April 1st, 2010 at 9:00am
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.
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.