December 5th, 2008 at 12:00pm
The Big Three face roadblocks before getting a bailout because Congress wants to see more concessions. Europe reaches a CO2 compromise requiring automakers to meet emission targets by 2015. Nissan unveils a new multi-functional commercial van concept for North America. All that and more, plus a look at the new Renault Mégane.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. The Big Three face roadblocks before getting a bailout. Europe reaches a CO2 compromise. And Nissan unveils a new commercial van.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, December 5, 2008. And now, the news.
The Big Three and the UAW put in a pretty good performance in front of the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, but they still face major hurdles. Senators want a trustee or oversight board to keep an eye on where all the money is going. Dr. Mark Zandi from Moody’s said the Big Three really need somewhere between $75 and $125 billion, not $34 billion. It’s clear the Senators want to see more concessions from lenders, suppliers, dealers and the UAW. It wants the union to get half of its VEBA funds in stock, not cash. It wants the union to give up SUB benefits, or supplemental unemployment benefits, and cut its wages to exactly match the transplants.
So, how did the CEOs do? Let’s rate their performance. I’d give an ‘A’ to Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli. He was the first to answer most the questions and was very forthcoming. Alan Mulally from Ford, came across as timid, like he was being overly cautious not to make another gaffe. Rick Wagoner from GM looked nervous, he blinked his eyes a lot and stammered in his answers. Ron Gettelfinger looked extremely uncomfortable. He came across as someone who did not like talking to these Senators. But overall, all of their testimony came across as serious and forthright and much better than two weeks ago.
CSM Worldwide released a report showing all automakers in the US have a high level of overlap in the suppliers they use. Asian automakers use 60 percent of the same suppliers that the Big Three do, German automakers use roughly 45 percent. The overlap includes everything from air bags to camshafts to engine computers. CSM says if one of the Big Three went bankrupt, it would pull most suppliers down with them.
In a stunning announcement, Honda said it’s pulling out of Formula 1. Stunning because Honda never quits. The company says this will help it focus on its core business in the face of tough economic times. I’d say another reason is that Honda’s F1 team has not been competitive.
The European Parliament and the 27 EU nations have a tentative agreement on CO2 emissions. Wardsauto.com says automakers must meet an average of 120 g/km (subscription required) with 65 percent of their new vehicles in 2012 and 100 percent by 2015. But….companies won’t face fines until 2019 if they miss the targets.
For the first time ever, Nissan is getting into the commercial van segment in North America with the NV 2500 Concept. It’s designed to be flexible and multi-functional with features like a computer workstation, numerous storage compartments, tool racks and nearly six feet of height. Nissan said it’s developing three other commercial vans for North America and it’s going to build them in Mississippi starting in 2010.
Coming up in our feature story we’ll take a look at the new Renault Mégane, right after this.
Renault just redesigned its best-selling car, the Mégane. This c-segment car has fresh styling, a new interior and upgraded powertrains. It’s even helping the company polish its eco-friendly image.
The 2009 Mégane offers engines from an economical 80 horsepower diesel up to a 225 horsepower turbocharged sport model.
Renault is also continuing its push for more environmentally-friendly vehicles. Some versions of the new car even earn the company’s eco2 certification, which means it has to either run on biofuels or emit fewer than 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer. It also has to be built in a certified energy-efficient plant, contain at least five percent recycled plastic and be at least 95 percent recyclable at the end of its life.
Just like before, the new Mégane is available in a variety of body styles ranging from a four door sedan to a convertible. But it doesn’t matter which one you choose, they all have a highly-styled design with swooping lines and contours.
If you live in one of the countries where Renault sells cars, the new Mégane should be on dealer lots right now. Look for it to start around 19,000 €, or about $24,000.
Well, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. If you signed up for our daily e-mail newsletter in the last week you were automatically entered for a chance to win an awesome prize. This week we’re giving away a limited-edition model of the 2010 Ford Mustang. This 1:18 scale replica is one of only 4,000 made, and its part of the Ford Collection.
As always, my crack team has chosen the winner at random from our list of new subscribers. Pookie, the envelope please! And this week’s winner is . . . Joseph Alfonso! Congratulations Joseph Alfonso.
Remember, if you haven’t signed up for our e-mail newsletter yet, it’s not too late! In fact, our recent giveaways have been so popular we’re opening it up to every newsletter subscriber. Every Friday you’ll find a new trivia question in our Autoline e-mail. Answer it correctly and you’ll be entered for a chance to win some great prizes.
Anyway, that’s it for today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.