July 31st, 2009 at 12:00pm
The Cash for Clunkers program is such an overwhelming success that there’s no more cash for the program. Honda is closing its motorcycle plant in Marysville, Ohio. Warren Buffett turns a billion-dollar profit on Chinese car company BYD. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s installment of Autoline Detroit.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Cash for Clunkers is out of cash. Honda stops building motorcycles in the U.S. And Warren Buffet turns a billion-dollar profit on BYD.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, July 31, 2009. And now, the news.
No doubt you’ve already heard because it’s all over the media this morning. The Cash for Clunkers program in the American market is such an overwhelming success that there’s no more cash for the program. In less than one week the program burned through a billion dollars. They thought it would last until the end of the year. Now there’s a mad scramble going on in Congress to see if they can come up with more money to continue the program.
On Monday we reported that Mark Reuss would be returning from Holden in Australia to play a significant role in product development at General Motors. Little did we realize how significant. Yesterday GM announced that Ruess would become vice president of global engineering, replacing Jim Queen. GM also announced that Chet Huber, who had been running OnStar since its inception will retire. He will be replaced by Walt Dorfstatter who was running engineering operations at OnStar.
They may only be paper profits but they still look pretty impressive. Less than a year ago billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, bought $200 million worth of stock in Chinese car company BYD. Today that stock is worth over $1 billion, a 500-percent return in less than 12 months, Reuters reports. Buffett is attracted to BYD’s plug-in and electric car technology. The company is also the largest in China making rechargeable batteries for cell phones and lap tops.
Yesterday Suzuki took a step towards trying to be known for more than just small cars and motorcycles with the introduction of the mid-size sedan, called the Kizashi. The vehicle was 100 percent developed by Suzuki and shares the name with the concept from last year but sure looks a lot more conventional than the concept. Under the hood is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that’s available with a CVT or six-speed manual. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but look for the Kizashi in showrooms later in the year.
Could Korean-built Samsung cars be coming to the U.S.? Wards reports that members from the Penske Automotive Group visited Renault-Samsung headquarters in Korea (subscription required) recently about importing vehicles to the U.S. Reportedly Penske is interested in the SM3 compact sedan but the entire line-up is under consideration. The cars are based on technology from the Renault-Nissan alliance.
When Honda first started manufacturing in America it began making motorcycles. Now Autoblog reports that Honda is closing its motorcycle plant in Marysville, Ohio. Completed in 1979, the facility is the first one the company opened in the U.S. Since then, more than 1 million Gold Wing motorcycles have been assembled there. Moving forward, just about every Honda bike will be imported from Japan.
Coming up next, a preview of this week’s installment of Autoline Detroit, we’ll be back right after this.
This week on Autoline I’m joined by Dr. David Cole of the Center for Automotive Research, Tom Krisher from the Associated Press, and Ed Lapham of Automotive News. Together we discuss that despite all the unemployment right now, the country faces a shortage of skilled workers.
As always, you can watch the entire episode of Autoline – and a whole lot more – on our website right now.
Alright, 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 identify the car pictured here – it’s an oldie, but a goodie. And the correct answer is . . . the Fiat Topolino, Fiat Topolino. As always, we randomly selected this week’s winner from the pool of correct responses. And the lucky person is . . . Tom Layton of Eagle Point, Oregon. Congratulations Tom, you’ve just won an Eyes on Design Poster.
Anyway, that’ll do it for today’s show and this week’s programming. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you Monday.