Episode 47 – Bailout Approved, Speed Not a Major Accident Cause, Britain Can Keep Using Miles

December 19th, 2008 at 12:03pm

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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.

12 Comments to “Episode 47 – Bailout Approved, Speed Not a Major Accident Cause, Britain Can Keep Using Miles”

  1. John Says:

    GM, DO NOT SELL SATURN to the COMMUNIST CHINESE.

    The TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER to a low cost labor population driven by an Asian “copycat” agenda , and world domination spells future disaster .

    GM PLEASE take the long term view.

    Rick Wagoner, do yourself a favor and go to a local Harbor Freight ( http://www.harborfreight.com ) and picture Saturns with GM TECHNOLOGY being sold in the U.S. and the World Market for 50 percent less than a Chevy.

    Selling Saturn to the Chinese is STUPID, SHORT SIGHTED, and just plain MORONIC.

  2. John Says:

    Communist Chinese want U.S. Auto Technology Part II.

    How will the sale of Hummer affect GM Technology Transfer to the communist Chinese and what will be the affect on the U.S. Military?

    See: http://www.militaryspot.com/humvee.htm

    http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/daily-news/081216-Report-GM-Finds-a-Buyer-for-HUMMER/

  3. Larry Says:

    John,

    Love these daily presentations!

    Now that the bridge loan has finally been approved and the government is watching every move of the automakers, will the Chrysler hourly employees who are effectively laid off for the month of January be paid through the UAW job bank funds or will they have to collect unemployment?

    I recall Gettelfinger saying that the job bank is dead. This will be the first test of those words.

  4. Paul Says:

    It’s about time that NHTSA admit to the fallacy that “speed kills”. I have long held the belief that blaming speed for fatal car accidents is about the same as blaming water for drowning.

  5. Salvador G. Says:

    Sorry John, but I think its a wonderful idea… Selling Saturn and Saab, I mean if anyone had asked me, is selling the only two alternative brands with better cars according to most a good idea?? I say, NO are you stupid; but then I remember.. Oh GM, then be my guest.
    Since I know they’re not going to sell the Hummer brand (trust me, they won’t) then selling Saturn and Saab its a good idea.

    … and if cant tell, I am being sarcastic. :P

  6. jeff mohr Says:

    Getting this money is big news, for myself and especially retired family, hopefully this will lead to greater industrial strength countrywide and worldwide, this auto industry is life itself. I believe it can be better than ever, when it turns around, training the next generation will become important, apprenticeships,tech schooling, whatever it be called, it is needed to compete.

  7. G.A.Branigan Says:

    John,these daily updates,(along with your weekly)are just great and much appreciated.As for the bailout funds,I can see maybe Chrysler doing a turnaround,but I just don’t see it for GM.Way too entrenched in bad habits and sloppy work.I am happy for the auto workers and really hope things turn around for them and their families.As for GM selling off Saab,bad move.Dump saturn and the big loser hummer,then start building efficient QUALITY vehicles for a change.

  8. Les Odgers Says:

    I’ve been saying the speed kills BS for a long time. Failure-of-right away is the major cause of accidents. Many cops say, speed is what kills…Well duh, but we can’t drive around at 2mph like we walk or what’s the purpose of cars? speed is why we use them! If you can get morons to obey the other laws and stop drunks on the road we’d have a far safer highways system. A CHP back in the 70′s when I got my first ticket told me that “statistically plain speeders are generally the safes of all law breakers”, that was before the huge truck and SUV’s came heavily online. When they speed they can’t give the proper right-of-way like a Ferrari could at almost twice the speed. In AZ the biggest speeders are the ones who should be speeding the least, big trucks and SUV’s that cannot stop or evade(turn)! If anyone thinks speed limits are realistic they were born yesterday, all vehicles are not created equally as all drivers are not created equally! California has a lower speed limit for big rigs and autos towing trailers on the freeways than everyone else and it’s a great idea! I think for vehicles with a GVW over 7000lbs they should be required to get a commercial DL as well. We need to go to something more like Germany for getting a drivers license! Most Americans really can’t control their vehicles.

  9. William R. Walling Says:

    John,
    “GREAT news for DETROIT transportation industry workers across the U.S.”
    Unfortunately, now comes the ‘haircut’ everyones been commenting in media lately.
    Surmise 2009 will be trying for DETROIT’S ’3+1′ as ‘Time for a Change!’ no matter how you voted.
    Note, FORD did not request monies as Government oversight has NEVER been appreciated in ‘family’ matters.

  10. pedro Fernandez Says:

    So now they got their money, so what? nothing is gonna change whle the economy is in the dumps, I’m on the road all day long and lately I have noticed that all new temporary tags are in recently purchased USED vehicles. dealers are complaining that the few customers that come to though the door, can’t qualify for new car loans, so they have to settle for used.

  11. Marty Marsell Says:

    I can’t figure out how the Big 3 are going to overcome the 10 Million unit sales they are dealing with. No matter how much money they receive, the market and financing for new cars is 50% of what it was in past years.A greater concern is the lack of confidence in the economy the American public feels which will continue to keep them away from auto showrooms and purchases. Ultimately, there will be a pent up demand for new cars but in how many years? In the meantime, Detroit and ROW must deal with cutting production and reducing inventories. With the global downturn, it’s not that nobody wants what the Big 3 make, they don’t want to buy any auto products until confidence and financing settle. Are we solving any problems with the “auto bailout”? Watch Toyota and Honda qtrly reports to see the effects they are feeling, the global stigma is affecting everyone.

  12. John Says:

    Just for the record… I found this article for SAIC’s keen interest in 100% ownership of Saturn and Hummer. I’m sure they will flood the markets with GM technology at deep discounts until they totally kill Ford and GM.

    See: http://www.autoblog.com/2006/04/11/chinas-saic-on-the-fast-track-to-building-a-brand/

    “SAIC has faithfully followed the path established by many other Chinese technology-based enterprises, partnering with leading foreign companies in its domestic market to acquire competitive technologies, and buying intellectual property to jumpstart its own brands. A key partner in this process has been the Chinese government, which has mandated a minimum 50 percent Chinese ownership of any automotive venture established in China by foreign companies. Meanwhile, carefully crafted import tariffs have helped grow China’s domestic auto parts manufacturers. ”

    Just like Harbor Freight Tools, flood the market with low cost knock offs until the Chinese totally destroy the U.S. Manufacturers.

    Wake up GM. All the Chinese want is your technology and 100% ownership, then they can deliver GM Technology below cost to kill GM.

    Anybody that supports this moronic idea must be working for the communist Chinese.