Episode 744 – Chrysler & UAW Reach Deal, Spark EV Coming to U.S., New Crash Rules in China

October 12th, 2011 at 12:02pm

Runtime: 8:12

Chrysler and the UAW announced this morning that they reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract. GM plans to introduce an electric version of the Chevy Spark in the U.S. by 2013. China just unveiled stricter crash-standard rules for passenger cars. All that and more, plus John answers your questions and comments in the “You Said It!” segment.

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Hello everybody. It’s Wednesday, October 12, 2011, and here’s what’s happening in the automotive industry.

Chrysler and the UAW announced this morning that they reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract. The union had to bargain a lot harder with Chrysler, going a month past the expiration date. Now it will be up to the UAW rank and file to ratify the agreement. But that may not be easy. Ford is already running into problems on ratification. Local 900, which makes the new Ford Focus, rejected it by a slim margin. But union leaders say they still expect the contract to be approved.

U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa of California is holding hearings on CAFE regulations. He’s getting that tired old caterwauling of environmental groups who are predicting massive jobs gains and ginormous profits if automakers adopt stringent fuel economy regulations. But he’s also hearing from Jeremy Anwyl from Edmunds who is testifying that few consumers are buying hybrids because fuel economy is not their highest priority. He says regulators have failed to pay attention to what car buyers are actually buying and that they’re pushing fuel economy regulations too far. Check out our show notes to see Anwyl’s complete testimony.

GM will announce it’s going to sell an all-electric car in the U.S. later today — an electric version of the Spark, which is sold elsewhere in the world. The EV version will come to select U.S. cities in 2013 as well as other global markets. Its battery packs will be supplied by A123. Here’s Global Product Chief Mary Barra explaining why they will introduce the Spark EV.

We’ll have more info about the car tomorrow.

China just unveiled stricter crash-standard rules for passenger cars. According to Gasgoo, for the first time, rear-seat passengers will be accounted for, low-speed tests will be introduced and safety systems like electronic stability control will be considered in the scoring. Boy they need this. Check out this crash test of a Land Wind, watch the airbag deploy, just like it’s supposed to. Now watch the steering column come up through the airbag and damn near take the dummy’s head off!

Cadillac is taunting us with more teaser shots of its brand-new small sports sedan, the ATS. The wreath-and-crest brand just released a video of a heavily camouflaged car zipping around Germany’s vaunted Nürburgring. The ATS is expected to be a little bit smaller than the segment benchmark, the BMW 3 Series. Rumor also has it the car will be built at GM’s plant in Lansing, Michigan. Company President, Mark Reuss, has some mighty strong things to say about the new ATS. Hit the link on our website, Autoline.tv, to hear what he has to say about the car and to watch the rest of this video.

Despite what the packaging may say, LEGOs are fun for all ages. It doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80. We found this little treat on Autoblog. A guy named Marshall Matlock assembled a model of a Volkswagen camper van. It’s a relatively simple task, anyone could do it, BUT, he was thoughtful enough to make a time-lapse video of the process. This minute-and-a-half-long film shows the project piece by piece, from start to finish. It’s mesmerizing to watch this vintage Vee Dub rise from the tabletop and drive out of frame. Great work!

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

Tony Gray saw our report on the most popular colors of cars and had this to say about the popularity of white cars. “I wonder if the rise in white had anything to do with pigment problems resulting from the tsunami that affected certain colors.”

No Tony, white has always been a very popular color. In fact, silver, black and white almost always rank in the top three and have for decades. Maybe that has to do with a lot of commercial vehicles being painted white. But most cars buyers are very conservative in their color choice.

One of you reposted the rantings of someone calling themselves the “Autoanarchist” who rails against Chrysler. He says, “Chrysler’s actual sales numbers not the percentage of sales increases are NOTHING to brag about. Their sales are still Dreck in comparison.”

Well, sorry Autoanarchist, Chrysler’s sales numbers are actually quite impressive. Last month it outsold Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai-Kia. In fact, Chrysler was only 4 percentage points of market share behind Ford. And you just wait, the new product onslaught from Chrysler is still a year away.

Tj Martin thinks he may know why Honda has delayed the introduction of its HondaJet. “The real problem, if you ask me, is the fact that the sales of new private jets are way down with so many used ones on the market, why buy new?”

Tj, a weak market is an issue, but even Honda admitted it is running into development problems with the engine on that jet. Believe me, if they could blame it on a soft market, that’s what they’d prefer to do rather than admit they’re running into engineering problems.

Jim saw Craig Cole’s review of the Buick Regal Turbo in which Craig said Buick’s tend to be fairly mundane cars. Jim retorts, “I used to own a 1972 Buick Skylark with a 350 ci engine. I thought that was a fun car to drive. Craig’s too young to know there were a lot of fun Buicks in the past.”

Jim, you’re right, there have been fun Buicks, like the T-types and the GNX in the 1980s. But Craig’s also right. For the past couple of decades, Buicks were boring.

Ron Paris noticed that Peter De Lorenzo had a gash on his head when he did Monday’s broadcast. “Wow! Am I the only one that noticed Peter’s injury? Did I miss something? Looks nasty!”

Yes, Ron, it is a nasty cut, requiring 16 stitches, and we’ll get the full story of what happened tomorrow night on Autoline After Hours.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

38 Comments to “Episode 744 – Chrysler & UAW Reach Deal, Spark EV Coming to U.S., New Crash Rules in China”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    Sorry John but this NYTimes article supports my theory as to why the HondaJet is stalled ;


  2. tj Martin Says:

    Along with Bloomberg defending my position on Chryslers sales numbers ;


    Just because it looks good on the surface , doesn’t mean the underlying facts won’t utterly contradict said superficial statistics .

    AutoAnarchist -2
    ALD -0

    No worries though , mistakes and misinterpretations are inevitable on my part as well

  3. HtG Says:

    That story on the steering impaler pole in the Chinese car would be funny if it weren’t for the possibility that SAAB will sell its intellectual property to the Middle Kingdom in return for the couple hundred million it needs to keep going. That isn’t funny at all.

  4. pedro fernandez Says:

    I heard that Peter was worked over by goons hired by Sergio for Peter’s constant criticism of the capo, these Chinkies can’t eve make a proper collapsible steering column and they wanna sell their suicide machines over here, let’s see you can be decapitated, burned alive, crushed during a rollover resulting from a blowout of one of their equally bad tires. The choice is up to you

  5. tj Martin Says:

    Why the Auto Industry Needs a Steve Jobs

    Pt III

    If the iPad had been built by US automakers it’d of ;

    1) Been partially if not fully subsidized by us ( US Tax Payers ) and ………

    2) ….. would of required extensive subsidies , tax breaks and government funded rebates just to get the public to buy it

    3) Along with multiple “created ” synthetic reviews , which would be in truth mildly masked Advertisements from the press , once again subsidized by us ( US Tax Payer )

    4) Would also of required extensive Endorsements from Celebrities including Hollywood etc just to get the publics attention . Not because it was new , but because in truth what the automakers would of created as an iPad no one would want without said Celebrity endorsements

    Thats all for today .

    Tomorrow Who Steve Jobs was and was not and why there’s no one even close in Detroit / Japan / EU etc

    ( caveat – yes this post was aimed directly at the VOLT as well as Hybrids )

  6. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro


    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . You weren’t supposed to let that bit out !

    Quiet pedro , there’s eyes a watchin here ya knows .

  7. tj Martin Says:

    Uh oh !

    A black Audi A8 just pulled up with a black Caddy in tow !

    Looks like the guys who went after PDL are on my front doorstep now .

    Makin a run fer it guys …………..


  8. HtG Says:

    I was kind of hoping Peter’s face had been rearranged by some gal’s furious husband. All’s fair, eh Pietro?

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I’m rooting for the Cadillac ATS (M-series, fighter); a lot of companies have taken aim (and BMW has stayed the competition for the most part). Caddy needs to shoot higher than the ‘standard’ and see if it make BMW try to catch up. We’ll just have to see (but I’m a Caddy fan so kudos just for trying to get even with the Bimmers, M/B’s and Audis).

  10. Chuck Grenci Says:

    should read 3-series fighter and further down the line “and see if it ‘can’ make BMW try to……..

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh, no! I hear Sergio is Fidel’s buddy and admirer (5 hr speeches) So he’ll get the Cuban mafia to come after me now, I’m changing my name to Peter Fernandestein.

  12. HtG Says:

    nerd alert. Did I hear right? Did the ATS do a 28.09 around the Ring? A 7:28.09? Z06 recently did a 22.68

    Everybody get down.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why bother with this Spark EV? until they can get the range up quite a bit people are not going to buy ev’s. I saw this report on Hertz, DC and NY renting EV’s no mention on how much they charge for them (no pun intended)

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    These Focus plant workers figure that Ford won’t yank production out of there and move it to Mexico since they spend a lot of money to make that car over there, but watch out, they might just move it to where the Fiesta and the Fusion are made, in other words, you may end up getting the big F from Ford.

  15. C-Tech Says:

    The Lego van is cool. I wish I could change the door panels on my Acura that easily.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Has anyone caught on the grassroots buy American movement slowly moving along? hopefully it will catch on with the auto industry as well and we can get back some of the industrial power that we have lost to other countries.

  17. The Autoextremist Says:

    Actually it was 24 stitches (16 visible). More on the subject tomorrow night on AAH…


  18. HtG Says:

    Judging by the location of Peter’s stitches, it’s a relief his injuries were not worse.

    How fast were you driving?

  19. Lex Says:

    If Chrysler is now saving Fiat, should the bailout money they received from the Obama Administration constitute “Foreign Aid”?

    Marchionne should rename Chrysler/Fiat as “Amalgamated Motors Company or AMC”. To be confused with American Motors Company, since it was American Taxpayer Dollars that is saving both companies.

    FIAT now means “Fit It Again Taxpayer”!

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s one of the several articles about the problem with the engines for Hondajet:


    Aren’t they supposed to defrost the turkeys? I guess that’s a different, but similar test.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Spark EV, like all EV’s, is very much a niche product, but if they are building them for other markets, why not try to sell a few of them here?

  22. Brett Cammack Says:

    Rumor has it that Peter D. was mugged by a pack of renegade intellectuals. With the all the Republicans vying for the Presidental nomination, they’ve been feeling pretty shut out of American society and are acting out rather badly these days…

  23. tj Martin Says:



    Hmmn . Seems to me Marchionne is a bit overdue for one of his complete 180′s as well .

    Why do I bother ? For that matter , why does anybody ?

    Simple fact is the Automotive and Motor Sports business machine will keep feeding us BS . The Press will joyfully follow suit , reporting every sliver of manure they’re fed . The public will keep buying the garbage they feed us , secretly complaining their heads off , but not having the cojones to say or do anything about it . The powers that be will keep shipping jobs overseas to what ever country is then the cheapest to manufacture in . The Unions will keep complaining but won’t have the power to change a damn thing in the long run . The US will continue to head towards its ultimate destination – that of a Consuming , Not a Producing Country entertaining itself to death , with like all Empires previous , ultimately attaining its own demise . And we’ll still be here arguing amongst each other , but in reality also not accomplishing a damn thing .

    So …… what is the point ? If its there I’m not seeing it .

    Might as well let the manure fall where it may , continue to duck and dodge it as long as I can ……… and in the mean time carry on with that which I do best …… which is of course the Music , first and foremost : and second being the Provocateur I’ve always been .

    Hmmmn . This’n may require some serious thought . Being the Arrogant Elitist Ass that I am :o

    ( its kind of ironic that my self created moniker of AutoAnarchist [ and what part of that didn't you understand as pure humor there Johnny Mac ? ] and my current label of Arrogant Ass both have AA as their abbreviation . Hmmmmn )

  24. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > U.S. Congressman Darrell
    > Issa of California is holding
    > hearings on CAFE regulations.

    I would like to take this opportunity to once again point out that if the carbon dioxide situation is indeed so serious as to warrant the kind of regulatory aggression against the automobile we are currently seeing, the last thing we should want is for fuel to be cheap.

    The nice thing about making gasoline (and for that matter all fossil fuels or derivatives thereof) more expensive via taxation is, it may be painful but its also very flexible. I can never emphasize enough that high gas prices don’t care whether you reduce your carbon footprint by traveling less (i.e. “telecommuting”), or driving a smaller car, or car-pooling, or riding a bicycle or moped that gets 100 MPG, or using a carbon-neutral fuel like ethanol, and so forth. You won’t get that kind of flexibility with more and ever more government micromanagement of our economy and our lives.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    This ABC news piece about the builder in Montana and wanted to use all domestic materials for a new house showed how difficult is was for the guy to find American made building supplies and materials, is this what we’ve become? I would love to see a follow up on finding appliances and electronics to finish the job, I guarantee that would be close to impossible unless they buy old stuff on Ebay

  26. tj Martin Says:

    One last for the day


    RE; Saving/Losing Face

    Yes the press is reporting all about the engine problems that Honda is having with their HondaJet . And some of it might even be true .

    But ask yourself this .

    Honda …. given the choice of Losing Face over what is reported as an Engineering Failure vs Losing Face over the fact that they made a Major Mistake even entering the Small Personal/Private Jet market , never mind that if they ever do release the Plane it’ll be a complete Sales Failure ….

    Which do you really think they’ll choose ?

    Blame it on a few engineers ?

    Or admit they totally and completely _______ up ?

    One last thought on Honda .

    Maybe if they’d paid more attention to their Cars and Motorcycles ( their M/C’s have been getting shredded in the press lately as well ) and not to things like the HondaJet , Asimo etc. their cars might still be at the top of the heap instead of rapidly crawling to the depths of Automotive Failures.

    Hmmn .

    Think on that’n fer awhile there Gents .

  27. tj Martin Says:


    The only way I could see that to be possible ( all USA products ) would be either ;

    A) Have everything custom built / tooled and assembled in the US including appliances , chips , etc

    B) Refurbish a lot of older USA built bits and pieces as well as recycle much of the construction materials

    Or a combination thereof .

    Man that would take some serious dedication and $$$ to accomplish . I wonder how it all turned out for the guy ? As well as what the cost was in the end .

  28. HtG Says:

    @23 tj, here’s a story. Some years ago I told my former ‘pol’ brother-in-law about the time someone at a meet and greet told George W Bush what he thought about some policy. Bush shot back, “who cares what you think?” To which my BIL responded, “that’s right.”

    On the other hand, I have a Citizen Petition before the FDA which would affect a few million people, potentially. FDA is sitting on it, but I know they respect the argument. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter what I think, unless you want to start talking Kafka.

  29. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Autoweek declared that the electric Spark will initially by available in California; that does make some sense. If successful, one would think, other markets would be investigated. In any case, Chevy’s decree, that they want to at least learn something (in the electric field market) also makes some sense; high volume may not be as important as being a player.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Hondajet is fast, fuel efficient, and (relatively) cheap. It’s not another Cessna Citation. It may not have been a good business decision, but it stands to do well at some point, if it makes it to production.

  31. W L Simpson Says:

    Pedro,Re: american made —killed some time today
    prowling Lowes tool crib. Not one piece of power
    equipment, regardless of brand, was made here.
    Every single label said made en Chine, or mexico.
    90% chine.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    It is a sad day indeed for America when you can’t even find any product made here anymore, if these China men decided to stop exporting to us we would have to buy through 3rd countries driving up the price of everything, simply because we don’t have the resources to build in mass anymore. Years ago when Subway wanted to copy Quiznos and install in every store a special microwave/convection oven, not one single American manufacturer could fill the order in time, so they had to have them built in China, at a cost of millions of dollars that would otherwise have stayed here.

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ he claimed it cost a bit more to get American made materials, but he said it was well worth it and he just wanted to set an example for others to follow, real grass-roots efforts by regular Americans that are sick and tired of this BS

  34. Rafi N Says:

    The ATS may be superb, and I might be nit-picking here, but I don’t like the name “ATS.” Unless those initials stand for something truly great, I don’t see a reason why Cadillac didn’t come up with an actual name for the car.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m not crazy about those letter names either, but try to think of a good name. It isn’t easy. There are animals, place names, sports, etc., but what would really work? All of the good animal names have been used, either presently, or in the past. What place names would make sense? Cadillac likes to think of itself as a brand for golfers, but Golf has been taken. Naming cars isn’t easy to do without offending people, so maybe car companies think it’s easiest to use nonsensical letters.

  36. C-Tech Says:

    Kit, you struck a nerve with me! Bring back names, the letters and numbers are so “me-too” now, not original. There is nothing wrong with bringing back some glorious names from the past like LaSalle, DeVille, Eldorado, or starting some new traditions.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I thought it was a big mistake to drop the DeVille name. Cadillic’s big sedans had been called DeVille for 50 years, and everyone knew it.

    As far as this new, smaller car, none of the old names would seem to fit, but LaSalle was so long ago that no one would remember what the last LaSalle was. Since the new car is supposed to compete with BMW 3 series, maybe they should call it Munich.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Another HondaJet article at:


    It says more than 100 are sold, but will the buyers ever get them?