April 21st, 2011 at 11:35am
Fiat will take a controlling stake in Chrysler sooner than expected, with the company paying $1.27 billion in order to boost its stake. Scion unveiled a rear-wheel drive sports coupe concept in New York called the FR-S which will be the inspiration for a new model coming out next year. In order to get people to come check out the new A7 at the New York Show, Audi made a paper replica of the car. All that and more plus guest host Murray Feldman from Fox 2 News, Detroit wonders when or if the American taxpayer will ever make money or break even on their investments in automakers.
This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, April 21, 2011. I’m Murray Feldman from Fox 2 News, Detroit. Here’s what’s going on in the global automotive industry.
FIAT’S FAST TRACK TO CONTROL CHRYSLER
It looks like Fiat will take a controlling stake in Chrysler sooner than expected. According to Bloomberg, the company will pay $1.27 Billion dollars in order to boost its stake in Chrysler to 46 percent. Later in the year, they hope to raise that to 51percent which comes from the U.S. government… after Fiat meets previously agreed to goals. Originally Fiat was going to buy the final stake in Chrysler in 2013. The company is looking to increase its stake early because with Chrysler’s improving financial numbers it would cost more to wait longer. Also, Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has repeatedly complained that the U.S. government is making him pay through the nose for those bailout loans. Chyrsler’s interest rate is as high as 12 percent.
SCION FR-S CONCEPT
Scion unveiled a rear-wheel drive sports coupe concept in New York called the FR-S. It’s equipped with a 2.0-liter boxer engine that’s naturally aspirated and can be mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The engine uses Toyota’s D4-S injection system, which utilizes both direct and port injection. The result is increased horsepower and torque without sacrificing fuel economy. Scion says the FR-S Concept will be the inspiration for a new model coming out next year.
ALL-NEW SUBARU IMPREZA
Subaru debuted the all-new Impreza at the New York show. It has more passenger and cargo room than before thanks to a longer wheelbase, a redesigned door, roof trim and front seats. Under the hood it gets a new 2.0-liter boxer engine with the choice of a five-speed manual or a CVT. And all Imprezas are standard with all-wheel drive. The new powertrain system improves fuel economy by 30 percent with a projected EPA rating of 27 MPG city and 36 on the highway. The interior is improved with higher-grade materials, new amenities and infotainment technology. The 2012 Impreza goes on sale this Fall.
LEXUS LF-Gh CONCEPT
Lexus unveiled a very different looking concept car at the New York auto show this week — what they’re calling the LF-Gh. Yes, it’s a hybrid, but that’s not what makes it significant. We caught up with Mark Templin, who’s in charge of the Lexus brand, to talk about what makes this car important.
AUDI’S AUTOMOTIVE ORIGAMI
Audi revealed the A7 at the New York show but this car’s already been shown elsewhere, in fact, it’s on sale in Europe right now. So in order to get people to come check it out, at the display stand, the company made a paper replica of the car. Even though it’s smaller than the real thing, it still looks real good, even if it just is paper. It just goes to show how far car companies will go in order to get their products noticed.
Had it been another company, they could have said, “Born from Jets.”
Coming up next, will the American taxpayer ever make money or break even on their investments in automakers? We’ll be back right after this.
Just when the U.S. auto industry is on a roll, the dark clouds come rolling in.
Auto sales are brisk. Looks like early April sales will be very strong — maybe over 11 million units this year on a monthly basis.
But investors are pulling in the reins and selling the stocks. General Motors, which was so hot when it came out in November that they had to issue more shares, is beaten down. Down 15 percent this year. Lately it’s trading about 3 to 4 dollars lower than its initial public offering price.
Wow. What’s behind this? Take your pick.
Higher oil prices, concerns about that impacting the economy; parts supply problems from the trouble in Japan.
Bottom line is that if the United States government is to break even on the 500 million shares of GM it still owns, that stock will have to jump an additional 23 bucks a share.
And amid all of this, Chrysler is reportedly now re-thinking it’s plans to go public by year’s end. Insiders indicate the powers that be at Fiat are already thinking of holding off their IPO until next year. Unless something dramatic changes for the good. If it does… good. If it doesn’t, you have to wonder when Uncle Sam and American taxpayers will make money — or at least break even — on their automotive investments.
Don’t forget to tune in tonight for Autoline After Hours. Join John McElroy and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider discussion on what’s going on behind the scenes in the automotive industry. Tonight Barb Samardzich, who heads up global vehicle programs for Ford, will be with John and Peter.
And that’s today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.