Episode 127 – Chrysler Liquidation?, Toyota’s Output Falls, New Opel CEO?

April 21st, 2009 at 12:19pm

Runtime 7:35

Chrysler could be headed for liquidation. Toyota expects its output in Japan to fall to its lowest level in 31 years. Veteran auto executive Bernd Pischetsrieder may make a comeback at Opel. All that and more, plus a look at the brand-new Roush Mustang.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Chrysler could be headed for liquidation. Toyota’s production falls to record lows. And Bernd Pischetsrieder may make a comeback.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, April 21, 2009. And now, the news.

Chrysler could be headed for liquidation, the Wall Street Journal warns. It says the U.S. Treasury Department believes Chrysler’s weak product line and lack of international presence means it’s not worth saving. On top of that, Chrysler’s secured lenders – the ones who would get paid first if the company goes out of business and starts selling assets – say they’d get more money if Chrysler goes into liquidation versus what the government is offering them.

Meanwhile, via a posting on its website, the United Auto Workers union is urging its members to write to President Obama and tell him to support them. As is typical of the UAW, it is not offering any public comment on this posting to explain what it wants from the president. But union workers interviewed on local television news say they helped Obama get elected and now it’s his turn to help save their jobs.

Toyota expects its output in Japan to fall to its lowest level in 31 years. According to the AP, Toyota projects its output to be 2.8 million units this fiscal year, which is below the number needed to maintain its full-time workforce. The company has not laid off full-time employees since 1950 and said it would not do so at the moment. Toyota will cut working hours instead to help trim production.

Buick unveiled a concept at the Shanghai Auto Show called the Buick Business Concept. The vehicle was developed in China by a design and engineering joint venture between GM and SAIC. Traditional Chinese design elements show up in the headlamps, instrument cluster, and seats. The concept is equipped with a hybrid that’s powered by lithium-ion batteries.

If Opel can survive its current situation as GM tries to restructure, it could become an independent automaker. If that scenario plays out, Autoblog reports that its dealers want a much bigger stake in the company – something like 20 percent – and a new CEO. One name that’s been thrown around is veteran auto executive Bernd Pischetsrieder. As the former head of BMW and Volkswagen, the man has got the experience.

According to Autoblog, German car magazine Autobild is speculating that Audi may be building a successor to its legendary all-wheel-drive Quattro from the 1980s. It’s rumored that the new model would be built off the A5 and feature a twin-turbo V6 with more than 400 horsepower. If any of this is true, the high-powered coupe could hit the streets by 2012 with a price tag of 70,000 Euros.

Coming up next, a look at the brand-new Roush Mustang, we’ll be back right after this.

Bullitt, Mach1, Shelby and King Cobra are all special editions of the Ford Mustang. Another big-name in high-performance for the ponycar is Roush. Recently the company unveiled the brand-new 2010 version of the car, and just in time for the Mustang’s 45th birthday. Autoline Daily correspondent Craig Cole reports.

Thanks for that report Craig. Looks like another exciting, high-performance edition of the Mustang.

Hey, join us again on Thursday night for another live webcast of Autoline After Hours. That’s when I get together with Peter DeLorenzo and Jason Vines to give you the scuttlebutt behind the headlines of what’s really going on in this industry. Joining us this week will be Matt DeLorenzo, the editor of Road & Track magazine. One topic I want to get into, when it comes out of this restructuring, should General Motors change its name? Great topic!

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

32 Comments to “Episode 127 – Chrysler Liquidation?, Toyota’s Output Falls, New Opel CEO?”

  1. pedro Fernandez Says:

    With Chrysler’s demise almost a sure thing now, their only 3 decent products, minivan, pickup and 300 will have to be replaced, I suppose Honda and Toyota will handle minivan needs, and there are pickups gallore, but the 300? mmm. Gm must be kicking themselves for not bringing back the Impala SS, instead of creating a whole new name, G8. These companies don’t know when they got a good thing Impala SS would have done a lot better than Pontiac G8.

  2. John V Says:

    Buick Business Concept??? Gimme a break! I now know another synonym for minivan!
    It is a pretty van, but if it lacks second and third row fold flat and store (AKA “Stow and Go”) seats, I’ll keep my Town and Country. Hey, maybe GM needs to go to the Chrysler liquidation sale and buy some minivan tooling!

  3. Ed Arcuri Says:

    If the G8 is the same car as your hypothetical Impala; why don’t you buy the Pontiac?
    I submit it is because you are a Chevy buyer. There are Pontiac buyers, too, who will not buy the vaunted Chevy.
    When Oldsmobile was closed buyers left who have never returned.
    GM should beware cutting more makes from their lineup.
    Cheers,
    Ed

  4. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Impala SS has a history, Pontiac G8 does not, people often buy a car for emotional reasons, maybe they owned one or Dad had one and it was the family car when growing up, whatever the reason may be, even Chrysler was wise enough to bring back the 300 name. Ford regrets getting rid of the Taurus name, now its coming back.

  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

    HEY UAW,stop your whinning and sniveling,you won’t make anymore concessions,YER OUT!!!Now you’ll get your wish to draw unemployment…losers.@ John McElroy: who is in line to grab up the Jeep line? When Chrysler goes under,what happens to my lifetime warranty? So many questions,so little time..LOL.

  6. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Attn. UAW and CAW workers from Chrysler. You won’t have to get up early on those cold icy mornings to go to your horrible, underpaid, robot-like jobs anymore. Now you can now stay home collect unemployment pay till the cows come home, catch up with all the daytime soap operas and game shows and just live it up. By the way Bob Barker is no longer on the Price is Right.

  7. diffrunt Says:

    Hey, Senor, cushy overpaid, not under! <g

  8. Andy Says:

    The last time I looked, Chevy IS still making the Impala SS.

  9. Salvador G. Says:

    I wonder who in the car industry expert treasury department decided that Chrysler isn’t worth saving, NOW?? heaven knows AIG is worth it.
    Also, how many of limited edition one off exclusive re-design Mustangs can be made???
    and how is it that only new Mustangs are being made, how about a new Corvette.
    NOw, I car I would like to see here is the new Lancia Delta…
    http://www.autoblog.com/photos/geneva-2008-lancia-delta/623895/

  10. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Andy: I stand corrected, but its not selling well cause it’s FWD and it should be RWD instead, to be honest I have not seen any out on the street, but I see a lot of the larger previous gen.; by the way right now the v6 version is a hell of a buy with all the incentives that GM is offering

  11. Andy Says:

    pedro,
    The previous generation Impala SS from the 1990-95 era or so, while popular, is not really that good of a car. It is very overweight and the interior was of poor quality. Underpowered compared to today’s cars too.
    Now, the Buick Grand National and GNX are another story…..

  12. Jim Moskus Says:

    Craig Cole is da man! Nice work on the Roush Mustang

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe VW will buy the Chrysler minivan tooling. They are already selling a version of the van. VW could update the power train and leave the rest of the van pretty much as-is, and have the best minivan on the market, if they could somehow achieve Toyota/Honda reliability.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    GM can easily make an “Impala SS” out of the G8, and probably will do so if GM survives, but Pontiac goes away as seems possible.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It is understandable that the front drive Impala SS is not selling very well; even some of the car enthusiast magazines that normally like the biggest engine you can get say the V-6 Impala is a better car than the SS.

  16. Dave E. Says:

    I don’t understand GM’s future with Opel or lack of it; why would GM want to give it up or dumping it for 500 euros? Is GM giving up it’s entire ownership stake if it declares bankruptcy? The Impala SS was cool and the Grand national is pretty nice too.

  17. Dan Bruckbauer Says:

    J.A.Branigan, why don’t you move to China with the rest of the traitors!

  18. pedro Fernandez Says:

    John: I just had the chance to drive a Malibu for a couple of blocks, very impressed. What GM needs to do is to improve the warranty on the drivetrain like HYundai and Kia and there would be no reason to spend more on a foreign brand.

  19. pedro Fernandez Says:

    John: as reported in Autoweek today, experts predict the end of the V8 is coming.To be replaced by more turbos and super-chargers. Do you agree? any thoughts from any of you guys out there?

  20. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @D.Bruckbauer; I’m a traitor?? Why,because I don’t give a rats ass about ANY union let alone the UAW? Who btw is doing it’s share of bankrupting a car maker I have ALWAYS liked,and like today,I drive a new Jeep that might not be around anymore because,in part,of the UAW !! And I’m a traitor.Get a life Dan.My wife has a 09 Focus too.There,2 NEW AMERICAN CARS there hotrod,what have you done to help?

  21. Salvador G. Says:

    -Pedro
    That would depend, I can see more efficient V8 engines more in line of Mercedez engines that are able to run only two or four cylinders. Maybe V6 Diesels engines with a couple of turbos/ or Super Chargers to match Torque and High Speed.
    I guess what I’m saying is that V8 are pretty much the standards and it would depend on the type of car manufactures wish to make. Besides, as long as we continue to use any form of liquid fuel V8 engines are the top pretator.

  22. Alex Kajdi Says:

    If Chrysler goes under who will get the patent right on those “Stow N Go” Minivan seats?

    I agree with Kit Gerhart, VW would be smart to grab up the Chrysler tooling for their Routan minivan. Those Europeans love functionality.

    The North American Market is still into Large SUV type people movers. Toyota does not promote it’s ALL Wheel Drive (AWD) Sienna as a positive alternative to large gas guzzling SUV.

    I have written to Honda about an AWD Odyssey, but all thy says is “Buy a Pilot”! I already own a Pilot! The Pilot does not even have the storage capacity of a Chevy Traverse, and the Odyssey does not have AWD.

    I see the Minivan as a very practical large second household vehicle to move people and stuff. The Auto Companies need to stop wasting time and money on stupid vehicles like the Nissan Cube. If you want a box to drive get a Honda Element or Scion! Technology will attract people back into Minivans, when it is reasonabily priced. The engine management system on my Odyssey is great! It should be expanded to all classes of vehicles up and down the car makers product lines.

    Remember the Minivan is what saved Chrysler back in the 80′s!

  23. David W Says:

    To John V. The Buick Business conceptis for the China market. They have drivers and the backseat is for the business person to use. The backseat area has to be better than the front.So no fold flat seats needed.

  24. dave s. Says:

    Hey Pedro,
    Taking a bunch of cheap shots, huh? Landscaping business that good?

  25. dave s. Says:

    By the way Pedro, nice to know you’re so well informed on “Price is Right” issues. Stick to that, you are apparently the authority on “daytime television”.

  26. Engineer Says:

    Pedro,
    Thanks for the tip on the Price is Right. It’s nice to have someone keeping track of the changes going on in daytime television. Don’t know what America would do without you. Please keep the updates coming!!

  27. Todd Jaspers Says:

    Wow… I can’t imagine an America without a Chrysler. What will they do with Jeep? Will someone else get the brand like Chrysler did when they bought out AMC?

  28. Ed Kemmerer Says:

    What the automakers need right now is a modern day version of the first generation Toyota MR2, a fun little two seater that is affordable, good on gas, and can be used for commuting during the week and raced in a parking lot on weekends. I’d buy one in a New York minute because there is nothing out there that satisfies that market. Mid engine fans unite and demand a new Mister Two.

  29. Derek Says:

    Looks like it might be an alternate fuel vehicle – seems it could run off plankton with that grill.

  30. pedro Fernandez Says:

    @DaveS.&Engineer, You see and you probably think wee only good for pick fruits and vegetales in the fields, eh?

  31. Dwight B. Says:

    Pedro
    Knock off that sh!t.

  32. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Hey, they started it!!!!