Episode 728 – UAW Contract Nitty Gritty, Daihatsu Gets 71 MPG, Battery Loans Drained

September 21st, 2011 at 11:06am

Runtime: 6:45

More details about the GM-UAW contract come to the surface. Daihatsu introduces a gasoline-powered kei car capable of 71 miles per gallon. Republicans in the House of Representatives may divert $1.5 billion of battery funding to pay for disaster relief. All that and more, plus John responds to your questions in this week’s edition of You Said It!

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This is Autoline Daily for September 21, 2011. And now, the news.

We’ve got more details on the UAW contract with General Motors. Different media outlets are reporting different aspects of that contract. The Detroit News says that hourly workers could earn $12,500 in bonuses over the life of the 4-year contract. Ward’s notes that GM is also going to move $2.5 billion in work from Mexico to the US (subscription required), involving engines, transmissions and castings. GM will also reopen a couple of plants, though one is closing. But all told it will hire 6,400 more UAW workers. Bloomberg adds that GM is also going to put 10 percent of its profit-sharing money into a health care trust, which should generate $40 million a year. That means the UAW is going to be able to add money to its VEBA funds. That’s a big coup for the union, but if GM can get more of its existing high-cost workers to retire, it could hold the line on labor costs, or even reduce them. But it has to pay $75,000 to skilled workers to entice them to retire.

Daihatsu, Japan’s largest maker of kei cars, just introduced a gasoline-powered model that gets 71 miles per gallon. Called the Mira e:S, Daihatsu is targeting buyers looking for less expensive models that get better fuel economy because of the earthquake earlier in the year. The company expects to sell 7,000 a month after the first year. Remember, that 71 MPG is on the Japanese driving cycle. If the U.S. EPA were to test it, that number would be lower, but it’s still pretty impressive.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are looking to cut funding from a program that’s meant to help automakers build more fuel-efficient vehicles. The House will debate whether or not to cut $1.5 billion of the $4 billion left in the program to help fund disaster relief. This means Chrysler and battery supplier A123 Systems, which just signed an agreement with GM, may not get some or all of the money they requested. Altogether eleven loans may not get awarded if the program is reduced.

And in yet another sign of just how much things are changing, Honda just signed an agreement with John Deere to sell its power products at John Deere stores in the U.S. Honda’s walk-behind lawnmowers, generators, tillers, water pumps and snowblowers will be available at John Deere locations starting next year.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

MJB wants to know, “How does Saab keep doing it? How do they keep finding ways to re-emerge from those near-death experiences?”

MJB, don’t forget that Saab is not building any cars and hasn’t built any since May. They’re not re-emerging. These are just the last convulsive death throes of a car company that is only technically alive, on paper.

Kit Gerhart saw our report on GM jointly developing a new electric car architecture with its joint venture partner in China, SAIC. But he’s not worried. “What’s the big deal? Everyone who comments on this board says EVs are a joke. If that is true, GM isn’t giving away anything of value.”

Kit, you’ve got a great point. But I think everyone is upset at the way the Chinese are going about this. Essentially they’re saying, give us your best technology or we will not let you into our market. I think reciprocity is called for here. But instead of demanding their technology, we should simply tax all Chinese imports to make up for the currency manipulation they’re engaged in.

A lot of you responded to the ad that Ford is running in which a customer is shown saying he likes Ford because it didn’t take any government bailout money. RS doesn’t see why anyone is upset with that. “What’s the big deal with the Ford ads? That same sentiment exists all over North America – including Michigan. I like the fact that Ford didn’t have to take our money.”

But RIGHTKNIGHT70 doesn’t agree. “That’s a LOW BLOW by Ford! If GM and Chrysler had died they would have also, due to the suppliers’ eventual death!”

And flatblackstrat points out that “Ford took government loans as well.”

And several of you appreciated our acknowledgement of International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Thepiuma says, “RAAHAR, MATEY! Great episode.”

And TangoR34 even added a joke. “Why do pirates talk like pirates? Because they aRRRRRRRRRR!”
Keep those letters and comments coming folks, we love to read them.

And then be sure to join me and the Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo tomorrow night as we get the nitty gritty details on the Cadillac Ciel concept car and how it telegraphs where Cadillac’s form language is headed in the next couple of years. Our guest is Clay Dean the head of advanced design at GM. Get your questions and comments in for what is sure to be a great discussion.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

60 Comments to “Episode 728 – UAW Contract Nitty Gritty, Daihatsu Gets 71 MPG, Battery Loans Drained”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Moving some production back to the U.S.; good stuff (and that should make pedro a little happier too).

    Maybe it’s a good thing, (battery loans being reduced), if Congress is spending more wisely, and within fiscal responsibility, at least it’s start.

  2. HtG Says:

    Waaaa! Waaaaaaaaaaa! John didn’t read my mail out! Waaaaaaa! Whu, whu, whhhhhhyy?

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reports that Fiat stock has been lowered even more to real junk status. I find it fitting that their credit rating reflects the same as their cars: JUNK.

  4. MJB Says:


    whoa… low blow there pedro. LOL

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, I am simply stating facts. BTW great move by GM bringing back to the US production that is now in Mexico,right after the plumber Joe Ford ads. Take that Mullaly, why don’t you do the same and start building the Fusion here so you can then call it an American car.

  6. MJB Says:

    Well, pedro… I hate to bursst your bubble but:

    Focus Hybrid, anyone?

  7. C-tech Says:

    At #3 may your corolla be run over by a Police Charger.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    MJB I said Fusion, not Focus. I am well aware the Focus is made here and the Fiesta, well that one had to be built in Mexico, of course. Move the Fusion to a right to work state, if you must, but get it out of Mexico. But I doubt it will ever happen, they do a good job there, it would cost millions to move over here.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sorry to hear that you lost money there with Fiat, C-tech, maybe next time you should make wiser investments. BTW the other day my 325k mile, 13 yr old Crapola outran a new 500, so there! Thank you K & N.

  10. LS ford Says:

    Was blue smoke a sign of the victory over the 500!! :)

    I think fusiion may come back stateside, during the next model release. Its too much to revamp a car already in production. Ie mustang will leave flatrock in the next model year…

  11. MJB Says:


    Hey,…Can’t win ‘em all.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    No blue smoke,no black smoke, no white smoke, no yellow smoke; an equal opportunity, no-smokey Corolly. Them Toyota engines, man, best in the known universe.

  13. tj Martin Says:

    @ C-tech

    Maybe next time you’ll listen when Tj goes on about his Marchionne’s Madness Rants

    Oh they may be rants , but with my inside poop , they’re rants based on fact


    Well in light of all we’ve gotten in return for the billions we’ve tossed out at the likes of FISKER , TESLA et al NADA BUPKISS NUNKA ) its about bloody time Congress wakes its sorry butts up and uses the money for something we may actually benefit from

    Enough Tax Payers dollars being flushed down the Smoke & Mirrors ( E/V ) Toilet .

  14. tj Martin Says:


    Just in case y’all missed this little ditty i posted this morning ;


    This is the kind of tactics FIAT is resorting to , to try and move their little 500 pile of tin .

    And if you missed the link the other day , Marchionne has also now delayed ( again ) Alfa Romeo’s re-entry into the NA market

    Such a nice , straight forward , honest and trustworthy guy that Stronzetto Marchionne is .

  15. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    If its any consolation , me thinks John really doesn’t like me anymore at all .

    Snif :(

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    The 500 is just such a happy car, looking at it just brings a big smile to my puss, I think when I get sad, I’ll just go to my newly opened Fiat dealer and sit there with a joker-like grin, and all my worries and problems will all just go away.

  17. MJB Says:

    The first time a saw a 500 I thought to myself, “Oh that’s cute. They even stuck a little french mustache on it.” LOL!


  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh I wonder if the Fiat service dpt is gonna draw a happy face when they hand over the freaking $200 bill for a basic 20k mile service?

  19. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    # 18

    Actually its the face of the newbie 500 owner you’ll wanna be watching when that $200 bill comes out to be more like $1,200

    Hint hint .

    Hmmmn . What could I be intimating by that statement ? Hmmmn

  20. Saab Fan Says:

    Man John why all the negativity on Saab? Excuse them for wanting to build cars for the individual and not the masses. I for one am pulling for the underdog. Your comment “alive only on paper” hits a little low. All they need is bridge funding and a little luck from the NDRC and they are good to go. They don’t have the government to support them like GM, Chrysler AND FORD!

  21. HtG Says:

    So what you’re saying, tj, is that if you get a stylish 500, you also get a Brazilian?

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj are you saying that the GLK basic service costs $1200 buckaroos?

  23. HtG Says:

    Herr TJ payz zero, Pedro.

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Macaroni is driving both fiat and chrysler into the ground.I am hoping that they sell off Jeep to maybe Ford or GM.I know,ain’t gonna happen.I did some looking at some of their offers,still with the 4 spd autos on some,tsk tsk.I guess they just can’t afford to ‘catch up’,and at the rate they are going,they never will.”too big to fail”,too crummy to go on…..

  25. tj Martin Says:


    NOoooooooo I’m saying that first service for the 500 , given the right circumstances , which will be happening more often than not , can cost you darn near $1,200 .

    Hint hint .

    Und Ja Herr Tj payins nichts fer das GLK

  26. tj Martin Says:

    @ G.A. Branigan

    # 23 Amen

    I was just about to paste up a warning to any and all Chrysler employees here to hold on to their cash and buy nothing not needed for the next 12 months .

    Fact is FIAT is already on the verge of Dead Man Walking and yes Marchione is dragging Chrysler/JEEP down with them

    The ONLY hope I have for all those working for Chrysler/JEEP is that in desperation Marchionne sells C/J to a willing buyer who CAN get both companies back on their feet .

  27. tj Martin Says:


    If you’re out there .

    You’ll be glad to know the GLK is now all nice and shiny and clean from its little Colorado road trip thanks to some well applied elbow grease on the part of …….. myself .


  28. HtG Says:

    did you remember to use steel wool on the insides of the tailpipes, tj? Any nicks on Franzel’s nose?

    You do know that now I can’t stop trying to guess what could lead to a 1200 dollar bill. One thing may be that our harsh roads are wacking the suspensions, and that’s driver “error”.

  29. HtG Says:

    I meant to write driver ‘abuse’

  30. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Nary a nick to be found on Herr Franz ( thanks for remembering its name ) That BASF self healing paint is really something .

    As to what could raise the bill to $1,200 on the 500 ?

    Well ……….. I’ve already probably said too much .



  31. tj Martin Says:

    ( sick little so and so that I am I just love pulling HtG’s chain )

    Paybacks are ______ HtG

    Absolute _______

  32. HtG Says:

    No, it wasn’t Anna W, tj.

    But here’s a post from a 500 forum(remember folks, I know NOTHING! NOTHING!)

    me and my partner bought a 500 lounge td in cha cha blue two month ago, love the car to bits, had it two month and its been back 3 times soon to be 4
    *first- new anti roll bar
    *second- drop links
    *third- front suspension bearings
    *fourth- going back on friday for… drop links again

    it started with a knocking clunking over bumps and speed bumps, we dont drive the car iraticly and keep it spotless, fiat in derby have been very helpfull and helpfull with it but it is getting a tad anoying

    and the link

  33. tj Martin Says:


    Aint Y’all so glad these here folks is supposed to be our friends ?


  34. HtG Says:


  35. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Oh you know something mien herr

    You definitely knows something ( like who it is rather than who it aint )

  36. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 33

    Kind of weak there HtG

    Your idiots are only endangering themselves

    My idiots are endangering everyone around them

    Royal Straight Flush beats Two Pair .


  37. HtG Says:

    my idiots and your idiots. that’s funny, tj

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    John McElroy,
    I agree with you that technology trading should be a two way street. As far as taxing Chinese imports, that sounds good to me, but for some reason, things don’t work that way. How about getting an economist on the show to explain why, without getting involved in politics?

    Actually, I was being a little facetious with my post. I don’t consider EV’s to be as much of a joke as many, or some who post here. They can work as commuter cars for some people, and it would seem that they would be good for delivery vehicles in cities, if they have enough range for a day’s work and can be charged overnight.

    EV’s are a long way from being “do everything” cars, though. For an EV to work for road trips, you would need batteries with several times the energy storage density of today’s batteries, and these batteries would need to be chargeable at thousands of amps so you could “fill up” in a few minutes. Batteries like that exist any time soon, if ever.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    typo last sentence of 37.

    Batteries like that WON’T exist any time soon, if ever.

  40. tj Martin Says:

    VT Pirate Talk ;

    Where does a Pirate in VT store his car ?

    In the GAaaarrrrggg ! :o

    ( seriously , thats how Real Vermonters pronounce G A R A G E )

    Gaarrrrggg !

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    I guess there’s no law enforcement in Saudi Arabia, Eh?

  42. HtG Says:

    the laRRRRR in SaRRRRRdi ARRRRRRabia is enfaRRRRRced by AllaRRRRRRR! Ka_TCHOP!

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh thanks HtG by the way you carry your RRR’s you sound Latino.

  44. HtG Says:

    Ka_TCHOP! Who AkhbaRRRRR!

  45. tj Martin Says:

    Actually in Saudi Arabia , if you’ve got enough money , have the right last name and belong to the right clan/tribe you CAN literally get away with Murder , making these post adolescent escapades looking like crossing a street against the light .

    And yes , sorry to say , this I do know … first hand .

    @ HtG

    Back on the decaf for you mien freund ( #42 & 44 ) Fifth gear seems to be slipping again . Either that or I really am getting inside your head . Hee Hee :o

  46. tj Martin Says:

    The SAAB Story continues ;

    The NYTimes today ( I assume we’re still limited to two links per episode ??? ) is reporting the Swedish Appeals Court has reversed the previous decision and is granting SAAB a stay against creditors and bankruptcy …. at least for the moment .

    Hmmn . So that should keep SAAB alive .. all of ….. what ?

    Another 30 days ?

    Ridiculous . Just shoot the thing and let it die rather than watch everyone including SAAB employees continue suffering

    Either that or wise up ( Swedish Government ) and FORCE Spyker to sell to CvK . Who might …. even at this late stage of the game be able to pull SAAB out of the Grave that SAAB , GM and Spyker have done such a good job digging .

  47. tj Martin Says:

    @ Saab Fan


    I understand your pain . Really …. I do .

    But its time to face the Cold Hard Facts

    Spyker wasn’t able to make their own brand successful ( abject failure is more like it with their F1 endeavors being even worse ) and never should of been allowed to purchase SAAB in the first place

    So no matter how any of us might feel about SAAB the moment the Ink was dry on the Spyker contract the company instantly became Dead Man Walking .

    So … grieve , get angry , what ever you need to do … but face the facts . SAAB is very Dead . Its current owners just being too deluded as well as stupid to realize it .

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    When the Chinese with all their money don’t even bother to go for SAAB, you have to think they’re dead men walking at this stage.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeh, for years, SAAB has had multiple models of almost “real” SAABS with a total volume of half a modern assembly plant. Car companies can’t operate like that, unless they are making very expensive cars

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    Maybe SAAB can bring back it’s iconic models from the past with modern drive trains like the British Interceptor II has returned.

  51. tj Martin Says:

    # 48

    The Chinese already have their claws into SAAB ( purchased a % of the company from Spyker ) but are not willing to sink anymore of their Yuans into the company ….. most likely because even they can see Spyker has buried the Company beyond salvation .

    Hmmn . So as of now on the all time CEO losers list we’ve got ;

    Top of the Pops – Sergio Marchionne

    Best Supporting Act – Victor Muller

    Most Likely to Join the Land of the Dead – Martin Winterkorn

  52. cwolf Says:

    Happy 5 pm to ya all! Thanks for the source info,but my bro-in-law just rebuilt my p-uter and I can only read the comments for now. Got a helava cold/fever,feel like crap and don’t feel like playing with this box!

    Now that your elbow is primed,tj,come over and detail my car…my friend.

    To all UAW pessimists! time to eat a little crow? Don’t say I didn’t tell you so! 6500 jobs returning to the good’ol US wasn’t just a GM doing. Don’t think things are going well with Chry., so Ford may be next. Could be more US jobs returning. When all talks are inked, get ready for more serious unionization efforts. Still I am not happy. How can this UAW supplier guy get management to start dealing with the dead wood? Sorry..it exists in non-union plants too! And after most old timers were forced to retire and others moved in, mostly from non-union places, the majority of these idiots don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground!

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m guessing Fusion production will return to the U.S. with the next generation.

    I’m just hoping the politicization of car buying will end with the passage of time. I personally know two people who bought certain cars for purely political reasons. One bought a Fusion because they wanted an “American car from a company that wasn’t “bailed out.” She didn’t even know her car was from Mexico, while virtually all the competition is U.S. made. Another long-time GM customer, and Obama hater bought a Hyudai to “show them.” With time, this stuff will end.

  54. pedro fernandez Says:

    Or get worse.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suppose that’s possible, but I certainly hope not.

  56. tj Martin Says:

    Hang on to your hats boys ( those of you invested in the Stock Market )

    If the EU and Asian markets are anything to go by , the proverbial poop is about to really hit the fan on Wall Street this morning

    @ HtG – Cover you eyes mate . you do not want to see this one hit !

  57. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Bought the Red Bull F1 book . As I thought , its a hoot and well worth the price of entry

    And ………. if you’re at all an ECM fanatic as I am , buy the new DVD ” Sounds & Silence ” A brilliant documentary on the genius of Manfred Eicher , with a great soundtrack to go with it ( Arvo Part’s music and presence are featured )

    @ cwolf – Get well bud . And sure , if you can get the car over here to KC I’ll gladly give it the once over . Wash /Detail Clean /Wax and Seal so’s it’ll take you thru the winter ( still need to do a complete pre-winter number on mine and the wife’s car )

  58. tj Martin Says:


    I’ll guess it’ll get worse in these Extreme Polarization Times we’re living in .

  59. pedro fernandez Says:

    If the current administration loses the next election, I predict there will be violence in the streets, like we haven’t seen in over 40 yrs.

  60. HtG Says:

    tj, what do you make of that third damper on the front end suspension of the RB? I’m thinking about the lowering front end. And check out how simple the header on the engine is.

    La Pasion Segun San Marcos, by Golijov is what’s headed my way.