May 20th, 2009 at 12:18pm
General Motors is running into problems negotiating new contracts with the UAW and CAW. 300 Chrysler dealers are forming a committee to fight the termination of their franchise agreements. Roger Penske hired former Chrysler president Tom LaSorda as an adviser in his bid to acquire Saturn. 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. GM runs into union problems. Chrysler dealers will fight the company in court. And Roger Penske hires Tom LaSorda.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, May 20, 2009. And now, the news.
The Detroit Free Press reports that General Motors is running into problems negotiating new contracts with the UAW and CAW. It quotes a flyer the CAW sent to members saying the next few days will be “worrisome and frightening.” GM wanted these deals finalized by next Tuesday but now it looks like that will not happen, all of which makes a bankruptcy filing all the more likely.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that 300 Chrysler dealers are forming a committee to fight the termination of their franchise agreements. Calling itself the “Committee of Chrysler Affected Dealers,” they’re asking the court to delay hearings. They want more time to prepare their defense. And it is actions like this that lead bankruptcy experts to say this will not be accomplished in a month or two.
Proposals for a partnership with Opel are due to the German government today, although GM will have final say on whom Opel teams up with. And according to Reuters, if Opel goes to Fiat, it may dump its Lancia brand, which only sold 100,000 units last year, about the same as Saab.
Roger Penske hired former Chrysler president Tom LaSorda as an adviser in his bid to acquire Saturn. According to WWJ, LaSorda will offer his manufacturing experience to help Saturn find a new source for products. Penske also is reportedly looking at two of the Detroit area’s biggest auto dealers, Joe Serra and David Fisher, to help with distribution.
German giant Daimler has taken a 10-percent stake in Tesla. This move is designed to accelerate the development of commercial electric vehicles by relying on both companies’ strengths, however, this is not the beginning of their relationship. The two companies have been working together on installing Tesla’s lithium-ion battery pack in 1,000 smart cars. Production of the electric smart ForTwo begins later this year with the vehicles being used in electric vehicle pilot programs like e-mobility Berlin.
As we’ve reported, Jolly-old-England recently instituted a cash-for-clunkers program to get drivers to scrap their old, inefficient vehicles for newer and cleaner models. That’s an honorable goal, but Autotrader UK reports that two motorists in the Kingdom used the provision to purchase Nissan GT-R’s. They bought the supercars within five hours of the start of the program.
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.
Alex Kovnat wrote in to ask, “Will the cars available in the future be such overburdened, weak and weedy things (owing to the double-whammy of increasingly stringent safety combined with draconian fuel economy requirements) that we will be limited to travel at no more than 45 miles per hour?
Alex, no, not 45 miles an hour. Our cars are going to look a lot like they are in Europe, small cars, small engines.
And along those lines, George wrote in to comment on the new fuel economy regulations, “The government is saying the new fuel/emissions standards will add $1,300, but all the current hybrids cost $3000 plus more than non-hybrid versions and to get the substantial weight reduction will require expensive materials. I do not disagree with the need for higher mileage and better emissions, I just wish the government would tell us the truth (what it really means to the consumer) instead of sugar-coating these announcements.
And Tony Gray says, “Agree with you John, a two door G8, rebadged as a Chevelle SS, would be a wonderful addition, and I don’t think it would kill Camaro sales, but I suppose that is what Chevy is worried about. I’d dump the aging Impala and bring over the G8, but then, I’m not a GM exec!
Hey, don’t forget to checkout Autoline After Hours. The show kicks-off tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time or 23:00 GMT. Besides Peter and Jason, we’ll be joined by one of the best motorsport journalists in the business, Robin Miller, talking about this Sunday’s Indy 500. And Sam Abuelsamid from Autoblog will be along to talk about driving the Chevy Volt. Also, we’ll be taking your questions and comments in another dazzling edition of “Rapid-Fire.” To let your voice be heard, shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com, and put “AAH Question” in the subject line so we can find it in the inbox easier.
Anyway, that’s it for today’s edition of Autoline Daily, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.