May 28th, 2010 at 12:09pm
Ford will propose to its board of directors in July that it close down Mercury. Chrysler unveiled a new logo for the Dodge brand that drops the Ram’s head logo. Cadillac will get a crossover built on the same lambda architecture as the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia. All that and more plus, a look at Cadillac’s V-Day in China.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Hey, it’s Friday, May 28, 2010 and this is Autoline Daily.
FORD MAY CLOSE MERCURY
Ford let the word leak out yesterday that it wants to close down the Mercury line. Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) broke the story yesterday afternoon, saying that Ford will propose to the board of directors in July that it close down Mercury. Here’s my Autoline Insight. How interesting that two major news outlets would get the story that the board will get a proposal . . . a couple of months from now. So officially, nothing’s been decided yet. Was this leak, and make no mistake about it this was a deliberate leak, nothing more than a trial balloon to see what the reaction would be? Especially the reaction from Mercury dealers? Ford has been talking about closing down Mercury for a couple of decades, but up to now, top management never had the courage or the support to pull the trigger.
GETTELFINGER OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FUTURE
UAW president Ron Gettelfinger gave what is supposed to be his last official press conference to reporters. Amongst the many topics he covered, he wants to see the union gain back some of the concessions it made. He predicted the union will start to gain membership again, and he also said that GM, Ford and Chrysler now have the right management in place to steer them to better times.
NEW DODGE LOGO
Last year, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne decided to separate Ram truck from the Dodge brand. Now the separation is complete. The company just unveiled a new logo for the Dodge brand that drops the Ram’s head logo. The new one is just the name Dodge with a pair of red racing stripes which is supposed to suggest speed and agility. The new logo will be used for advertising but it will not appear on any products or dealer signage.
TESLA BUYS NUMMI
Last week we reported that Toyota is buying a $50 million stake in Tesla and that Tesla would build cars in the shuttered NUMMI plant. Now the AP has learned that Tesla will buy the plant from Toyota for $42 million which includes the cost of the land and building but none of the equipment. Tesla plans to build 20,000 of its Model S’s at the plant, which, by the way, is 5 million square feet. 20,000 cars in 5 million square feet? That’s crazy. And it proves to me that Tesla knows nothing about manufacturing. An easy prediction here: this will not last.
WALL STREET TO CASH IN ON GM IPO (subscription required)
GM is inching closer to an IPO, an initial public offering, where it sells stock again. According to the Wall Street Journal, bankers and investment firms cannot wait for this to happen. The IPO could generate fees of $275 million or more for Wall Street underwriters. Some experts estimate that GM’s market value could top Ford’s at $41 billion and even exceed $70 billion, the level needed for the U.S. government to break even. Two months ago J.P. Morgan Chase pegged its value at $90 billion. By comparison, Toyota is worth $116 billion.
LAMBDA BASED CADILLAC ON THE WAY
According to Edmunds.com Inside Line, a seven-passenger Cadillac crossover is in the works. Karl Stracke, GM’s vice president of global engineering said the luxury people mover is absolutely a go. It would be built on the same lambda architecture shared by the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and discontinued Saturn Outlook bringing the total number of crossovers built off of this platform to FIVE. I don’t know, sounds like just a bunch of badge engineering to me.
Even though China is now the biggest car market in the world, the car culture in China is still in its infancy. And that’s allowing automakers to dig back into the past and wow Chinese car buyers with a dazzling display of what cars can do. We’ll show you what we’re talking about, right after this.
Back when I was a kid, Chevrolet sponsored a guy name Joie Chitwood, who led a group of daredevils to do crazy stunts with cars. It was mesmerizing to watch. Well, Cadillac got the idea to do the same thing in China with CTS-V’s. They call it V-Day and what you’re about to watch took place at the Formula-One track in Shanghai.
I just love watching this show. And Cadillac ought to take it around the world and especially bring it back to the ‘States.
Don’t forget to tune into Autoline Detroit. We have top designers from GM, Ford, Hyundai and the College for Creative Studies, talking about mega trends that will shape tomorrow’s cars. You can watch that right now on our website autolinedetroit.tv.
And another programming note, Open Line will be off the air Monday night because of the Memorial-Day holiday but we’ll be back the following week.
And that’s it for Autoline Daily this week. Thank you for watching, have a happy Memorial Day and we’ll see you on Tuesday.