April 29th, 2009 at 12:27pm
Chrysler reached an agreement with all its big institutional lenders and just might avoid bankruptcy. The head of Opel’s work council says the company only has a matter of weeks before it runs out of cash. 55% of US consumers plan to buy a new vehicle within the next two years. All that and more, plus John answers viewer questions in the “You Said It!” segment.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Chrysler just might avoid bankruptcy. Opel is weeks away from collapse. And American consumers lie to the pollsters.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, April 29, 2009. And now, the news.
The clock is ticking. Tomorrow is the deadline for Chrysler to get a deal together, and you know what? They might just pull this off without going into bankruptcy. Maybe. But the company now has an agreement with all its big institutional lenders. There are some holdouts who could torpedo the deal. But Chrysler is awfully close to pulling this off.
Yesterday we reported that the UAW would end up owning Chrysler with 55% of the company’s stock. But the Detroit News reports that when it comes to voting rights, those shares may not give the UAW control of the company. If that’s so, I wonder what Fiat’s potential 35% stake in the company means. We need to hear more details on this one.
Opel needs to find a new owner within a matter of weeks, says the head of the company’s work council, which represents labor. Bloomberg reports that Klaus Franz, of the work council, says Opel only has a matter of weeks before it runs out of cash. As desperate as he sounds, however, the works council slammed the door in Fiat’s face. They don’t want anything to do with Fiat, and would prefer to see Magna get it instead.
Just a day after GM announced it was cutting 42-percent of its dealer body, the company told the dealers themselves that as many as 1200 underperforming stores will be eliminated. In a “dealer-only” video conference, the Detroit News reports, the company outlined where the cuts will come from. About 525 from Saab, Saturn, Hummer & stand alone Pontiac stores, another 500 or so from consolidating dealerships and finally between four and six-hundred that will voluntarily close. That leaves GM around 1200 short of its announced goal of eliminating 2600 deals.
According to a poll done by R.L. Polk, 55% of US consumers plan to buy a new vehicle within the next two years. Half of those that responded also said they were very or extremely likely to consider buying from Ford, GM, or Chrysler. Who believes this stuff? Half of all consumers are going to buy a new car? What? The market’s going to hit 50 million units next year? You know, people will tell pollsters whatever they think they want to hear.
Holden is considering selling Commodore police cars in the US badged as Chevrolet’s. According to GoAuto, the Australian National Safety Agency has produced a prototype police car based on the Pontiac G8 for the LA police department. GoAuto says this could lead to retail sales of Commodore’s badged as Chevy’s in the US.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
This is “You Said It!” Every day we get dozens of comments and questions from you, our viewers. “You Said It!” gives me a chance to respond.
Our report on legislation to make hybrid cars noisier so blind people can hear them generated quite a bit of internet chatter with you.
Kit Gerhart wrote in to suggest, “How about an angry dog sound for a hybrid at low speed under electric-only power?”
I don’t know Kit, that sounds a little mean, but then again, I always wanted a car horn that sounded like a car locking up the brakes. That would get people’s attention. So I can’t complain too much about a barking dog.
And @Badnikl Twittered in to us with what he thinks would be the perfect sound effect for hybrids to play as they roll down the street.
Anyone remember where that came from? That’s right, from the Jetsons.
And then, going back to all the big news that we’ve been reporting, Todd Jaspers wrote in to say, “It’s like a huge blur… I can’t believe what I’ve been seeing the past 2 weeks… never thought I’d ever see this day.”
Amen, brother. This auto industry is truly going through historic times. Let’s just hope we see a full recovery in the years ahead.
Don’t forget tomorrow night at 7 pm eastern. It’s Autoline After Hours with Jason Vines, Peter De Lorenzo and our special Skype guest Robert Farago from the Truth About Cars. If you don’t know Robert and TTAC, he’s been lobbing grenades at Detroit for years, so like the song said, this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around. This ain’t gonna be no poetry reading. So tune in tomorrow night.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.