October 14th, 2008 at 11:44am
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.