November 18th, 2008 at 12:08pm
The European auto industry could get loans or subsidies to help get through the downturn. Ford sells half its stake in Mazda for $540 million. The 2010 Ford Mustang is unveiled at the LA Auto Show. All that and more, plus a look at the clean diesel technology BMW showed at the LA Auto Show.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. European auto industry wants help. Ford sells half its stake in Mazda. And it unveils the new Mustang.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, November 18, 2008. And now, the news.
As the Big 3 CEOs and the president of the UAW testify in Washington on why they need a bailout, the European Union is drafting a plan to do the same for automakers on the Continent. The Wall Street Journal reports that they could get loans or subsidies (subscription required). The CEO of Daimler, Dieter Zetsche warned that 300,000 jobs are at risk in the German auto industry.
On the heels of GM’s announcement yesterday that it was selling its stake in Suzuki, Ford is going to cut its holdings in Mazda in half. Ford’s share will now be just over 13 percent, down from 34.4 percent. Under Japanese law Ford used to have controlling interest in Mazda, now it will not. But by selling its share, Ford will get $540 million in badly needed cash.
Audi is coming out with a lengthened version of its A4 sedan in China. Called the A4-L, the wheelbase is stretched by 60 millimeters, or almost two-and-a-half inches. The extra length provides rear-seat passengers more leg room. The car will be made in VW/Audi’s joint-venture plant with First Automotive Works in Changchun, China, and will go on sale next January.
Ford will reveal its redesigned 2010 Mustang at the LA Auto Show later today. The all-new ponycar features more aggressive styling and a brand new interior, though the major mechanical parts basically carryover. The biggest news though is on the interior. The design and execution are top-notch. The whole dashboard is made of soft materials, not hard plastic like the current car, and all the aluminum trim is real. It gets some other nice touches like an optional dual-zone climate control, Ford’s capless fuel filler and better aerodynamics.
The Opel/Vauxhall Insignia was named the 2009 European Car of the Year by a panel of 59 journalists from 23 countries. The Journalists had to factor in design, safety, handling and performance when making their decision. The Insignia is the third Opel/Vauxhall model to win the award. The Kadett won it in 1985; and the Omega won the award two years later.
The Los Angeles auto show officially kicks off today but some automakers like BMW got a jump start by showing off some green products yesterday.
BMW showed off its 50-state clean-diesel technology in the form of the 335d. Mercedes and Volkswagen have already introduced their diesels. But the big difference between BMW and the competition — they say — is with performance.
BMW is also offering its clean diesel engine in its X5 SUV. By the way, the 335d goes on sale next month. We’ll have more from the LA Auto show later this week on Autoline Daily.
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That’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry.