November 25th, 2008 at 12:00pm
The Motor City is hopping mad over Congress’ approval to give billions to Citigroup. John Krafcik gets a big promotion at Hyundai. Ford beats out everybody in crash safety with 16 models winning a TOP PICK award from the IIHS. All that and more, plus a look at the fuel cell-powered Honda FC Sport.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines, The Motor City is hopping mad. John Krafcik gets a big promotion at Hyundai. And Ford beats out everybody in crash safety.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, November 25, 2008. And now, the news.
There’s a lot of anger in the Motor City right now. Yesterday Congress approved $20 billion to save Citigroup and promised it would provide another $275 billion on top of that. But unlike the Big Three automakers, none of the Citigroup executives had to attend hearings in Washington or get lectured about how to run their business. With so many automotive jobs at stake, The Wall Street Journal reports that Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter says this shows Congress cares more about people who wear Gucci’s than Levi’s.
There’s trouble in auto show land. Nissan just announced its pulling out of the Detroit and Chicago auto shows. Mitsubishi dropped out of the Detroit show last week. My own staff reported that the LA Auto Show last week looked dead. Media attendance was way down and automakers scrimped on their displays to save cost. Remember, most of the media gets flown to the auto shows by the automakers. And the car companies are cutting way back on their PR budgets.
Hyundai America announced that John Krafcik has been promoted to Acting President and Chief Executive Officer of the company. Krafcik joined Hyundai in 2004 and most recently served as Vice President of Product Development and Strategic Planning for Hyundai. Before all that he worked for Ford. Congratulations John, and it sure is great to see a PD guy go to the top of the company!
Portugal and Renault-Nissan (or is it Nissan-Renault?) announced a partnership to develop an electric vehicle infrastructure for the country. Renault-Nissan will start selling EVs in 2011 and Portugal will be responsible for charging stations and incentives for EV customers, both for individuals and fleets. Nissan-Renault has similar partnerships with Yokohama, Tennessee, Monaco and Sonoma County in Northern California.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives Ford more top safety-rated vehicles in the U.S. than any other manufacturer. The IIHS rated 16 Ford’s with a TOP PICK in its crash tests. Honda came in second with 13 models. In all, 72 vehicles won an IIHS TOP PICK safety award for 2009. That’s double the number of 2008 models and three times as many that got the award in 2007.
Coming up next, a closer look at the fuel cell-powered Honda FC Sport. We’ll be back right after this.
While plug-in hybrids seem to be the R&D rage these days, Honda is not backing off one iota in its commitment to fuel cell cars.
We’ve seen that with the FCX Clarity — Honda’s hydrogen-powered sedan — being leased to a handful of drivers as well as other products under development.
So maybe the press shouldn’t have been surprised that with no advanced word last week, Honda unveiled the FC Sport at the LA Auto Show. This hydrogen-powered three-seat sports car got a lot of attention as concepts do, but no production commitment — though the company is considering which of the car’s elements may lend themselves to design features in future Honda’s.
The FC Sport concept came from the team at Honda’s advanced design studio in Pasadena, California. If you’d like to take a quick tour of this fairly secret design facility, we invite you to check out our visit to Honda earlier this year during our special series “Autoline in LA.” You can find it the archive section on our website.
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Anyway, that’s it for today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.