Ze Germans Are Fighting For Control Of China

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1st Gear: Mercedes Thinks They'll Best Audi And BMW In China


Mercedes wants to be on top of China for one very obvious reason: It's supposed to be the largest luxury car market in the world in 2020.

So how do they topple BMW and Audi?

From Reuters:

It presented a strategy in August that included plans to launch around 20 new or upgraded car models in China over two years as it seeks to boost sales of Mercedes-Benz cars in China by a third to more than 300,000 cars a year by 2015.

They're also going to launch a design center in China after closing one in Tokyo because, duh, go where the sales are.

2nd Gear: VW Spending $2.7 Billion On New Plants In China


And it doesn't stop there, folks. VW will build a plant in Qingdao and another in Tianjin as it continues to expand in its largest market.

"China has become our largest and most important market," VW Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in the statement. "To satisfy the demands of our customers in the country, we are engaging in a further substantial expansion of our capacities in China together with our Chinese partner FAW Volkswagen."


Volkswagen wants to be the new Toyota, and you can't just do that by picking up market share in the United States (or, at least, VW hasn't been able to).

3rd Gear: Recalls Aren't Bad For Dealers


One of the curious outcomes of this recall madness is that dealer service centers are becoming overwhelmed with work, and the dealerships themselves are filling up with customers. And it's not just GM as other car companies are pushing out recalls while no one seems to notice.

"There are so many recalls that the general public is so confused," said Pete Salich, service manager for Joe Lunghamer Chevrolet in Waterford Township. "They don't know if their car is part of the recall or not."

Salich said he expects the dealership's service department will only get busier this summer. He said revenue is already "quite a bit ahead" of where it was the same time last year.


It's perverse, but you can't exactly get mad at dealers for making a positive out of a negative.

4th Gear: Tesla Wants Model S That Ripped In Half


The catastrophic damage to a stolen Model S this weekend is of interest not only to the police, but also to Tesla.


Bloomberg says the company is working with LA fire and police officials to figure out exactly what happened.

"We've asked to take a look at the vehicle as soon as that's possible," Simon Sproule, a company spokesman, said in a phone interview. "There aren't so many S's involved in major crashes, and certainly not quite like this one, so we absolutely want to have a look to understand what happened."


I'm more curious how the car was stolen.

5th Gear: How Ford Rivets And Glues Its F-150s Together


Steel is easy. It welds, it rivets, it does all sorts of things that allows it to be used in car construction. It's also heavy. Aluminum isn't so easy, which is why Ford had to develop new processes to build something as tough as the 2015 Ford F-150 is supposed to be.


From Alisa Priddle comes some of the details:

Ford has used rivets before on the aluminum hood of the F-150. But this time, the scale was much larger with the entire truck body made of aluminum alloys "that are tougher, stronger and more durable than anything that's been on the market before," Campbell said.

Different types of rivets and die combinations had to be developed for different parts of the truck body. The team came up various combinations of all sizes and shapes that allow the steel rivet to go through layers of aluminum of different alloys and thickness. The rivets must stop and splay just short of the bottom, locking them into place. Predrilled holes are not required.


Read the whole story for a larger view of how Ford thinks it'll pull this off.

Reverse: A Sad Season

On this day in 2000—eight weeks to the day after the fourth-generation NASCAR driver Adam Petty was killed during practice at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire—the driver Kenny Irwin Jr. dies at the same speedway, near the exact same spot, after his car slams into the wall at 150 mph during a practice run.


Neutral: Who Will Rule China?

Volkswagen? Daimler? GM? Ford? A Chinese company?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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