February 9th, 2009 at 12:00pm
GM’s Bob Lutz will retire at the end of the year. The rumor mill says today is the day the Obama Administration names its car czar. A 68 year-old South Korean woman has failed her driver’s test 771 times! All that and more, plus a look inside Tesla and its brand new, all-electric roadster.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. GM’s Bob Lutz to retire. The car czar could get named today. And here’s someone who failed her driver’s test 771 times!
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, February 9, 2009. And now, the news.
BREAKING NEWS HERE. General Motors announced this morning that Bob Lutz will be retiring later this year. He will be replaced by Tom Stephens, who had been running GM powertrain and now becomes vice chairman and reports to COO, Fritz Henderson.
Well the rumor mill says today is the day the Obama Administration names its car czar. And that’s expected to be Steven Rattner, the founder of the investment firm Quadrangle, who also worked at Morgan Stanley and other Wall Street firms, and who started his career as a reporter with the New York Times. He will be assisted by another Stephen, Stephen Girsky, who also was an analyst at Morgan Stanley and who has been an adviser to General Motors and to the United Auto Workers union. And Girsky is the guy who really knows what’s happening in the auto industry.
The Wall Street Journal reports that General Motors will take back a number of Delphi plants (subscription required). These are plants that make parts exclusively for GM. And GM believes it could get more financial help from the government if it absorbs them. Moreover, GM has been bailing Delphi out, and presumably if GM gets the plants that it needs it would no longer provide financial assistance to its largest supplier, which use to be part of General Motors.
Ethanol is less energy dense than gasoline which results in lower fuel economy. WardsAuto.com reports that Ricardo is working on a system to eliminate that efficiency penalty (subscription required). Its Ethanol-Boosted Direct Injection system incorporates turbo charging and direct fuel injection to create big power. Ricardo predicts that cellulosic ethanol will become available in the next few years and this system will help boost demand for it.
Hyundai released a photo of an all-new concept car it will unveil at Salon International de L’Automobile in Geneva in March. This concept, named HED-6 was styled at the company’s European Design headquarters in Germany. And Porsche released the first images of the new model it’s adding to the 911 model series: the GT3, to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The 911 GT3 goes on sales in Europe starting in May.
California and the 13 other states that want to adopt their own emission standards are one step closer to getting what they want. The EPA released a statement saying “the denial was a substantial departure from EPA’s longstanding interpretation of the Clean Air Act’s waiver provisions”. The agency has set March 5th as the date on a public hearing regarding the states request and will take public comments through April 6th. According to the Detroit News, the California Air Resources Board would immediately put the requirements into effect if it gets approval.
Most folks probably pass their driver’s tests in a couple tries, but that’s not the case for one South Korean woman. Autoblog reports that the 68 year-old has failed her driver’s test an unbelievable 771 times! The test can’t be that hard, you only need to score 60 percent on it to pass, but she typically only manages to get in the 30 to 50 percent range. It costs roughly five dollars to take the test which means she’s shelled out about 3,600 bucks trying to get her driver’s license.
Coming up next, a look inside Tesla and its brand new, all-electric roadster. We’ll be back right after this.
Tesla Motors, the small Silicon Valley startup automaker has been making news with its all-electric sports car. Our west-coast reporter Isaac Bouchard recently got an in-depth tour of the company’s California facilities. Here’s a little of what’s happening on the west coast.
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.