Episode 660 – Opel for Sale Again, VW Unions Want 3% Stake in Company, Saab Saga

June 9th, 2011 at 11:52am

Runtime 7:32

GM is again seeking to sell its money-losing Opel Division and this time Volkswagen and Chinese car companies may be interested. Unions at Volkswagen want to buy a 3 percent stake in the company to increase their influence over how the automaker is run. Autoworkers at Maruti-Suzuki in India are striking for longer tea breaks, among other things. All that and more, plus the fourth segment of the Race to Replace Mulally.


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This is Autoline Daily for June 9, 2011. And now the news.

Reports out of Germany say that General Motors is looking at selling off Opel . . . again. Back when it was going through bankruptcy in 2009 GM planned to sell Opel to Canadian auto supplier Magna, but GM backed out of the deal at the last moment saying it didn’t want to lose Opel’s engineering prowess. But Opel is losing big money and European laws make it very difficult to restructure the company. Reuters reports possible buyers could be Volkswagen or Chinese car companies.

VW UNIONS WANT 3% OF COMPANY (subscription required)
Europe in general and Germany in particular are very pro-union places. The Wall Street Journal reports Volkswagen’s unions want to acquire up to 3 percent of VW stock, worth nearly a billion Euros, roughly $1.5 billion. Workers want a stronger hand in running the company as well as a bigger share of future profits.

In related German labor news, Bloomberg reports BMW and VW will cut some of their workers’ summer vacations to meet production demand. At two of its factories, BMW is chopping the summer break down from a whole month to just one week.

TEA TIME (subscription required)
In still more labor-related news, nearly 2,000 Maruti-Suzuki workers in India have been on strike for four days. Some of the employees’ demands include better working conditions and longer tea breaks of all things. And I’d agree; that’s something worth fighting for. Right now their tea breaks are only seven and a half minutes long – hardly enough time to even heat up the water!

The Center for Automotive Research says the White House’s proposed CAFE standards for 2025 would be bad news for the auto industry.  The proposed target of between 47 and 62 miles per gallon would raise prices for an ordinary family sedan to $55,000, according to the CAR study.  Citing the job losses that would result from such a mandate, Sean McAlinden, one of the study’s authors, says, “… why would they be interested in destroying an industry they just saved?”

Uh oh! Not again! The AFP reports that Saab halted production at its plant in Trollhaettan, Sweden because of supply shortages. Saab says manufacturing is on a day-to-day basis, which is not the way to run a plant. Some suppliers are still waiting to get paid and that sounds like the real reason Saab isn’t building cars.

Coming up next, a look at two of the contenders in the race to become the next CEO of the Ford Motor Company.

All this week I’ve been taking a look at the executives at Ford who are in the race to replace CEO Alan Mulally when he decides to retire. The company’s chairman, Bill Ford, said that replacement is going to come from within the company. I’ll announce who I think is going to become the next CEO on tomorrow’s show. But today we need to look at two of the contenders. Jim Farley is one of the coolest guys in the auto industry, and definitely one of the best marketing executives. He actually started his career at Toyota, where he really made his name by launching the Scion brand. It got off to a roaring start, and while Scion isn’t doing all that great right now, it did when Farley was there. That success got him promoted to vice president of all marketing at Toyota Motor Sales USA, and then promoted again as group vice president and general manager of Lexus. All that really caught Ford’s attention and in 2007 it stole him away from Toyota. But his career also hit something of a speed bump at Ford, at least in terms of making it to the CEO position. In 2009 Ford gave him operational responsibility for Canada, Mexico and South America. But only one year later, Ford took that responsibility away from him to have him concentrate on global marketing, where the company still has a lot of room left to improve. Farley can still leave a lasting mark on Ford and the industry in that position, but I believe whoever becomes CEO is going to have to have extensive operations and overseas experience, and that leads us to the next contender. John Fleming is kind of a dark horse in the race to become CEO. Not well known outside of Ford, he brings impeccable credentials to the race to replace Mulally. Born in Liverpool, here’s yet another Englishman in the running, and he bleeds Ford blue. Fleming actually started working at Ford’s Halewood plant in England when he was only 16 years old. He worked his way up the manufacturing-side of the business, and in the mid-1990s was assigned to work in the U.S., also in manufacturing. And then they moved him back to Europe to run all the manufacturing operations there. They liked what he did, and in 2005 he was promoted to group vice president and CEO of Ford of Europe. In 2009 he moved back to the U..S to run all manufacturing and labor affairs for the company worldwide. What I like about Fleming’s chances is that he has extensive operations experience in North American and Europe, but he’s also in a good spot from an age standpoint. Fleming turns 60 this year, and if Mulally retires two years from now, Fleming would still be able to fill the CEO role for about three years. That could buy the board more time to determine which of the Young Turks should ultimately get that position. Don’t miss tomorrow’s show when I announce who I think will actually get the nod to be the next CEO.

Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Our guest tonight will be Francois Castaing, the former head of engineering at Chrysler back in the day when the company made boatloads of money. He also ran Renault’s racing program earlier in his career. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, along with a cameo appearance from Jason Vines, tonight, for the best insider discussion of what’s going on in the auto industry.

And that is the end of today’s report, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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86 Comments to “Episode 660 – Opel for Sale Again, VW Unions Want 3% Stake in Company, Saab Saga”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    GM is claiming ( NYTimes and AW ) that the story about them selling Opel is in their words .. Ludicrous . We’ll see !

    Glad to see I’m not the only one thinking SAAB’s clear & present danger is worrying at best

    @ HtG – pg 69 . Thats what I’m talking about when trashing GM’s products like the SRX ! See ! Ol Bob is making Tj look like a freaking genius .

    Kind of like when Lassiter came out with ‘ Mondavino ” Ten years of my carping about the Wine Industry validated in a single documentary . And the books that’ve followed .

  2. tj Martin Says:


    #1 should of read Nossiter not Lassitor .

  3. HtG Says:

    more Lutz. On high level GM meetings when L got there in 2001
    “A salient feature of these top-level meetings was the notable absence of any focus on the thing that matters most: the company’s products.”


  4. HtG Says:

    p67. “Ron Zarrella…had lied about having an MBA”

  5. HtG Says:

    In August of 2001 Wayne Cherry, head of GM design, showed Lutz a binder filled with photos of coming cars. Both men agreed that these were dogs, but Cherry told Lutz that it was the vehicle line execs(VLE) who had final say on the designs. Cherry didn’t sign off on designs he didn’t approve of.

  6. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #5 Those are the pages I’d read as well as a synopsis of them being in MT’s Motor Trend Classic Summer 2011 .

    Aint it jes so very pretty ?

    Don’t it all just make you want to go buy yerself a Chebbie ?

    And………. just wait …. it gets even worse !

  7. tj Martin Says:

    All those thinking I’m biased or prejudiced against American Cars … read the book ….. as HtG is right now .

    You’ll see right quickly the ONLY thing Tj is biased or prejudiced against is Half Baked , Ill Conceived , Poorly Designed and Pathetically Executed ( no smart remarks on that Chuck G ) Junk !

  8. HtG Says:

    A question I have in reading this book, is how do you institutionalize focus on the product? How to balance car guys and quants? Like what happens at Apple when Jobs buys the baseball team in the sky?

  9. tj Martin Says:

    We don’t need no Brits at the Helm of any US Automaker !

    You had a good look lately at what they’ve done to their own Automakers in the last 40 years ?

  10. HtG Says:

    Lutz questions why cars like Corolla/Matrix, coming off the same line, the same car, would diverge in customer rated quality? Same happened with a Mitsubishi joint venture. People won’t rate their Japanese car poorly, and will slam the domestic.

  11. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    You have the Car Guy at the helm , with the Quants keeping him in reasonable check : without completely stifling or limiting his ideas & abilities to execute them .

    No risk of failure . No gains in quality or product .

    eg; Give him enough rope to hang himself without hanging the company .

    Also you need to keep the Quants in check as well .

    Thats the Apple M/O

    ( this was one of the arguments I’d had @ CAR )

  12. HtG Says:

    on reining in the car guy. Billy Mitchell is described as very powerful, so much so that the mathletes took away control from design.

    If only you could point to one factor. Maybe it does require Four Horsemen to crush a behemoth. Lutz does describe the damage done to domestic industry by the US desire to build up Japan; thus the undervalued yen.

  13. T. Bejma Says:


    What you fail to mention or realize is that all of this that Lutz was talking about was when he first got to GM. He made many changes and did great things to help out GM and they way that vehicles are executed. Buy a Chevy from 2001 (Before Lutz)? NO WAY! Not even me. Buy a Chevy now? Thanks to Lutz. OF COURSE!

  14. GPL Says:


    I’ll back you up. I didn’t think you had any particular prejudice against domestics. I thought it was pretty clear from what you’ve written here that you were open to them, but didn’t like the ones you had driven, at least, not the ones that were in the segment you were shopping.

  15. HtG Says:

    TB@13, I didn’t mention that this was when Lutz had just come back to GM only because I figure readers here already know it. Sorry if it came off harsh.

  16. T. Bejma Says:

    #15 HtG

    No issues. Just wanted to clarify that, despite your bad experience with a SRX, GM is producing some great vehicles now. Much of that was thanks to Lutz.

  17. Steve Says:

    99% of it due to Lutz

  18. Steve Says:

    that’s not to denigrate everyone’s contibutions. But Lutz is the man who got the oars going together in the right direction.

  19. Steve Says:

    starting with firing Zarella and brand management

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m sure you can find people like Lutz at all car companies, and other companies, with lots of “inside stories” to tell. I suspect there were plenty of people at Ford saying not to get so carried away with silly electronic driver distraction devices, but the “powers that be” made sure said distractions ended up in the cars.

    I’ll read Lutz’ book, when it makes it to the public library, but I suspect I’ll find it to be a mixed bag of good stuff, mixed with an ego trip from a guy who still doesn’t realize that the car business is not going to return to what it was in 1965.

  21. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Any Corvette guys here, if so head on over to autoweek.com and check out
    2012 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 laps the Nürburgring in just 7:19; take a ride with Chevrolet’s test driver. Pretty cool.

    And wishing Corvette great luck at Lemans (this weekend).

  22. tj Martin Says:

    @ T Bejima

    Thats me who had the lovely ( not ) ten day experience in the SRX . Along with …….

    2010 Camaro
    2011 Equinox
    2011 CTS-V ( yes I drove one )

    etc etc.

    So honestly comparing Oranges to Oranges ( a current GM product to its rival be it US or Foreign ) I’ve not seen some of the changes Lutz implemented . Maybe because he’s been out of the loop for awhile and they’ve gone back to SNAFU ?

    @ GPL – Thanks for the vote of confidence !

    @ HtG – I hand my Lutz Schill mantle over to you my friend .

  23. tj Martin Says:

    Chuck Grenci

    The one and only GM product I can and do get my head around . The C6 in any of its variations .

    Here’s hoping they kick some EuroSnob butt . Again !!!

    ( ohh the memories of driving the ZHZ Corvette for ten days in CO . Smacking down a GT3 like it was standing still . why do I live in a snow zone ? oh… because i love winter … never mind )

  24. tj Martin Says:

    SAAB Story Update

    According to Reuters SAAB is now saying their Liquidity remains ” Tense ”

    Not good from any perspective

  25. tj Martin Says:

    Lets just hope Lutz hasn’t come to the Lotus table to do any good what with Dany Behar at the helm who refuses to even drive a Lotus , never mind own one ( he owns several Ferraris )

    Talk about the Wrong Guy at the Wrong Job !

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    HTG: re #10 was Lutz referring to Corolla/Matrix or Corolla/Prizm? I am familiar with the latter and I can assure you that up to the ’97 models, the Corolla had better quality interiors than the Chevy badged version, Prizm.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    #25 should of read ” …….. come to the Lotus table too late … ”

    Oh but for an EDIT button !

  28. HtG Says:

    Pedro@26. Lutz is referring to the Prizms. p64. my error

  29. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    The Matrix is also better than its Pontiac derivative .

    Wife has the Toyota , friend has the Pontiac . Both the same age and miles ( close ) Drive them side by side though and the Matrix comes out the winner . Which ……. is odd if you ask me .

    So what did GM do to the Matrix that got lost in translation ?

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    More recently than Prizm, the Vibe/Matrix were built in the Fremont plant. Something that’s a mystery to me is why those cars are “much worse than average” in CR’s owner satisfaction survey, whether the Toyota or Pontiac. They are reliable, practical cars, and the people I know who have them like the cars.

    In the case of Vibe and Matrix, the interiors are styled a little differently, but they seem to be about equal in “quality,” both being ok.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Matrix and Vibe of the same vintage are mechanically identical, just the interior decor and styling are a little different.

  32. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Agreeing with Kit; probably just an aberration between the wife and the freind. ‘A tree in the forest’ can vary (might have been the other way around).

  33. HtG Says:

    Lutz wrote a letter to Rick Wagoner arguing that their processes could identify segments for products, but were not able to see the origins of segments. They couldn’t detect the PT Cruiser or Mini homeruns until they had already happened.

    from ‘Strongly Held Beliefs’ p93

    “There are no significant, unfilled “Consumer Needs” in the US car and truck market(except in the commercial arena). What there are are “consumer turn-ons” that research alone won’t find.”

  34. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart

    # 31 Something ” Aint Right ” about the Vibe . Couldn’t put my finger on it but even the Vibe owner was sorry she hadn’t paid the extra $ to get the Toyota .

    FYI 2011 CR says the Matrix is ” better than average ”

    2010 CR had the Matrix on its watch list because of the Toyota recall issues . 2007 – 2009 had it again at better than average .

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    On both of those models, the GM versions had cheaper interiors until the 98 model year when Toyota decided to copy GM’s cheap interiors and also adopted those annoying DRL’s and automatic a/c on defrost mode. I think I am smart enough to decide if I need headlights on or not,and if I need to clear windshield or melt snow. thank you!!

  36. tj Martin Says:

    Chuck Grenci

    Aint no aberration . I drove them both as well . The Vibe didn’t feel or drive as good .

    Same when we test drove both new in 2007 , to see which one to buy . The Matrix just was the better car in spite of the extra $


  37. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Don’t give the whole book away !

    We want Bob to make a little $$$ on the thing after all !

  38. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Pedro (you may be smart enough) but DRL’s are a good thing IMO; you wouldn’t believe the drivers around here driving at pre-dawn and dusk with no headlights (like they are saving money or something) not to turn on there lights. They are mandatory in Canada (and a good idea everywhere else); and they are automatic. If Toyota came out with them, and GM decided not to provide them, I can already hear the headlines, “Toyota provides safety lighting while GM foregoes latest technology”. While my last statement is speculation and conjecture, I believe I am correct here.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    The competition should hack GM test drive vehicles to play excerpts from Lutz’ book on the Onstar system.

  40. HtG Says:

    @37. Righto! Back to the mill. I’m only highlighting. But it’s a good book because L points out his limitations, and the potential that’s in GM. (also giving Wagoner credit in leading(F rattner!))

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    Chuck, I go out pretty early and there’s a lot of idiots who don’t turn on their light at all, it does no good to have mine on if I can’t see them coming from behind for example, as I make a lane change.

  42. tj Martin Says:

    Stupidist Thing GM Didn’t Do ;

    Put the 2004 Nomad Concept into production , instead replacing the design with the God Awful HHR .

    Tell me in light of the MINI ( and the PT Cruiser) success the Nomad wouldn’t of sold like gangbusters .

    Heck …….. myself along with over 10,000 from the Hot Rod community had offered to lay down our deposits on thing , just form the show car , with many more to follow had GM confirmed the Nomad

    Want to guess what happened next ?

    About a week after the HHR hit the showrooms , all of us that had offered to place a deposit on the Nomad received phone calls from their local Chevy Dealer .

    Went something like this

    Dealer – ” Mr Tj we’re glad to let you know the car yo were interested in is now on the showroom floor ”

    TJ- ” Oh ! So they made the Nomad and you’ve got one n stock ? ”

    Dealer – ” Oh no Mr Tj , something much better . We have the new HHR which you’ll like even better ”

    Freakin Clueless . And ya’ll wonder why I’m not much in GM’s corner .

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ Yes I agree, that Nomad concept looked really cool, instead they tried to copy the PT Cruiser and it mad GM look like a follower, not an innovator.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    If the circa 2000 GM management had been in charge during the 60′s, the Toronado most likely would have never been built.

  45. tj Martin Says:

    Corvette lovers/admirers

    ( or if you just like a good lap around ” the Ring “)


    Enjoy !

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @tj #34,
    CR shows Vibe and Matrix as “better than average” in RELIABILITY, but “much worse than average” in OWNER SATISFACTION. I really don’t understand why.

  47. HtG Says:

    @45 Gott im Himmel! Did you see him power oversteering on exits? That’s some at the limit stuff right there. Embarrassed to say I know every turn, but only in two dimensions. Tj, tell us what it’s really like at the ‘Ring.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, they are reliable indeed, just not very exiting to drive, soft suspension, so-so braking, uninspiring acceleration even in the “Sport” versions.

  49. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit Gerhart # 46 I’ve no clue ! Mrs Tj loves hers !

    @ HtG- # 47 your question ; Do You Know what you get when you cross a Hippopotamus and Elephant and a Rhino ?

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The HHR has had a pretty good run, but it arrived, what, 8 years after the PT Cruiser, or it could have done much better early on.

    Regarding DRL’s, it seems that the biggest car companies on each continent, GM, Toyota, and VW use them on their U.S. market cars.

    GM and Toyota each have one model without DRL. Corvette doesn’t have, probably because a lot of Corvette buyers might have the “you ain’t going to make me use no damn headlights” attitude. In the case of Prius, it probably increases gas mileage about .01 mpg by not having them.

  51. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Assuming you didn’t figure out my question ( # 49 )

    A HellifIKnow

    Never been . And from the looks of the financial state of ” The Ring ” as well as the fact that Sabine the Ring Queen is at odds with the new ” Owners ” it looks like I may never ! Dang it !

  52. HtG Says:

    Anyone been following the stock price of Zipcar?
    It’s gone from 31.5 to 19.35 in the short time it’s been public. That’s bad for the longs.

    One thing clear from the Lutz book, how much ability and talent needed to be unlocked at GM. As per tj’s admonition, I will not elaborate. p114 tj, you’re going to get a surprise.

  53. HtG Says:

    succumb! download the Nook/Kindle software and you can be reading the ebook in two minutes.

  54. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    NEVER !!! We do not do online purchases and I likes my hard copy ! So there ! Thpppppt !

    And we don do no stinking Nook/Kindle/iPad either !

    As to post # 52 If Lutz is saying there’s a ton of talent being kept under lock and key at GM it wouldn’t surprise me a bit .

    If GM can build a Best Sports Car for the Money Period , like the C6 and its multiple variations , they sure as heck can do the same with the rest of their line up .

    Sad fact is ……….. they don’t :(

  55. tj Martin Says:

    Looks to me like the ZipCar is getting Zapped !

  56. HtG Says:

    @54 The spirit of Jobs compels you! The spirit of Jobs compels you!

  57. tj Martin Says:

    And yes Chuck Grenci , I really am a major league fan of the C6 as well as the Stingrays of the 60′s .

    Driven the C6 ( ZHZ Hertz Edition ) extensively as well as had a spin or two in the C6 Z06 and ZR1 .

    Suffice it to say when someone asks my opinion about them buying a Porsche or a Ferrari , I tell them straight up , Go drive the Corvettes and see if you don’t decide to save a ton of money while embarrassing your friends in their EuroSnob mobiles .

    Oh the Vettes rattle a bit more , the interior isn’t quite as posh . But then again neither is the price tag and it’ll out perform anything in its class .

  58. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Jobs has been getting mine & Mrs Tj’s money since the second commercially available Mac , as well as my owning an iPhone .

    I think he’ll be fine without my buying an iPad .

    At least I haven’t seen his ghost haunting my house or car .

    Hmmn :(

  59. HtG Says:

    “At least I haven’t seen his ghost haunting my house or car”

    iCloud will make that happen

  60. tj Martin Says:

    @ Chuck Grenci

    BWTM RE; Corvettes

    Forgot to add the C6 can also hold ten days of luggage for two without a hitch as well as being a great daily driver ……. which the Porsche’s sort of are …. and the new Ferraris definitely are not !

    Don’t even bring up the FF if you please !

  61. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    I’ll start stocking up on garlic necklaces then !

    Sheeesh . Now its iCloud . Just when I’d gotten the hang of mobileme.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ll consider an iPhone when they make the battery replacable and get rid if that ridiculous proprietary connector. Yeh, these electronic gadgets are disposable, but they’re not so disposable that you shouldn’t be able to replace the battery.

  63. tj Martin Says:

    @ Kit gerhart

    Fair warning

    Once you go Mac you’ll never go Back

    Step away from the Darkside oh Kit . Step away


  64. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @ tj

    I have one Apple device, an iPod Touch which is a cool gadget. With a wifi connection, it does everything an iPhone does, except phone. Then, a few months after the iPod,, I got my Evo 4G. I actually like the Android device better for typing, and it works as well for most other things. I’m even very satisfied with Sprint. It works well where I am, and the service, for what I want, is substantially cheaper than Verizon or ATT.

  65. HtG Says:

    have you hipsters heard about the Tegra3? Oh yes, Mr Otellini.

  66. HtG Says:

    who wants a TV that will stream movies under the control of their smartphone? Oh yes, Mr Otellini.

    sorry John, Gordon’s again.

  67. HtG Says:

    50 cent chips in appliances creating an internet of things. Servers using a fraction of the power, creating the cloud. cars under cyber control. soon. chips everywhere using ARM ISA

    1oz Gordon’s, seltzer, ice, lime, pinch sugar

  68. len simpson Says:

    HHR & PT were drawn by one man,after he went to GM. This olwrench put 65 k on my early ordered 06 HHR, made the mistake of swapping it on an early ordered Camaro , which I never took delivery. Sat in it a while tho, didn’t fit. If the HHR was a little pavement quieter , I think I might still be driving one, although I like my Terrain 2.4- 6 speed a little better. I feel the 2.4 is one of GMs best ever efforts. On my 3rd one.

  69. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    What I’d like , TV wise , is a Cable or Satellite company that did A la Carte service rather than all these stupid ” packages ” of channels you have to buy to get the on or two you actually watch

    There’s another industry that could learn a thing or two from Apple . Cable & Satellite TV . Time-Warner especially ( KC sold their soul to TW so thats my only choice in this area )

    Who ever thought ( @ TW ) having one channel in 5 different places as well as its HD ( so 6 ) alternative was a good idea ……… well I’m sure Mr Lutz would say it better than me .

    Movie wise , as few as we watch , I really don’t have an opinion unless someone wants to launch a Foreign & Independent Films service that you can order by Phone ( remember those ? )

    Here’s my favorite recipe . Good for the digestion as well .

    I oz Fernet Branca 1 oz Quality Vodka 1/4 teaspoon Black Cherry Juice concentrate / added to a pint glass of San Pellegrino ( club soda will do in a pinch )


    2 oz Martini & Rossi Red 1oz Quality Vodka Twist of Lemon ( or a dash of Lemonocello ) over shaved ice in a 16 oz glass topped by again San Pellegrino

    Both mine

    1st Fernet Fizz
    2nd San Remo ( which if you’re ever there , is a bar that serves said drink poolside )

    The San Remo is the pip for Summer poolside imbibing

  70. HtG Says:

    life with little TV is life. Sneak some autoracing and NFL. Netflix does the movies and good TV shows.

  71. HtG Says:

    Here’s a question for Bill Ford and the board. Which exec’s will depart Ford when they don’t the top job?

  72. HtG Says:

    crxn. …when they don’t get the top job

  73. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 71 – A Freudian Slip perhaps ?

  74. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “I feel the 2.4 is one of GMs best ever efforts.”

    I’ve found road test descriptions of the GM 2.4 and related 2.2 to be “interesting” over the years. I remember it being described as “rough and noisy,” or something similar in the ’04-’07 Malibu, but “smooth and quiet” in the current Malibu. It sounds like they have improved the engine mounts over the years.

    This very good “ecotech” engine family is from Opel, and I wonder where GM will get their next generations of 4 cylinder engines if they sell off Opel. The same applies to some of the car platforms. It seems to me that GM NEEDS Opel.

  75. tj Martin Says:

    Kit Gerhart

    All the financial and automotive press are saying the story about GM selling Opel is a fabrication , with GM flatly denying they are considering doing so .

    From what I’m gathering , the story may be another attempt by Kaiser Winterkorn to bully another company into selling out by artificially forcing the stock prices to go down because of the announcement .

    Why would I say that ? Three guesses who the ” Main ” interested party in purchasing Opel is .

    As well as the Kaiser pulling the very same stunt with Alfa Romeo .

    Seems maybe the Kaiser is taking his eyes off the ” Emperor ” and refocusing on the ” General ” in his attempt at World Automotive Domination .

  76. HtG Says:

    tj, you are aware that speedtv.com is streaming practice from Montreal?

  77. HtG Says:

    @75 could tj mean the very same ragazzo that originally wanted to buy Opel?

  78. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    I’ll wait for the ” Big Screen ” version on the tube , er Flat Screen at 1:00 pm CDT thank you ( I hate watching videos on the computer . Interesting that our Opthamologist Wednesday [ oh dear tj needs trifocals ] said its not good for your eyes as well as reading books etc on your Nook , iPad etc. being detrimental . Ooops )

  79. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 77 – If thats referring to the Kaiser ( Winterkorn ) why then yes I was .

    Too bad Lutz doesn’t discuss the impending war between the Kaiser and the Emperor ( Marchionne ) I’d love to hear his take on where that might end up .

  80. tj Martin Says:

    Fact is I’d even enjoy hearing PDL’s take on the impending ( and rapidly brewing ) war between the Kaiser and the Emperor .


    @ John M ( the REAL John ) A possibility for future discussion perhaps ?

  81. tj Martin Says:

    Three guesses what tj just did !

    Sorry pedro and cwolf . With all respect and appreciation , the money guys said lease .

    Yes HtG , the white one !

    Pick it up tomorrow or next Wednesday , but its ours .

  82. HtG Says:


  83. pedro fernandez Says:

    I suppose we won’t be hearing from TJ any more, he’ll move up to the Daimler owner blog sites, now that he’s joined the hoiti-coiti crowd

  84. HtG Says:

    now don’t crash the Mini

  85. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro – Not a freaking chance ! I like you guys ( and John M ) too much ( not you H/S and Cybil septet )

    @ HtG – Grazzi . But is # 84 the automotive equivalent of ” Break a Leg ” ?

  86. Kit Gerhart Says:

    tj, Did you buy it, or lease it?