Episode 116 – Opel Needs Money, Supplier Shutdown Imminent, OEMs Pull Out Of Frankfurt

April 3rd, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:30

General Motors is running into problems trying to get government help for Opel in Germany. North American auto suppliers could start shutting down in the next 15 to 90 days. Several automakers drop out of this year’s Frankfurt auto show. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline Detroit, about how the industry is going to change in the next few years.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. GM has trouble trying to save Opel. Suppliers could start shutting down. More automakers drop out of Frankfurt auto show.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, April 3, 2009. And now, the news.

The Wall Street Journal reports that General Motors is running into problems trying to get government help for Opel in Germany. GM says it needs $4 billion and that it only has enough cash to run Opel through the end of the second quarter. It’s planning unspecified contingency plans in case it does not get the money. GM relies heavily on Opel for its global product development and if it were to lose Opel it would be devastating for the company.

The Detroit Free Press reports that a wave of North American auto suppliers could start shutting down in the next 15 to 90 days, as they present their year end financial results to their bankers. Chrysler’s two assembly plants in Canada, which make its minivans, the 300, the Charger and the Challenger, are now shut down. The shutdown was caused by a supplier who makes a part for their engine mounts that stopped shipping the parts.

Mitsubishi will boost production of its electric vehicle, the i MiEV. According to the AP, orders for its first 2,000 cars quickly sold out. So the company will raise production from 4,000 to 5,000 units. Corporate leasing of the car starts in July in Japan and sales to individual customers will begin in 2011. The i MiEV will be sold in Europe through PSA, starting next year.

Couple of California stories here. Some gas stations in California face fines for not installing vapor trapping pump nozzles. The Los Angles Daily News says the mandate was established in 2000 and the equipment has been available since 2005, but over 60 percent of the states stations haven’t complied yet. That’s probably because it costs $11,000 per pump to install the equipment.

And California just passed a law requiring auto service stations to check the tire pressure in cars it services. The California Air Resources Board says the law will save 75 million gallons of fuel, and cut CO2 emissions by nearly three-quarters of a million tons per year. The law is set to go into effect on July first 2010.

As we all know, carmakers have been pulling out of auto shows this year. Now, Ward’s reports the Frankfurt show in Germany in September is next on the list (subscription required). Surprisingly, Honda is pulling out as are Daihatsu, Mitsubishi and Nissan.

Coming up next, a preview of this week’s episode of Autoline Detroit, we’ll be back right after this.

On this week’s episode of Autoline, I’m joined by Michael Robinet of CSM Worldwide, John Stoll of the Wall Street Journal, and Tom Walsh from the Detroit Free Press. In the following preview we talk about how the industry is going to change in the next few years and how that will impact car buyers.

If you want to see the rest of our discussion all about the latest news surrounding GM and Chrysler, you can watch the entire episode of Autoline on our website right now.

And that’s it for today’s show, except for one more thing. I’ve got to announce the winner of this week’s trivia contest. We challenged you to tell us what the letters in the name of Chinese automaker SAIC stand for. And as most of you correctly responded, the answer is, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. As always my crack team has randomly selected today’s winner from the pool of correct responses. Pookie, the envelope please! And the winner is… Bernard Begley of White Plains, New York! Congratulations Bernard, you’ve won a Toyota Prius baseball hat.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But don’t forget, you can get podcasts, transcripts and a whole lot more on our website, AutolineDaily.com. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.

7 Comments to “Episode 116 – Opel Needs Money, Supplier Shutdown Imminent, OEMs Pull Out Of Frankfurt”

  1. Salvador G. Says:

    Uhmmmmmmmm…. No comments so far.

    Must be for last night show, weird huh!; Or because I didn’t get my daily newsletter of the day. I guess I sigh up again.

    As for last night show, IT WAS AWFUL. I have no idea what John and Rogain crew were talking about.

  2. Salvador G. Says:

    Oh I forgot,

    Mr. McElroy, Please you need to set standards for those prices every week, I mean a baseball cap, seriously man; make it worth the effort, I take small repricas of famous cars. :)


  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    SAL G@ If I’m not mistaken,Autoline everything is produced by a PBS station.They don’t have the bux to give out expensive gifts or prizes.This is all about making us feel that we are a part of the Autoline show,and have some input.It’s a “thank you” from a small budget show that just happens to be tops in my book.Go with the spirit of the show and continue as you have been.You post here a lot and I for one enjoy reading what you have to say,peace bro.

  4. John McElroy Says:

    @Salvador G

    As to the e-mail newsletter — there is no reason to sign up again — we had a bit of trouble with the service that distributes our e-mails, but we believe the problem to be resolved now.

    Regarding “Autoline After Hours” on Thursday night, yes we had some connection problems, if that is what you are referring to. Please realize we are forging very new territory here, and there are going to be some bumps along the way. If you want to watch the full show, we’ve posted it in John’s Journal. If you don’t like what we’re talking about in the show, let us know what you would like to hear!

    Thanks for your comments.

  5. pedro Fernandez Says:

    John: your show is very informative and at the same time entertaining, and since you don’t get any ad money from the OEM’s you can be honest and truthfull, unlike some of these car mags that are always kissing a–.

  6. Salvador G. Says:

    1. TO G.A.
    I realize that autoline is not part of some big network corporation and for that I’m grateful, can you imagine if Autoline was part of CNN or FOX (HELL NO); my point on the prices autoline gives out is that even though I knew the answer to the trivia question, I didn’t care much for try to posted, I don’t want John Mc. or anyone on Autoline to give out some expensive gift but at least make it interesting to give an answer. (I know I wrote I wanted Autoline to give out Car replicas, but I was thinking ‘maybe hot wheels, toy cars no caps!). :)

    2. TO John McElroy
    I thank you and all the Autoline workforce for your hard work and I also thank the whole Autoline After Hours co-host (or the Rogain members crew) for the show, AND I know and understand you guys are new at this whole live streaming thing…. but when your watching and it suddenly goes off, I just start… AHAHA NOOOO and hitting my computer… SO there. :)

  7. Will S. Says:

    The California tire pressure check mandate is ridiculous.

    You drive in with hot tires. The technician will inherently let air out of your tires just doing the pressure check. If your tires are properly inflated cold, the measurement will be high. How many will then let more air out?

    Even worse, imagine you had paid for a nitrogen fill to avoid the ozone poioning that occurs when you inflate a tire with SoCal. air.