August 17th, 2009 at 12:00pm
The American auto industry faces a steel shortage that could hurt automakers just as they plan to boost production. Volkswagen threatened to stop doing business with Magna if it becomes a part owner of Opel. Bentley unveils its new flagship sedan. All that and more, plus some more of Jim Hall predictions on what will be the classic cars of the future.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Automakers face a steel shortage in the American market. VW threatens to drop Magna as a supplier. And Bentley unveils its new flagship sedan.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, August 17, 2009. And now, the news.
Autoline Daily has learned that the American auto industry faces a steel shortage that could hurt automakers just as they plan to boost production. When automakers began cutting production late last year steel demand plummeted and many steel mills slowly closed down, and now there’s a shortage. It can take an integrated steel mill several months just to fire up its furnaces. One buyer tells us, “There just isn’t any steel out there.” I’m sure we’ll hear more about this story in the weeks to come.
Reuters reports that Toyota will close down the NUMMI plant in California next March. Citing reports in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Toyota will move production of the Tacoma pickup to its Tundra plant in San Antonio, Texas, which has been crippled by the sales collapse of full size pickups. Toyota will move production of the Corolla to its plant in Ontario, Canada. You know, the media in Japan are different from over here. If the Asahi Shimbun suggests Toyota is going to do something, it’s not rumor or speculation. You can take it to the bank.
More drama over the sale of Opel in Germany. According to Reuters, Volkswagen threatened to stop doing business with Magna, one of its parts suppliers, if the Canadian company becomes a part owner of Opel. Suppliers always get to see the future plans of automakers, and VW is afraid Magna might slip its future plans to Opel. This did not sit well with the head of the Opel’s union which called the threat blackmail.
A report in Sweden says that Volvo’s engineers have made a bid to purchase the company from Ford. According to the AFP, the engineers want to prevent Volvo from being sold to Chinese automaker Geely which has been rumored as the primary buyer. The $2 billion dollar bid is backed by the head of the Volvo Group, Leif Johanssen. Volvo Cars employees have also been asked to join the consortium with a stake equivalent to two months’ pay.
More news about automotive bankruptcy, this time from Russia. Ward’s reports that carmaker OAO IzhAvto has filed for bankruptcy because it can’t repay its debts (subscription required). The company builds some older Kia models as well as the Lada 2104, a rear-wheel-drive station wagon that looks like it’s right out of the Brezhnev era. In other Russian news, Chinese automaker Chery is accusing OOO Russlegavto of illegally building its Tiggo (subscription required) sport utility vehicles. They’re supposed to be building them, but Chery is accusing them of selling extra ones on the side.
Yesterday Bentley revealed its brand-new flagship, the Mulsanne, at the Pebble Beach Concours in Monterey, California. The new model is set to replace the Arnage, which is a pretty cool car, but can trace its roots back to the 1950′s. Right now not much is known about the Mulsanne other than it’s all-new and should go on sale around the middle of next year. We’ll have to wait for more details which the company should release at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
Coming up next, some more of Jim Hall’s predictions on what will be the classic cars of the future, we’ll be back right after this.
Last week Jim Hall gave his thoughts as to what cars we’d be seeing 30 years from now on the Pebble Beach Concours. Today, his thoughts on what we’ll see at the 2039 Woodward Dream Cruise.
Big concepts for a couple of car events that started, in the case of Pebble Beach, as a support event for a local road race around the Del Monte forest and with the Woodward Dream Cruise as a fundraiser for a soccer field in Ferndale, Michigan.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.