Episode 66 – Suppliers on the Brink, CA To Get CO2 Regs, Harley-Davidson Axes Jobs

January 26th, 2009 at 12:00pm

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Hundreds of American supplier companies are on the verge of going into bankruptcy. Obama will likely give California its CO2 standard, meaning automakers will have to meet at least two different sets of regulations. Harley-Davidson announced it will eliminate 1,100 jobs over the next two years. All that and more, plus a look at a special edition of the already outrageously expensive Maybach.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Automotive suppliers are teetering on the brink. Obama will likely give California its CO2 standard. And even Harley-Davidson is going to cut jobs.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, January 26, 2009. And now, the news.

Well, we’ve been reporting it here for some time and now it’s on the front page of the Wall Street Journal-hundreds of American supplier companies are on the verge of going into bankruptcy (subscription required). Even though the federal government provided bridge loans to GM and Chrysler, if their suppliers go down, they’ll take almost the entire auto industry down with them. Suppliers want the government to guarantee their receivables, the Journal reports, which is the business they expect to get from the car companies.

And in a move that is certain to drive up costs for automakers, the Obama Administration will direct the EPA to examine a waiver for California to set its own CO2 regulations, the Associated Press reports. California and about 13 other states are expected to set their own standards, meaning automakers will have to meet at least two different sets of regulations.

Automakers aren’t the only ones feeling the pain during the recession, Harley-Davidson announced it will eliminate 1,100 jobs over the next two years or about 10 percent of its workforce. According to Autoblog, more than half of those cut will be in the company’s home state of Wisconsin. Harley will also replace its chief executive, Jim Ziemer during the restructuring.

The Chrysler and Fiat deal isn’t set in stone, but WardsAuto.com reports the two companies could reach a deal by the end of March (subscription required). Under the agreement Chrysler would have access to all of Fiat’s hardware, vehicle platforms and technology, while Fiat would essentially gain a North American outlet for its small cars. One caveat though — Ferrari is totally off limits, so don’t expect a Chrysler supercar anytime soon.

And maybe that’s just as well, Fiat’s other premium brand, Maserati, is recalling almost 8,000 vehicles in the U.S. due to an incorrect torque setting on the ball joints. According to Autoblog that includes the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, as well as GranTurismos and Quattroportes from the 2008 model year. The ball joint nuts could come loose, meaning you could lose the steering on the car. And that ain’t gonna help Fiat’s image in this country.

Chinese automaker Chery may start building commercial vehicles, reports Gasgoo.com. The company is partnering with China International Marine Containers, the world’s largest maker of shipping containers.

In other China news, SAIC will start building MG TF’s in England. SAIC will make knock down kits in China and ship them to England for final assembly. The two-seater features a 133 horsepower mid-mounted engine, five-speed manual transmission and a $33,000 price tag. And I think that car looks pretty good.

Coming up next, a look at a special edition of the already outrageously expensive Maybach. We’ll be back right after this.

In response to customer demand, Maybach recently unveiled an extra exclusive version of its long wheelbase 62 S. This limited-production sedan takes after the magnificent, chauffeur-driven limousines of the 1930s.

The hand-built Maybach Landaulet is a modern version of a dual-cowl luxury car, you know, those really big, really old cars with two windshields. It has a unique convertible top that sets it apart from just about everything else on the road today. The back half of the roof is retractable while the front is solid. When rear seat passengers want to enjoy the open air, the top tucks away in a compartment above the trunk. While stowed, occupants are bathed in sunshine, with a clear view of the sky above.

Besides its convertible roof, the Maybach Landaulet offers buyers a list of features and amenities too long to name. But one thing that’s really special about the interior is the trim. It’s a black granite imported from India. You heard right, this car’s actually accented with stone!

While the luxury interior is certain to keep passengers happy, the engine will no doubt please the driver. It’s a twin-turbo V12 with 612 horsepower.

As much as the Autoline crew would love to have a Maybach Landaulet as our company shuttle, its $1.2 million price tag is a little steep. But I do have a chauffeur’s cap at home.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But don’t forget, you can get podcasts, transcripts and a whole lot more on our website, AutolineDaily.com. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

2 Comments to “Episode 66 – Suppliers on the Brink, CA To Get CO2 Regs, Harley-Davidson Axes Jobs”

  1. pedro Fernandez Says:

    John: Does the Maybach offer an anti bird poop shield or hat or helmet. I can just see some rich stuffy old guy getting pelted by on of our feathered friends

  2. Salvador G. Says:

    John, you cheap bastard, you should think of that Maybach as an investment :p
    Just sell your house and put a bathroom in the Maybach and move in.