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Episode 86 – Financing For Bankruptcy, Honda Shake-Up, Task Force Own Few American Cars

February 23rd, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:22

The U.S. government is lining up the loans needed to carry GM and Chrysler through a bankruptcy in case they declare. Honda announces a major management shake-up, including naming a new CEO. The presidential advisers in charge of saving the American auto industry don’t buy American cars. All that and more, plus a look at the brand new 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. The government lines up financing in case GM and Chrysler declare bankruptcy. Honda announces a major management shake-up. And the presidential advisers in charge of saving the American auto industry don’t buy American cars.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, February 23, 2009. And now, the news.

Even though GM and Chrysler say they don’t want to go into bankruptcy, the U.S. government is lining up the loans needed to carry them through a bankruptcy, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Obama Administration is treading lightly on this one because it doesn’t want to make the UAW angry. It’s completely opposed to a bankruptcy, too. The Journal says it will take the automakers two years to restructure going the way they’re going, or even if they went into Chapter 11. But if they did a prepackaged bankruptcy, they could get it done in two months.

In Tokyo this morning Honda announced major management changes starting with the CEO of the company. Takeo Fukui, the former CEO, is now going to the board and becoming an adviser to the company. He’s been replaced by Takanobu Ito, 55 years old, who also once ran Honda R&D Americas. Honda also moved three other senior executives out of operations and onto the board of directors, and retired three board members to make room for them.

Germany’s economic minister and the US Treasury are looking for ways to save Opel. According to the Associated Press, the German minister will visit the US in March to hold further talks. Opel says it needs 3.3 billion euros or $4.2 billion. German officials insist that GM must first come up with a proposal for the future. Opel employs nearly 25,000 workers in Germany.

Chinese carmaker Shandong Baoya Vehicle received nearly 5,000 orders for its electric car from the United States. According to Gasgoo.com, the EV can reach a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour and can be fully recharged within five to eight hours, enabling the car to run 150 kilometers or 93 miles. The cars are priced between 30,000 and 35,000 yuan in China or about $4,400 to $5,100.

Ahead of next week’s Geneva Motor Show, Audi released a couple photos of the high-performance TT RS. Paying homage to Audi rally cars, it’ll be powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder engine, with well above 300 horsepower. As part of its PR hype Audi provided a sound clip of the engine to show off its distinctive five-cylinder note. You can listen to the rest of this engine sound clip on the John’s Journal section of our website a little later today.

The Detroit News reports that of all the members on the “Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry,” very few own American cars. Information is not available on all the members, but most of those vehicles are imports. No further comment necessary.

Coming up next, a look at the brand new 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. We’ll be back right after this.

The E-class is the most profitable car Mercedes makes, thanks to its sales volume and price. The newest version is redesigned inside and out, offering loads of technology and a fresh take on that familiar Mercedes style.

Designers coupled strong character lines with different surface treatments to give it a muscular, dynamic look. Probably the most striking part of the car’s styling is its new front end.

In keeping with the new exterior, Mercedes also remodeled the cockpit, giving it a stronger, more industrial appearance in the process.

Buyers of the 2010 E-Class have a wide range of options to choose from. Across the range Mercedes offers 10 exterior colors, eight upholstery combinations and a choice of wood trim.

And beyond all of those options there are three suspensions to choose from and four engines, ranging from gas and diesel V6s to a monster AMG V8. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at some of the technology Mercedes is offering on the new E-Class; you’re not going to want to miss it. Also, we’ll be posting a longer video all about the new E-Class’ design on the John’s Journal page of our website a little later today.

Anyway, 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.com. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

12 Comments to “Episode 86 – Financing For Bankruptcy, Honda Shake-Up, Task Force Own Few American Cars”

  1. Andy Says:

    Hey John, what I find interesting about “The Auto Team Drives Imports” is how many “cars” are actually built in the US, not Canada or Mexico? Three people say they drive a Honda Odyssey, which I think are built in the USA. Does that really count as an “import”?

    What bothers me is the fact that two members of the “Auto Team” don’t own a car! What does that say about the “Auto Team”? Kind of like nominating someone to Treasury Secretary that owes back taxes…

  2. DC Says:

    John, in regards to the advisers not driving domestics, you have to just ask yourself, why would they?

    If you have the expendable income an adviser has to buy a luxury car, its a safe bet that you would buy a German sedan or Lexus. If you want fuel economy, you buy an economic import.

    The US auto industry offers very small options when it comes to competing with the Germans in the luxo sedan segment, and apart from the new Fusion hybrid, Japan’s got us spanked in fuel efficiency.

  3. Larry Says:

    What bothers me about the ‘team’ is that none of them have any auto industry experience. One of the major reasons that U.S. auto industy has been less efficient than the Japanese or Euripeans is that instead of taking a long range view of their Customer satisfaction and product line, the U.S. industry led by ‘bean counters’ has been fixated until recently on the 10-day sales forecast and quarterly reports to Wall Street. Having a bunch of finance people handling GM or Chrysler now just exacerbates the situation that got them into their current situation. How about some engineeers on the panel for some balance?

  4. Jim Sawyer Says:

    What I find interesting about Obama’s auto team is how OLD their cars are. These are obviously people who do not drive a lot. I suspect many if not all of them are ferried around at taxpayer expense. How many of these people commute to work in a security-detail SUV–and then lecture others about carbon footprints and wasting energy?

  5. Dave Kopitzke Says:

    Tha Obama auto team is refelctive of the U.S. population as a whole – not very interested in the auto industry; not very interested in cars at all. Maybe GM and Chrysler should file Chapter 11 instead of trying to save as many jobs as possible. The fact is that more Americans side with Bob Corker than Rick Wagoner.

  6. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Chyrsler and GM should have followed Ford’s footsteps.Hurting,but not begging.Ford’s improved quality should also be used as a model to the other two.Irregardless of loans/bailouts or chapter 11,there are going to be many lost jobs.There is no fixing that now,it’s going to happen.What Larry says is too true,bean counters looking not far past their noses.LONG TERM,and the road they must follow to really bring about change for the future,not for the next quarter.

  7. John Says:

    EXCELLENT!

    Actions speak louder than words.

    They are globalists, not true U.S. American buyers.

    They just want the Labor Vote.

    They talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.

    Just more transparent posers in DC on the public dole.

    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20090223%2FAUTO01%2F902230327%2F1148%2Frss25

  8. pedro Fernandez Says:

    If a particular car is designed, tested, and built here with mostly American made parts, then to me its an American car, no matter what brand it is. A bunch of “american” cars are built in Mexico, NOT by Americans.

  9. Salvador G. Says:

    First of all, I never judge whether someone drives an import or home made car, I JUDGE on how good their car choice is.

    and Second, what US auto makers should do is…. never mind THAT IS ONE BEAUTIFUL MERC.
    :P

  10. Reed Densel Says:

    That new E Class Mercedes sure does look like a Hyundai Genesis.

  11. Richard Tait Says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t like the new E-Class? I am not a fan of segmented headlamps, especially if those headlamps have angles. I guarantee that in less than a generation these headlamps will be gone and a redesign, making them one unit or oval, taking over. And isn’t the rear end akin to a second generation Infiniti Q45? The worst looking Q45 at that. What is Mercedes thinking?

  12. JIm Thykeson Says:

    JOhn, I don’t care if they drive their Lexus, or Merc. What they need to do is unburden GM and Chrysler of paying health ins. This is the big stumbling block that handicaps the hometeam.