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0:07 FCA Proposes Merger with Renault…
0:31 But It Would Be Lopsided…
1:09 And With Little Synergies
2:04 BMW Reveals All-New, FWD 1 Series
2:50 BMW iNEXT to Have Curved Display
3:06 Hyundai Aims to Optimize Range of Commercial EVs
3:57 Weekend Race Results
4:45 Why Ford Picked Flat Plane Crank for GT350
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This is Autoline Daily reporting on the global automotive industry.
FCA PROPOSES MERGER WITH RENAULT…
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stunned the industry yesterday by proposing a 50-50 merger with Renault. FCA says it would create the third largest car company in the world behind Volkswagen and Toyota. The combination would produce 8.7 million vehicles a year and save over $5 billion a year through efficiencies in purchasing, R&D and manufacturing.
BUT IT WOULD BE LOPSIDED…
Here’s our Autoline Insight. Renault will jump at the deal, because FCA is giving so much away. FCA sells more cars than Renault, it makes twice as much EBIT profit and it has a 25% larger market cap. Yet it’s proposing to be an equal partner in the merger. To mollify FCA shareholders they’ll get a one-time payout of $2.5 billion. But it almost sounds like FCA is desperate to do a deal. Worse yet, this will throw FCA in the middle of the Renault-Nissan so-called Alliance which is a mess.
AND WITH LITTLE SYNERGIES
Merrill Lynch says the deal sounds questionable because it provides no synergies in the American market which is where FCA makes almost all of its profits. It says there would be next to no synergies in Europe because FCA says that no plants would close. It does nothing to boost their presence in China and Asia. And there could be a big backlash from President Trump, as well as from the American consumers that buy big Ram pickups and Jeeps who would no longer see these as American brands. The Renault board of directors reportedly will vote on the deal next week.
BMW REVEALS NEW, FWD 1 SERIES
BMW showed off the all-new 1 Series and while the styling is very similar, it’s now made on a front-wheel-drive-based architecture, which is shorter than the outgoing model. But the front-drive layout frees up more space for passengers and cargo. All-wheel drive is also an option with its range of gasoline and diesel engines. Power ranges from 116- to 306-horsepower, which is fed through either a 6-speed manual or a 7- or 8-speed automatic transmission. Customers will now be able to use their smartphone as a key, which can be shared with up to 5 people, and they can perform functions and get information through voice and gesture control.
BMW iNEXT TO HAVE CURVED DISPLAY
Speaking of BMW, it revealed that the iNEXT will have a huge, curved, single-piece display screen. The automaker calls the iNEXT its technology flagship and it’s scheduled to go into production in 2021.
HYUNDAI AIMS TO OPTIMIZE RANGE OF COMMERCIAL EVs
To help optimize the range of electric light-duty commercial trucks, Hyundai developed a system that is able to estimate the gross vehicle weight of the vehicle while its driving. Using acceleration sensors, gross weight is estimated through Newton’s law of acceleration. When pushing an object at a constant speed, the weight of the object can be calculated depending on its acceleration rate. Through this process, the vehicle estimates the distance it can drive and adjusts its maximum torque output. So for example, when the vehicle is carrying a heavy load, it automatically informs the driver of the estimated drive range so there’s enough battery life to reach the destination. Hyundai says its considering using the technology on its electric light-duty commercial vehicles in the future.
WEEKEND RACE RESULTS
In racing news, Simon Pagenaud won the Indy 500 in his Penske Chevrolet. The last 14 laps were a real thrill that saw Pagenaud trade the lead with Alexander Rossi 5 times and only edged out Rossi’s Honda by two-tenths of a second at the end. Mercedes maintained its dominance in Formula 1 this season by finishing first and third at the Monaco Grand Prix. Race winner Lewis Hamilton extended his point lead to 17. And Martin Truex Jr. won a caution-filled race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in his Toyota.
WHY FORD WENT WITH FLAT PLANE CRANK IN GT350
On Autoline After Hours last week, we were joined by Carl Widmann, from Ford’s Performance Division. He brought a new Mustang GT350 to the studio with him and he explained why the engineering team decided to give it a flat plane crank engine.
(Clip from AAH #465 can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
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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.