March 23rd, 2011 at 11:34am
Bob King, the president of the UAW, is calling Alan Mulally out on his recent stock bonus of nearly $57 million. China is going to make its own GPS available for civilian use, to challenge the U.S. monopoly in satellite navigation. General Motors and Chrysler are suing car hauling companies for holding on to their vehicles and not giving them back. All that and more, plus John responds to your comments about Audi, Nissan and much more in the “You Said It!” segment.
It’s Autoline Daily for March 23. Here’s what’s happening in the global automotive industry.
CHINA DEVELOPS OWN GPS
Starting next year the United States will no longer have a monopoly on satellite navigation. That’s because China is going to make its own GPS, called Beidou, available for civilian use, especially for navigation in cars. Right now China has seven satellites in its system, but it wants 35 satellites by 2020 to fully challenge the U.S. GPS. The nav systems that use Beidou are said to be cheaper than GPS ones. Beidou is not to be confused with the most-popular internet search engine in China known as Baidu.
KING CALLS MULALLY’S PAY “OUTRAGEOUS”
Bob King is stirring the pot again. The UAW President is calling Alan Mulally out on his recent stock bonus of nearly $57 million. King says Mulally is a great CEO but called the sum “outrageous,” adding he didn’t think any human being in the world deserves that much money. King also called the sum “morally wrong” and said it will help the UAW get a better deal when it negotiates a new contract later this year. And he is right, that will help the union at the bargaining table.
CHRYSLER WANTS MORE STAFF AT DEALERS
After a long drought Chrysler is finally getting some competitive products to sell, and Bloomberg reports the company is pushing its U.S. stores to hire more sales and service workers. It wants to increase vehicle sales 32 percent this year! It’s working with its 2,300 dealers to extend hours and add quick-lube services. Last year Chrysler’s sales staff fell 10 percent but its competitors increased theirs. Its service advisers also generated significantly less cash per month than rivals at GM and Toyota. This seems like a pretty ambitious goal but it’s still early in the year so anything’s possible.
FORD EXPANDING IN ASIA
Even though Ford has turned things around in the U.S. market, it still lags behind its competitors in Asia. That’s why the company announced it will introduce eight new models in Southeast Asia over the next five years. The company did not say what models it will introduce. Reuters reports even though Ford’s sales in the region have grown 175 percent this year it still has less than 2 percent of the ASEAN and Thai markets. Ford says it will use its manufacturing base in Thailand as its hub for expanding into the ASEAN markets. An interesting tidbit in the article says Indonesia will soon pass Thailand in sales, which is the largest market in the region.
GM SUES CAR HAULER
General Motors is suing Allied Systems, a Georgia-based car-hauling company, accusing it of holding over 1,700 of its vehicles hostage worth nearly $47 million. According to the Detroit News, the dispute started when Allied wanted to charge GM more for its services after it failed to get wage concessions from the Teamsters union. Obviously GM said no and Allied stopped delivering the vehicles and won’t return them. The vehicles were on the way to the dealer and GM says a number of them have already been purchased by customers. In the meantime, GM has hired other companies to transport its vehicles.
CHRYSLER SUES CAR HAULER
And it’s not just GM. Chrysler is suing Canadian-based Allied Holdings to get it to return 700 of its vehicles it’s holding onto. Chrysler too has hired other companies to transport its vehicles.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
HtG wants to know, “When Mark Reuss said he was concerned about mass efficiency in the Cadillac, it wasn’t obvious to me he meant ‘lighter car better.’ What is mass efficiency?”
HtG, to me it means that for a given size vehicle and its duty cycle, what’s the weight of the vehicle and how does it compare to others in its class?
tp1943 weighed in on the story of The Detroit News’ car critic Scott Burgess quitting, when they softened down his critique of the Chrysler 200 after an advertiser complained. But the News later apologized. tp1943 says, “I am impressed the Detroit News ‘stepped up.’ I sure hope Scott returns to his job and continues with his honest opinions.”
And C-tech says, “I wish they would consider you for Top Gear, God knows they could use some auto expertise and entertainment. Good luck.”
Bajabusta saw our report on the new Audi A6 and says, “I like family design cues, but come on Audi, all three of your sedans 4, 6, 8 look far too similar!”
But vandredparty says, “Audi is easily one of the best car companies in the world. Audi FTW.”
That’s For the Win.
DocWolph has some good insight on Nissan’s commercial vans, “Nissan’s biggest problem may be the same one Toyota has with the Tundra: Service Turn-Around. The Tundra failed to catch on as a serious work truck because Toyota service centers would not service the truck as quickly as Ford, Chevy/GMC, and Ram centers. If the truck needs work today I want it done before I need it again tomorrow. If Nissan can’t deal with that, the NV vans and trucks will fail to make a real dent in the commercial van market.”
JETZcorp has a fascinating take on sulfur in gasoline and two-stroke engines. “Sulfur and the resulting (NOx) emissions with lean-burn engines are what killed Chrysler’s two-stroke engine they were going to put in the original Neon. Too bad, it could’ve been pretty awesome. Today, outboard motor manufacturers are making very good (and clean!) two-strokes.”
WesleyConoway says, “The people are all complaining and worrying about the radiation from Japan, then they go to the tanning salon.”
I laughed my head off when I read that one.
Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours tomorrow night when our guest will be Ken Lingenfelter, who’s company makes some of the coolest performance mods in the business. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, for the best insider information of what’s going on in the automotive business. That’s tomorrow night on Autoline After Hours.
And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global auto industry. We’ll see you tomorrow.