October 21st, 2008 at 12:00pm
Chrysler Could End Up with Nissan-Renault but Cerberus wants cash, not an alliance. Natural gas cars are really catching on in Thailand and other developing countries. And Sirius/XM radio says it’s going to make a profit thanks to cost savings from the merger. All that and more, plus a closer look at the recently-unveiled Chrysler electric vehicles.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Chrysler Could End Up with Nissan-Renault.
Natural gas cars are really catching on in Thailand. And Sirius/XM radio says it’s going to make a profit.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, October 21, 2008. And now, the news.
In the on-going saga of who will take over Chrysler, the Wall Street Journal reports it could end up with Nissan-Renault. Everyone knows Carlos Ghosn, who runs those companies, would love to have an American automaker as part of his alliance. But Cerberus, the company that owns Chrysler, doesn’t want an alliance. They want cash, and lots of it. So the more likely scenario is what we’ve been reporting for days now. GM is probably going to get Chrysler so it can chop it to pieces all in the belief that this is what could finally put GM back on its feet again.
Meanwhile, the California Auto Dealer Association warned that GMAC’s policy to restrict car loans to those with the highest credit scores is going to drive many GM dealers out of business and hurt GM’s market share in California. GMAC’s actions wipe out 40 percent of GM customers in California. And as I said yesterday, I believe this is part of Cerberus’ plan for force GM to accept a merger with Chrysler. GM is being bullied by Cerberus and maybe it’s time it got the guts to start fighting back.
Sirius/XM Radio CEO Mel Karmazin says the company will make a profit next year. The company still has not turned a profit even though it has over 18 million subscribers and does nearly 2.5 billion dollars in sales. Karmazin says by combining Sirius with XM the company will finally be able to cut costs enough to become profitable.
Over the Summer, T. Boone Pickens launched a campaign highlighting the benefits of switching to natural gas cars, but developing countries like Thailand are way ahead of him. According to the Wall Street Journal, drivers have converted or purchased more than 40,000 natural gas vehicles in the past six months in Thailand and officials believe that number could rise to more than 300,000 by 2012. Thailand isn’t the only developing country embracing natural gas vehicles, Pakistan, Brazil and Argentina have more than one and a half million on their roads as well.
The New York Times is reporting that insurance companies are starting to close loopholes that allow drivers to participate in motorsports events. Running hot-laps during an open track day may not be covered. This comes as auto racing surges in popularity. Racing on tracks has increased five-fold since 2003. Adding insult to injury, insurance laws differ from state to state. What may be kosher in California may not fly in Florida. If you plan on participating in a track event you’d best check with your insurance company to see if you’re covered. Heaven forbid you put your Yenko Camaro into the wall and you get stuck footing the bill.
As we reported last week, Toyota is developing a minicar called the iQ. But now our friends at Autoblog are reporting that the company is also working on a roadster version of the tiny two door. German car magazine Auto Motor und Sport expects the iQ roadster to bow at the 2009 Tokyo motor show. Beyond the runt-sized roadster there are also rumors that other body styles are in the works, like a mini, minivan and a hybrid.
In our feature story today we take a look at another of the electric vehicles that Chrysler showed us recently. That’s coming up next, right after this.
With gas continuing to eat into all our budgets, every OEM is looking for an alternative fuel option. Chrysler recently unveiled three vehicles from its ENVI organization and here’s its president Lou Rhodes to tell us what makes these vehicles different.
Surprisingly Chrysler isn’t as far behind in the electric vehicle game as everyone thought. But if Chrysler gets bought by General Motors I’ve got to believe all this effort is going to get thrown in the wastebasket.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry, but don’t forget you can get podcasts, transcripts and a whole lot more on our website, AutolineDaily.TV. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.