Episode 1 – Chrysler Seeks Suitors, ACEA Sees EU Downturn, Honda Cuts Pilot Production

October 14th, 2008 at 11:44am

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Chrysler is shopping itself to other car companies as the economic downturn persists.  ACEA says the European car market is expected to take it on the chin.  Honda cuts production of the brand-new Pilot crossover vehicle.  All that and more, plus, we get to know Mercedes’ new Chief of Global Design.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines.  The European car market is expected to take it on the chin, Chrysler is shopping itself to other car companies and Honda is cutting production of its brand-new Pilot.

This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, October 14, 2008.  And now, the news.

ACEA, The European Automobile Manufacturers Association, says the global economic slowdown is going to hit European automakers hard. It says this will make it especially difficult for its members to meet the European Union’s aggressive goals to cut CO2 emissions from cars. ACEA points out that the auto industry directly employs 2.3 million people and supports 10 million families and it’s asking the European Union to provide direct financial support to the auto industry.

The Detroit Free Press reports today that Chrysler has been in contact with other automakers, besides GM, as it seeks out potential buyers. Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli says they’ve talked with Nissan-Renault, an unnamed Chinese company, as well as Fiat. Obviously, Chrysler would make a good fit for a large automaker that does not have any presence in the North American market.

Speaking of Chrysler it’s been on a tear lately, suing suppliers that it says violated contracts, including Accenture, Carson Travel, and Getrag. For its part, German transmission maker Getrag says it was stunned to learn of the lawsuit. It’s all about an argument over the financing of a new transmission plant Getrag is building for Chrysler. Chrysler suppliers have been up in arms against the policies of the company’s new purchasing chief, John Campi.

Autoblog is reporting that PSA, Peugeot and Citroen, is developing a low-cost car to compete with the Logan, pictured here, that is made by Renault and only costs about $7,000. PSA will make a 5-passenger, low-cost car that will be assembled in Turkey or Poland and will be sold in many places in the world, but not in Western Europe. Low-cost cars really seem to be catching on in developing markets.

Well, the economic slump is not just affecting sales of light vehicles. Daimler is going to lay off 3,500 workers at its big truck operations in the U.S. and Canada. Both Freightliner and Western Star will close plants in Ontario and Oregon and move that production to Mexico. Earlier this year Daimler announced that it will shut down the Sterling truck brand, an operation it bought from Ford about a decade ago.

Even though Honda just came out with a completely redesigned version of the Pilot, the company is making a significant 32 percent production cut of its largest SUV at its plant in Alabama. But thanks to its flexible plants, the company will fill up that gap with V-6 Accords. It also makes the Ridgeline pickup truck at the Alabama plant.

That wraps up today’s top news stories; we’ll be back in a moment to introduce you to the executive who’s just been appointed to head up design for Mercedes-Benz.

Manufacturers give many of their models a fresh face each year.  But it’s rare when that fresh face belongs to the person in charge.  Here’s what I mean.

Ahh.  To be young, and not only be driving a Mercedes-Benz, but actually the new Chief of its Global Design…  Now that’s living.

Welcome to the world of Gorden Wagener – an 11-year Mercedes veteran who was recently put in charge of designing what many consider the world’s leading luxury brand.

Wagener, at 40, may be the second youngest to ever hold this position, but the heritage of these prestigious products that he’s responsible for is not lost on him.

And the first special car under Wagener’s leadership was unveiled in Paris recently.  It’s called the Concept/FASCINATION that Mercedes is labeling “the world’s most desirable coupe.”  We’ll see just how desirable it ends up being.

Gorden Wagener will be based out of Stuttgart, but he will no doubt spend time at Mercedes’ other design studios throughout the world, including Tokyo, Como, Italy and Carlsbad, California.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry, but don’t forget you can get podcasts, transcripts and a whole lot more on our website, AutolineDaily.TV.  Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

16 Comments to “Episode 1 – Chrysler Seeks Suitors, ACEA Sees EU Downturn, Honda Cuts Pilot Production”

  1. Ron Paris Says:

    Good job John! I trust you’ll be emailing a reminder each day with a direct link to the web site. Looking forward to these daily updates.

  2. Victor Aleman Says:

    Excellent piece John!! Congratulations, I look forward for Detroit´s and the auto industry latest news on this format!!

  3. Bill Bennett Says:

    John -

    Awesome idea embracing online video more fully as you are doing. Nice look on the new graphics package, too!

    The daily changes in the industry make this all the more important of late, and no easy task to do the video so routinely. Ambitious.

    Refreshing for the industry – if only the news could be as cool as your production is!

    Great success with it!

  4. Robert Lincoln Says:

    I think this will help me make my decision on what car i want next fall. I like the looks of the Jeep Liberty but they get such bad press i am afraid i might pass. Also chryslers future is a concern.

  5. Bob Koval Says:

    Nice job, John. I still look forward to the regular shows but this is great for the current developements. Now if you could only predict a positive outlook for Delphi!

  6. Tony Gray Says:

    Spectacular. And I love the way the globe is spinning the correct way. About 20 years ago, NBC news had it going the WRONG direction for a day or two when they introduced some new graphics.

    I now await my daily fix!

  7. Frank Fileccia Says:

    Great content, more information than the news media would provide. I will be looking forward to this format every day along with your weekly show. Keep up the good work!

  8. Ian Beavis Says:


    A really good first episode. I look forward to my daily fix of Autoline

  9. JERRY HODGE Says:


  10. richard eaton Says:

    first of all, what happened to your show. I used to be up by 5:00am to watch it. I guess damilar used up the money and left chrysler holding the bag. I hear they are in merger talks with GM. I hate for chrysler to lose their identity with the many great innovations they’ve come up with over the past 70 years. richard eaton, searcy,arkansas

  11. Peter Arata Says:

    thanks for the daily report. I’ve really missed your programs since they disappeared from Speed.

  12. William Wood Says:

    Congratulations! Wonder why somebody didn’t think of this long ago? No matter. Thank you for your effort.

  13. Salvador G. Says:

    I think its great, good job John and to all your team.

    Thank You.

    Ps: and please do a news show as to what exactly is the plan for the future president rewarding the big three, I say this because the major news networks since to only remember Michigan has electoral votes and often forgets the loyal costumers of the “Big 3″ and the other foreign companies across the USA.

  14. Gary N. Goldstein Says:

    Greetings, John !

    What a wonderful feature.
    I’m looking forward to the daily updates.

    Gary N.Goldstein
    The French Car Club of Atlanta

  15. Scott Vallie Says:


    This is an excellent idea, miss your show keep up the good work

  16. John W Pick Says:

    Autoline Daily, it’s SUPER. Keep up the good work. An avid listener … John Pick in Ohio