Episode 189 – LaNeve Stays at GM, Chery Ready For An IPO, New Stamping Technology

July 21st, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:32

Mark LaNeve, the head of sales at General Motors will not be leaving the company. The Chery Automobile Company is getting ready to do an initial public offering in China. The European Union is developing more flexible stamping technologies. All that and more, plus a look at Renault’s electric vehicle prototype.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Mark LaNeve is not leaving GM. Chery is ready to do an IPO in China. And Europe explores new ways to stamp-out car bodies.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, July 21, 2009. And now, the news.

Mark LaNeve, the head of sales at General Motors will not be leaving the company. A few weeks ago GM CEO Fritz Henderson sparked off a flurry of speculation when at a press conference he said LaNeve had sales targets to meet “this month,” which some took to suggest that maybe he wouldn’t be there next month. But the Detroit Free Press reports that LaNeve will be holding onto his job. Just a few weeks ago Mark LaNeve was our guest on Autoline After Hours.

Will investors ever buy stock in car companies again? As the Chinese stock market continues to recover, the Chery Automobile Company is getting ready to do an initial public offering, according to reports at Gasgoo. Chery is the largest home-grown, stand-alone car company in China. Chery is also in the process of merging with the Jianghuai Automobile Company, which makes vans, meaning Chery will soon be a bigger car company.

Automotive supplier Johnson Controls bucked the trend and posted a profit for the second quarter. According to the Detroit Free Press, the company posted a $163 million profit even though sales fell from the same quarter last year. In the last 12 months JCI closed 30 plants and cut 16,000 jobs.

Germany’s economic minister says that General Motors will not be able to include a buy-back option in a deal for Opel. According to Reuters, Germany won’t provide any aid to Opel and its new partner if that is part of the deal. Germany’s economic minister also said the bidders must put up more of their own capital to receive German aid in order to get clearance from the European Union. Canadian auto supplier Magna, investment firm RHJ, and Chinese automaker Beijing Auto are competing to acquire Opel.

BMW’s X6 Sport-Activity Coupe is about to get some competition, at least in the styling department. Acura has unveiled a production version the ZDX concept it debuted at the New York Auto Show last April. Like its Bavarian counterpart, the ZDX features a plunging roofline and all-wheel-drive. It sports a 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 and a brand-new six-speed automatic transmission – a first for Acura. No word yet on pricing or when it hits the streets, but when it does, the company says it will be positioned between the MDX crossover and the RL sedan.

Ward’s reports that the EU is developing more flexible stamping technologies (subscription required). A 20-partner consortium consisting of automakers, suppliers and research institutes is looking to reduce waste and cost in vehicle components. At the heart of the project are three advanced metal-forming technologies. One shapes material using interlocking wheels. Another uses lasers to create pinpoint weaknesses so metal can be formed more easily, while the third technology forms metal using electromagnetism.

Coming up next, a look at Renault’s electric vehicle prototype. We’ll be back right after this.

Automakers are racing to get electric vehicles out on the road. But even though they will look like gasoline-powered cars, they’re not going to perform the same. That’s why Renault is allowing test drives of its prototype EV, so motorists can get accustomed to driving one.

Renault’s prototype, a modified Kangoo be bop is powered by a lithium-ion battery mated to an electric motor. AESC, a joint venture between Nissan and NEC will supply the batteries for the vehicle. It says the batteries will deliver between 80 and 100 percent of its original capacity for an average of six years.

Charging the vehicle takes between six and eight hours when plugged into a 220-volt outlet. It’s designed to charge 80 percent of the battery in 30 minutes when plugged into a 400-volt outlet, however the infrastructure isn’t in place for this yet. And if you want to know how much juice it’s got left without getting inside, there is a display on the side of the vehicle.

The prototype is equipped with a Marchel socket that’s located next to the right-front headlight. But Renault hopes to equip its future EVs with a universal plug being developed by a consortium of automakers and energy companies.

The car can travel 100 kilometers or 62 miles on a full charge. And Renault says with its next generation battery, it will travel 160 kilometers, or just under 100 miles on a single charge. Although the Kangoo Express, the larger cousin to the be bop, will get the update when it hits the market in 2011.

In addition to the Kangoo Express, Renault will mate the technology to another existing model for release in 2011 and two purpose-built EVs are planned for 2011 and 2012.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But don’t forget to join us Thursday night at 7 p.m. Eastern, or 2300 hours GMT for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be Art Spinella from CNW Marketing, who will explain why the used car market is red hot right now. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

22 Comments to “Episode 189 – LaNeve Stays at GM, Chery Ready For An IPO, New Stamping Technology”

  1. Hermann the German Says:

    Der Einzige!

  2. Paul Says:

    Electric cars have been around since the mid-19th century and have always suffered from the same concern= Storage capacity/range. I wonder if our shift to a more urban based society will make the lack of range a non-issue?

  3. Dave Says:

    I think some “E” cars are neat, but most people would still have a gas powered car to run around on days off or for going out of town. So, now most people would have 2 cars and 2 bills for insurance, plates, etc instead of one car. And most people in the US will not live in the city if they dont have to.

  4. Alex Kajdi Says:

    John,

    Mark LaNeve said that those small GM symbol should be ripped off each and every model GM builds. I disagree totally with that suggestion. General Motors needs to downsize to only two brands. Those being Cadillac as the luxury divison and plain old GM for everything else. The “Fresh Start” they have received from the Obama Administration is only to keep manufacturing jobs here in the USA. GM needs to be more like Toyota and Honda, have a parent brand namely “GM” and a luxury divison “Cadillac”. Buick needs to go to China and Chevrolet can go to Russia while all brands together needs to be converted into the “New General Motors”. No more rebadging or cloning. All Models should be in numerical sequence like Lexus, GM100 (i.e. Avero) to GM900 (i.e. Enclave). You might be able to use GMC just for Trucks only. It is not that these brands like Chevy, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Hummer, Saab, Opel and GMC do not have a rich history and value. GM needs to focus all it’s resources like Ford into a single clear message “GM – We are here for you!”. If GM fails again there will be no way the Federal Government can bail them out again and the competition will eat them alive. The American Consumer will go elseward for their automotive needs.

    One last thing, The Chevy Volt is still not available but is it not already dead? As a hard working American where would you spend your cash? Would you buy a $25,000 Third Generation Toyota Prius with 50 miles to a gallon of gas or a $40,000+ Chevy Volt with a EV range of 40 miles and a prototype on-board ICE electrical generator? Prius Wins!

  5. Episode 189 - LaNeve Stays at GM, Chery Ready For An IPO, New … | MotorsArea.Com Says:

    [...] More here: Episode 189 – LaNeve Stays at GM, Chery Ready For An IPO, New … [...]

  6. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I just don’t see GM surviving for very long.The “strings” they want to put on the sale of Opel is way out of line.Either it’s for sale or it’s not,they can’t be too fussy anymore.As far as all the other GM brands,they are all confused.Remember when Pontiac/Olds/Buick had their own engines? It hasn’t been like that for years now.Other then some styling differences and interior differences,the running gear is all pretty much the same with some exceptions.GM got lost in itself and can’t find their way anymore.

  7. William R. Walling Says:

    John,
    The French EV appears one power HOG!
    Recharging eight (8) hours employing 220VAC at WHAT Amp draw, demanding ‘How many kilowatts?’
    More disclosure is needed by ALL EV proponents!
    ‘Been chasing electrons for decades!’ :-)

  8. paulstewart Says:

    Mark LaNeve is 100 % correct those little GM emblem/badges should be removed permeantly. The old GM mentality it’s got to go !!! Or GM will Go !!!

  9. pedro Fernandez Says:

    I agree with GA’ if they put so much importance on the Volt, I just don’t see it as anything but a curiousity. People who wanna go green will opt for Prius or Insight instead.

  10. Episode 189 - LaNeve Stays at GM, Chery Ready For An IPO, New Stamping Technology « Honda Says:

    [...] More here: Episode 189 – LaNeve Stays at GM, Chery Ready For An IPO, New Stamping Technology [...]

  11. EAB Says:

    I never really thought about it, but the suggestion of converting the core brand of GM to GM does make sense. You could go as far as to tack on the division brand if it relates. For example, “Pontiac Trans AM by GM” and sell it at ALL GM Dealerships. This is basically what the motorcycle dealers do. The full line Honda dealers sell motorcycles, ATV’s, lawn mowers, watercraft, and it’s all under one roof serviced by the same folks. If Honda can do it successfuly with totally different products, being able to sell an Enclave and Malibu under the same roof can’t be brain surgery.

    I also agree with having Caddy stand on it’s own. There are all kinds of things you could do with this GM/Caddy setup. I can’t help but think that Chevrolet and Buick are still going to step on each other in the marketplace the way it is now.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It would seem EV’s would be most useful are urban areas where range is a non-issue, but people living in urban areas tend to park in lots and parking structures, or on the street, so they have no provision for charging. The suburbanites with three car attached garages are not the best candidates for EV’s, due to the range issue. My point is this: EV’s would be great for city use, but it will take billions of dollars worth of infrastructure to get prepared to charge them.

  13. Jim Dollinger Says:

    Death Wish

    Rape? Murder? No, simply the death of General Motors, starring Mark LaNaive and Hope Languished. Many of you have emailed wondering how in the world GM could possibly keep the same executives that drove GM into bankruptcy. Well they have and they are. The perpetuator this time is Fritz Henderson, who had his chance to remake the company and instead has chosen to retain incompetency and corruption. Still have a job at GM? Jump quick. Still a dealer? Look elsewhere and fast before your worthless franchise becomes home to worthless real estate as well.

    From an ideological standpoint, GM had a chance, no more! Have a sinking feeling? Welcome to the club. The Titanic has a greater chance of sailing again than this ship of fools! Some of you may wonder…don’t waste your time… this is the most mismanaged company in the world and destined for liquidation.

  14. Bun Brown Says:

    What’s the bottom line? If I plug in my new electric car and commute 30 miles a day, what is the electrical energy going to cost me as compared to the 2 gallons of gas I’m now using?

  15. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Depending on how popular the electrics get,it might be cheaper to burn gas/E85,then to plug into a already stressed out grid.At least more dependable.What I haven’t seen or heard about with the batteries is how well do they stand up to extreme cold,as in our northern states in winter,and the opposite with extreme heat in our southern states? At best an electric/gas hybrid like the Prius would be able to function okay,although the battery question still remains unanswered.

  16. C-Tech Says:

    I’ve have enough of you so-called “experts”. The automotive world does not need another Toyota or Honda. If GM is going to survive they need to A.) BE RELIABLE – GM has lost a lot of customers due to unreliable designs (The Quad 4 $$$ engine lost me) B.) BE STYLISH – Look at GM’s history, Pontiac was almost closed in the late 50′s before management figured out that Chevy copies were not attracting customers to Pontiac. From 1960 – 1978 the styling of Pontiac’s made them stand out from the crowd at any price point and class. What killed Pontiac was “me-too” styling with “corporate” engines. A Buick needs to have its own style, distinct from Chevy, Toyota, and Lexus. C.) Try different strategies for reaching customers. Stop referring to “market share” CUSTOMERS BRING IN MONEY – not market share. Try encouraging customers to special order cars, offer “special” models. Giving models numbers instead of names is just more corporate copy-cat CRAP. BE CREATIVE!

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Using numbers and letters for car names makes sense, if you have always done it like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. In the case of Sedan De Ville becoming DTS or Grand Am becoming G6, it is hard to figure. I can imagine what Cadillac sales people had to deal with when an 85 year old customer went to his dealer wanting to trade his 6-year-old De Ville for a new one, and the sales person had to explain that “we don’t have De Villes any more, but we have this DTS which is the same thing.” Why not just keep the successful name. De Ville was a “good” name, and so was Grand Am, given that Grand Am had been Pontiac’s best selling model for years.

  18. MJB Says:

    Electric cars will be the only way to go. As batteries get better and prices come down, one can use a solar array to charge the car leaving the nay sayers out of charging by the power company debacle.

    As for GM, they have been building crap for years. And they will continue to do so. Look under the skin of any GM vehicle and you will see that the only thing that changes is the skin. I feel they will fail it’s just too bad that the plight of it’s workers are trashed because of the inept management of the company.

  19. John McElroy Says:

    @Bun What will an EV cost to run per day? GM says the 40-mile EV range that the Chevy Volt provides will cost about 80 cents in electricity.

  20. Dave Says:

    The volt wil be yet another GM mess. They will sell a few to the tree huggers out there that have 40 plus grand to buy one. I dont care what GM says it will cost. once the dealer gets it they will have a dealer mark up and will cost a ton. Then GM will say see no one wants evs

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The concept of the Volt makes sense, and from what I’ve read, the car should get exceptional gas mileage when driven farther than the 40 mile electric-only range, making it attractive to a wide range of drivers. Unfortunately, the predicted $40K price will will limit sales to those with spare money who really want to be the “first kid on the block” with new technology.

  22. Peter Hoo Says:

    I can not understand what does ” Flexible stamping technology” mean? will it end the stamping die manufacture? Sincere Tool is a leadig die maker in China, how we get through this if the fact was true?