0:29 Musk Says Employee Sabotaged Tesla
1:05 China Retaliates to U.S. Tariffs
1:43 Red Bull Switches to Honda Power
2:28 Old Daimler-Chrysler Platform Extended
2:58 Volvo to Increase Recycled Material Content
3:41 BMW Reveals All-New 8 Series Coupe
5:21 Lincoln MKC to Be Renamed Corsair
5:46 Mercedes Tests 1st All-Electric SUV
On today’s show… Elon Musk says someone has been sabotaging the company… the muscle cars at Dodge will not get a new platform… and Volvo makes a major commitment to using recycled plastic. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
AN ENEMY IN THE MIDST OF TESLA
Elon Musk claims that an employee has been sabotaging Tesla. Musk warned employees in an email that someone made unauthorized changes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operations System and exported sensitive data to third parties. The employee did this, according to Musk, because he was upset about not being promoted. Musk said the company will investigate to see if the rogue employee was working with an outside conspiracy, noting, “there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die.” Finally, Musk asked employees to report anything suspicious.
CHINA RETALIATES TO U.S. TARIFF
The trade war between the U.S. and China is heating up and the auto industry is caught in the crossfire. Last Friday, the Trump Administration announced its imposing a 25% import tariff on Chinese auto exports. And the next day, China retaliated by slapping a 25% tariff on a wide range of U.S. built vehicles as well as transmissions. The U.S. says it’s trying to protect American intellectual property, while China says the U.S. is violating World Trade Organization rules. But the end result of the tariffs will likely mean fewer car sales.
RED BULL SWITCHES TO HONDA POWER
Big news in Formula One. Red Bull confirmed it is dumping Renault and switching to Honda engines next year. Honda’s return to Formula One has been a rocky one. McLaren dropped it as an engine supplier last year. But Red Bull obviously believes that Honda is making enough progress that it wants its engines to power its cars.
BMW just gave us a bunch of details about the new 8 Series Coupe and that’s coming up next.
OLD DAIMLER-CHRYSLER PLATFORM EXTENDED
The Dodge Charger and Challenger were supposed to get redesigned using FCA’s Giorgio platform but that’s not going to happen. Instead, engineers will significantly rework the existing LX platform, which actually started out as a Mercedes-Benz platform and is a leftover from the DaimlerChrysler days. FCA’s CEO Sergio Marchionne says, “Certainly by the time we finish with that architecture, you will not recognize its origins.”
VOLVO UPS RECYCLED MATERIAL CONTENT
Volvo has an initiative to remove all single use plastics in its offices, cafeterias and events by the end of 2019. It will replace plastic cups, food containers and cutlery with biodegradable ones. And we just learned that starting in 2025, 25% of the plastic Volvo uses in new vehicles will be made from recycled material. This center console in a demonstration XC60 is made with fiber and plastic from used fishing nets and maritime ropes. The carpeting contains fibers from plastic bottles and recycled cotton. And used car seats were used to create the sound deadening material under the hood.
ALL-NEW BMW 8 SERIES COUPE
BMW just finished its first 24 Hours of Le Mans with the all-new M8 GTE race car, but now we’re getting our first look at the production version. It’s a good looking coupe that’s powered by a reworked 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine, which produces over 520-horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque. That power goes through an 8-speed automatic transmission and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. The transmission controller has been linked to the navigation system, so it can downshift early to use engine braking when approaching an intersection or avoid unnecessary gear shifts between two corners that are close together. The stop/start system is also linked to navigation and the cameras and radar to determine the ideal moment for stopping and starting the engine. And the new 8 Series Coupe also comes with 4-wheel steering for better performance and maneuverability. But as good looking as the exterior is, I think the interior is a bit bland for a vehicle of this caliber. We’ll get pricing for the new 8 Series Coupe closer to when it goes on sale this fall.
Coming up next, Mercedes is using some interesting camouflage to hide its next electric car..
IT’S AN EDSEL, IT’S A PLANE! NO, IT’S A LINCOLN
Lincoln’s upcoming MKC replacement, which will be an SUV based on the Ford Escape, now has a name: The Corsair. It could be a throwback to the Edsel Corsair that Ford made in 1958. Or maybe it’s a reference to the World War II fighter plane of the same name. Or it could refer to a pirate ship. Either way, it’s a great name. The Corsair is set to replace the MKC in 2020.
MERCEDES TESTS ALL-ELECTRIC SUV
And speaking of new vehicles, Mercedes is testing a camouflaged version of its first all-electric SUV, the EQC. The silhouette of the vehicle looks very similar to other Mercedes SUVs. The real interesting part will be to see the front end of the EV. But based on these images it doesn’t look like it will be as radical as some of the EQ concepts Mercedes has shown. I think it’s also interesting how they’ve used a large red strip in the camo to hide the taillight design as well. It will still be awhile before we see the EQC. Mercedes says overall development time is around four years.
Be sure to join us for Autoline After Hours on Thursday as we dive into one of the first applications of graphene in the automotive industry.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching.
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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.