Episode 25 – Nail Biter For Big Three, German Government To Help Autos, Toyota Readies Venza

November 17th, 2008 at 12:00pm

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A nail biter this week in Congress for the Big Three as Democrats and Republicans argue over a bailout. The German government plans to help its auto industry. Toyota gets ready to sell its all-new crossover, the Venza, next month. All that and more, plus a look at what it takes to refill the urea tank that Mercedes uses for its clean diesels.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. A nail biter this week in Congress for the Big Three. The German government plans to help its auto industry. Toyota gets ready to sell the Venza.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, November 17, 2008. And now, the news.

It’s going to be a nail biter in Congress for the American car companies this week. Will they get the bailout money or not? Democrats are telling President Bush they want the auto industry to get some of the $700 billion earmarked for the financial industry. Bush says, “No way.” He’s telling the Democrats to give the automakers the $25 billion that Congress already earmarked to re-tool plants to make green cars. The Democrats say, “No way.” That’s where it’s stuck and probably nothing will happen in this lame-duck session of Congress.

Meanwhile, the AFP reports General Motors sold its three percent holding in Suzuki for about $230 million. Both companies say they’ll continue to work together.

And in Europe, the German government is considering giving GM’s subsidiary Opel some sort of financial aid, as well as aid to other German automakers and suppliers. Unlike in the United States, there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much controversy over helping out the auto industry.

Of course, the German auto industry is in much better shape. Volkswagen reports that sales are up almost 3 percent for the year, thanks to the so-called BRIC countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China. But VW isn’t immune to the global downturn. Sales fell five percent in October. Even so, it’s still impressive that they still expect to be up for all of 2008.

In Japan, Mazda just released a refreshed version of the Demio. Known as the Mazda2 in other markets, it gets a new interior with a glossy black center panel and matching materials for the seat cover centers and door trim. Silver garnish is added to the shift knob, parking brake and inner door handles. The Demio costs between $12,000 and $16,000 and is on sale now in Japan.

Toyota is about to come out with its all-new cross-over called the Venza (subscription required). The five-door people hauler goes up against the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge. It offers a four-cylinder engine or an optional V6, and front- or all-wheel-drive. The Venza will start reaching Toyota dealers early next month.

Coming up, our feature story looks at what it takes to refill the urea tank that Mercedes uses for its clean diesels. We’ll be back, right after this.

The U.S. has some of the strictest emissions regulations in the world. This is a major hurdle to selling diesel-powered vehicles in America.

So far, the only way for diesels to meet these regulations is to use an after-treatment system. The technology used by Mercedes-Benz is called BlueTEC. It injects a urea solution into the exhaust to clean things up, but there’s a downside. It has a separate fluid reservoir, and it periodically needs to be refilled. Here’s Rob Moran with Mercedes PR demonstrating how to top-off the tank.

The urea tank only needs to be refilled about every 10,000 miles, so Mercedes is tying this in with other services, like oil changes.

Interestingly, it’s impossible to run the urea tank dry. If the fluid gets low, you get a series of warning lights on the dash. And if you ignore them for too long, the car eventually will not start, but that takes a really long time. Oh yeah, the urea costs about $10 a gallon.

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.

4 Comments to “Episode 25 – Nail Biter For Big Three, German Government To Help Autos, Toyota Readies Venza”

  1. gpg Says:

    Can you tell me how much subsidy the various states gave to the foreign automakers to build an autoplant in thier state? Also, over the years has the Japanese government helped their auto companies by providing cheap money for expansion? and to what extent!

    It’s to bad that “Buy American” has been lost over the years. It is now coming back to haunt every person in the U.S.A.

  2. Alex Says:

    gpg says questions should have been asked and answered by the automotive popular press long time ago instead of dumping on US automakers.
    I too am very interested to hear the answers to those questions and would also lake to know what import restrictions against US products all the countries have that import large numbers of cars to the US.

  3. Salvador G. Says:

    Hey John…

    You forgot to mention, how much is Germany prepare to give their automakers as a bailout.

  4. Zieke Says:

    John, This bailout of the automakers is very troubling. Even with national problems the UAW thinks they should get a bailout rather than help the co. , which they said they’ve already done. I don’t think the big 3 are going to survive without cutting retiree pensions and healthcare down to a sustainable level. It looks like bankruptcy is the only solution, otherwise these huge costs are just going to recur time and again. I see no way that the automakers will be able to cover the tremendous costs they currently have and be able to sell autos at a competitive price.