December 12th, 2008 at 12:06pm
The Senate rejects a bailout bill due to lack of support from Senate Republicans. Chinese automaker SAIC is interested in buying Saturn from GM. Traffic fatalities drop almost 10% so far this year, to their lowest levels in nearly half a century. All that and more, plus a look at vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology from Nissan.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. The Senate rejects a bailout bill. SAIC could buy Saturn. And traffic fatalities drop to their lowest levels in nearly half a century.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, December 12, 2008. And now, the news.
As I’m sure you’ve heard already, the effort to provide a bridge loan to GM and Chrysler collapsed in the U.S. Senate last night. And it all came down to getting the UAW to cut its labor costs to match the transplants. As we reported here yesterday, there is a group of conservative Republican Senators who are trying to break the union’s back. They maneuvered the union into a corner to cut wages and benefits next year, but the UAW said, “No.” And it may end up getting blamed for the failure in the court of public opinion.
What’s next? WWJ is reporting that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is starting an effort to convince President Bush to tap into the $700 billion TARP funds to provide GM and Chrysler with enough money to get them through the first quarter of next year.
More bad news for GM. It could lose up to 40% of its dealers if GMAC goes bankrupt. Bloomberg reports GMAC lacks the funding needed to become a bank and free up more money for dealer financing. If GMAC can’t become a bank, it can’t be eligible for the $700 billion in TARP funds, and that’s why they’re talking bankruptcy.
Gasgoo.com, the Chinese automotive website is reporting that one of China’s largest automakers will buy Saturn from GM. SAIC, or the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation wants to acquire Saturn.
The US Department of Transportation reports that traffic deaths in the United States dropped 10% through October compared to 2007. If the trend continues it could be the lowest level in the 42 years since NHTSA has kept track. Typically, traffic fatalities go down during recession because people aren’t driving as much. But this is a dramatic drop-off.
Coming up in our feature story we’ll look at vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology from Nissan.
Nissan is demonstrating four features to improve traffic safety by keeping the driver informed and making sure the vehicle is in control at all times.
The first is called Signal Violation Warning. It visually and audibly warns the driver if he or she doesn’t brake when approaching a red light. The system calculates when the vehicle will arrive at the intersection and issues a warning if an accident is imminent.
The second feature is Cross Traffic Notification. This warns a driver at an intersection of any unseen cross traffic. Warnings are generated based on information received from other vehicles and distance to the intersection.
The next feature works similarly to the Cross Traffic Notification except it warns the driver when in the left turn lane if there is any oncoming traffic.
And the last is called Cooperative Intelligent Cruise Control. This applies the brakes and brings the vehicle to a complete stop at a red light if the driver for whatever reason fails to do so.
These technologies were developed by Nissan with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The systems utilize short-range communication technology between roadside equipment, on-board equipment in the vehicles, and GPS technology.
Well, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Time for our trivia contest this week we’re giving away an exclusive Autoline Detroit t-shirt and baseball cap.
We asked, who made this concept car? I know it’s a tough one but this is the Alfa Romeo Castagna from 1914-but if you just said Alfa Romeo, that was good enough for us.
As always, my crack team has chosen the winner at random from our list of new subscribers. Pookie, the envelope please! And this week’s winner is . . . Glenn Crose of Marion, Iowa. Congratulations, Glenn!
Don’t forget today starts a new trivia contest. You’ll only find it in our email newsletter…. so sign up today for your chance to win!
OH-and just one more thing! We’re going to do a special LIVE webcast on Monday. I’ll be taking your questions about the bailout effort in Washington. That’s 1 PM Eastern, or 1800 Greenwich Mean Time for those of you who are watching out side of the United States. Monday, December 15 … check it out ya’ll!
Anyway, that’s it for today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.