NEWS LINES CRACKLE AS FRANKFURT AUTO SHOW OPENS

The global auto industry is crackling with auto news as the Frankfurt Auto Show opens, September 10th with a torrent of market-stimulating news.

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European and Asian auto makers seized the spotlight on their U.S. counterparts, using Frankfurt to showcase an all-new Honda Hybrid averaging 47 MPG, topping both Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion Hybrids. The updated Honda plant in Marysville, OH cost more than 1 billion to expand as Honda made it clear it is seeking to regain global and U.S. market shares over it rivals and regain a leadership rank in the U.S. above Toyota, VW, BMW and Mercedes.

Frankfurt also is lifting curtains on the so-called “youth markets”, as a target for high-MPG cars and those with safety-system offerings on all sizes of vehicles.

BMW is stepping up in this segment with the i3 subcompact that eliminates CO2 emissions and debuts a Chevy Volt-like engine that can double MPG results to 35-40 MPG, depending on driveability.

BMW’s CEO, Norbert Reithofer, in media days before the Frankfurt show, signaled his brand’s revved-up campaign for the youth market, declaring that range-extender hybrid cars, safety systems such as brake stoppers and collision mitigators are being added throughout segments and brands.

BMW and its MINI brand are introducing 2013 and 2014 models packed with new and more economical economy and safety technologies. The 2014 i3 has been priced from $42,000, including a range extender, while the Mercedes S-Class will highlight hands-free technology and Volkswagen turbo-diesel fuel on every model in the VW and Audi lineups.

Among German automakers’ new models at the Frankfurt Auto Show, which chancellor Angela Merkel was to officially open on September 10th are droves of all–electric and hybrid cars and trucks. About 77,000 electric cars were sold in the 2013-model year and Chancellor Merkel has called for Germany to push e-car sales to No. 1 worldwide.

Smaller countries, such as Denmark and Israel, are pushing production of charger posts for the expected upsurge in e-car volume. The Frankfurt show, to be followed by the LA show in November, is devoting a special section to e-cars and chargers.

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