Episode 173 – Orion Plant Gets Spark, VW Wants Part of Suzuki, CARB Mandates Cool Glass

June 26th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:58

GM picked its Orion Township assembly plant as the place to build its new small car. Volkswagen is considering taking a small stake in Suzuki. California adopts a regulation requiring new cars to have glass that reflects the sun. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline Detroit about GM and Chrysler’s recent dealership closings and where the U.S. market is headed.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. GM picks a U.S. plant for a car that was supposed to be built in China. VW is buying part of Suzuki. And California is mandating reflective glass in cars.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, June 26, 2009. And now, the news.

The Detroit News reports GM picked its Orion Township assembly plant as the place to build its new small car. The UAW had objected to GM importing those cars from China, so the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Tennessee were in a three-way fight to have that car, presumably a Chevrolet Spark, built at a plant in their state. GM picked the Orion plant in Michigan. Now, I’m not going to say this is why they picked that plant, but GM CEO Fritz Henderson went to Lake Orion High School, which is just a couple of miles from the plant.

But all that may go for naught if GM is not allowed to quickly take its good assets out of bankruptcy. GM says if it doesn’t happen soon it will force many of its suppliers to go out of business. GM has stopped production at most of its plants to reduce inventory, but Reuters reports it wants to restart most of those plants by July 13th. Two of GM’s smaller unions, the International Union of Electrical Workers, and the United Steelworkers and several states have objected to the sale of assets of the so-called “old GM.”

And hot on the heels of that development, Chrysler is suing its supplier TRW for not shipping parts. Chrysler says it cannot resume production until it gets those parts. Bloomberg reports that when it called TRW for comment, the company wasn’t even aware of the lawsuit, but claims that Chrysler owes it more money than what Chrysler says it does.

Yesterday, CARB adopted a regulation requiring that by 2012 new cars sold in California must have glass that reflects or absorbs rays from the sun. The idea is that this will keep vehicles cooler and drivers will have to use the air conditioning less often, which saves fuel and cuts CO2 emissions. Vehicles that comply with the standard will block about 33 percent more of the sun’s rays than vehicles that don’t. They say interiors can stay up to 14 degrees cooler.

Earlier in the week, Akio Toyoda was officially named the new president of Toyota and hasn’t wasted anytime making his mark. According to Reuters, the new boss says he doesn’t see the industry recovering for two years and because of that will take a 30 percent pay cut to help save costs. And Akio has already reshaped the company’s North American operations to help give management more autonomy. According to the Detroit News, a former sales chief for Toyota, Yoshimi Inaba will take over as president of North America and also takes over as chairman of Toyota Motor Sales. Inaba will report to Atsushi Niimi, who will oversee all of North America’s operations. Toyota is making similar changes in all regions of the globe.

A very interesting report here. Volkswagen is considering taking a small stake in Suzuki, a company that GM used to have a stake in. According to Reuters, VW would like to take a 10 percent stake in Suzuki so it can have access to its micro cars. The cars would be a segment below VW’s upcoming vehicle based on the Up! concept.

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

Joining me on this week’s edition of Autoline are Michelle Krebs from Edmunds.com, Daniel Howes of the Detroit News and Sean McAlinden from the Center for Automotive Research. In the following preview we talk about GM and Chrysler’s recent dealership closings and where we think the U.S. market is headed in the future.

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

Anyway, that does it for today’s show, except I have to announce the winner of this week’s trivia contest. We challenged you to tell us what recently named auto executive said “I don’t know anything about cars, a business is a business, and I think I can learn about cars.” And the correct answer is, Edward E. Whitacre, Jr., the new Chairman of General Motors. And the lucky winner this week is … Jonathan Whorf, of Atkinson, New Hampshire. Congratulations Jon, you’ve just won a super-cool David Kimble drawing of a 6.6L GM Duramax diesel engine.

And, that’s it for today’s broadcast. But if you like what you just saw, make sure you swing by our website and check out some of our other content. We have a wide array of stuff ranging from Autoline, our weekly half-hour discussion program to John’s Journal, a place where you can get all kinds of other news, reviews and analysis. Definitely check it out. Anyway, thanks for watching, we’ll see you on Monday, same time, same place.

16 Comments to “Episode 173 – Orion Plant Gets Spark, VW Wants Part of Suzuki, CARB Mandates Cool Glass”

  1. Episode 173 – Orion Plant Gets Spark, VW Wants Part of Suzuki, CARB Mandates Cool Glass Says:

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

  2. Dan Clemons Says:

    Production costs are going to have to be brought in line if American car companies are to compete with an ever growing number of automobile companies. I agree that market share for American companies will continue to drop. Less is the new more as CEO’s say.

  3. cz14xpe Says:

    If VW wants to take a little of Suzuki, is just to know the Suzuki plan’s with Fiat, Opel & GM !

    Nice point of vue to know what the challengers does !

  4. Episode 173 - Orion Plant Gets Spark, VW Wants Part of Suzuki, CARB Mandates Cool Glass « Suzuki Says:

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  5. Dan Clemons Says:

    I was really disappointed in Peter De Lorenzo’s comments on the Toyota Prius in yesterday’s After Hours show. I own one and it is without a doubt the best-built family sedan I have ever driven. Peter, have you driven the 2010 Toyota Prius? Name a car made in America in which 95% of their owners said they would buy another one. It is rates highest in customer satisfaction.

  6. pedro Fernandez Says:

    I believe Mr Delorenzo dislikes big car companies that are on top, he rammed GM till they almost died, and now he ‘s turning on Toyota, just like most automotive media types, they call them appliances, boring, your grandma’s car, ect. But the truth is that consumers are wiser than years ago when they would buy whatever the car mags told them to buy.

  7. Salvador G. Says:

    John McElroy, for those new regulations in California… Can I recommend Ray-Ban or maybe Transitions Glass?? like in those Tv commercials.

  8. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Pretty soon, Cali. equipped cars are gonna be so expensive, only the well heeled folks will be able to buy cars there. Holy crap! I just hope the rest of the country doesn’t pick up the same laws.

  9. motorman Says:

    i would think calif. would be better off if they go rid of all the illegals as that would cut down on the CO2 emissions

  10. Bill Says:

    The good asset/bad asset problem must be taking its toll..I was scheduled to return to work on July 13, but received notice yesterday to return on July 20. Maybe I’ll get the whole summer off!!!

  11. Hugo90 Says:

    Hardly anyone in America reads the car magazines, and the car advice from major media is drivel. Car buyers are uninformed and will rarely make the best choice for them. What people will buy in the future will depend on impressions, whether useful or not, true or not. I’m looking forward to see what poor choices buyers make; it’s my hobby.

  12. usedcar5.com | best used cars deal » Blog Archive » Episode 173 - Orion Plant Gets Spark, VW Wants Part of Suzuki … Says:

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  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    What do you consider “poor choices”?

  14. Richard Tait Says:

    Isn’t California tired of creating crappy laws? Now that’s a state, along with the set in the upper north east, that I term bullsh*t states. Making laws that solve nothing and only serve to push the price of cars WORLDWIDE upstream. The cost of tooling associated with these things have to be recovered.

  15. John Says:

    John McElroy,

    Great discussion this week on Autoline Detroit “They Are Legend” (#1322) about the survival of Chrysler, GM, and the suppliers.

    You are all right, the Macro Economic condition of the U.S. economy will dictate the final result.

    The 20 plus year old problem of globalization that has created the “structural change” to our economy and destroyed a large portion of our manufacturing, by the name of “Jobless Recovery”,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobless_recovery ,

    combined with “Cap and Trade” legislation,

    http://blog.heritage.org/2009/06/25/waxman-markey-cap-and-trades-biggest-losers-transportation/ ,

    will have a scorched earth effect on the entire economy including the auto industry.

  16. Edward Lipman Says:

    To paraphrase an old comic strip: Pogo
    ” We have met the enemy and he is us ”
    Now we have a pres of GM Mr Whitacre who says he does not know the car business. Whaaaa?
    Granted a business is in existence to make money , BUT doesn’t the product have to be something the public will buy
    Woe is us !