October 26th, 2009 at 12:00pm
Ford faces issues negotiating with the UAW because of its expected third-quarter earnings. GM is selling its Delaware plant to Fisker to make plug-ins. Rhys Millen Racing and Hyundai have partnered to build a special, Genesis coupe for this year’s SEMA show. All that and more, plus a look at BMW’s new flagship.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Ford faces issues negotiating with the UAW. Fisker gets a GM plant to make plug-ins. And a monster V-8 Hyundai Genesis for the SEMA show.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, October 26, 2009. And now, the news.
Gee, but it’s great to be back home. I was on vacation for the last two weeks and traveling outside of the United States, where you really start to feel the falling value of the American dollar. And that in turn is driving up oil prices, which are pegged to the dollar, and are hovering at $80 a barrel. The Lundberg Survey reports that gasoline prices have risen nearly 18 cents in the last two weeks to an average of $2.66 a gallon in the U.S.
The Wall Street Journal reports that General Motors is headhunting for a new Chief Financial Officer (subscription required). It says that Ray Young, who currently holds that position will be reassigned to the company’s International Operations, reporting to Nick Reilly.
Many analysts are predicting good news for Ford’s third quarter earnings but according to the Detroit Free Press that is complicating negotiations with the UAW. Workers are voting on contract changes before Ford reveals its earnings on Monday. But with good news expected, some elements in the union are digging in their heels on more concessions. But UAW president Ron Gettelfinger is in favor of the new contract.
And speaking of Ford and labor unrest, the Wall Street Journal reports the company is idling a Canadian plant next week due to worker protests at an auto supplier in India, which we reported on last week. The Canadian plant builds the Ford Edge, Flex, Lincoln MKT and MKX, and the shutdown is expected to cost the company 5,000 vehicles in lost production.
But things aren’t all that bad in the Indian market. According to the AFP, Indian carmaker, Maruti, which is owned by Suzuki, saw its net profit jump 93 percent, for a profit of $123 million for the quarter. The company cited government stimulus plans and low interest rates for its rise in sales.
Ward’s reports that General Motors Liquidation Corporation is selling GM’s Wilmington, Delaware, plant to Fisker Automotive (subscription required). The facility, which closed at the end of July, used to be home to the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and Opel GT. Fisker plans to source its Karma hybrid model from Finland, and it’s unknown what it would build at its new Delaware facility, but the company may be working on a lower-cost car. The luxurious Karma stickers for about $90,000.
In related manufacturing news, The Detroit News tells us Chrysler is looking to ditch its mothballed Newark, Delaware, factory which built the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen. The company wants to sell the plant to the University of Delaware for about $25 million, which will demolish the facility and build a new research and technology center.
Rhys Millen Racing and Hyundai have partnered to build a special, V-8-powered Genesis coupe for this year’s SEMA show. The car features a 500-horsepower, mid-mounted version of the company’s 4.6-liter Tau engine, which replaces the entire back seat. The car will sport other upgrades like special carbon-fiber body work and Alcantera trim inside.
Coming up next, a look at BMW’s new flagship. We’ll be back right after this.
BMW has struggled with sales as all automakers have this year but at least they’ve avoided all the drama its German colleagues, Opel, VW, and Porsche have gone through. Earlier in the year the company released the new 7 Series and following on its heels is the company’s new flagship for the model, the 760i and the 760Li.
It’s larger than rest of the 7 Series line-up, but it still maintains the same look as the other models. Under the hood it’s equipped with a monster engine, a newly developed 6.0 Liter twin-turbo 12-cylinder with direct injection. And making its debut for the first time in a production BMW is a new eight-speed automatic that weighs the same and is equal in size to a six-speed transmission.
It goes from 0 to 100 kilometers an hour, in just 4.6 seconds and cranks out 544 horsepower while producing 553 foot-pounds of torque. And the combined fuel economy is 12.9 liters per 100 kilometers or 18 miles per gallon.
As you can probably imagine, there is a boatload of standard equipment, like the normal stuff you’d expect, such as a nav system and multiple airbags. And there’s the standard equipment that doesn’t seem standard or probably even necessary. Like four-zone automatic air conditioning, and doors that close automatically. And if you’ve got a few more bucks to throw around you can upgrade with features like massage seats, DVD entertainment and an iDrive controller, all in the rear of the vehicle.
There is a lot of technology aimed at improving the safety, ride and handling of the vehicle. On the safety side it’s available with BMW Connected Drive, which is a host of features including cruise control with stop and go, lane change and departure warning, night vision, and a side view and backup camera.
To help deliver the ride and handling BMW owners come to expect, the vehicle features a double-wishbone front axle, integral-v rear axle, hydraulic rack and pinion and also air suspension and self leveling on the rear axle.
Pricing for the BMW 760i starts at $140,000.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.