November 13th, 2008 at 12:00pm
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says automakers can’t have any of the money earmarked for the financial industry. Barack Obama considers appointing a car czar to help formulate policies for the auto industry. Audi is bringing back the A2 to help meet European CO2 standards. All that and more, plus a peek at the redesigned 2009 Honda Fit.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Republicans dump the bailout into the Democrats lap. Barack Obama considers appointing a car czar. And Audi is bringing back the A2.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, November 13, 2008. And now, the news.
The Big 3 bailout continues to dominate the news. And now Republicans have dumped the issue in the lap of the Democrats. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says automakers can’t have any of the money earmarked for the financial industry. Democrats are scrambling to see if they can write the necessary legislation to get the industry the money it needs, but this is a lame duck session of Congress, when, historically, not much of anything gets done.
Meanwhile, president-elect Barack Obama is considering appointing a car czar to help formulate policies to help the auto industry. Our media partner WWJ Newsradio opened up its phone lines to ask listeners who the car czar should be: topping the list by a wide margin, Roger Penske and Lee Iacocca.
Speaking of appointees, is the next energy secretary of the United States going to come from Michigan? Rumors are swirling around two possible candidates. One is Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm who has been touting green energy for the state. The other is Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical, which is based in Michigan. Mr. Liveris is Australian, but I hear he’s applying for U.S. citizenship.
To save cash, General Motors is delaying production of the 2009 Saturn Vue 2-Mode hybrid (subscription required). It was scheduled to begin production in December in Mexico but now that won’t start until early next year.
But while GM is trying to cut costs in North America, it’s expanding in China and India. According to Ward’s, GM wants to more than double its market share in India (subscription required) to 10 percent, and will introduce two new models in the next six months. And wants to increase its stake in its joint venture with Chinese automakers SAIC and Wuling Automobile.
Audi is bringing back the A2 (subscription required). The original version of this b-sized car was sold from 1999 until 2005. It featured an advanced design using an all-aluminum space frame, aluminum body panels, and a sealed engine compartment. But it was pricey and never sold very well. However, a new A2 will help Audi meet strict European CO2 standards.
Speaking of clean cars General Motors will unveil a turbocharged natural gas-powered Opel Zafira at the Bologna Motor Show early next month. Unlike other CNG vehicles, engineers designed the Zafira’s fuel tanks so they’re integrated into the underbody. That way they don’t take up any interior space. The new CNG-powered Zafira should be on sale by January of next year.
Coming up next we’ll take a peek at the redesigned 2009 Honda Fit. We’ll be back, right after this.
Honda completely redesigned its subcompact Fit for 2009. The company built on the strengths of the original and added a few noteworthy features. Honda also made the car safer and more powerful, but it’s no less versatile. Part of the reason why the Fit is so useful is that the back seat flips and folds to make room for all shapes and sizes of cargo.
But there’s more to the Fit than just interior flexibility. It’s inexpensive, easy on gas and it drives like a much more expensive car. Overall it’s one of the best subcompacts sold anywhere in the world.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry, but don’t forget, this is your last chance to enter to win a special-edition Autoline T-shirt and hat. All you have to do is sign-up for our free e-mail newsletter. I’ll be picking the winner tomorrow on “Autoline Daily” so sign-up now!
Anyway, that’s it for today’s show, we’ll see you tomorrow.