Jump to content

Episode 289 – Big 3 Upset At Japan, Spyker Bids On Saab, Big Toyota Announcement


Recommended Posts

Runtime 8:14

The Big 3 are complaining Japan is discriminating against them with its cash for clunkers program. Exotic sports-car maker Spyker says it is bidding on Saab. Toyota will make a major announcement about expanding its hybrid vehicle lineup at the Detroit Auto Show next month. All that and more, plus a look at an ultra-efficient concept car from Volkswagen.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .


Here are today’s top headlines. The Big 3 accuse Japan of playing unfair. Now Spyker might buy Saab. And Toyota gets set to make a big announcement about hybrids.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, December 11, 2009. And now, the news.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are complaining Japan is discriminating against them with its cash for clunkers program. Bloomberg reports the American automakers sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative pointing out that none of the cars they sell in Japan qualify for Japan’s sales incentives. In the United States, of course, nearly half the new cars sold in the cash for clunkers program were made by Japanese automakers. Japan says its incentives apply to fuel-efficient cars and that it is not discriminating against foreign automakers. Foreign automakers sell fewer than 4 percent of all vehicles sold in Japan.

Even though we reported that Saab is on its deathbed, Reuters reports that a last minute buyer could ride to the rescue. While small exotic sports-car maker Koenigsegg dropped out of the bidding for Saab, now small exotic sports-car maker Spyker says it is bidding on Saab. Spyker is being backed by Russian tycoon Vladimir Antonov to come up with the money to buy Saab. Last year Spyker only made 43 cars with prices that top $300,000, and it’s a good thing it knows a lot about not selling many cars.

French automaker Renault might return to North America (subscription required). The Wall Street Journal says the company is studying the possibility but its decision will depend partly on how the Duster sells, a new crossover built by its Dacia subsidiary in Romania that goes on sale next year. The company is also considering selling vehicles in Southeast Asia as well.

Spending on automotive advertising had a huge drop off the first nine months of the year. According to the Detroit Free Press, automakers and dealers spent $7.5 billion this year compared to nearly $11 billion a year ago, a drop of over 30 percent. Despite the huge cuts, the auto industry remained the largest spender on advertising.

Ward’s reports that Toyota will make a MAJOR announcement about expanding its hybrid vehicle lineup (subscription required) at the Detroit Auto Show next month. The company is thought to be working on a hybrid version of its subcompact Yaris to challenge the Honda Insight. It’s also expected to expand the Prius lineup and maybe spin it off as a separate brand, but that’s just speculation. As part of the announcement, Toyota will showcase some all-new models as well as next-generation HEVs as well as other alternative powertrain technology like plug-ins and fuel cells.

If you’re sensitive, I suggest you fast forward past this story. Viewer discretion is advised. The A5 and R8 are two of the most beautiful cars on the road today. They illustrate Audi’s unique flair for design, but this doesn’t stop aftermarket companies from trying to “improve” things. Autoblog reports that a German tuner company called Hofele Design has done a mash-up of the two cars. They took an A5 and tried to make it look like an R8 by plastering all kinds of junk on it. Besides fake dual exhaust and a “unique” front fascia, it also sports a knock-off the R8’s signature side blade. UGH!

Coming up next, a look at an ultra-efficient concept car, we’ll be right back after this.

At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show Volkswagen revealed a retro-themed concept car. No, not a rehash of the Beetle or Microbus, this looks to the recent past for inspiration.

It debuted an ultra-efficient vehicle called the One-Liter Concept, which is a remix of a similarly named car from 2002. It’s gets the name “one-liter” because it only takes about 1.4 liters of fuel to travel 100 kilometers, which works out to about 170 MPGs!

To get that kind of fuel economy the car is small and light. To cut wind resistance it’s narrow and low to the ground, with tandem seating for two passengers. To cut mass, the body is made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. Altogether the whole thing only weighs 840 pounds and has a coefficient of drag of just 0.195!

But Volkswagen wants to do more with the One-Liter Concept than just prove it can build an ultra-efficient car.

Getting carbon fiber into everyday vehicles is going to be a challenge because it’s so expensive. It seems to make more sense for VW to start at the premium end with Audi and work down to more affordable cars. But kudos to them if they figure out how to do it.

Powering the One-Liter Concept is a diesel hybrid drivetrain. It consists of a rear-mounted two-cylinder engine with a maximum output of – brace yourself – 38 horsepower. It also features an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack to augment the ICE. Amazingly, it only emits 36 grams of CO2 per kilometer!

If this fuel-sipping concept looks like the perfect car for you, Volkswagen is gunning to have it on sale a lot sooner than you might think.

Will Volkswagen be able to pull it off? 2013 is just a few years away, and if it’s serious about building the One-Liter Concept – and pushing carbon fiber – it has a lot of work ahead of it.

Ok, it’s Friday and you know what that means. It’s time to answer this week’s trivia question. We asked you to identify what car this is, based on its front end. And the correct answer is . . . it’s the Chevy Aveo. As always, we randomly selected this week’s winner from the pool of correct responses. And the winner is, Walt Timpe of Snoqualmie, Washington. Congratulations Walt, you’ve just won this collector’s-edition Autoline Detroit coffee mug.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, Car Chat, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

View the full article
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...