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AutoLine: Episode 271 – Porsche Posts Huge Loss, Mercedes Moves Smaller, UAW Votes to Strike Ford

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Porsche says it will post a pretax lost of 4.6 billion euros, or a loss of $6.6 billion. Mercedes may finally bring some of its fuel efficient small cars to the U.S. UAW workers at a Ford plant near Kansas City, Missouri, are voting on whether or not to authorize a strike. All that and more, plus a preview of this week’s Autoline Detroit with Ian Callum, the head of design at Jaguar.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .


Here are today’s top headlines. Porsche racks up massive losses. Mercedes wants more small cars in the American market. And the UAW takes a strike vote at one of Ford’s plants.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Friday, November 13, 2009.

Hey, help us out by voting on the podcast awards. You got us nominated. Now we need you to go back and vote again. Go to, scroll down to the Business category and vote for Autoline Daily. Hit the pause button and go vote for us now.

And now, the news.

Last year we all sat back in wonder as Porsche posted a pretax profit of 8.6 billion euros. What a difference a year makes. Now Porsche says it will post a pretax lost of 4.6 billion euros, or a loss of $6.6 billion. The company took a bath on options it had issued as part of its attempt to take over Volkswagen.

Chinese automaker SAIC is accused of stealing hybrid technology from Korean parts supplier Ssangyong. According to the Korea Times, several Ssangyong employees leaked the technology to SAIC, which pressured them into giving it the technology because of difficulty in developing it on its own. The Korean government helped fund the development of Sssangyong’s technology, so the employees confessed and were charged with giving it away without state permission. There are no plans to take legal action against SAIC.

Mercedes may finally bring some of its fuel efficient small cars to the U.S. (subscription required).  Ward’s reports that Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said North America may get some of the company’s next-generation a- and b-segment models. The current versions of these cars are at the end of their lifecycles. The tiny A-Class hatch seems unlikely to make the trans-Atlantic trip, but the company’s B-Class MPV – similar to a Mazda 5 – could prove to be a hit. Dr. Z wouldn’t give any time frame for when these cars would arrive.

Ford is on a roll. The Ford Fusion made it onto the top 10 best-selling vehicles list in the U.S. Year-to-date the company has sold 151,000 Fusions beating its previous all-time best sales YEAR – 2007 – by 2,000 units. And Ford’s EcoBoost is proving to be popular. The Detroit News reports that more than 40 percent of Lincoln MKT buyers are taking the EcoBoost option while the Taurus SHO is selling TWICE AS FAST as Ford had projected, at 20 percent of nameplate volume.

But it’s not all good news at Ford. UAW workers at a Ford plant near Kansas City, Missouri are voting to authorize a strike. According to the Detroit Free Press, they’re upset over changes in job requirements that have resulted in more disciplinary actions and are concerned it may lead to job cuts. Voting to authorize a strike gives leadership the ability to call a strike but doesn’t necessarily mean they will go through with it. The two sides are continuing to negotiate.

I know I shouldn’t, but I laughed my head off when we came across this story. The AP reports that a guy near Houston in Texas was driving his Bugatti Veyron, you all know the Bugatti Veyron, it costs over a million dollars. Anyway, the driver claimed that a pelican flew very low over his car, causing him to drop his cell phone. When he leaned over to try and pick it up, he claims the car veered off the road drove into a salt marsh. Now, either this is a guy who is very easily distracted, or there’s more to this story than he’s telling the police.

Coming up next, I sit down with Ian Callum, the head of design at Jaguar to learn about how they’re changing the look of the brand.

On Autoline Detroit this week my guest is Ian Callum, the head of design for Jaguar. Jag, as you all know, is undergoing a design revolution, coming out with an all-new look. And in the following clip, Ian Callum talks about what they want to do with design at Jaguar.

Ian Callum also talks about what it’s like at Jaguar now that it’s owned by Tata, and you can watch the entire interview later today at

I’d also suggest you take a look at last night’s Autoline After Hours that we did with Hal Sperlich, the former president of Chrysler. He has some fantastic insight on where he sees huge opportunities in the auto industry for the right kind of product, and he talks all about what that product should be like. Remember, this is the guy who did the Mustang at Ford and the minivan at Chrysler, he has some brilliant insight.

Ok, it’s the end of the week and that means it’s time to announce the winner of our trivia contest. We asked you to tell us what, Italian truckmaker IVECO name stands for. As most of you correctly responded it’s Industrial Vehicle Corporation. And today’s lucky winner is Judith Fox of Detroit, Michigan. Congratulations Judith, you’ve just won a Autoline Detroit coffee mug.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, vLane, and WWJ Newsradio 950

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