL PRICES HEAD NORTH (subscription required)
The price of steel is about to head up again. According to the Wall Street Journal, rising raw material costs, such as coal and iron ore, are to blame. The average global price for steel this month rose 12 percent. And ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, says it’s now paying 80 percent more for raw materials than a year ago and they’ll pass that extra cost on to its customers, which obviously includes every car company in the world.
CAR FEE TO FUND NHTSA
Earlier this week we reported that Congress is proposing new safety rules for automakers. To pay for all that the Detroit News reports that there is a new proposal in Congress to tack a fee on every new car. The bill would double NHTSA’s budget by $100 million next year – and boost it to $280 million by 2013. The fee would start at $3 the first year, work its way up $9 by the third year and after that would increase with the rate of inflation.
What are the best car movies that you can see? We’ll be talking about that, right after this.
Cars and movies just seem to go together. Some of the greatest lines ever spoken on the silver screen relate to the automobile. On this week’s Autoline Detroit we are into Part II of looking at some of the greatest car movies of all time.
Great line. You can catch that entire episode of Autoline Detroit right now. Joining me for that discussion are Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics, Todd Lassa from Motor Trend magazine, and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo.
A couple of weeks ago we asked you to let us know what you think about Autoline Daily and how we can make it better. We got a great response. Overall you told us you love the show, and gave us a lot of good ideas. Some we can act on right away, some will take a little longer. You’ll start to see some of those changes starting Monday, as we continue to strive to make the Autoline Daily your best source of automotive information. Thank you for your help and input.
OK, it’s Friday, which means its time for our trivia quiz. We asked you this question: “Motorola was the first company to put radios in cars in the 1920s. Where did the company get its name?” And the answer is, it’s a combination of the words Motor and Victrola, a type of phonograph that was popular back in its day. And the winner is, Dave Marsh of Orange County, California. Congratulations Dave, you’ve just won an Autoline Detroit baseball hat.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.