December 10th, 2008 at 12:00pm
Congress and the White House reach a deal on a bailout bill but a vote could still hit a snag in the Senate. Peugeot and Bosch team up to develop a four-wheel-drive diesel hybrid. SEAT comes out with a car that emits only 98 grams of CO2. All that and more, plus John answers viewer questions about the price of oil and GM’s decision to focus on Buick instead of Saturn in the “You Said It!” segment.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Congress and the White House reach a deal on a bailout bill. Peugeot and Bosch team up for a diesel hybrid. And SEAT comes out with a car that hits only 98 grams of CO2.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, December 10, 2008. And now, the news.
We’re inching ever close to a bridge loan for the Big Three. The White House and Congressional leaders have agreed on the legislation they want to bring to a vote. In fact, the vote in the U.S. House will likely come today, where the votes are there to approve it. The real test will be in the Senate where passage is somewhat uncertain because a number of conservative Republicans are lined up against a bailout.
Next step is to choose a car czar to oversee the government’s restructuring of the industry. GM and Chrysler will get $15 billion to tide them over until the end of the first quarter when they will both need more money. And they’ll probably get it if and when the car czar approves their restructuring plans. The question now is if the car czar will get the legal authority to allow the Big Three to walk away from most of their obligations to creditors, dealers and the UAW. If they can do that, you’re going to see a dramatic and rapid downsizing that is going to get rid of a lot of historical baggage.
What are the most popular car colors in the world? White, for the second straight year according to DuPont. Black follows in second. Dupont says color preferences are starting to converge around the world. Colors like white, black and silver still lead but colors like blue and red are on the rise across the globe.
PSA and Bosch are teaming up to develop diesel hybrids. Bosch will supply PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, with electric motors and power electronics for PSA’s four-wheel-drive diesel hybrid, which is targeted to hit the market in 2011.
Spanish automaker SEAT has updated the “Ecomotive” version of its Ibiza hatchback. WardsAuto.com reports that the car is powered by an 80-horsepower diesel engine that’s been specially tuned for better efficiency. They also cut weight and tweaked the aerodynamics. All the work paid off, the Ibiza Ecomotive only releases 98 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz is spouting off again, but politicians better listen to what he’s saying. He points out a big flaw in the auto bailout package in an e-mail to Ward ‘s Auto World. He writes that the “green” cars the Feds want the Big Three to build will be practically unsellable with gas at only $1.50 or $2.00 a gallon. If automakers build a bunch of small cars that nobody buys, they’re going to lose a fortune because they’ll have to practically give them away. And that’s not going to solve any of the industry’s problems.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
We get a lot of letters and comments from you every week that we post on our website and I’ve taken the time to highlight a couple of them here.
Stan Doane wrote in to say: John, You said last year that oil would be $25 a barrel in the future. I thought you were nuts but it looks like you are going to be right! How did you know?
Actually Stan, two and a half years ago I said oil would hit $30 a barrel again. I based that on the fact that rampant speculation had driven prices way above a sustainable market cost. Also, every sharp run-up in oil prices (1975, 1980, and 1991) has been followed by a global recession followed by a collapse in oil prices.
And Pedro Fernandez wrote in again to ask: John, is GM losing its mind? Getting rid of Saturn and keeping Buick? Saturn has a better portfolio than all. What’s your view?
You’re right Pedro, Saturn does have the most handsome line-up of vehicles in the industry, and it attracts more import buyers than any other GM brand by far. But Buick is a smash success in China so by keeping Buick, GM will have far more sales volume with that brand. Also, Buick was the founding cornerstone of General Motors over 100 years ago, and it would be awfully hard for GM to let that heritage go.
Remember, we have a trivia contest going for anyone who wants to enter. Can you identify who made this concept car? I know it’s a tough one but if you think you can come up with an answer, drop us a line, and we’ll pick a name at random from everyone who enters. The winner will get some nice Autoline items, and we’ll announce the winner here on Friday.
Anyway, that’s it for today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.