Episode 79 – GM & UAW Negotiate, Mitsubishi Drops Frankfurt, Chevy Unveils Stingray Concept

February 12th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:14

GM and the UAW are in intense negotiations about cutting labor costs. Mitsubishi is pulling out of the Frankfurt auto show due to the industry slump. Chevrolet unveils a stunning Stingray concept car influenced by the original 1959 model. All that and more, plus a look at the all-new and all-electric Tesla roadster.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. GM and the UAW argue over work rules. Mitsubishi is pulling out of the Frankfurt auto show. And Chevrolet unveils a stunning Stingray concept car.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, February 12, 2009. And now, the news.

GM and the UAW are in intense negotiations expected to last over the weekend, all about cutting labor costs. The Wall Street Journal reports that GM wants lower supplemental unemployment benefits for those who are on layoff, or just came out of the Jobs Bank. And they’re looking at loosening work rules, and while the Journal doesn’t say it, I can tell you those work rule changes are largely focused on how many more skilled tradesmen a UAW plant has to have, compared to any of the transplants.

In a move to raise cash, General Motors is asking Chinese automaker SAIC about selling some of its stake in their 50-50 joint venture, according to Reuters. The partnership includes building and marketing Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet models in China.

Just in time for its 90th birthday, Citroen is modernizing its logo. When Andre Citroen started his car company in 1919 he wanted a logo that connoted the idea it was a car company. So he chose two chevrons that resembled the teeth on a gear. The company has lived with that logo and it still does, but if you ask me, the modern version makes the chevrons look more like boomerangs.

Mitsubishi is pulling out of this year’s Frankfurt auto show (Subscription Required). According to Wards, the company says the move results from the industry downturn as well as Mitsubishi’s strategy to restrict this year’s auto show participation to one international event in every region. Mitsubishi will be at Geneva next month.

Meanwhile the Chicago auto show is underway and Kia revealed the replacement for the Spectra. The 2010 Forte is the company’s latest compact car. It’s a stylish sedan that offers buyers either a 2.0-liter or a 2.4-liter four cylinder power plant. Look for the smaller engine to deliver fuel mileage up to 36 on the highway. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but like every other Kia it’s sure to be very competitive.

Also at the Chicago Auto Show GM is making a big to-do about the new transformers movie, but they’ve got a much more exciting concept car on display. The Corvette Stingray is a mockup influenced by the original 1959 model. Unfortunately the company says it’s nothing more than a design study so don’t expect a production version anytime soon. The Stingray concept will be featured in the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen which is set to come out in June. If you want more information about the car we’ll have a video with Ed Welburn, GM’s VP of global design, posted on the John’s Journal page on our website a little later today.

Coming up next, we’ll take a deeper look at the all-new and all-electric Tesla roadster. We’ll be back right after this.

Tesla Motors is the small startup automaker headquartered in Silicon Valley that’s been making news. In fact, the company claims it will make a profit this year. Recently we got invited out to California for a tour of its facilities. Autoline Daily west coast correspondent Isaac Bouchard reports on what’s happening in sunny San Francisco and how the company plans on marketing its electric-only sports car.

One week from today we’ll be doing a must-see live webcast, all about the viability plans from GM and Chrysler and whether they’re going to work. Joining me for that live webcast will be Tom Walsh, the business editor for the Detroit Free Press, John Stoll from The Wall Street Journal, and Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics. That’s next Thursday at noon Eastern Standard Time, or 1700 hours, Greenwich Mean Time for all our international viewers.

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.

5 Comments to “Episode 79 – GM & UAW Negotiate, Mitsubishi Drops Frankfurt, Chevy Unveils Stingray Concept”

  1. Howard Remeta Says:

    It looks to me like the original model was not a 1959 model but a 1963 model. The 1963 model was the only Corvette with a split window.

  2. Drew Says:

    Hey John,
    Just a quickie…..it’s Tess-la, not Tezz-la!


  3. Jeff Mohr Says:

    Most non UAW plants run a (electrical and/or mechanical trades crew)that I know of—– not electrical, mechanical, millwright,pipefitter,carpenter, tinner,painter,etc.—very interesting to see how this key issue works out. thanks jmohr- kenosha engine

  4. Ron Patenaude Says:

    Hi John,I am impressed with the new Chevrolet Bat-Vette and wondered if they ever saw the movie.Was this a design Dream the day after the movie or did they design the Batmoble in the last movie.Who knows but what a mirror image. Ron

  5. John Says:

    John McElroy,

    How will GM prevent China from taking control of GM technology and repackage it to blow out low cost auto copies designed to destroy U.S. domestic auto manufacturing? Just like china has done with furniture, hand tools, manufacturing machinery, shoes, etc.

    Look at the tool prices at http://www.harborfreight.com

    “Such a deal would make GM a minority partner at its decade-old flagship venture in China,”

    A “minority partner” won’t be able to prevent being shot with their own gun.

    “But one analyst said any retreat from its China ventures by GM could also hurt their prospects since the U.S. automaker has provided key technology and marketing expertise.”