July 24th, 2009 at 12:00pm
Toyota is suggesting it will probably pull out of NUMMI. General Motors announced a slew of top management retirements yesterday. Automakers have come out against the EPA’s proposal to increase the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline, all about the new Ford Taurus.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. NUMMI could be on its last legs. GM announces a slew of top management retirements. And automakers oppose E-15.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, July 24, 2009. And now, the news.
Toyota is suggesting it will probably pull out of NUMMI, the Detroit Free Press reports. General Motors already announced it will pull out of the joint venture. But it’s unclear if that means Toyota will close the California assembly plant. I see two things here. This could be a bargaining tactic to get concessions out of the UAW, which represents workers at the plant. Or, by pulling out of NUMMI, which is a separate company from Toyota, the Japanese automaker can continue to claim that it does not close plants or lay off workers.
GM announced a slew of top management retirements yesterday. They include Gary Cowger who ran Manufacturing, Ralph Szygenda, the Chief Information Officer, Troy Clarke, who ran North American Operations, Maureen Kempston-Darkes who ran Latin American Operations, and Michael Grimaldi, who ran Daewoo Automotive Technologies in South Korea. They will all retire by October 1st or the end of the year.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, or AAM, has come out against the EPA’s proposal to increase the ethanol blend in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. According to Reuters, automakers are concerned that not enough testing has been done to make sure there would be no adverse affects from the increase. However Growth Energy, an alliance of ethanol producers, says multiple studies have been conducted that show there are no adverse affects to increasing the blend. The EPA has until December 1 to make a decision. By the way, the members in AAM are BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota, and VW.
Recently we reported that it looks likely that Chinese automaker Geely will acquire Volvo, and according to Gasgoo.com, this has upset the union that represents Volvo’s engineers. The union is concerned that jobs in Sweden could be cut if production is moved to China and that suppliers won’t work with the company because of Geely’s reputation for plagiarism. The union also posed this question, “How could you expect a less-experienced Chinese owner to turn Volvo around if even Ford failed to do so?”
Autoblog reports that BMW is offering a $4,500 incentive on diesel-powered versions of the X5 and 3 Series. Of course BMW has been offering diesels in a package that costs about five-grand, so all it’s really doing is reducing the premium it charges for diesels. Mercedes and VW charge about $1,500 for their diesels.
The Auto Channel reports that Nissan is developing a new safety feature called Navigation-Cooperative Intelligent Pedal. The technology uses GPS data to track where a vehicle is traveling. If the car approaches a curve in the road too fast, the system can lift off the accelerator and then apply the brakes to slow the vehicle down to a safe speed. The technology should launch this fall in Japan on the new Fuga.
Coming up next, a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline, which is all about the new Ford Taurus.
This week on Autoline we take an in-depth look at the redesigned 2010 Ford Taurus. I’m joined in the studio by three guys that played huge parts in the car’s development. Earl Lucas is responsible for exterior styling, Lon Zaback designed the interior, and Mike Crowley is in charge of marketing. In the following clip we talk about some of the subtle – and not so subtle differences between the regular Taurus and the high-performance SHO.
As always, you can watch the entire episode of Autoline – and a whole lot more – right now on our website.
Ok, it’s Friday, and you know what that means . . . it’s time to announce the winner of this week’s trivia contest! We challenged you to tell us what the letters in FIAT stand for. And the correct answer is. . . Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino. As always, we randomly selected this week’s winner from the pool of correct responses. And the lucky person is . . . Diane Malone of Bartlett, Illinois. Congratulations Diane, you’ve just won an Acura Motorsports baseball hat.
Anyway, that’s it for today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.