Listen to “AD #2872 – Hyundai Veloster N Impressions; Porsche 3D Prints Pistons; GM Cuts Shift at Wentzville Plant” on Spreaker.
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0:07 GM Cuts Shift at Wentzville Plant
1:19 Tesla Drops the Price of The Model Y
2:18 Porsche 3D Prints Pistons In 911 GT2 RS
3:07 Jeep Teases New Wrangler or Gladiator Engine
3:47 Kia Shows Off the Interior of The New Sedona
4:46 All-New Bronco Debuts Tonight
5:14 Hyundai Veloster N Impressions
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GM CUTS SHIFT AT WENTZVILLE PLANT
It looked like car production was getting back on its feet in the U.S. after COVID lockdowns but now things aren’t looking very good for the industry. Ford is likely going to have to close plants this week due to engine shortages from Mexico. And now GM is cutting the third shift at its Wentzville plant in Missouri. The facility builds the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups as well as the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans. GM didn’t disclose how long the layoff will last or how many workers will be laid off but there are 1,250 workers per shift. Part of the reason GM is making cuts is because absenteeism at the plant is up due to worker fears over the virus. The St. Louis area, where the plant is located, has seen an increase in cases. The Detroit Free Press reports GM is also in discussions with UAW leadership about its Arlington assembly plant, located near Dallas, Texas, another area that has seen a surge in COVID cases. If GM has to cut a shift or close that facility, it would be a big blow for the company, because Arlington is its most profitable plant.
TESLA DROPS THE PRICE OF THE MODEL Y
Is the Model Y not selling as well as Tesla had hoped? Just four months after its debut, Tesla is cutting the price of the Model Y. The small crossover now starts just below $50,000, which is $3,000 cheaper than before. Automakers never cut prices when sales are going strong but this also follows price cuts for the 3, S and X back in May.
PORSCHE 3D PRINTS PISTONS IN 911 GT2 RS
3D printing sure has come a long way. Porsche is now 3D printing the pistons that are used in the 911 GT2 RS. That’s pretty amazing. To make the pistons, the surface of a bed of metal powder is melted in exact points by a laser beam, which builds the part up, layer by layer. Not only are they 10% lighter than the forged pistons used in other 911s, engineers were able to build a cooling duct right into the piston. The benefits are increased engine speed, lower temperature load on the pistons and better efficiency, which translates into nearly 30 more horsepower from the GT2s engine. If this is possible, it’s going to be exciting to see where 3D printing applications go from here.
JEEP TEASES NEW WRANGLER OR GLADIATOR ENGINE
Jeep is not just going to let Ford walk in and steal its sales away with the Bronco. It’s going to fight and one of the best ways the FCA group knows how to fight is to slap more power under the hood. Less than 48 hours before the Bronco unveiling, Jeep Tweeted this picture of either a Wrangler or Gladiator with a big-ol’ hood scoop with the numbers 392 on its side. That number is in reference to the automaker’s 6.4L V8 engine, which in the Durango SRT makes 475 horsepower. We think that ought to compete with a Bronco Raptor quite nicely.
KIA SHOWS OFF THE INTERIOR OF THE NEW SEDONA
We’ve got our first look at the interior of the all-new Kia Sedona, which is sold as the Carnival in the Korean market. The layered look of the dashboard and button layout are mostly carried over from the outgoing model, but that’s about where the similarities end. The instrument cluster has gone all-digital and now blends together with an equally sized 12.3-inch infotainment screen. The displays are no longer sunken into the dash and we also notice that Kia has adopted a rotary shifter knob as well. Sales of the new minivan kick off soon.
ALL-NEW BRONCO DEBUTS TONIGHT
Later tonight Ford is unleashing a barrage of information about the new Broncos. It’s going to be running promos on ABC, ESPN, National Geographic and Hulu during the first commercial break after 8 pm eastern time on those networks. Ford will also provide more content on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And we will have more details about the Bronco and Bronco Sport on Autoline Daily tomorrow.
HYUNDAI VELOSTER N IMPRESSIONS
We just had a Hyundai Veloster N in the Autoline Garage. As you probably know N is the letter that Hyundai uses to designate its highest performance vehicles. And the Veloster N truly deserves that designation. The one we drove came with the $2,000 optional performance package, with a 2-liter twin scroll turbo engine that cranks out 275 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque. With a curb weight of 3,000 pounds that works out to 10.9:1 pounds per horsepower, which is quite good. Just to give you some idea of what that means, it’s a better power to weight ratio than the old Honda S2000 sports car. The Veloster N can be truly considered a track car. The seats are heavily bolstered, it comes with Pirelli P Zero 235/35 R19 summer tires, a limited slip differential and big brakes: 13.6-inch rotors up front, and 12.4 in the rear. This car is really responsive. It darts to the apex with a flick of the wheel, accelerates with a rush and hauls down to nothing when you stomp on the brakes. But as an enthusiast, the one thing I did not like about this car is that I found it awkward to heel and toe with its 6-speed manual transmission. In fact, it’s a mistake that most automakers make. While some OEMs brag about saving the manual transmission, very few provide the proper pedal positioning for heel and toe driving. And while the Veloster N provides automatic rev matching, to me that’s like riding a bicycle with training wheels. Real enthusiasts need to learn how to heel and toe on their own, but they need the pedals to be in the proper position. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a perfect example of how to do it right and is a more satisfying car to drive if only for that reason. If you buy a Veloster N you can always modify the pedals on your own, but it shouldn’t have to be that way. The model we drove cost just over $30,400 and it’s rated at 25 miles to the gallon or 9.4 liters per 100 kilometers. I liked everything about the car, except for those pedals.
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.