August 6th, 2012 at 12:00pm
Two former Porsche executives are being investigated over allegations of market manipulation. Nissan just introduced the all new 2013 Pathfinder, which hits dealerships this fall. General Motors may have to write down its investment in Peugeot-Citroen because it exceeds its fair value. All that and more, plus a look at a new concept vehicle from MINI.
Welcome to Autoline Daily. It’s Monday the 6th of August, 2012. That’s right; you’re stuck with me again. I’m Craig Cole filling in for John who is out of town. Anyway, here’s the latest news from the automotive beat.
PORSCHE EXECUTIVES FACE CHARGES
Two former Porsche executives could face criminal charges in Germany. According to Reuters, former Chief Executive Wendelin Wiedeking and former Chief Financial Officer Holger Härter are being investigated over allegations of market manipulation. They’re accused of pursuing plans for Porsche to takeover Volkswagen while making public statements to the contrary. Prosecutors are expected to make a decision soon on whether to charge these two executives, who could face up to five years in prison.
2013 NISSAN PATHFINDER
Last week Nissan introduced the all new 2013 Pathfinder. Powering this SUV is a 3.5-liter V-6 that cranks out 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. It’s matched exclusively to a continuously variable transmission. It’s also available in two- and four-wheel drive versions. By switching to a unibody architecture and making other enhancements, engineers trimmed the new Pathfinder’s weight by 500 pounds. Thanks to this and other improvements, fuel economy is 30 percent better. Since this is a family vehicle that can seat seven people, easily getting in and out of the third row is a must. And the Pathfinder offers several solutions to make that a piece of cake. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder goes on sale this fall with a starting price around $28,000.
GM MAY WRITE DOWN PSA INVESTMENT
Back in March General Motors ponied up about $423 million to acquire a 7 percent stake in ailing French automaker Peugeot. At the time the move was a real head scratcher, and frankly it still is. Not surprisingly things have gotten worse. In fact, The Detroit News reports GM may have to write down its investment in Peugeot-Citroen as the European market continues to founder. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the automaker acknowledged its investment in PSA exceeds its fair value. GM plans to hold on to its stake until the value recovers. But Autoline regular and industry analyst Jim Hall said this is not a bad thing. He said this is a long-term investment and that the stock price is basically irrelevant. As Hall put it, it’s a classic case of “Wall Street myopia.” GM needs greater purchasing capacity to prevent Volkswagen from getting too much of a component advantage. It’s like shopping at Costco. The more you buy, the cheaper the price, and surprisingly he argues, PSA was a good choice for this. We’ll have to see how things shake out . . .
MAN CRUSHES POLICE CARS WITH TRACTOR
Things aren’t so sweet in the maple-syrup state. ABC News reports a Vermont farmer allegedly went on a rampage with his tractor, crushing seven police vehicles at the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department. That’s more than half of their fleet of 11 cars! Ironically, officers had nothing left to pursue the possible perpetrator, 34 year old Roger Pion. He managed to make it about a mile from the station before being apprehended. Apparently he was disgruntled about charges brought against him the previous month, which include resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.
Coming up next, a preview of an exciting new utility vehicle. Stick around . . .
MINI CLUBVAN CONCEPT
Are you a MINI enthusiast? They’re tons of fun to drive and get terrific fuel economy, but have you ever wanted more? I’m talking about more cargo capacity. The company has a new concept vehicle that could fit the bill.
(The MINI Clubvan concept overview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
1,100 pounds of cargo capacity! That’s more than half a ton! I never knew a MINI could hold that much weight. Also, it’s nice of them to take the cost of those rear seats off the sticker price.
Anyway, that’ll do it for today’s show. Join us again tomorrow for all the car-related news you can handle. We’ll see you then!