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0:28 Elon Musk Generates More Controversy
1:11 Ford Teases Electric Crossover
2:01 Suzuki Abandons China
3:15 Mercedes Updates Flagship Commercial Truck
4:13 NASCAR In Denial Over Troubles
5:26 Kia K900’s Staggering Repair Costs
On today’s show…Suzuki says sayonara to China…you will be stunned to hear how much it costs to repair the front end of a Kia K900…and things are going from bad to worse in NASCAR. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily, the voice of the automotive industry.
ELON MUSK GENERATES MORE CONTROVERSY
Elon Musk is like President Trump. He figures out how to constantly keep his name in the headlines. Now everyone’s talking about how he smoked pot, drank whiskey and dropped F-bombs in a podcast called the Joe Rogan Experience. Of course that’s not all he did. Elon talked about his plans for an electric airplane, and launched into an emotional rant on why we have to end our addiction to oil. Meanwhile, an activist investor is initiating a lawsuit against Musk. Citron Research claims Elon illegally manipulated Tesla’s stock price to hurt short sellers. Well that may be true, but at least he’s trying to save the planet.
FORD TEASES ELECTRIC CROSSOVER
Ford teased the first picture of the electric car it’s going to come out with in 2020. Here’s what we know so far about it. It’s a crossover with design cues that come right off the Mustang, like the hips, fenders and taillights. In fact, it will probably be called the Mach 1, a name that Ford used on the Mustang in the early 1970’s. It will have a 300 mile plus driving range and deliver jaw-dropping performance. All of this came out yesterday at the same time that Ford announced it was recalling 2 million F-150’s because the seat belt tensioners can generate sparks that could cause a fire. Do we think the Mach 1 release was timed to overshadow a massive recall? Perish the thought, why it never crossed our minds.
SUZUKI ABANDONS CHINA
Well we think this could be a first. An automaker is actually abandoning the Chinese market. Suzuki is giving up on China to focus on the Indian market. Well no wonder. WardsAuto data shows that Suzuki sold fewer than 25,000 cars in the first half of the year in China, and that is a 45% drop from last year. In India on the other hand, Suzuki controls 50% of the market. But to maintain that dominance, Suzuki says it needs to build 1.5 million EVs in India by 2030. So it’s testing 50 electric prototypes to develop them to handle the country’s heat, dust and heavy traffic. This is a watershed moment. We think Suzuki will not be the only car company to fail in China.
NASCAR is in trouble though no one there wants to admit it and that’s coming up next.
MERCEDES UPDATES FLAGSHIP COMMERCIAL TRUCK
Mercedes-Benz Trucks just introduced the newest version of its flagship commercial truck, the Actros. The big semi will now come with semi-autonomous driving features, called Active Drive Assist that can brake, accelerate and steer at any speed. It even has a lane keep assist feature. If the front of the truck looks like it’s missing something, that’s because it is. Large outside mirrors have been replaced with a camera system, called MirrorCam. And when combined with other improvements, like Predictive Powertrain Control, the Actros uses 3% less fuel on the highway and 5% on rural routes. Two 10-inch display screens replace the normal instrument cluster as well as the control panel. A larger 12-inch display is also available. The new Actros will start arriving to customers next spring.
NASCAR IN DENIAL OVER TROUBLES
Things are continuing to get worse at NASCAR. Martin Truex Jr. is the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, but his Furniture Row Racing team announced it will close up shop at the end of this season. It just lost 5-Hour Energy as its major sponsor. And it’s not just the energy drink. A number of sponsors have left NASCAR, most notably Lowe’s which has been Jimmie Johnson’s sponsor for just about his entire career. Meanwhile NASCAR officials deny there is any sponsorship problem and claim there is nothing wrong with the sport, despite thinly attended races and plunging television ratings.
If you own a Kia K900, you better hope you never damage the front end. You will be stunned to learn what it costs to fix it. We’ll tell you how much, right after this.
KIA K900’s STAGGERING REPAIR COSTS
Today’s cars are being equipped with more and more technology. While the systems make driving more convenient, if you get an accident, you could be stuck with a hefty repair bill. On Autoline This Week, we’re joined by John Van Alstyne, the CEO and President of I-CAR, an organization that helps educate shops on collision repair. He said automakers need to do a better job of planning for repairs when developing new vehicles. And he pointed to the Kia K900 as a prime example.
(The ATW preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
For more about how the auto industry is tackling repairing high tech cars, you can watch that entire discussion right now on our website, Autoline.tv or you can find it on our YouTube channel.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.
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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.