Listen to “AD #3243 – GM Sends Warning to Dealers; IIHS Creates ADAS Rating System; Ford Reveals All-New Mondeo” on Spreaker.
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0:07 GM Warns Dealers About Overcharging
1:08 IIHS Coming Out with ADAS Rating System
2:24 Stellantis Partners to Fix Used Cars
3:39 GM Shows More Uses for Fuel Cells
4:56 Airstream & THOR Develop e-Camper
5:35 Winnebago Debuts e-RV Concept
7:22 Ford of China Reveals All-New Mondeo
8:09 Help Save the Bonneville Salt Flats
9:16 Bugatti Chiron Owner Tests Its Limits
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GM WARNS DEALERS ABOUT OVERCHARGING
Some dealers in the U.S. are taking advantage of the chip shortage and tight inventory to jack up prices of new cars by thousands of dollars. Not only are customers mad, so are the car companies. Last week Ford shot off a letter to dealers telling them to cut it out. Now it’s General Motors’ turn. Steve Carlisle, the President of GM North America, sent a letter to dealers warning them to not raise prices above the MSRP. And he told them not to work with brokers. He pointedly warned them about the upcoming Corvette Z06, Silverado EV, Hummer EVs, Sierra EV and Cadillac Lyriq. GM will not allocate vehicles to dealers if they don’t comply. On Autoline After Hours last week, Tim Jackson, the head of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association was critical of dealers who engaged in this practice. Thankfully, he said, most dealers are not doing this.
IIHS COMING OUT WITH ADAS RATING SYSTEM
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety isn’t happy with partially automated driver assistance systems. It says automakers are over-selling the technology, and criticizes drivers who deliberately misuse it. And it says that there’s no evidence that it makes driving safer. So it’s creating a new ratings program for ADAS and like its other safety ratings, it will rate them as good, acceptable, marginal or poor. To earn a good rating, the system must monitor the driver’s eyes and hand position, use multiple types of warnings to get the driver’s attention, and have a number of other emergency procedures if the driver doesn’t meet those conditions. The IIHS says none of the current ADAS systems on the market meet its requirements and it plans to come out with its first ratings sometime this year. Consumer Reports will also begin awarding points for partially automated systems but only if they have adequate monitoring systems. It will factor in the IIHS ratings once they’re available. Currently, only GM’s Super Cruise and Ford’s BlueCruise comply with Consumer Reports.
STELLANTIS PARTNERS TO FIX USED CARS FOR RESALE
A few months back, Renault announced plans to convert a factory in Spain to refurbish and recondition used vehicles. Now Stellantis is doing the same. It partnered with a company called Stimcar to recondition used cars in France with plans to expand the service throughout Europe. They’re aiming to sell 100,000 used vehicles a year. And this makes us wonder. Could refurbished used cars become the new entry level car for automakers? By refurbishing used cars, the factory makes money, the dealers make money, and the customer gets a good car at a lower price.
GM SHOWS MORE USES FOR FUEL CELLS
General Motors sees lots of opportunity for its Hydrotech fuel cells that goes well beyond trucks and cars. It’s coming out with mobile fuel-cell power-generators that can be used for three applications. First is the Mobile Power Generator which can provide fast charging for EVs on the go. GM will demonstrate it in the middle of the year. Then there’s a palletized version for military use. The U.S. Army is testing it to power heavy-duty military equipment and camps. It’s about the same size as a 60-kW diesel generator, but produces 70% more power. The third application is a fast DC charger for EVs that can be installed at retail gas stations without having to hook up to the grid. It can power up to 4 vehicles at a time starting at 150-kW and fully charge them in 20 minutes. It can charge more than 100 EVs before it needs to be refueled with hydrogen. A company named Renewable Innovations plans to install 500 EMPOWER stations across the country by the end of 2025. Each of the HYDROTEC generator outputs range from 60-kW to 600-kW.
AIRSTREAM & THOR DEVELOP E-CAMPER
A couple of the biggest names in camping are going electric. First, let’s start with Airstream which partnered with THOR Industries to develop the eStream. Based on THOR’s exclusive chassis, it features an all-electric drivetrain that can be used to assist the tow vehicle’s fuel economy and/or range or guide the camper into place via a remote control. The battery of the system can also be used to power the accessories. If you ever wondered how a BEV could make a camping trip without depleting battery range too fast while towing, this could be the answer.
WINNEBAGO SHOWS E-RV CONCEPT
Now we shift to Winnebago who revealed the e-RV concept. It’s based on a Ford Transit and features an electrical system from Lightning e Motors. That system includes an 86 kWh battery pack, which returns up to 125 miles or 201 kilometers of range. But that battery also powers all the appliances and the range factors in the water heater, AC, cooktop and fridge. Winnebago says the e-RV is meant to be its first offering in the electric camper space but didn’t say when it might come out.
Full size pickups always have a separate cab and bed to allow for torsional bending. But that’s not the case with the Chevrolet Silverado EV. Its giant battery pack adds so much structural rigidity that they don’t need a separate body and bed. That allowed for a mid-gate, a pass-through opening between the cab and the bed. With the mid-gate open you get 9 feet of length to store things. And you get ten feet, or three meters, with the tailgate down. There’s a lot of fascinating features on that truck and we’ll be going through them on Autoline After Hours this afternoon when our special guest will be Nicole Kraatz, the chief engineer of the Silverado. So join John and Gary, and Joanne Muller from Axios, to learn about GM’s first full size electric pickup.
FORD OF CHINA REVEALS ALL-NEW MONDEO SEDAN
We know some of our American viewers miss Ford’s passenger cars and here’s what would have been the next-generation Fusion, which is sold in Europe and China as the Mondeo. The new model, which debuts Ford’s new design language for China, was created in collaboration with the new China Design Center in Shanghai. In addition to being wider and longer than the previous model, it features a number of design elements made with Chinese consumers in mind, including the flush-mounted door handles, touch-sensitive logo that opens the rear trunk and an animated lighting display that activates as the driver approaches. The all-new Mondeo will be built by Changan-Ford and deliveries to Chinese customers start later this year.
HELP SAVE THE BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS
Every automotive enthusiast knows about the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. They’ve been used for speed record runs for over 100 years, thanks to miles and miles of smooth, flat salt beds, which are the remains of an ancient lake bed. But mining companies have been pumping out salt for decades to mine it for potash which is used in fertilizer. And that mining is destroying the flats. They’re about one-third their former size and continue to shrink. So SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, is supporting an effort called Restore Bonneville, to rebuild what’s been destroyed. This year alone they’re going to pump 500,000 tons of salt back onto the flats. The federal government is paying for the restoration. So is the state of Utah. Corporations and the land speed racing community are kicking in. And you can too. You can make a contribution at www.savethesalt.org. And your contribution is tax deductible.
BUGATTI CHIRON OWNER TESTS ITS LIMITS
Of course, some speed people just want to go as fast as they can out on the open road. Here’s a guy who drove his Bugatti Chiron to 414 kilometers an hour on the autobahn in Germany. That’s 257 miles an hour. The driver is a Czech millionaire who just wanted to see his car stretch its legs. Even though he drove on a part of the autobahn where there is no speed limit, the German authorities were not amused. And the Green Party wants to impose a national speed limit of 130 kilometers an hour, or about 80 miles an hour.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for joining us.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.