June 19th, 2009 at 12:00pm
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.