October 16th, 2008 at 12:00pm
General Motors and Cerberus declare war against each other and GMAC is caught in the middle. Tesla is closing its Detroit engineering center that opened less than two years ago. And the blogoshpere is buzzing as photos of the new Prius leak out. All that and more, plus, Mattel celebrates Hot Wheels’ 40th anniversary.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. General Motors and Cerberus declare war-against each other. Tesla is closing its engineering center. And the blogoshpere is buzzing about the new Prius.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, October 16, 2008. And now the news.
In a stunning development, General Motors is incentivizing its dealers who not do business with GMAC. Automotive News reports that GM will pay its dealers $250 for every transaction they handle that is not financed with GMAC. Remember, General Motors owns half of GMAC. It’s like they’re paying their dealers to avoid using part of their own business. This follows moves we reported yesterday where GMAC announced it will only accept loans with customers who have very high credit scores of 700 or higher. That’s a much higher level than most GM customers can reach. GMAC is controlled by Cerberus, and it sure looks like GM and Cerberus are working against each other’s interests.
In other news at General Motors, the company is moving the executive in charge of Cadillac and putting him in charge of HUMMER. Jim Taylor will get the title of CEO of the Hummer brand, but as we all know that brand is up for sale, which puts into question Jim Taylor’s future at the automaker. Strangely, GM did not announce a replacement for Taylor at Cadillac, suggesting that this was an unexpected development.
Tesla is running short on cash and is going to close the engineering center that it opened in the Detroit area less than two years ago. The engineering center was working on designing the company’s all-electric sedan. Instead, the company is now only going to sell its electric roadster, which is based on the Lotus Elise. Is this the beginning of the end? I always said that in five years Tesla would be dead for two years.
In Europe, cars that can run on methane are becoming more and more popular. And Fiat is the most aggressive European manufacturer that’s jumping on that trend, with a full line-up of vehicles. The company just unveiled a version of the Punto that can run on both methane and gasoline. And on methane it only emits 115 grams of CO2 per kilometer, versus 145 when it runs on gasoline. It only costs 12 Euros to fill the methane tank, which provides over 300 kilometers of range. The gasoline tank gives the car nearly 700 kilometers more of range meaning the car can travel 1,000 kilometers or over 600 miles.
The blogosphere is all abuzz today with photos of what are allegedly the next Toyota Prius. Our pals at Autoblog.com report that these images may not be real, after all, a lot of people are really good with Photoshop and can doctor up just about anything. But just so you know what the bloggistas are talking about today, we wanted to give you a look, too.
The Detroit News is reporting that Mazda may buy the shares that Ford owns in the company. Ford owns about one-third of Mazda, which under Japanese laws give it effective control of the company. But Ford is desperate to raise cash and should be able to get at least a billion dollars by selling its stock in Mazda.
Coming up next, our feature story looks at the 40th anniversary of Hot Wheels and their special anniversary model. We’ll be back, right after this.
Toymaker Mattle’s Hot Wheels have reached a big milestone this year — the pocket-sized cars are turning 40. To celebrate, the company sent out a traveling exhibition. The event recently ended after traveling cross-country from LA to New York. Along the way fun was shared with kids and collectors alike.
Not surprisingly, over the last four decades Mattel has sold a ton of these little cars
To celebrate hitting the 4 billion sales mark, Mattel made a very special car. This one-of-a-kind Hot Wheels is the most expensive one ever, with a price tag of $140,000. It’s covered with 3,000 diamonds totaling almost 23 carats.
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.