April 24th, 2009 at 12:00pm
Ford lost $1.4 billion in the first quarter, about half of what it lost this time last year. The Obama Administration is preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Chrysler. A proposal in Congress aims to protect people from getting hurt or killed by silent-running hybrid and electric vehicles. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit with Johan de Nysschen, the President of Audi of America.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Ford loses money, but not as much. Chrysler prepares for Chapter 11. And hybrids will have to be noisier.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, April 24, 2009. And now, the news.
Good news. Ford only lost $1.4 billion in the first quarter. Yes, as strange as it seems, that’s good news. That’s about half of what it lost this time last year. Yet, the company’s revenue dropped by more than $14 billion. So even though revenue dropped, the company didn’t lose as much, which is thanks to lower interest payments, lower labor costs, and a lot of internal cost cutting. The company also increased its cash position by more than $7 billion, but that came from tapping into its line of credit.
The Obama Administration is preparing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Chrysler, the New York Times reports. It would protect pensions and health care costs for UAW employees. That’s going to put pressure on Chrysler’s debt holders, because the union is now somewhat protected if the company goes into bankruptcy. Those debt holders just rejected the government’s latest deal and a counter offer is expected soon.
More drama between Volkswagen and Porsche. According to Autoweek, VW’s supervisory board is considering a reverse takeover of Porsche to relieve the company of debt it acquired when taking out loans to purchase Volkswagen. Porsche revealed it had 9 billion Euros in debt, or $11.7 billion but said dividend money it will receive from VW and its own operating profit would be able to cover this years payment.
Last week we showed you a Geely shown at the Shanghai Auto Show that was an obvious Rolls-Royce knockoff. Now, according to the UK’s Telegraph, it looks as though the British carmaker may take legal action. The company has consulted lawyers and said its “keeping its options open”.
If you’re “ridin’ dirty” we’ve got some good news. The LA Times reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has put some new limits on police searches. Until now, law enforcement has been able to search a vehicle WITHOUT A WARRANT if the driver or a passenger was arrested. In a 5-4 decision, the court overturned a 1981 opinion allowing this. It’s the view of the court that merely arresting a driver does not “provide a police entitlement” to search a vehicle without a warrant. Under the new decision, officers can only search a vehicle if weapons are potentially within reach of the suspect or if they believe the car contains evidence related to the arrest.
U.S. Senators John Kerry and Arlen Specter have introduced a new pedestrian safety bill. It aims to protect people from getting hurt or killed by silent-running hybrid and electric vehicles. The proposed legislation would require the government to conduct a study on how to protect people from this potential danger. As we’ve reported, Lotus is already tackling this problem by developing external vehicle speakers.
Coming up next, a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit, we’ll be back right after this.
This week on Autoline I’m joined by Johan de Nysschen, the President of Audi of America, and by Scott Burgess of the Detroit News and David Welch of BusinessWeek. In the following preview Johan talks about Audi’s participation in motorsports.
And now I need to announce the winner of this week’s trivia contest. We challenged you to tell us what the letters in the acronym “SPC” stand for. And the correct answer is … Statistical Process Control.
As always, my crack team has randomly selected today’s winner from the pool of correct responses. And the winner is… Lew Barrish of Delanco, New Jersey! Congratulations Lew, you’ve just won a leather-bound notebook emblazoned with the Lincoln logo.
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 next week.