Episode 168 – Geely Buys Volvo?, UAW Picks GM Board Member, Prius Red Hot In Japan

June 19th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 5:27

Reports out of China say that Geely has reached an agreement to buy Volvo from Ford. The UAW announced who it wants on the General Motors Board of Directors. Toyota received 180,000 orders of the new Prius in Japan last month. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline, all about the new product that’s launched so far this year.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Geely may be the new owner of Volvo. The UAW picks who it wants on the GM board. And Japanese consumers go ga-ga over the Toyota Prius.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, June 19, 2009. And now, the news.

Reports out of China say that Geely has reached an agreement to buy Volvo from Ford, Autoblog reports. Other reports say that Geely will move a Volvo production line to Donguon, China and will build the XC90. Ford has made no official announcement about the sale, but Chinese media, and only Chinese media, are reporting that the deal was signed.

The UAW announced yesterday that Steve Girsky was named to the board of directors of General Motors. Girsky is the appointee of the VEBA trust fund. That’s the retiree health care fund that now owns 17.5 percent of GM, with warrants that could allow it to buy more. Steve Girsky is a well known Wall Street analyst who worked for Morgan Stanley, who has also been an advisor to both GM and the UAW.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street journal reports that GM hopes to speed through its bankruptcy and emerge from chapter 11 by mid-July (subscription required). GM still faces potential challenges from dealers and bond holders, but it’s hoping it can come out of bankruptcy sooner than expected.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation rolled-out a new proposal for more consumer-friendly tire labels. Specifically, the new tags would show consumers a tire’s wet-weather traction and its tread-wear rating. But the big news about the proposed plan is that for the first-time ever it indicates a tire’s rolling resistance, a key factor in fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

Toyota received 180,000 orders of the new Prius in Japan last month. According to the AP, this surpasses the company’s target of 10,000 vehicles in monthly sales. Prius was the number one selling vehicle in Japan in May, taking the spot away from the Honda Insight. Sales have been helped by tax credits for purchasing a hybrid and Japan’s cash for clunkers program.

And speaking of the Japanese market, last week Mazda introduced the all-new Axela there, better known here as the Mazda3. The updated exterior is highlighted by that smiley face front end. The Axela offers three different gas engines, including a turbo. And they are equipped with either a manual, automatic, or CVT depending on the engine. It also offers a stop/start feature that shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. Pricing for the Axela starts at 1.6 million yen or around $17,000, and runs up to about $28,000.

Coming up next, a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline, we’ll be back right after this.

This week’s episode of Autoline is all about product. Joining me on my panel is Stephanie Brinley from Autopacific, Eddie Alterman of Car and Driver and Frank Markus of Motor Trend. Together we talk all about the new product that’s launched so far this year. In the following clip we focus on one of the new styling trends that seems to be sweeping the industry.

As always, you can watch the entire episode of Autoline, and a whole lot more, on our website later today.

Well, that does it for today’s show, except I have to announce the winner of this week’s trivia contest. We challenged you to identify the car pictured here. And as most of you correctly responded, it’s a BMW Isetta. And the lucky winner is … Steve Fogel of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Congratulations Steve, you’ve just won a Michelin tote bag.

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

15 Comments to “Episode 168 – Geely Buys Volvo?, UAW Picks GM Board Member, Prius Red Hot In Japan”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    Wow. Lumping in that Mazda 3 front end with the lovely visage of my beloved BMW is like comparing the Joker’s smirk with Catwoman’s smile!

    I can buy off on the Audi nose being controversial, but Bimmer’s twin kidneys are classic and timeless, even if they have gained in width over the years. (But then, haven’t we all?)

  2. Episode 168 – Geely Buys Volvo?, UAW Picks GM Board Member, Prius Red Hot In Japan Says:

    [...] Original post by John’s Journal [...]

  3. pedro Fernandez Says:

    I wonder if a Chinese-owned Volvo will still be known for safety, since Chinese car makers can’t seem to get that right. Please rename that Mazda “The Joker on crack”

  4. paulstewart Says:

    pedro Fernandez your 100 % correct !

  5. David B. Fishburn Says:

    Mac, like the “casual Friday” style better than the stuffed businessman look. That Mazda 3 front end is just plain ugly! IF Geely did buy Volvo, we can all say good-bye to a good car, the chinese will destroy the engineering to cut costs. As far as the Audi nose is concerned, it looks fat. The BMW Isetta reminded me of that show, “Family Matters”, Urkel drove one.

  6. Episode 168 - Geely Buys Volvo?, UAW Picks GM Board Member, Prius Red Hot In Japan « Honda Says:

    [...] Continued here: Episode 168 – Geely Buys Volvo?, UAW Picks GM Board Member, Prius Red Hot In Japan [...]

  7. Jim Terruso Says:

    Again a great After Hours show last night.
    Listening to Mark LaNeve, I get the sense that
    the GM board room meetings must be a state of
    mass confusion. Mark seemed a bit uneasy talking
    about GM going forward.

  8. Alex Kajdi Says:

    The Chinese Auto Manufacturers really like gas guzzliers like Hummer and Safety oriented brands like Volvo. It seems to me that Chinese taste in vehicles is five years behind what were status / fashionable vehicles ownered by Americans. The other answer is that they want to build a armored combat personnel carrier which provides the greatest survival rates for they soldiers in combat situations. Their plan is to one day conquer the world?

    The Mazda smiley face grill is really bad.
    That front end design was Franz von Holzhausen’s final parting gift to Mazda.
    He really left Mazda in a hurry to join Tesla.

    Why doesn’t Mazda revist the Rotary Engine as a electric generatoring power plant for an EV. I bet the application of a Rotary Engine as a range extender in an EV would be perfect.

  9. Salvador G. Says:

    Ok People stop bashing on the Mazda 3, their not the ones going bankrupt last time I check; and from the 3 to the 6 and RX8, Mazda has come up with some beautiful designs, I’m Zoom Zoom all the way… GO and buy your cars from Mexico already – So Suck It America.

  10. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Instead of an air bag the new Volvo will shoot out a fortune cookie in the event of an accident that reads: “You’re shit out luck, pal”

  11. David B. Fishburn Says:

    Hey Pedro, i like that one, that was worth a good laugh! Salvador, i was not saying that i wanted to buy my car from Mexico, i was just commenting on the design. I’m sure that everyone else feels the same way. Not everybody likes all aspects of designs, good or bad. Alex, Mazda probably did consider using the rotary. I think that maybe the reason that they did not go with it is the design problem with the seals. They’ve gotten better in recent years, but still have the problem of wearing out the seals and the wall that the seals ride on, by 100,000 miles.I think that it would be a good idea, though, considering it’s small, light, and has plenty of power.

  12. Salvador G. Says:

    D.Fishburn, You guys are burning on one of my favorite brands, So whats wrong with the smile face, I like it and their selling… SO whose really wrong in the end??

  13. David B. Fishburn Says:

    Sal, nobody’s wrong, we each have our opinions and views. I like the body, but not the front end. I was not hacking on Mazda, but do understand about your feeling that everybody is hacking on them. Gotta remember, not everybody likes everything, and you will see some negative comments. Just let it go, can’t control what others think. Just enjoy the diversity that makes life interesting.

  14. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Salvador, don’t feel bad about the Mazda, my favorite car the Corolla suffers from the same bad design in the fron end, maybe it has to do with the pedestrian-safe design that some governments are making the automakers do. The 3 is one of the most desirable, better performing small cars in the world

  15. Salvador G. Says:

    Hey, I don’t feel bad about the Mazda… Maybe my tone wasn’t the best or maybe I’m the youngest guy here and I love Mazda’s, but you guys really laying it down like the law of the land.
    Said that, I’m not a car design expert and probably neither are most of you and I honestly don’t see whats wrong with the smiley face, THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE AND JUDGE ABOUT THE CAR YOU LIKE TO BUY IS ITS DESIGN and then you probably go on about the engine reliability, fuel mileage, extras and such and then you go back to the look of the car, AND YOU GUYS KNOW IT.
    And if you guys wanna talk about bad designs, then you guys should talk the Chrysler wheelchair PUMA and the people who likes them.