0:30 FCA Workers Sue UAW
1:04 FCA Criticized for Ram Super Bowl Ad
1:36 EV Sales Stall
2:38 Hella’s New Lighting Solutions
3:18 Mercedes Reveals New A-Class
3:55 Will GM Leave Korea?
4:58 Engineering for Different Regions
-On today’s show…FCA gets slammed over its ad for Ram pickups in the Super Bowl…Mercedes redesigns the A-Class…and we’ll tell you why drivers in North America are different from those in other regions of the world. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
FCA WORKERS SUE UAW
Fiat-Chrysler is in the news today and for all the wrong reasons. Four dozen FCA line workers are suing the UAW because they say they lost their jobs when corrupt UAW officials colluded with FCA to get rid of them. They worked at the paint shop at the old Jeep Wrangler assembly plant. Federal investigators have accused several UAW officers of accepting bribes and several FCA executives of paying them. FCA denies the bribes had anything to do with the contract it negotiated.
FCA CRITICIZED FOR RAM SUPER BOWL AD
FCA was also heavily criticized last night for running an ad for Ram in the Super Bowl that used a voice over from Martin Luther King Jr. A lot of people did not like FCA using the civil rights leader’s message to sell pickup trucks. However, the New York Times reports that the King Center, which maintains the civil rights leader’s legacy, approved the ad. FCA has a reputation of producing noteworthy Super Bowl ads, but it probably never expected this ad to create so much controversy.
EV SALES STALL
Sales of electric cars hit headwinds in the U.S. market last month. They dropped 9% despite the Tesla Model 3, Honda Clarity and Hyundai Ioniq EVs being added to the segment. Their sales were offset by big drops in Tesla’s Model S and X, as well as the Fiat 500e and Nissan LEAF. Nissan is clearing out inventory of the LEAF which is getting replaced by a new version. Battery electric cars now account for only 0.7% of all sales, which worries automakers because regulations stipulate they must account for over 15% of sales by 2025.
|U.S. SALES OF BEVs JANUARY, 2018|
|Total EV sales||8,117||-9.2%|
|Tesla Model S||2,659||-22%|
|Tesla Model X||1,837||-12.5%|
Mercedes has redesigned the A-Class and we’ll show what it looks like right after this.
HELLA’S NEW LIGHTING SOLUTIONS
The other day we showed you how Hella’s projection headlamps could help keep bike riders safe, but it’s also come up with a number of other solutions for the lighting system. Like a backup sensor, the headlights could project a bar on the ground to indicate you’re travelling too close to the car in front of you or show the ideal path to take. This could be helpful at night or in the rain. Not all ideas have to do with lighting something up. Blacking out a portion of the light beam could indicate to the driver there’s a passenger on the side of the road. I like that they’re pretty simple solutions that anyone would be able to understand.
MERCEDES REVEALS NEW A-CLASS
Mercedes revealed the new A-Class and here are the highlights. The compact hatchback gets updated styling all around and is both wider and longer for more passenger and cargo space. Technology upgrades include a huge center display screen and semi-autonomous driving capability. There are a total of three powertrain options: two four-cylinder gasoline engines and a diesel variant. The engines will be mated to a 7-speed DCT with the option for all-wheel drive. The new A-Class will launch sometime in the Spring.
WILL GM LEAVE KOREA?
Last year, GM pulled out of the European market when it sold Opel to PSA. And now some analysts are wondering if South Korea is next. WardsAuto reports GM doesn’t have plans to build any new models in the country. Its sales plummeted 26% last year and exports fell by 6%. GM’s Gunsan plant, which builds the Chevy Cruze, ran at only 20% capacity the past two years. Analysts say it wouldn’t be surprising if GM stops selling and manufacturing vehicles in Korea. But we think it will keep its design and engineering operations there.
What makes North American drivers different from others around the world? That’s coming up next.
ENGINEERING FOR DIFFERENT REGIONS
Automakers used to develop a vehicle for a specific region but nowadays vehicles are sold globally and must satisfy customers in all markets. But some adjustments are still needed to meet local regulations and expectations. On Autoline After Hours, John Juriga the Director of Powertrain at the Hyundai-Kia Technical Center, explained how the U.S. differs from other areas of the world.
(The AAH preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
For more about Hyundai’s powertrains and the new Kona crossover, you can watch that entire discussion right now on our website, Autoline.tv or on our YouTube channel.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.