What's Up Mac? April 1-5, 2015


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from Mac Gordon
Senior Editor
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

News Flash

The Volkswagen Group was dealt a strong power play in the midsize sedan segment, killing the exclusive 5-cylinder engine on Passat and Jetta SE models and replacing it with a 1.8 liter 170 hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine fitted for its long-awaited turbo diesel model front wheel drive.

Unlike other midsize sedans, VW has retained a top speed of 126 mph which allows it to compete with the VW pairs at a $21,240 price and performance levels of 126 mph top speed, and 26/36 mpg.

Jettas and Passats, moreover, have entered the “family sedan” sweepstakes with a 5-speed manual transmission which reaches zero to 60 in only 7.2 seconds and a new 6-speed dual clutch AT that lifts acceleration smoothly.

As a front-drive champion from Beetle, Golf and Vanagon, Volkswagen remains one of the most sustainable and affordable 5-passenger cars among 4-door sedans whether built in Wolfsburg, Puebla or Montgomery. the unique and historic 4-cylinder engine attests to VW’s staying power and should fit in without question as a global player in 2015 and on.

A fifth cylinder on the 4-banger added to curb weight of 3,040 lbs., and will help to bolster fuel economy in preparation for diesel-engine owners.

Quotable: “This new Jetta never grins; what it has is an over-the-road stoicism that neither excites nor offends.”

April Fools Day Bulletin from Mac Gordon

WOODLAND HILLS, CA - GM’s ignition recalls on the negative side are offset by BMW of its plan to expand its new X series of crossover vehicles at its non-union plant in Spartanburg, SC.

This would make the 20th-year-old Spartanburg plant BMW’s oldest and largest out of 28 global production sites.

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer, announcing the growth of Spartanburg, said that Munich-based BMW would raise the new plants’ employment by 800 as it grows in capacity of X5 compacts and X7 sedans.

BMW expands in SC, Mercedes with CLA, VW with Diesel Jetta

BMW joins the other two German automakers in U.S. production growth projects – Volkswagen with Passat sedans at Chattanooga, TN and Mercedes with the new CLA250 sports compact.

Will the BMW plant’s “work council” in Memphis accede to UAW pressure in South Carolina? Or Nissan plants in TN bite union bullet in Volunteer State.

If football teams can form an NLRB OK’d union what’s to stop nurses, legal assistants, parts suppliers and umpires, referees and sports game officials and band members?

EDITOR NOTE: April Fools Day 4/4/14

Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Rhodes accepts GM’s latest bid for GM chapter nine consideration, driven by hundreds of thousands of more unsafe ignition locks. GM CEO Mary Barra faced hearings before House and Senate Committees and renewed her apologies for belated correction of dealer repairs among six GM brands.

Barra appears more contrite and apologetic in her Federal appearances, seemingly overwhelmed by the harshness of ignition breakdown accidents, fatalities and injuries therefrom and “gravity” of her role throughout. She couldn’t promise, beyond the latest batch of recalls, that GM would create a victims claims fund, pending further hearings before bankruptcy court judges.

BOTTOM LINE: “Enough already,” agree GM dealers. There may be repercussions - that is among six scrapped GM brands.

FACTOID: GM is recalling 1.3 million vehicles worldwide (12 deaths, 31 crashes.)

Past recallees that bailed out: Ford Explorers rollovers; Chrysler defrosters and windshield wiper motors; all made-in-China airbags and seatbelts; (Chinese balk at wearing them, stand out as country with largest accident and fatality rates!!!) (Chrysler joins the fun with recall of 850,000 SUVs due to braking problems.)

ATTN: Glen and Rob “Mary Mary quite contrary – but how does your garden grow?”

MAYDAY MEMO:

CONGRESSIONAL HEARING NAILS GM NHTSA FOR DELAYS IN RECTIFYING IGNITION FIXES

NEW GM CEO MARY BARRA PROMISES SPEEDUP IN REPLACEMENTS WORLDWIDE

SPECIAL DAMAGE FUND FOR VICTIMS EN ROUTE

CRACKDOWN ON INITIAL GM RESPONDENT’S

GM DEALERS BRACE FOR OWNERS SERVICE DELAYS, LAWSUITS

GM RECALL BLITZ REQUEST AS OF 4-04-14

WASHINGTON DC – Here is an update on GM CEO Mary Barra’s offensive and counter-offensive testimony before U.S. Senate and House members. Ms. Barra, the GM “lifer” who took a defensive position on GM’s huge ignition switch this past week as recalls tried to regain yardage against a blitz of blamers from the Congressional side, hinting there would be a victims’ damages fund plus a gaggle of ousters and firings. CA Senators Barbara Boxer, Richard Blumenthal and Clair McCaskill wouldn’t relent in a chamber filled with relatives of victims of ignition-caused accidents plus enlarged fotos of crashes of ignition failed vehicles.

Making recalls well before technicians advised executives of malfunctioning switches.

GM had no excuse over such sloppy behavior. Democrats and Republicans alike had no excuse. Repeat. None. Like Ford’s Explorer fiasco and Chrysler’s power-motors debacle. Poor Mary: She’s paying off redemption millions. As this service for auto-reviewers has asserted: “Mary Poppins and Minnie Mouse are no role models for Mary Barra’s new assumption of power.

What’s the payoff? Ms. Barra will be best advised to emulate Lee Iacocca’s selfie “Management Technique” and leave past CEO mishaps untouched.

Ms. Barra shed a tear as fathers of daughters killed in crashes were introduced.

The courts were left with an unresolved issue: Whether criminal liability should be raised in safety-related cases.

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