July 20th, 2012 at 11:21am
Patrick Pelata is out at Renault-Nissan. The former COO resigned after a botched espionage scandal last year. The July SAAR numbers are in and they’re up 20 percent from last year when the Japanese tsunami put a damper on sales. GM announced the Chevy Trax will be built in Mexico later this year. All that and more, plus a peek at the latest episode of Autoline This Week!
I’m John McElroy, welcome to another episode of Autoline Daily. It’s friday, Friday, FRIDAY, the 20th of July, 2012. We’re glad you could join us.
PELATA OUT AT RENAULT
As you may recall, Patrick Pelata, the Chief Operating Officer at Renault resigned from his position last year because of a botched espionage scandal that led to three employees being wrongfully fired. Pelata was assigned another job within the Renault-Nissan alliance but now he is leaving the company altogether. In an email to Bloomberg, Pelata says he’s jumping ship because “there’s no job for me in sight” and he is unable to participate in any operational activities. Pelata plans to join a California technology company but it’s not known which one.
JULY SAAR NUMBERS (subscription required)
This month’s SAAR or seasonally adjusted annual rate in the U.S. is expected to hold steady. WardsAuto forecasts July’s SAAR will be 14.1 million units, with sales coming in at 1.17 million units, which is nearly a 20 percent increase compared to 2011. Last year sales were down because Japanese automakers had low inventories due to the earthquake and tsunami that disrupted production.
VIVA LA CHEVY TRAX
Yesterday GM announced it will build its Chevy Trax and a new generation of small pickups at plants in Mexico. The Trax will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September. It will be available in the Mexican market in the fourth quarter of this year. The Trax shares a platform with the Aveo and Sonic subcompacts and will be sold in 140 countries, but not the United States, Reuters reports.
ESCAPE RECALLED… AGAIN
For the second time this week Ford is issuing a recall on its popular Escape small SUV. This time around the callback is to fix a fuel line on Escapes with the 1.6-liter engine. They can leak fuel onto the engine, which, obviously, can cause a fire. The Dearborn automaker says Escapes with other engines DO NOT have this issue. The recall affects 11,500 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, but only 4,800 of them have been sold to customers. The rest of the recalled Escapes are on dealer lots and can be fixed before they are sold. The previous recall was to modify carpet that could interfere with braking.
MARUTI SUZUKI LABOR STRIFE (subscription required)
Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest automaker, is under siege. The Wall Street Journal reports workers rioted at its factory in Manesar, in the north of the country. The plant employs about 3,200 people on the assembly line and is home to some of the company’s most popular models including the Swift hatchback. Understandably, production has been halted. The organized mob attacked plant supervisors, smashed windows and started a fire. One company official was killed. Some 1,200 police officers were called in to quell the violence. Labor issues have been simmering at Maruti Suzuki for at least a year. It’s unfortunate things are boiling over now.
After the break, a little sample of this week’s episode of Autoline. Stick around . . .
AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
This week’s episode of Autoline is all about brands. And the big question is which ones are doing it right and which ones are out of their minds? To help me get to the bottom of things I’ve called in a few experts. My guests include Christie Nordhielm, Marketing Professor from the University of Michigan; Peter De Lorenzo, Editor-in-Chief of Autoextremist.com; and Michael Robinet an analyst with IHS Automotive. Here’s a little taste.
As always, you can check out the latest episode of Autoline This Week on our website, Autoline.tv. Of course it’s also available on YouTube if you prefer to watch it that way. Also, you can always download it as a podcast so you can watch or listen to it at your convenience.
And that’s a wrap for today and the week as well. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you on Monday.