Another Autoline Attraction
Volkswagen Group of America—that’s as in both VW and Audi—announced that it has sold more than 100,000 vehicles in 2013 equipped with diesel engines. This is the first time the company has accomplished this. Which is quite a feat for the organization and a sign that diesel engines may actually have a chance in passenger vehicles in the U.S. as something more than an occasional curiosity.
John McElroy of Autoline notes that this means that VW diesels have outsold many hybrid vehicles.
Yes, but. . . .
On the afternoon of Friday, December 27, a release went out headlined: “Dave Zuchowski Named President/CEO of Hyundai Motor America.”
And the first sentence went on to point out that Zuchowski, former head of sales for Hyundai, would be replacing John Krafcik in that role.
Krafcik, joined Hyundai in 2004 as vice president of Product Development & Strategic Planning. He became president & CEO in 2008. He helped lead the company to increased market share and, perhaps more importantly, to a position in the market where there is respectability for the brand that was once smeared with the tar of bad quality. Krafcik, who did considerable work at MIT that led to the codification of “lean production,” knew that it was essential for the company to produce cars with impeccable quality.
Clearly, this is an automotive executive who is going to be picked up by another car company tout suite.
Yes, but. . . .
Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive of Fiat--and Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group—got his wish on New Year’s Day. Fiat is buying the 41.5% of Chrysler that it didn’t own from the UAW (specifically, from the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, a Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association). The total price tag is $4.35-billion, of which $1.75-billion will be in cash.
Double-win for Fiat and the UAW.
Yes, but. . . .
You can see the outcome of all of those topics and more in this edition of “Autoline After Hours” with McElroy and me.
In addition to which, we are joined by Bob Casey, who is the retired curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford, the magnificent museum that grew out of Henry Ford’s passion for collecting things ranging from famous buildings (e.g., the Wright brothers’ bicycle shop) to famous furniture (e.g., the chair that Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated in. . .the unrelated Ford’s Theater) to famous cars (yes, the 1896 Ford Quadracycle is there, but so too vehicles like the 2002 Toyota Prius).
Casey explains that the cars, trucks, locomotives, and other vehicles collected by the museum are there to represent things that had a signal effect on American life. Casey is a veritable encyclopedia of all things automotive, and his observations are surely worthy of time spent learning.
And there’s no “Yes, but” about that.
The Tesla Model 3 is certainly one of the most controversial cars to be launched in some time, with production models (a comparative handful, admittedly) presented on a stage with a throng of people treating it like it was an event with Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, all at the same time.
Hyundai enters the American market with a new parallel hybrid system that uses lithium-polymer batteries and the same six-speed automatic found in non-hybrid versions of the 2011 Sonata.
The little car that could still can. And this time as a car that not only gets great fuel economy, but which has ride and handling that makes it more than an econo-box (and its styling is anything but boxy).