Episode 898 – IG Metall Won’t Help UAW, Chrysler Wins Ad Award, First Look: 2013 Cadillac XTS

May 25th, 2012 at 11:45am

Runtime: 10:03

The UAW wants to organize Volkswagen’s plant in Tennessee but it won’t get help from German union IG Metall. One way Nissan is getting a best-in-class 38 MPG highway in the new Altima is by gearing it way down with its CVT. Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad from last year, the one with rapper Eminem, just won the top award in the advertising business. All that and more, plus a look at the all-new Cadillac XTS.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m John McElroy and here’s the news.

The UAW wants to organize Volkswagen’s plant in Tennessee but it won’t get help from German union IG Metall. According to Reuters, the German union is in favor of U.S. workers joining the UAW but it’s not going to do any lobbying to help the UAW. Instead, if workers reject the UAW, IG Metall says it would help form a lobbying group to represent employees, but it did not explain what that might entail.

Earlier this week Fiat and Mazda announced a partnership to develop a sports car, and now we’ve learned the Alfa Romeo version will be a successor to the iconic Duetto Spider. Also, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he’s ready to expand that tie-up and is willing to build Mazdas anywhere in the world, including in Chrysler plants.

One way Nissan is getting a best-in-class 38 MPG highway in the new Altima is by gearing it way down with its CVT. At Nissan’s proving grounds we found that at 100 miles an hour the four-cylinder version was only turning 2,500 rpm, while the V-6 was only at 2,600. At 70 miles an hour each engine was about 1,000 rpm slower. And that’s the key to getting terrific highway fuel economy.

On Autoline After Hours last night, Craig Bierley, the marketing manager for Buick, said one reason why GM kept Buick but dumped Pontiac is that in focus groups with people who drove competitive products, people would openly make fun of those who drove Pontiacs, but did not criticize people who drove Buicks. That’s because most of them had loved ones—a father, a grandmother or an aunt or uncle—who drove a Buick. He says that’s when they realized they would have far more potential saving the Buick brand, and Pontiac got the boot.


Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad from last year, the one with rapper Eminem, impacted the auto industry like the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.  It blew everything away, including the competition.  The unforgettable TV spot kicked off the brand’s “Imported From Detroit” tag line, which just won a Grand Effie, which is the top award in the advertising business for the most effective advertising.  Congratulations, Chrysler!

Everyone is predicting a big sales increase in the American market for May. Look for a 20 percent jump with the SAAR hitting about 14.3 million units, up from just 11.8 million last year. But Bank of America/Merrill Lynch points out that last May was the first time we started to feel post-tsunami inventory shortages from Japanese automakers. Now that inventory is back to normal, we shouldn’t read too much into the big sales increase.

On Autoline This Week we dive into the topic of product litigation. Automakers face a lot of lawsuits. Some are legitimate, many are not. But how should an automaker determine whether it should settle or whether it should fight it? Here’s a clip from that show.

(The Cadillac XTS overview is only available in the video version of today’s program.)

Thanks for that report Andrew.

And that wraps up this week’s reports on the automotive industry. For those of our audience who live in the United States, have a great Memorial Day weekend. And we will see all of you back here next Tuesday.

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29 Comments to “Episode 898 – IG Metall Won’t Help UAW, Chrysler Wins Ad Award, First Look: 2013 Cadillac XTS”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I’d like to add one more reason I think Pontiac was ‘thrown to the lions’ (as opposed to Buick); Pontiac fell to, of late, Honda’s general malaise that has been recently discussed here. Bad (tired) design, lack of mojo and refusal to lead in areas it was previously famous for, i.e., exciting design, engine/drive-line superiority and just plain performance. Pontiac, before its demise, was mostly a Chevrolet with a ‘Poncho’ badge. And even though Buicks weren’t setting the world on fire, at least they had good reliability (on their side), where-as Pontiac had also succumbed to mediocrity in that area as well.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    The plastic cladding, which eventually would fall off, did them in (Pontiac)

  3. Yet another Steve Says:

    Is it me or is there something wrong with the itunes feed? I haven’t gotten an audio episode of Autoline Daily since Monday’s episode.

  4. John Longnecker Says:

    Pontiac lost its differentiation from Chevrolet – the performance image faded over the last 20-30 years. But I still don’t see much value in either the Buick or GMC nameplates in North America. Cadillac is moving down-market with the smaller ATS and also has a performance line with the V. Where is the room for a “middle” brand? Don’t see many other automakers with 3 tiers of nameplates other than VW (they seem to be able to break the rules!)

  5. D. Ford Says:

    Wow..people made fun of Pontiac drivers? Around here it was the BUICK drivers that were made fun of. Most the older “loved ones” in this area drove Lincolns and Oldsmobiles NOT Buicks. My own father didn’t get a Buick until there were no more Oldsmobiles to be had. When my Pontiac dies, it WILL NOT be replaced by a Buick!!

  6. C-Tech Says:

    @ 1 and 2
    I agree with most of what Chuck says about Pontiac. As far as good reliability at Buick, I think Buick’s “reliability” has more to do with the type of customer the brand attracts. All of these brands share the same parts (and problems) on the bread and butter vehicles corporately built. Buick attracts older, more conservative in terms of driving customers which in turn reduces the amount of wear and tear on a Buick (it has not been pushed to the limit) compared to a Pontiac or Chevrolet. As I looked at my neighbor Bob’s beloved 00 Grand Prix, the cladding has falled off one door and is taped on another. Since Buick’s (Century) did not have cladding, they look better as they age.

  7. Lex Says:

    The only Pontiac I ever considered buying was the Vibe. This was because it was a direct clone of the Toyota Matrix built at the Nummi Plant in California. I liked the plastic cladding on the Vibe. It protected it from parking lot dings.

    Craig Bierley of Buick played it very cool and safe last night on AAH. I had attended a automotive focus group and gave the researchers my honest opinion. In fact the product GM was researching was a Buick Minivan. I told the researchers that Chevy had the Venture and Pontiac had the Montana (Transport) and Oldsmobile had the Silhouette. Why does GM need a fourth minivan! At that time I owned a fully loaded Oldsmobile Silhouette Premier minivan. The only thing that was bad on that vehicle was the head gaskets which blow as the warranty expired. I traded that minivan in for a Honda Odyssey EXL and never looked back!

    I am still waiting for the new Hyundai / Kia Minivan. As the parents are getting on in years it just makes sense to have a vehicle like a minivan which makes getting in and out of the old folk easy. Too Bad Ford is not bringing the Grand C-Max to the United States.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    #6 agree, most of these older Century and LeSabre models are owned and lovingly cared for by older folks who don’t abuse them and drive them slow and easy, the opposite are the sporty cars taht fall apart from misuse by their owners.

  9. Chuck Vergetis Says:

    I would have been that Father and/or Grandfather that would not have driven a Buick because of my Father and Uncles. The reason people laughed at the Ponitac name is that GM again thought they knew what people wanted, but they did not want small Oldsmobiles’ and they did not want cheaply made Ponitacs’. They wanted fun to drive cars, I miss the Ponitac Firebirds that I drove for years not a small cheap Le Mans. I am a 60′s person when it was the in thing to own a Ponitac, they were built to build excitment. GM took that away from us and billed cheap cars and blamed it on the Public that we didn’t know what we wanted, but we did GM did not.


    On the last AAH (151 ) the voices were not clear.
    Mr. Bierley was the least clear and distinct,
    almost seemed muffled at times.
    John was the only one that was understandable throughout the show.

  11. aliisdad Says:

    You guys are right on with all of the comments about the demise of Pontiac…They were once the “cool, performance” brand that we used to lust for as kids, but that was a a lot of years ago…Pedro’s comment about the plastic cladding really reminds me of what I thought of the last Pontiac I had to drive…I was given a Pontiac to drive as a loaner, and I actually told a collegue that the gray plastic interior looked like it had been on fire and it had all just melted into a blob…
    I am afraid that the old GM is coming back with all of the badge-engineering and keeping things like the Escalade as a featured product…Also, how long will Caddy keep its “new” angular design…Also, heard a news item today that Cruze is now having electrical problems…
    Why in “H” did they keep Buick and GMC?!? They are really pretty good for domestic cars, but why not just be Chevy cars/trucks and Caddy??
    Finally, things like advertising the Volt only on the internet, as well as not really making an attempt to push it when it was new and exciting, seem like pretty poor decisions to me…I am glad that I don’t have stock in GM!!

  12. aliisdad Says:

    Oh, wooooops…I forgot…I do have stock in GM thanks to Comrad O and his automotive and ecomomic experts!!!

  13. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    The “XTS”. A really catchy name for a car manufacturer’s flagship vehicle. How about an Autoline Daily contest to find the most creative (and appropriate) words suggested by this acronym? The GM creative marketing braintrust must have knocked themselves out coming up with “XTS’. BFD!

  14. HtG Says:

    Since this weekend is the Monaco F1, here’s a link to a documentary about this race(1 hour). An interesting note is that the practice of qualifying for the starting grid began in Monaco because it has always been so hard to pass on this circuit. You’ll like this John and tj if’n you’re not already wheels up.


  15. W L Simpson Says:

    Cadillac has destroyed it’s
    “Brand of Excellence” image by dilution, starting with the ridiculous Vega rebadge. The Crest & Shield has lost it,s glow.
    Closely compared the Terrain & SRX , same vehicle except for trim & price. Luv my Terrain.

  16. jack thompson Says:


  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the Cimeran (Cavalier rebadge) really hurt Cadillac, but, while related to the Equinox/Terrain, the SRX is by no means a “rebadge,” and it is selling well. For the most part, Cadillac’s current products pretty much fit the brand. Escalade does not, but I understand why they continue to make it. It helps pay the bills for cool, but poor selling products like the CTS wagon.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For you CVT haters out there, here’s a rare, mildly positive review of a CVT equipped car:


  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, So Fla Toyota dealers are a bunch of corrupt businessmen who practice price fixing, my son and I had to travel 2 hrs north to get his FRS w/o getting taken to the cleaners with an up to $7k over MSRP. The one dealer up north was not even aware of the practice, after we had signed the sales contract we told them and they were shocked.

  20. cwolf Says:

    pedro,I am happy for your son’s new purchase and your shared wisdom to shop around will serve as a good lesson. I had a similar experience with a VW dealership who thought they would make a killing off the Jetta diesel. Sure the couple of cars did sell quickly to some foolish person,but not me. The salesman got an earfull when he called me several months later. The same car was $4K less in Michigan where there is more competition in the area.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Did the So. Fl. dealer just add $7K “extra dealer profit,” or dis they do it with a $4K window tint and $3K floor mats, or someting like that? Could you say how far north your son bought his car?

  22. pedro fernandezp Says:

    Kit it was some BS called “market adjustment” for $6,900 above the MSRP not negotiable, “take it or leave it, we have 5 other people interested in getting this car” The Palm Beach county dealer did not offer much for the trade in, but we just decided to sell it ourselves and make up the diff. Not one penny above MSRP. I am sure they learned their lesson and future buyers won’t be so lucky. I’ve read online forums that most dealers are doing it, despite the Scion “One price, no haggling policy”

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Thanks for the info, Pedro. If I’m ever shopping for a Scion, I’d give my local (Merritt Island) dealer a chance, but maybe the Palm Beach dealer would be worth checking. They probably learned too much from you, though :-)

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW, Scion cars also have to go through the SE Toyota Distributors hijacking b4 it reaches the dealers where they add some very expensive “paint and fabric protectant” no choice there.

  25. HtG Says:

    High Five for you son, Pedro.

    (I’ve checked the price on a BRZ around here, and there doesn’t seem to be a mark up. Of course the loan offer is 6.9% for 60mo. The car is listed as ‘in transit.’ The same dealer offers 2.9% for 60mo on their Ford brand cars.)

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Since they have the SE Toyota Distributors add-on, it looks like I will buy in Indiana if I want a Scion some day. Unfortunately, the Ford/Honda/Toyota dealer where I bought my Prius does not sell Scion, but some, or most of the other Toyota dealers do.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG the local Subie dealers are as greedy SOB’s as the Scion’s, BUT Subie is small here, not very popular at all, only a couple of dealers within 50 mile radius, it’s that mandatory 4 WD system that keeps it from being popular around these parts @ Kit: DO buy in Indiana; when I got my first Toyo in NJ I had no dealer BS even though there was a quota on Japanese cars and they were in short supply, I did pay MSRP because they had just a couple of Camry’s available.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I might have bought a Subaru over the years, were in not for the mandatory AWD. I’ve liked some of their wagons, both Legacy and Impezza, but I never needed or wanted the extra weight and complexity of AWD, even when I lived up north. I guess their desire to be a niche car company is working for Subaru, but it kept them off of my shopping list, even before I got on my more recent fuel economy kick.

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