August 17th, 2012 at 11:30am
General Motors’ CEO Dan Akerson is planning a reorganization that would see the company move towards a more global structure rather than being run by regional powers. A new study says that average sales per dealership will set a record this year. Meritor WABCO has developed an air dryer for large trucks they claim is more efficient than competing systems on the market. All that and more, plus John shares his thoughts on the Fiat 500 Abarth.
Here we go again . . . ANOTHER episode of Autoline Daily. It’s Friday, black Friday apparently, August 17, 2012. I’m Craig Cole and here’s the news.
AKERSON PLANS REORGANIZATION
In an effort to make the company more efficient and flexible, General Motors’ CEO Dan Akerson is planning a reorganization that would see the company move towards a more global structure rather than being run by regional powers. According to Bloomberg, global chiefs would take over in several different areas like marketing, purchasing and product development, rather than being run by regional leaders. GM is also upgrading its accounting system to support the new structure. Akerson has said he feels restrained by the company’s different fiefdoms and its slow decision making.
DUNDEE WORKERS REJECT CONTRACT
UAW members at Chrysler’s Dundee Engine Plant rejected a new local operating agreement earlier this week. According to the Detroit News, the move caught Chrysler and even UAW leaders by surprise. And now the company says it will not reopen negotiations. But there will be no impact on production because the UAW gave up its right to strike in order for Chrysler to receive government assistance during bankruptcy. The plant builds four-cylinder engines for the Chrysler Group.
ROUNDABOUT GAME NIGHT
It’s Friday so that means you can catch another RoundAbout tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. But,did you know that you can also play along? Next week the RoAb crew is holding a special Game Night for fans and friends of the show. On August 24th you can try your hand at owning a virtual dealership as the crew plays a game of Dungeons & Dealers. To participate, you’ll need to register first. Sign up or learn more in the RoundAbout section of our website, Autoline.tv.
AVERAGE SALES PER DEALER UP
Things are looking up for car dealers, way up. Detroit-based consulting firm Urban Science estimates sales per dealer will set a record this year at 805 vehicles. The old score was 785 per dealer — set back in 2005. The number of car dealers also increased 0.02 percent to 17,770. You know, it only makes sense that after GM and Chrysler dropped so many stores in 2009 anything even close to normal sales numbers would be a boon to those still in business.
MERITOR WABCO AIR DRYER
Yesterday we showed you a little of what Meritor WABCO is cooking up for heavy trucks with its ESCsmart system. Today we’ve got another interesting bit of technology to share. They’ve developed an air dryer they claim is more efficient that competing systems on the market. Heavy trucks like tractor trailers use a lot of compressed air. It runs the brakes, parts of the suspension and other systems. These trucks actually have air compressors integrated with their powertrains. In fact they’re lubricated with crankcase oil and in some case they’re cooled with engine coolant. These systems need dryers to keep moisture from collecting, which can cause corrosion, reduce efficiency and freeze in cold temperatures. Meritor WABCO’s System Saver 1200 Plus air dryer is the lightest on the market. It also features a convenient spin-on cartridge that makes changes a snap. Competitors’ systems have to be disassembled to change the filters. That’s some clever engineering on the commercial-side of the business.
RIOT-ROCKED PLANT RESTARTS PRODUCTION
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, keep those assembly lines rollin’. Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest automaker has been plagued by labor strife for at least a year now. Last month there was a deadly riot at its plant in Manesar, located just outside the capital of New Delhi. This factory is home to several popular models including the Swift hatchback. Reuters reports the facility has been shut down since July 18th, which has cost the company an estimated $260 million – roughly 15 million bucks a day. However, new vehicles WILL begin rolling down the line once again starting next week Tuesday. The company has fired some 500 employees out of the 32-hundred or so that work there. Production will ramp-up slowly. They’ll build about 150 cars per day, roughly 10 percent capacity.
Coming up next, John shares his thoughts on the performance version of the Fiat 500, we’ll be back right after this.
FIAT 500 ABARTH
(Today’s look at the Fiat 500 Abarth is only available in the video version of the show.)
Of course that price is for the model we tested. The Abarth’s base MSRP is a little less than $23,000. Sounds a lot more reasonable to me.
Anyway, that’ll just about do it for today. You have a great weekend – that’s an order – and we’ll see you on Monday!