August 21st, 2009 at 12:08pm
Wendelin Wiedeking, the former CEO of Porsche, is under investigation for insider trading on stock options. Chinese automaker BYD plans to enter the U.S. market next year, a year ahead of schedule. BMW is set to introduce the most efficient version of the 3 Series at the Frankfurt Motor Show. All that and more, plus a look at how Ford managed to get the Fusion hybrid to deliver 41 miles per gallon.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Porsche’s CEO is under investigation. BYD could beat everyone else to the market with an EV. And BMW comes out with its most efficient car, ever.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, August 21, 2009, and here’s what’s happening in the auto industry.
In a shocking development, Wendelin Wiedeking, the former CEO of Porsche, came under investigation for insider trading on stock options (subscription required). The Wall Street Journal reports that Porsche’s former chief financial officer Holger Haerter is also under investigation. Porsche denies the allegations and points out both executives are cooperating with investigators. And what I find just as interesting. Both executives are still on the payroll as consultants to Porsche.
Speaking of stock trading, much of the media today are wringing their hands over the fact that some investors are still buying millions of shares of General Motors, the old General Motors, the one in liquidation. Some commentators worry that some investors may be confused and not realize what they are getting into. But I say these people know exactly what they’re getting into. For one thing, this stock is not even called General Motors. It’s called Motors Liquidation. And its trading symbol is not the letters G and M. It’s MTLQQ, and you can’t buy it on any major exchange. Besides, there is tremendous volatility in this stock, its price, which stood at 85 cents yesterday, can fluctuate more than 50 percent in one day, which is how you can make a lot of money on a stock. Besides, look at the stock of Delphi, GM’s former parts company. It’s trading at 4 cents a share and yesterday nearly 4 million shares traded hands.
Hyundai’s Chairman Chung Mong-koo has promoted his son to Vice Chairman of the company. According to the AP, Chung Eui-sun, who had been a president at Kia, will not be in charge of sales and planning at his new position. Here’s the part I don’t get, he’s one of six Vice Chairmen at Hyundai. I guess the title of vice president just doesn’t seem good enough any more.
Chinese auto company BYD plans to enter the U.S. market next year (subscription required), a year ahead of schedule. According to the Wall Street Journal, BYD plans to sell a few hundred of its all-electric e6 model in a select region of the country next year before it expands its lineup. BYD says the car will be priced slightly above $40,000. But that means it could be the first major automaker with an EV ready for sale.
If you’re thinking about cashing in on cash-for-clunkers, you’d better get a move on. According to the Detroit Free Press, the U.S. CARS program is set to expire next Monday at 8:00 p.m. By that time, the sales stimulus scheme is expected to have burned through the $3 billion allocated for it. Overall, it’s been a smashing success, helping move almost 700,000 cars in less than a month. Initially, it was expected to deliver only 250,000 sales over THREE MONTHS. But it’s not all rainbows, puppies and sunshine. The Feds have only reimbursed about 8 percent of the money dealers are owed, so GM and Chrysler are advancing cash to dealers.
BMW is set to introduce the most efficient version of the 3 Series at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The 320d EfficientDynamics edition is expected to deliver a fuel economy figure of just 4.1 L/100 km! For us ‘Mericans, that’s about 57 miles per gallon! CO2 emissions should total a measly 109 grams per kilometer. That’s less than a Fiat 500 DIESEL! The new Bimmer is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel with 163 horsepower, which should be enough to power the car from 0 to 100 kilometers an hour in about 8.2 seconds.
Coming up next, a look at how Ford managed to get the Fusion hybrid to deliver 41 miles per gallon. Don’t go anywhere, we’ll be back in 15 seconds.
On last night’s Autoline After Hours our guest was Nancy Gioia, who runs all of Ford’s EV and hybrid programs. A question I was dying to ask her is how Ford was able to get the Fusion to get such a surprising fuel economy number. Take a look at this clip.
You can find the entire show with Nancy Gioia on our website right now.
And now it’s time to announce the winner of this week’s trivia question. Jim Hall, who filled in for me last Friday, came up with this brain-buster. He challenged you to identify the longest-running nameplate, as in what car currently sold in the U.S. has been continuously produced the longest? And the correct answer is, the Chevrolet Corvette.
And we can thank Jim Hall for that trivia question.
And this week’s winner is Jason Colt of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Congratulations Jay-man, you’ve just won this charming Eyes on Design poster. Across town and around the world, that’ll do it for this week’s top auto news. Have a great weekend, we’ll see you Monday.