December 22nd, 2009 at 12:53pm
Chevy turns to another ad agency for the first time since 1919. Ford is now stuck with the highest labor costs in the industry. All that and more, plus Fiat comes out with the Sedici. Could it also be headed for the U.S. market?
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Chevy takes a bold move in the advertising industry. Ford is stuck with the highest labor costs in the industry. And we’ll give you a look at the latest little hatchback from Fiat.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, December 22, 2009. And now, the news.
There was a minor earthquake in the world of automotive advertising last weekend when Chevrolet awarded some of its 2010 ad business to a company other than longtime agency Campbell-Ewald. General Motors announced that it was giving Publicis the work for Malibu, Equinox & Traverse while Campbell-Ewald will continue working on Silverado as well as the Winter Olympics. My co-host for “Autoline After Hours” Peter De Lorenzo, who spent much of his career in advertising — and working on Chevrolet no less — says this move is huge and signals that it’s going to be a jump ball from here on out for all Chevy advertising except for Truck which Peter believes will stay with the agency. Of course the reason it’s such a big deal in the ad world is because Campbell-Ewald has been working with Chevrolet since 1919.
Reuters reports that Ford is going to offer buyouts to 41,000 hourly employees. Amazingly, even though Ford builds fewer vehicles in the American market than GM, Ford now has more hourly workers. Last month UAW workers at Ford rejected any concessions, so not only does Ford have to highest labor costs in the industry, it also has more workers than it needs.
And speaking of Ford, yesterday we reported that one of Ford’s top designers Pat Schiavone, resigned from the company. And I asked did he really get an offer he couldn’t refuse, or is this a sign of turmoil at Ford design staff? Well, now we know Schiavone left Ford to go to Whirlpool, so I say it is a sign of turmoil. Ask yourself: what successful car designer, with gasoline in his veins, have you ever heard of who would leave the auto industry to go design washing machines?
Speaking of designers, the Peugeot brand just got a new Design Director. He’s Gilles Vidal, 37 years old, who is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design of Vevey in Switzerland. Since early 2009, he has been in charge of concept cars, including the BB1, an electric urban mobility car.
And more people in the news. General Motors has hired Chris Liddell as vice chairman and chief financial officer (subscription required). Liddell had been CFO at Microsoft. GM chairman Ed Whitacre says they also want his insights in corporate strategy, so he’s not just there to count the money. Liddell, 51, is a New Zealander with extensive CEO experience at other companies, which prompts the Wall Street Journal to ponder whether he could also become CEO of GM. GM will pay him a $700,000 cash salary plus $3 million in restricted stock, and it was all approved by the Obama Administration’s pay czar.
GM is in talks to increase its stake in its Chinese venture with SAIC and Wuling. According to Bloomberg, the company wants an additional 10% stake in the alliance to bump its holdings up to 44%. GM would purchase the shares only from Wuling and SAIC would keep its current amount. 3 out of every 5 cars GM sells in China is made by Wuling.
In other GM news, Isuzu may pull out of a joint venture with the company that builds diesel engines. According to Bloomberg, Isuzu wants to review its partnership because the Ohio plant is only running at 30% capacity, the plant builds the 6.6l V-8 Duramax diesel. Isuzu may also pull out of another joint venture with GM in Poland that builds diesels too. This news comes on the heels of Suzuki pulling out of its venture with GM in Canada.
Coming up next, a look at Fiat’s new small hatchback, the Sedici. We’ll be back right after this.
Even though it’s going to be a few years before we see Fiats in the U.S., it’s important to know what the company is coming out with in Europe. And Fiat’s newest small hatchback is the Sedici.
The vehicle is a little bit smaller than a Pontiac Vibe and a Mazda3, and also weighs less than both.
It comes with two engines. A 1.6L four-cylinder gas engine and a 2.0L turbo diesel which can be mated to a four speed automatic or 5 and 6 speed manual transmissions. The vehicle is available with four-wheel drive which includes three driving modes the driver can choose from with the push of a button. The first mode is normal 4×2 driving that only powers the front wheels. The next is AUTO mode which distributes torque to the rear wheels automatically when sensors detect low grip but power is transmitted to the front the majority of the time. And LOCK mode distributes torque evenly between the front and rear for speeds up to 60 km/h or 37 MPH.
Fuel economy for the 4×2 gas engine version gets a combined 6.2 l/100km or 38 MPG and the 4×4 version gets 6.5 l/100km or 36MPG. The 4×2 diesel gets a combined 5.1 l/100km or 46 MPG and the 4×4 version gets 4.6l/100km or 51 MPG.
The Sedici comes standard with the typical convenient and safety features you would expect and can be upgraded to include features like a 3D Nav system, a DVD player and electronic stability control.
Base price for the gas powered version of the Sedici is just over 18,000 euro or just under $28,000. And a four-wheel drive diesel starts just over 23,000 euro or $35,000.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.