March 20th, 2009 at 12:00pm
The U.S. Treasury is going to give $5 billion in aid to automotive suppliers. Chrysler’s chief financial officer, says the company is better positioned to deal with the recession than GM. Tesla gets ready to unveil its electric sedan. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline with Tesla management.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Suppliers are going to get money from the U.S. Treasury. Chrysler says it’s in better shape than GM. And Tesla gets ready to unveil its electric sedan.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, March 20, 2009. And now, the news.
The U.S. Treasury is going to give $5 billion in aid to automotive suppliers, and no sooner did it announce that then two Senators voiced their opposition. The Free Press Reports that Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, both Republicans, are against this aid. The Senators say that the Obama Administration promised the auto industry would not get more aid until after a comprehensive restructuring. They say this is a violation of trust by the Administration and that it will make it harder to win congressional support for further aid.
But back to the $5 billion in aid. If the Administration is giving aid to the suppliers, then there’s little doubt it will give more aid to GM and Chrysler. The Wall Street Journal reports that the money will go to the major Tier 1 suppliers for the two automakers, which will give them enormous power to decide who survives and who doesn’t. Ford says it will not participate in this program because it’s not missing payments to suppliers. I’ve got to imagine more money is coming. $5 billion is too little, too late. Suppliers say they need $25 billion. I think we’ll learn next week of a comprehensive plan to save the industry.
We’ve all known Tesla is going to build an all-electric sedan called the Model S. Autoblog reports that the base price will be right around $58,000, which is significantly cheaper than the Tesla roadster which starts north of 100 grand. When federal tax credits are factored in, the price of the sedan drops to a hair less than 50 thousand. Tesla is expected to formally reveal the car next week.
Ron Kolka, Chrysler’s chief financial officer, says the company is better positioned to deal with the recession and is a safer investment for taxpayers than General Motors. The Detroit Free Press reports that he says the company can earn a profit and repay its loans at lower sales levels than GM can. So much for that “We’re all in this together” attitude that prevailed before they got any taxpayer money.
Kia confirmed that the next generation of its Sorrento will use a unibody frame (subscription required) instead of a body on frame platform. According to Ward’s, this may also result in a name change for the vehicle as well. It will be the first model built at Kia’s new Georgia plant and production is expected to begin this December.
Everyone has seen “Wash Me” written on a dirty car window. But artist Scott Wade has taken it to a new level. According to Jalopnik, he was at an art festival in San Antonio recently showing off his dirty car art on a Ford Flex. It’s quite impressive especially since he only uses his fingers and a few brushes to make his drawings. You can check out more of Scott’s work at, dirtycarart.com.
Coming up next, a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline, we’ll be back right after this.
On this week’s edition of Autoline Detroit we take an in-depth look at Tesla, the Silicon Valley-based maker of electric sports cars. In the following preview I chat with the company’s CEO and main product architect Elon Musk about its recent battery partnership with Daimler.
If you liked what you saw you can watch the entire episode of Autoline Detroit on our website right now. Just go to AutolineDetroit.tv or follow the link in today’s transcripts.
And that’s it for today’s show, except for one more thing. I’ve got to announce the winner of this week’s trivia challenge. We asked you to name the two American luxury automakers that this guy, Henry Leland, founded. And the correct answers are – Hupmobile and REO. No, just kidding! Of course the right answers are Cadillac and Lincoln, as most of you correctly responded. As always my crack team randomly selected today’s winner from the pool of correct responses. Pookie, the envelope please! And the winner is… Gerald Thompson of Leesburg, Florida! Congratulations Gerald, you’ve just won a GMAC-branded wine and bottle opener.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry except for this important message.