December 19th, 2008 at 12:03pm
President Bush finally announced a $17.4 billion bridge loan for GM and Chrysler. NHTSA says speeding is not a major cause of traffic fatalities. The European Union says England can still measure distances in miles, instead of switching to kilometers. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Finally, a bridge loan for GM and Chrysler. NHTSA says speeding is not a major cause of traffic fatalities. And the European Union says England can still measure distances in miles.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, December 19, 2008. And now, the news.
Well, we finally got a bridge loan for GM and Chrysler. President Bush announced they will get $13.4 billion immediately, and another $4 billion in February. They will not have to file for bankruptcy to get the money, however they are expected to restructure their operations over the next three months to show they can become financially viable companies. If they can’t, then the president says they will have to file for Chapter 11.
Look for creditors to have to agree to take mostly stock instead of cash for payment of debts that GM owes them. Look for GM to have to quickly close down the brands it has to get rid of (Hummer, Saab and Saturn) and be able to legally walk away from its franchise agreements with those dealers. And look for the UAW to have to give up SUB benefits, half its paid days off, and take stock instead of cash for the VEBA.
Honda announced it’s forming a joint venture with a company called GS Yuasa to make lithium-ion batteries. The new, yet to be named company will be established early next year, with GS Yuasa owning 51% and Honda getting the rest.
Autoblog is reporting that the European Parliament will agree to allow Britain to continue using miles instead of kilometers. This saves the country from having to change road signs and speedometers from imperial measurements to kilometers. And I thought America was the only one that never went metric!
The finalists for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards are in. The Volkswagen Jetta TDI is the first diesel-powered car to make it to the finals while the Hyundai Genesis is the first Korean-made vehicle on the list. The bold-and-boxy Ford Flex is the third finalist. Vying for truck-of-the-year are the Dodge Ram, the Ford F-150 and the Mercedes-Benz ML-320 BlueTEC.
Apparently speeding isn’t as dangerous as everyone thinks. Autoblog reports that NHTSA just released the results of a two-and-a-half year study that looked into what causes traffic accidents. The report shows that more crashes occur because of crossing the center line than speeding. When driver error was the cause of an accident speeding came in last as the cause – tied with falling asleep at the wheel.
Coming up next, a preview of what’s on Autoline Detroit for this weekend.
We’ll be back right after this.
On Autoline Detroit this weekend I’ve got three different guests talking all about advanced technology both in the car and used to design cars in the first place. Here’s snippet of part of that discussion, with Bob Struble, the CEO of ibiquity taking about HD radio that’s becoming ever more common in cars.
You can get more of that interview at Autolinedetroit.tv. But now it’s time to answer this week’s trivia question. Everyone who gets our daily newsletter is open to enter the contest and this week’s trivia question was: “Is William Clay Ford, Junior the son, the grandson, the great grandson or great, great grandson of the original Henry Ford?” And the answer is he is the great grandson of Henry Ford.
Once again my crack team picked out a name at random that got the answer right. Pookie, the envelope please. What? No Pookie? Jeez I’m so disappointed. And the winner is…Joel Karczewski of Southfield, Michigan. Congratulations Joel! You’ll win these very nice wine stoppers from Mercedes-Benz that look like gear shift knobs.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you on Monday.