Episode 361 – Toyota Can’t Stop Incentives, Kia Spokesman Socked, Whitacre Fires Himself

April 1st, 2010 at 9:00am

Runtime 4:26

Toyota plans to plow through with its incentive plan. A Kia spokesman is unceremoniously socked after compromising videos surface online. Ford reveals plans for an all-new five-seater that will cost billions to produce. All that and more, plus Ed Whitacre announces more management turnover at GM.

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines, Lutz readies for retirement, a Kia spokesman gets socked and a look at Ford’s new five-seater.

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

It’s April 1st, 2010, and I’m Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics filling in for John

And now, here’s all the news that’s fit to embellish…

We’re now just a month away from the formal retirement of General Motors automotive legend Bob Lutz.  Bob’s retirement comes at a seminal moment in the company’s history, as it prepares for the launch of the Chevrolet Volt.  The timing is a bit ironic though, since Lutz began his career the same year that Ben Franklin uncovered the spectacular effects of kites, keys and lightning.

In sales news, Toyota’s aggressive incentive plans have accelerated sales more than 30 percent last month. So after years of trying to put the brakes on cash-based promotions, the company now says it won’t let off the gas until the sales slide has come to a full and complete stop.

Meanwhile, over at Ford, with sales, market share and profits on the rise, Chairman Bill Ford Jr. as well as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and President, Alan Mulally, announced that the company is willing to pay off the loans both General Motors and Chrysler still owe the Federal Government – in full.  Of course, in exchange, the Dearborn automaker would receive seats on both company’s boards as well as on the government’s Automotive Task Force and the National Security Council.  A cabinet position for Ford Executive Mark Fields apparently is also part of the deal.

Let’s turn to advertising where there’s some sad news to report…Kia has dropped Tandy, its popular sock-monkey character from any future Sorento ads after a video surfaced on YouTube revealing the sock rubbing up against a teddy bear in a clothes dryer for just a little too long.  But fans of Tandy need not worry; the word in Hollywood is that he’s considered a shoe-in for the title role in the Michael Bay’s upcoming remake of “Rosmary’s Baby.”

Then there’s this from the rent-a-car-world, as Hertz has officially changed its slogan to “Let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat of any car you want… as long as it’s a Hyundai.”  And beige.

Now from our “field of green” section come these stories:

With the introduction and pricing of its new Leaf electric car, Nissan has boldly predicted that it will be a global leader in electric car production…that is as long as we wait until at least 2015 before we start keeping track.

Also, Mitsubishi Motors announced plans to more than double the annual production of its electric car – the i-MiEV – over the next three years.   In addition, Mitsubishi also plans to triple total U.S. sales over that same period… to somewhere around 18.

And finally, this just in …General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre has fired himself.  In a related story, Whitacre has hired himself back for a reported $10 million consulting fee … and plans to fire himself again if he doesn’t show quick enough results.

That’s it for the top news in the global automotive industry. I’m Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics thanking you for watching this special April Fool’s – edition of Autoline Daily.  I’ll be right back with word on the real edition of today’s Autoline Daily right after this.

Just so you don’t think we’re just sitting Autoline World Headquarters writing jokes all day, there is a “honest to goodness authentic” version of Autoline Daily posting today, with Michelle Krebs from Edmunds.com filling in for John.  You can view that episode at its normal time.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, Car Chat, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

20 Comments to “Episode 361 – Toyota Can’t Stop Incentives, Kia Spokesman Socked, Whitacre Fires Himself”

  1. jim s Says:

    An even better April Fools story would be “GM and Chrysler to merge, forming a new company called Sergio Motors, or SM instead of GM.”

  2. Don MacConnel Says:

    Hilarious! You got me….

  3. cardiva Says:

    Thanks for the laugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We need more humor

  4. Buzzerd Says:

    Great Job Jim, nice to see a fill in host with a personality.

  5. Nick Stevens Says:

    SM motors indeed! And those who buy their PIOS will truly be SM’s (as in Sado-mazochists)

    PS I do not believe they intended to “get” anyone. Not only did they tape the show much earlier than usual, but they did everything but raise 10-foot banners with today’s date.

  6. Nick Stevens Says:


    I thought this was also an April Fools.. Chinese police getting … 530 BMWs? (even if they are allegedly made in beijing?) But the photo was rather convincing.

    Even in germany, police do have BMWs, but they are lowly 3 series wagons.

  7. Susan Says:

    LOVE IT! Glad to see you’ve the gumption to have a great public sense of humor!

  8. Bud Liebler Says:

    Finally we can stop taking ourselves so seriously in Detroit, even if it’s only for a day. Well done!

    Don’t give up on the idea of Whitacre firing himself. He’s just about the only one left he hasn’tfired!

  9. HtG Says:

    Jim, is there any truth to the rumor that 2953 is a very secret code for making Toyotas leap across washed out bridges ala the General Lee?

  10. Nick Stevens Says:

    The fat bald dude plays hard to get and refuses to tell us what this silly “2953″ means, but I bet both he and the wife were born in 1953, hence the 2*953 name. Not that i care much about his insignificant company, but I can’t stand sillin4ess, and refusing to tell us what the name means that HE chose, is downright silly.

    PS Hall looks 10 years older than any guy born in 1953 I know.

  11. Merv Says:

    Nicely done,just what we needed. Enjoy the Easter weekend.

  12. Nick Stevens Says:


    March sales are coming out right now.

    GM is up 34%, but Buick is up 76%, and its excellent NEW Lacrosse, which i praised here many times, is up 200% for the year.

  13. Nick Stevens Says:


    Hyundai is up only 15%, but the Sonata is finally approaching Altima-Camry-Accord Volumes at 18,935. The Elantra had less than half of that, despite being an efficient package. Why?

  14. Nick Stevens Says:

    Below is a list of the top ten cars experiencing the largest increase
    and the largest decrease in consumer contacts to dealers on Cars.com in the
    month of March.

    % Increase in
    Contacts to
    March Movers Dealers
    ———— ————-
    Toyota RAV4 219.26%
    Toyota Highlander 180.86%
    Toyota Corolla 135.68%
    Toyota Camry 122.35%
    Toyota Tundra 93.76%
    Hyundai Sonata 76.92%
    Toyota Sequoia 76.56%
    Toyota Prius 70.52%
    Toyota Tacoma 59.08%
    Toyota Sienna 58.18%

    It is amazing that all 10 are toyotas except for the Sonata. NO Fords, Hondas, or even GMs on the list. Consumers are grasping the opportunity to finally buy a new Toyota at a serious discount!

  15. Nick Stevens Says:


    Ford was up 43% in march! This makes Hyundai’s paltry 15% look terrible, they will lose serious market share if all big 3 (Toyota, GM and Ford) rise 30 and 40+ %!

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Sorry all you Toyota haters here, and this ain’t no April fools’ joke. Even with this phony acceleration story, Americans are not so easily fooled nowadays

  17. Jim Says:

    I knew that Candy the KIA puppet was doing things with that long tail he shouldn’t have been doing

  18. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Nice April Fools Jokes, Jim and John LMAO!!!

    You guys!!!

    Thanks people are kind of uptight this year with the jokes!!!

  19. Julius Lambert Says:

    Remember after WWII the Japanese higharchy stated”You won the war BUT we will BUY YOU”Keep on buying you unpatriotic americans.Your colors are NOT RED WHITE&BLUE,But YELLOW.You buyers need to talk to the VETRANS of WWII.Have you heard of BRAIN WASHING?We made trading partners of the Yellow Race and soon we will be the ZOO,for all of SUCESSFUL to see.I wonder if NIXON and KISSINGER knew what they were doing in 1973,when they snuck into the back door to CHINA?Nixon went out with a BANG alright.He didn’t get impeached for it,just tapes and F’n with the DEMWITs.Wake up America.

  20. Bob Hall Says:

    “PS Hall looks 10 years older than any guy born in 1953 I know.”

    That’s only because you have not seen me.

    Well you sorta have, since I look just like Jim but older and fatter.