Overdrive: Nissan – No X-Trail with Brexit; Maserati Track Day; Suzuki Jimny; AVs showing the way

Hello and welcome to Overdrive a program that looks at cars and transport from a variety of angles .


I’m David Brown


And in this week’s news stories

Nissan chooses Japan over UK to build new X-Trail car

Nissan has confirmed that the new X-Trail originally planned for its Sunderland plant near Newcastle in the UK will instead be made in Japan.

It said continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms to “plan for the future”.

Nissan has made cars at Sunderland since 1986 and employs almost 7,000 people.

The government said Nissan’s decision was “a blow to the sector” but that no jobs would go as a result, which suggests they will continue to build cars there but not expand with the new model.


Tesla lost $976M in 2018 despite 4Q profit

First the good news for Tesla

They made a profit in the last quarter of 2018 of $139 million which was the on revenue of $7.2 billion, and this was the second consecutive quarter of profitability.

But now the bad news – for the whole year they lost nearly $1 billion

That’s better though than 2017 where they lost $1.9-billion

The Silicon Valley car maker attributed its back-to-back profitable quarters to sales of its Model 3 sedan, which has a starting price of about just $35,000 and was previously plagued by production problems.

The company said it sold 140,000 Model 3s in the fourth quarter of 2018, and it expects to build 7,000 of the vehicles per week by the end of 2019.


Dongle lets you see how your car is performing

Cars are now collecting a huge amount of information about how they are operating which can be of great help or just interest to the owner.

But much of the information is hidden and would be distracting to view while you are driving and cumbersome to look at if you have to stay seated in the car.

Almost every car made after 1996 has a connection port under the dashboard to connect diagnostic systems. This port is called the OBD-II port (on-board diagnostics).

Scantool now makes a product the ODBLink MX+ ($140 Australian Dollars) which uses a wireless dongle to connect your car to your smartphone, tablet or Windows PC via Bluetooth.

The app lets the user completely customize information screens with multiple dashboards for different situations.

You can set up one for fuel mileage information, one for engine performance, one for speed and acceleration rates and so on.

When Overdrive tested the Hyundai Ionic electric vehicle at its launch recently we noted it had a built-in Bluetooth connection  system so you could sit comfortably on your lounge and look at the cars charge level, schedule the most cost effective time to charge it and prepare it for your next trip.


Super bowl car ads

The super Bowl has been and gone for another year and some car companies showed they were prepared to produce specific ads and then pay $5.2 million for a 30 second slot during the game.


In America it is a great offense for some, if you do not stand for the national anthem but it is quite acceptable to involve the national song in two critical activities, gambling and making profits.

There were huge bets on how long Gladys Knight would take to sing the anthem and then Jeep used it as the background music to their ad that used iconic features as the famous 1945 picture of six marines raising the flag on atop Mount Suribachi, during the Battle of Iwo Jima, in World War II.


Mercedes’ ad has a character with the apparent gifts of making things happen by just suggesting it out loud, similar to the movie Bruce Almighty where Jim Carey gets to play God.

The Mercedes man helps American golfer Rickie Fowler make a putt, turns pedestrian lights to his advantage and helps people break the law by destroying parking tickets.

The point at the end of the ad is that this is just a dream but in the new Mercedes the voice actuation system immediately completes any of your commands.


Canadian union airs Super Bowl ad despite GM lawsuit threats

Not all Super Bowl ads were aimed at patriotism, humour or sentimentality.

Canada’s union for car workers aired its General Motors boycott campaign ad during the super bowl ignoring lawsuit threats if it went to air.

The ad called for a boycott of Mexican-built General Motors Co. vehicles in an effort to save the Oshawa Assembly Plant, set to close at the end of this year.

GM’s Oshawa plant, which builds the Chevrolet and Impala and Cadillac XTS, is one of five North American plants GM is planning to indefinitely idle this year as the slow-selling products built at those plants are discontinued.


Maserati Track Day

We went to a Maserati track day and fanged around in cars with a total value of at least $2mill worth.  Maserati COO tells us why that is a good thing. I like the guy.


Suzuki Jimny

We have a chat with Paul Murrell about the new Suzuki Jimny


Quirky News

And Brian Smith, Errol Smith and I discuss a range of topics including

  • AV displays the direction it is going to take (BS)
  • Oscar Mayer will pay you to drive the Wienermobile for a year (ES)
  • 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition looks back, seats just five (BS)


You can find more information at Driven Media or previous programs are available as podcasts on iTunes or Spotify. OR our Facebook site OverdriveCity


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