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Episode 180 – Federal-Mogul Wants Delphi, Toyota Doubles Stake in Fuji Heavy, New Honda Crosstour

July 8th, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:55

Federal-Mogul is considering making another bid for Delphi. Toyota doubles its ownership in Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru. Honda confirms the “Accord Crosstour” will go on sale this fall. All that and more, plus John answers viewer questions in the “You Said It!” segment.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Federal-Mogul could buy Delphi. Toyota doubles its ownership in Subaru. More details on the Honda Crosstour.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, July 8, 2009. And now, the news.

As we’ve been reporting, Chinese automaker BAIC is interested in buying part of Opel. And it has a lot of benefits to offer. Italian news agency AGI reports that BAIC guarantees that it can sell 485,000 Opels in China by 2015, after staring production there in 2012.

Speaking of China, it wants to see the dozens and dozens of smaller, money-losing car companies now operating in the country to get out of the car business. So here’s an interesting way one company is doing it. Reuters reports the Jiangxi Changhe Automobile Company is going transform itself into an aerospace company. It’s going to transfer all its assets to the China Aviation Industry Corporation in exchange for two aerospace subsidiaries.

Could Delphi be bought by another supplier? Federal-Mogul is considering making another bid for Delphi, after losing-out to private equity firm Platinum Equity in an earlier bid. According to Reuters, a bankruptcy Judge ruled Delphi must accept more bids to compete with Platinum’s offer.

And speaking of taking something over, Toyota is slowly taking more and more control of Subaru. Reuters reports, on July 14, Toyota will take its share to 16 percent of Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru. That’s up from 8 percent.

On the new product front, Fiat just introduced the Panda 4X4 Adventure in Europe. It’s got four-wheel-drive, obviously, and is offered with a gas or diesel engine. Fuel economy for the gas model is 6.6 l/100km, or 36 MPG and 5.2 l/100km, or 45 MPG for the diesel. Pricing starts at 14,000 euros or about $20,000.

A couple months ago spy photos of a Honda crossover leaked on the internet. While it’s hard to tell much about it from the pictures – courtesy of Autoblog, by the way – the company has confirmed that the “Accord Crosstour” will go on sale this fall. As its name implies, this twenty-ten model is based on the Accord sedan. Stay tuned for more details.

All the Americans watching will be proud to know their government is working tirelessly to keep them safe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is forcing Volkswagen to recall over 18,000 2009 Routan minivans because the owner’s manual doesn’t include a warning to not place items on or near the airbag. Yes, they forgot to print that in the manual, which is triggering a safety recall.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

This is “You Said It!” Every day we get dozens of comments and questions from you, our viewers. “You Said It!” gives me a chance to respond.

Tony Gray saw our review of the Honda Insight a few weeks back in which I commented how much vibration there was with the inside rearview mirror. After seeing our review of the new Toyota Prius he wrote in to ask, “Inquiring minds want to know if the rear-view mirror in the Prius shakes at speed?”

Tony, there is some vibration with the Prius, but you have to look for it, it really isn’t noticeable, and no where near the distracting vibration with the Insight. Come to think of it, Honda may have a safety issue with that mirror.

Salvador G. saw our story on how Valeo is developing supercapacitors to be used on mild hybrids coming from Peugeot. He asks, “So, what exactly is a “mild hybrid” and how is that different than a full hybrid? And isn’t a capacitor supposed to work with a battery?”

Salvador, here are the three basic categories of hybrids. Micro hybrids just offer stop/start capabilities. When you come to a stop sign or traffic light, the engine turns off to save gas. A mild hybrid has stop/start, plus it offers some electric assist, where batteries and an electric motor assist the gasoline engine. A strong hybrid offers all that, plus it allows you to run in pure EV mode for a limited distance and limited speed. Now for the supercapacitor question. They’re much smaller and lighter than batteries, and can dump out big jolts of electricity in a short amount of time. But they can only do that in short bursts. So they’re perfect for mild hybrids, where you don’t need a lot of juice.

And finally, Cz14XpE wrote in with this comment:
“I love the Caddy SRX. Here in Europe everyone has a German car. With the Cadillac, everyone takes you to be an alien. Too much exotic? Yes, for a lot of people.”

Well, Cz14XpE, Cadillacs have always had bold, brash designs. Now what they need to do, and they’re getting there, is to establish continuity in their design, where they develop a certain look that carries on for several decades, so the people the world over can instantly recognize a Cadillac, just like they can today with a Mercedes or BMW.

That’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But before we go I wanted to mention that you can leave us video and audio comments on our website. It’s really easy, just click on the link in the sidebar of the Autoline Daily page, or follow it in today’s transcript. You can even use your telephone. We want to hear from you. In fact, we’re working on a story about hypermiling – you know, driving to get the absolute best fuel economy possible. We’d love to hear about the techniques you use while hypermiling.

Anyway, that’s it for today’s show, we’ll see you tomorrow.

16 Comments to “Episode 180 – Federal-Mogul Wants Delphi, Toyota Doubles Stake in Fuji Heavy, New Honda Crosstour”

  1. Max Christensen Says:

    How in the world is the new Honda Accord Crosstour considered a crossover??? At best it looks like nothing more than a sport sedan. Is there a firm definition of “crossover” in the automotive world?

  2. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Here in Miami, hypermiling translates into Hypermiddlefingering, hypercursing and in some rare cases hyper9millimetering you ass!So No I wont partake in it, I’d rather spend a little more gas than leave a wife and son to fend for themselves.

  3. Chris Hail Says:

    Max, I’m not sure, but I think if the vehicle would have been a station wagon, minivan or SUV in an earlier era, it would qualify. Four door, hatchback and a 2-box design. Consumers like those vehicles, but the names aren’t popular anymore.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Accord Crosstour looks great. I will now have another option to consider when I replace my Malibu Maxx in a few years.

  5. Tom Martin Says:

    Having a vibrating rear view mirror that gives distorted images is far more unsafe than having a warning in the car’s manual about not placing drinks near the airbags.

  6. craigerzgt Says:

    So, let me get this straight. Technically, Toyota is not doing well, and they have less cash on hand than Ford. And then they buy more shares in Fuji Industries. Something tells me that they don’t exactly have the greatest accountants.

  7. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Subaru has always been a strong seller with a very loyal following.They haven’t showed much of a slow down in sales either,compared to everyone else.My point is,Toyota isn’t going to get hurt with more stock in Subaru.

    Question for John:all the car makers are developing more efficient engine designs,what is Subaru doing with the dated and not real effcient boxer?

  8. pedro Fernandez Says:

    Didn’t GM own part of Subaru also? They got rid of it and bought crappy Daewoo, which has not been able to keep up with her Korean counterpart, Hyundai

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I have another question for John regarding Subaru:

    Why do they have this obsession with all wheel drive? They have some cars I like, such as the Impreza wagon, but I don’t drive in ice and snow, and don’t want the extra weight and complexity of all wheel drive.

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I don’t know how it is now with Subarus all wheel drive,but you used to be able to pull one fuse to “disconnect” the all wheel drive option.Many Subaru owners used to do this after winter was over.Improved fuel mileage as one would expect.I don’t know if that still be done.

  11. Derek V. Says:

    [insert Subaru bias - but some objectivity]

    I am one of those loyal Subaru owners. In fact, I was surprised in one of the recent AAH episodes that no one picked any Subaru for the car they would buy with less than $30k in hand – every base model starts well under $30k (except Tribeca barely under, but still technically under).
    re: http://www.subaru.com/

    The H4 (boxer) engine isn’t entirely inefficient. Any that it has, end up allowing for other efficiencies or features to be incorporated into the vehicle – like a better handling/low center of gravity, lower hoodline for better aerodynamics, etc. But in comparison, the Forester, CRV, Mariner, and Tribute all get the same gas mileage. Plus, offering two engines in only a couple variations (H4, H4 Tubro, H6) make for much more reliable performance and lets the company focus on perfecting it. All three Subaru’s I’ve owned have lasted more than 5 years and well over 100k miles on barely anything more than routine oil changes.
    re: http://www.motortrend.com/cars/2009/honda/cr_v/comparisons/index.html

    As far as all wheel drive (AWD), it is common to misunderstand it’s benefits to be limited to winter driving. In fact, AWD is very good to have all year round. Just after a rain storm (or during) the added traction is noticable – just accelerating from a right-turn-after-red rarely ever results in a loss of traction (without a concerted effort to do so). In your non AWD car, how many times have you spun a front or rear wheel when trying to turn on to a road – be it due to rain or loose gravel? AWD practically eliminates that – resulting in a much safer vehicle to be in. In short, year-round performance in snow, rain, ice, mud, gravel, etc. provide a much more consistent experience which leads to more attention paid to the driving and not paid to the conditions and how your car changes with them.

    Having said all that, I hope Toyota doesn’t screw up one of the best car manufacturers there is and maybe ever will be. I feel Porsche and Subaru are the best of the best when it comes to manufacturers who know who they are and who their customer is. Its why I have (and always plan to have) at least one of each in my driveway.

  12. DC Says:

    John, John, John,,,A car that only turns itself off at stops is no “Hybrid”. No battery/ capacitor, no electric assist=not a hybrid. Please don’t tell us you have been drinkin the cool aid.

  13. Salvador G. Says:

    -

    Thanks John Mc. for answering my question.

    Now, the NHTS is recalling 18,000 Routan’s because of a misprint??? Couldn’t be easier just to I don’t know tell people about the misprint or – OR recall the guide books or – or even better send the missing pages of the guide book to the costumers and to be fair, who that hells reads their guide books, its obvious most people don’t – if they did, they would notice all the misprints and DO NOTS that come with it. (I do mean the whole book).

    Thanks again JohnMc.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Derek,

    I agree that AWD gives a (small) advantage over front or rear drive on wet pavement or loose gravel, but there is not enough advantage that I want to carry around extra weight and pay for extra hardware that I don’t need. The Empreza Outback wagon, at 20/26 EPA mpg with automatic and 20/27 manual, is a gas hog for a car its size and power. Its mandatory AWD is part of the reason. I guess Subaru is happy being a niche player in the car market, and it has served them well, but by having mandatory AWD, they have taken themselves off my shopping list.

  15. Derek V. Says:

    Kit,

    I completely understand your perspective, my older brother shares the same feelings. It is, in fact, why he chose the Mazda 3 over the Impreza – and he loves the car. He gets a steady 30 to 31 mpg (mostly highway), about 4 mpg better than I average. At 450 miles traveled a week for a year (50 weeks) the Mazda 3 would save you one month’s car payment ($343) – drive 10 months, get one free – my brother jokes with me.

    In any respect, I appreciate the perspective but I admittedly place more value on the experience I have in a car – I like to drive the car, not just go for a ride. But, its those differences in taste that fuel (pun intended) manufacturers to build what they build.

    Thanks for the chat and stop by your Mazda dealer (sorry US auto makers) and look at the Mazda 3 if you haven’t already – and if you can get past it smiling at you all day.
    :-)

    Good Luck.

  16. Episode 180 - Federal-Mogul Wants Delphi, Toyota Doubles Stake in Fuji Heavy, New Honda Crosstour | Automotive Blog Says:

    [...] Runtime 6:55 Federal-Mogul is considering making another bid for Delphi. Toyota doubles its ownership in Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru. View post: Episode 180 – Federal-Mogul Wants Delphi, Toyota Doubles Stake in Fuji Heavy, New Honda Crosstour [...]