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AutoLine: Episode 277 – Germany Warns About Opel Aid, China Sales May Slow, LA Auto Show Preview

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Germany is warning other European governments not to provide aid to GM in exchange for preserving Opel jobs in their countries. Sales in China could slow down considerably next year, or maybe not at all. A preview of a couple of the products that will be grabbing headlines at next week’s LA Auto Show. All that and more, plus a look at new Lincoln MKT and how it can park itself.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

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Here are today’s top headlines. Germany warns Europe not to give aid to Opel. Sales in China could slow down considerably next year, or maybe not at all. And a small preview of the LA Auto Show.

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

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, November 23, 2009. And now, the news.

The Associated Press reports that Germany is warning other European governments not to provide aid to General Motors in exchange for preserving Opel jobs in their countries. The EU is also warning countries not to provide aid in exchange for keeping jobs. Even though Germany had offered to provide GM large amounts of aid if it sold Opel to Magna and preserved jobs in Germany, that was done by the prior German government, which has changed somewhat since the last elections a few weeks back.

And speaking of GM, it expects its sales in China to slow down considerably next year. According to a report from Gasgoo, GM says sales will only increase 15 percent next year, which is still a pretty good sales increase. But that’s way down from this year’s 50 percent increase. GM expects sales to slow down as the government incentive program comes to an end. And the big topic at the Guangzhou auto show this week is whether or not the Chinese government will extend those incentives. Reuters reports there are some signs that it will do just that.

Ford announced big investment plans for Brazil. According to the Detroit News, the company will pour $2.3 billion in the country over the next five years in order to upgrade and modernize factories. The money will also be used to invest in future product. The Brazilian market is growing strong and Ford wants to beef up its presence there.

The LA Auto Show opens for press days next week, but here’s a preview of a couple of the products that will be grabbing headlines. Lexus has a redesigned version of its midsize SUV. Among many other changes, the GX460 features a smaller engine than its predecessor, the GX470, but it’s more powerful and fuel efficient. A two-wheeled concept will be among Honda’s reveals at LA. The Personal-Neo Urban Transport, or P-NUT for short, is a design study for building an ultra-compact, aggressively styled coupe. No photos of this one yet. Speaking of new product, spy shots of what could be the next-generation Chevy Aveo have surfaced. According to The Detroit News, this B-segment car is expected to be built in Michigan at GM’s Orion Township plant starting next year. And spy shots of the NEW Audi A7 have surfaced. Edmunds.com Inside Line is running these pics. In profile, the car looks long and low, with a sleek body, just like the company’s Sportback concept from the Detroit Show earlier this year. Like the smaller A5 and BMW’s 5 Series GT, the A7 features a dramatically sloping roofline and hatchback access to the trunk.

Chrysler is going to offer big incentives to try and kickstart sales. According to the Detroit Free Press, the company will offer interest-free loans of up to 60 months on any 2010 model, or cash rebates worth up to $4,000 for Jeep vehicles, $3,000 for Chrysler and $2,500 Dodge. And buyers can also choose free feature upgrades, like a DVD player and all-wheel-drive, instead of taking the interest-free loans and rebates depending on the model. The fact that Chrysler is announcing these incentives before we get the November sales figures tells me they’re having a terrible sales month.

The numbers are in. According to the EPA, Honda is the most fuel efficient car company in the U.S. with a fleet average of 23.6 miles per gallon. Hyundai-Kia came is second with a score of 23.4. Not surprisingly, the Detroit automakers finished in the last three spots. But these numbers are SOOOOOO misleading. Honda and Hyundai DO NOT make any PICKUP TRUCKS, FULL-SIZE VANS or SUVs. When you compare apples to apples, like the average for JUST cars, all manufacturers are very close, and in fact, some may score better than Honda.

Coming up next, we’ll take a look at new Lincoln MKT and how it can park itself.

A couple of years ago Lexus was the first automaker out with a self-parking feature. But I’ve got to tell you, I could never get that thing to work no matter how long or hard I tried. So when Lincoln said it was coming out with a self-parking feature, I was mighty skeptical…..until I got in and tried it.

It’s amazing how we kept making the parking spot smaller and smaller but the MKT was able to squeeze right back into it. A key difference between the Lincoln and the Lexus system, is that Lincoln uses sonar sensors instead of video cameras and they seem to be more accurate.

Before we go, don’t forget to vote for us for the podcast awards. Just go to podcastawards.com, scroll down to the business section and vote for Autoline Daily, then verify your vote when the email comes in. Thanks we appreciate your support.

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

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



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