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0:07 France Readies Aid Package for Auto Industry
0:44 Hertz Files for Chapter-11
1:19 Aston Martin Hires New CEO
1:51 U.S. Sales Forecast Shows Improvement
2:30 Ford Offers Less-Sporty Edge ST-Line
3:21 Cannonball Run Record Repeatedly Broken with Less Traffic
4:09 what3words Improves Package Delivery
5:15 VW Will Pay German Owners with Cheating Diesels
5:59 How U.S. Government Could Support the Auto Industry
8:48 The Rio Gets Kia’s First 48-Volt Hybrid Setup
9:24 Car Camo Can Take Up to 120 Hours to Design
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This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FRANCE READIES AID PACKAGE FOR AUTO INDUSTRY
We start in France where the government is getting ready to offer a comprehensive aid package to the automotive industry. Bloomberg reports that the government will provide a 5 billion euro loan to Renault, will offer help for mid-size suppliers to modernize their plants, and provide incentives for consumers to buy clean cars. France is the first country in Europe to speak publicly about a comprehensive package for the auto industry, but it’s very likely that every country with a major automotive presence is going to end up doing the same thing.
HERTZ FILES FOR CHAPTER-11
Over the weekend Hertz, the daily rental car company, filed for bankruptcy. This is the first big name auto-related company to collapse due to the virus crisis, but it won’t be the last. As we keep pointing out the daily rental companies buy nearly 2 million new vehicles a year in the U.S. market alone. This doesn’t mean that all the daily rentals will collapse. Hertz was struggling financially before the crisis hit. But it’s clear that the daily rental segment is not going to buy nearly as many cars as it used to.
ASTON MARTIN HIRES AMG BOSS AS NEW CEO
Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who became chairman of Aston Martin earlier this year, is shaking up management. CEO Andy Palmer stepped down from the position on Monday and is being replaced with Tobias Moers, who was most recently CEO of Mercedes-AMG. While it might seem strange to see a German running the British automaker, it does make sense. Daimler owns a 5% stake in Aston and it supplies Aston with Mercedes-AMG engines.
U.S. SALES FORECAST SHOWS IMPROVEMENT
Next week we’ll get sales numbers for May in the U.S. market. Ward’s Intelligence thinks the market will show signs of improvement. It forecasts that sales will be down 32%, which is terrible, but that’s a 50% improvement from April. It says passenger car sales will be down more than 50%, while trucks were down 26%.
|U.S. May Sales Forecast|
FORD OFFERS LESS-SPORTY EDGE ST-LINE
Ford is expanding the ST family. So it’s coming out with what it calls the ST-Line. It’s for buyers who like the ST styling but don’t want to pay for the performance. The first model is the Edge ST-Line, which shares the looks of the regular Edge ST but is powered by a 250 horsepower, 2.0L Ecoboost engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Compared with the regular ST, which comes with a 335 horsepower, 2.7L engine. The new Edge ST-Line carries a starting price $5,100 less than the regular Edge ST. Ford says the Edge ST has been a success since its launch in 2018 and has nearly doubled the sales of the Edge Sport, which it replaced.
CANNONBALL RUN RECORD REPEATEDLY BROKEN WITH LESS TRAFFIC
With fewer people out on the road, motorists are really putting the pedal to the metal. The Cannonball Run is a nearly 3,000 mile unsanctioned speed race from New York to California and in the last two months or so the record was broken seven times. The record now sits at less than26 hours, which translates to an average speed of at least 108 MPH and there were several states where they averaged more than 120 MPH. If ever there were a situation that required the use of the phrase “stupid fast,” this would be it. The challenge was started in the 1970’s by automotive writer Brock Yates and was popularized in the 80’s by the movie The Cannonball Run starring Burt Reynolds.
what3words IMPROVES DELIVERY EFFICIENCY
Have you heard of what3words? It’s a company that created a simple way to locate a person, place or thing by dividing the entire world into 3-meter squares and giving each square it’s own unique 3-word address that will never change. So, even in a huge parking lot or building, it is accurate down to a 3-meter square. Now that you’ve got that, Daimler did a test that compared the efficiency of delivering packages using its standard address-based navigation system against navigation integrated with what3words. Two otherwise identical Mercedes Sprinter vans made 50 deliveries using the same delivery order and the one using what3words finished 30 minutes before the other, which is about a 15% improvement in efficiency. Most of the gains came from locating the optimal parking spot, while the rest came from having the precise handover point. Another benefit would be for new drivers who don’t know an area very well.
VW WILL PAY GERMAN OWNERS FOR CHEATING DIESELS
Volkswagen can’t seem to shake its diesel emission cheating scandal. Yesterday, a German court ruled that it must compensate owners in Germany, who can return their vehicles for a partial refund of the purchase price. And last week, the automaker paid 9 million euros to end proceedings against its chairman and CEO, who were accused of withholding information before the scandal became public. Volkswagen didn’t reveal how much the new ruling will cost the company, but so far its paid more than $33 billion in fines globally.
HOW THE U.S.GOVERNMENT COULD SUPPORT THE AUTO INDUSTRY
Earlier in the show we reported on how France is preparing a comprehensive package to support it’s automotive industry. So how will the U.S. government respond? To get an insider’s view we asked U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell, a Democrat who represents Michigan’s 12th District, what’s going on in Washington DC? Here’s what she had to say:
Debbie Dingell, U.S. Representative, Michigan (D):
“I view this as an ecosystem. Many people want to compare this to 2008. This is not 2008, and not the same issues. So I divide it into three categories. One, we’re witnessing this week, which is the reopening of the car companies and the suppliers, safely. Putting protocols into place that keeps workers safe. We’ve not had formal OSHA standards but I have spent a great deal of time with everybody trying to ensure that they have what they need, keep people talking to each other. And this week really matters. I think Rory Gamble, the president of the UAW, is rightly worried about people going back into the plants and listening to the protocols and following the protocols that have been put into place. Which is why it really matters whether the President wears a mask or not when he’s in the plants. This is week one. I think many people worry that people will start to get a false sense of complacency and will not do what they’ve been told they have to do, when these plans were put together with both labor and the autos. So that is phase one.
Two is what I’ve been working with Julie on (Julie Fream, CEO of the OESA). Liquidity, not only for the OEMS but for suppliers, particularly Tiers 2 and 3, so that they have the money that they need to operate. And we’re trying to get the Main Street package that was passed in the first bill. And we’re also working with the OEMs. They’re trying to help suppliers, but we also want to make sure they have the liquidity they need. Once we get past those two problems, where we’re up and producing then you’ve got to worry about the demand side.
There’s no agreement on what needs to be done on an economic agreement for a stimulus package. Should it just be for the autos or for larger consumer products like furniture and appliances as well as vehicles? Lots of discussions. And the one thing I think that matters is keeping everyone together because if we don’t stay together, if there isn’t common ground in the ecosystem, you will never get anything through Washington.”
THE RIO GETS KIA’S FIRST 48-VOLT MILD-HYBRID SETUP
Kia updated the Rio, but there’s only a couple of pictures, so we’ll keep this short. Here’s a side-by-side of new and old. You’ll notice most of the massaging was done on the lower front fascia. Under the hood is a range of gasoline engines, including the automaker’s first 48-volt mild-hybrid setup, which pairs a starter-generator to a 1.0L turbo engine. The interior is also updated with a new infotainment system and color options, but no pictures of that right now. The new Rio goes on sale in Europe in the third quarter.
CAR CAMO CAN TAKE 120 HOURS TO DESIGN
Here’s a little info on automotive camouflage we think you might find interesting. Skoda actually employs camouflage artists who are responsible for designing and developing new wraps. There really is no limit to the patterns that are used, which are meant to hide a vehicle’s contours. Designers have even used hashtags. The camo can take upwards of 120 hours to develop and, for example, it took about 18 square meters of wrapping to cover the Skoda Enyaq iV.
And with that we wrap up- get it – today’s show. Thanks for watching. We’ll be right back here 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.