March 12, 2008
Ron Gettelfinger, UAW. Your strike action against American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. is turning into a disaster - for you - and what's left of your union. GM is chugging along happily reducing light truck inventory, and now American Axle suggests it will move more of its operations out of the U.S. if you don't get it together. The choice is clear: jobs at reduced wages and benefits, or no jobs at all. Stubbornness is not a virtue in this case Ronnie G.
The Hummer H3T Pickup. If there's an upcoming model that falls under the definition of the wrong vehicle at the wrong time, it's the Hummer H3T pickup due next fall. The potential for this truck to be a non-starter in the land of near $4.00 per gallon gasoline is huge. Hummer doesn't need another product that requires "excuse" marketing at this point. The future of the Hummer brand lies with the HX concept unveiled at the NAIAS. The H4 - as it will be called - was needed yesterday.
Chrysler. The hits just keep on coming for the Gang from Auburn Hills as Chrysler products stunk-up the latest Consumer Reports annual auto issue finishing dead last or near last in almost every category its vehicles appeared.
Mark Tapscott. Mark is editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner and author of the long-running “Behind the Wheel” new car and truck reviews that appear each Friday in the Washington and Baltimore editions of The Examiner. He has been proprietor of Tapscott’s Copy Desk blog and Tapscott Behind the Wheel blogs since 2004. His latest missive about the state of Maryland ("America's Police State") and their quest to ticket and tax speeders is worth the read.
Audi AG. The good news? Audi said it would pay an average bonus of 5,300 euro ($8,191) for each of its estimated 45,000 employees, or a total of 222 million euros ($343 million) due to "excellent" profits delivered in 2007. That is almost double the bonus paid the previous year. The bad news? Stories emerging from the German media indicate that Ferdinand Piech and Wendelin Wiedeking would be joining the Audi supervisory board in May. Uh-oh.
Nissan. Jean Halliday broke the story today in AdAge that Mark McNabb, the top American at Nissan North America, has resigned unexpectedly. Mr. McNabb, 47, senior VP-sales and marketing for the Nissan and Infiniti brands, is believed to be moving to an undisclosed Detroit carmaker; he had faced aggressive and unrealistic sales targets from his superiors at Nissan, an executive close to the situation said. Thus continues the exodus of a long line of executives who have left the company since Nissan moved its headquarters from southern California to Nashville.
Kwame Kilpatrick. Publisher's Note: This item only interests people from this area, but it needs to be said. The Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, a walking, talking embarrassment who defies all rational explanation at this point, delivered his so-called "State of the City" speech last night, which was typical political B.S. fare - that is until the last five minutes - when he went off on a unscripted tirade against all of the people "out to get him." Now let's be clear, this guy has been blatantly linked to perjury and obstruction of justice charges, bid-rigging and costing this shell-shocked, financially strapped city $8.4 million in a secret legal settlement that should have never happened and that the city can't afford. And what does the esteemed mayor do? He goes off on the media and his critics, blaming them for all of his problems in an attempt to portray himself as the victim in this mess saying the treatment he was getting was "unethical" and "immoral" - while playing the race card to boot using the "n-word" and the term "lynch mob mentality" for effect. It was a reprehensible, disgusting and flat-out inexcusable display that perfectly summarized the despicable behavior that has characterized this idiot's administration from Day One. Memo to Kwame: The only "unethical" and "immoral" component in this mess is you, Mr. Mayor. Pathetic. - PMD
Pratt & Miller Engineering. The first convertible version of the Pratt & Miller Corvette C6RS supercar for the street will be on display at this weekend's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the season-opening round of the 11-race American Le Mans Series. Conceived, designed, developed and constructed by the championship-winning Pratt & Miller Corvette Racing team, the Corvette C6RS is powered by a Katech Performance 8.2-liter (500ci) all-aluminum small-block V-8 engine that produces 600 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. torque. All versions of the Pratt & Miller Corvette C6RS employ purpose-built carbon fiber body panels to reduce weight and improve aerodynamic efficiency. A computer-controlled adjustable suspension system, center-nut forged aluminum BBS wheels with Michelin tires, and massive Brembo monoblock disc brakes enhance vehicle dynamics. A two-tone leather interior and a comprehensive sound control system produce a quiet, comfortable environment for driver and passenger. The bright yellow C6RS that will be featured in the Corvette Corral at Sebring International Raceway belongs to Jim Miller, co-founder of Pratt & Miller Engineering. Orders are now being taken for the limited-edition Corvette in both coupe and convertible body styles, with the first deliveries to customers beginning in April. Pratt & Miller thus fills a void that GM doesn't offer to customers - that of an ultra high-performance Corvette roadster. "Developing the Corvette C6RS supercar has been as rewarding as developing the championship-winning Corvette C6.R race car," said Gary Pratt, co-owner of Pratt & Miller Engineering. "We focused on performance, of course, but also on noise, ride quality, and passenger comfort attributes that aren't considered in a purebred racing car." The Corvette C6RS can now be built on a Corvette Z06, Corvette coupe, or Corvette convertible platform. "Our prototype was based on the Z06's aluminum chassis, but in building the first convertible, we've now developed a suspension package for the hydroformed steel chassis used in Corvette coupes and convertibles," Pratt explained. Detailed information on the Pratt & Miller Corvette C6RS is available online at www.prattmillerc6rs.com. (Photos courtesy of Pratt & Miller)