The Night That WAS. Monday, November 17, 2008

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
the night that was monday november 17 2008
Gooooooooooooooood morning, America! While America Slept (WAS) is a daily TTAC round-up of the news that happened in other continents and time-zones (such as California.) With a network of correspondents around the globe, TTAC provides round-the-clock coverage of everything that has wheels. Or that has its wheels coming off. Welcome to the morning zoo.Lemon-Aid: Several people at Daimler’s Quality Assurance department in Sindelfingen are being investigated by Stuttgart’s public prosecutor, writes the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The allegation: They intentionally made cars with flaws. The fixing of which was outsourced. The companies that did the fixing fixed up the QA guys with expensive gifts and luxury trips. Damage: “In the high million Euros.” They might be doing time for that.Porsche agrees with Obama: Porsche wants change. At the Volkswagen Supervisory Board Meeting this week, Porsche Chief “Wendy” Wiedeking will request that VW keeps the Golf VI (that’s Roman numeral 6) longer than until 2011 (as planned.) Should save some R&D money right here and now. Also to be changed: A “Committee for Special Business Relations.” That committee prevented know-how transfer from Audi to Porsche. Porsche thinks, the committee is superfluous. Also reported in the Sueddeutsche. POTUS is a Renegade: Speaking of Obama, the London Times reports that the “The United States Secret Service revealed its not-so-secret code-name for president-elect Barack Obama last week: Renegade. If it sounds like the make of a car, that’s because it is. The Renegade is a concept car being developed by Chrysler, an open-topped jeep powered by electricity and diesel. Should the car ever make it into production then, like its namesake president-to-be, it, too, promises change – this time at 110 miles per gallon.” Gotta love them Brit sentences. Wait, there’s more!BIG sale for Caddy: Germany’s Welt meanwhile reports that Obama will get a new Caddy DTS, even heavier armored than Dubbya’s ride. Snickers the paper: “At least one bit of good sales news for the stricken company.” They think the DTS is fake, “it’s a dressed-up truck, built on the GM 2500 base.” Die Welt obviously reads Trucktrend.Honda is looking at higher sales – in India. With the growing popularity of the Honda City in India, Honda Siel Cars India is looking at an overall sales target of 65,000 to 70,000 units for 2008 compared to 62,000 units last year. Says so in India’s Merinews.No more smiles in Thailand: Thailand’s car sales fell 15.4 percent in October in the steepest loss of the year. Passenger car sales were up 20.4 percent, but commercial vehicle sales, which make up a far greater share of the market in the land of the tuk-tuk, fell 28.3 percent and dragged overall figures down. AFP has the story. Undaunted, China’s Chery is set to assemble cars in Thailand, sez Gasgoo.Chery randy, but pleased: In related news, China’s largest homegrown automobile manufacturer Chery Automobile Co. reports “very pleasing” exports – to South Africa. The weakening South African Rand is giving them the willies, though. Details in Gasgoo.I pray to God, I’m sorry: A Fairfield, CA, priest who had asked for a car with several “Obama for President” stickers to be exorcised from the church parking lot a week ago apologized to churchgoers for his outburst. The Rev. Sebastian Meyer, pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church, read an apology at all the church’s Masses “for the poor judgment I showed in expressing myself.” More in the Mercury News.Going, going, gone: Shanghai Automobile Industry Hudong Sales Co, a dealer of cars made by Shanghai Volkswagen Co Ltd, can’t pay their bills. They are auctioning off a 50-percent stake in the venture, Gasgoo writes. Minimum bid is 1 yuan (US$0.15) According to the usually unreliable books, total assets of Hudong Sales are 47.15 million yuan, debt is 47.58 million yuan. Sound familiar?Opel-Ordeal: Hats in hands, Carl-Peter Foster, chief of GM Europe, Hans Demant, head of GM’s German Opel subsidiary, and Opel’s workers council chief Klaus Franz are meeting German chancelor Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister Steinbrück in Berlin today. Also present: Economy Minister Glos, and very curious, Lothar de Maizière. Maizière was the last leader of former East Germany, and allegedly on the payroll of the Stasi. What’s he doing in the meeting? Die Welt insists he will be there. In the meantime, voices in Germany, especially from the unions, demand louder and louder that “GM sets Opel free.” Writes the Handelsblatt. Opel’s workers council, which met over the weekend, demands: “Berlin must make sure that the money won’t leave Opel.” Über-shopsteward Franz just said: “We need to be independent from GM. In 2009, we want our own money for our own new products.”Foreign Affairs: There will be another high level meeting this afternoon in Berlin. Other auto industry officials will discuss the state of the industry. Oddly enough with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. This according to AP via Is it because their plight is foreign to Berlin? Or maybe it’s because Steinmeier is Merkel’s vice chancellor. He also wants her job in the next elections.Good morning, GM! After every child around the globe already knows that GM Europe will be in today’s meeting with Angela, GM Europe finally confirmed this morning that they are “meeting Monday with the German government over possible support for its Opel operations in Germany.” Nelson Silveira at GM Europe just said that to Marketwatch. And, just in case other governments are eager to give to the cause, he added: “The company is also open to discussions with other governments.” Goodness gratuitous.Is nothing sacred anymore? Toyota is used to high ratings. “Don’t bank on it” says the Fitch Ratings agency. According to Reuters, Fitch put Toyota’s top-notch credit ratings on “watch negative.” Meaning: They might lower Toyota’s “AAA” rating after a review of several weeks. Reasons? The usual suspects: “A downturn in the global auto industry and a stronger yen.” Darn. Your yen is up, and that Fitch gets a headache. The ratings agency affirmed Toyota’s short term default ratings at “F1+.” Which is as good as it gets.Loman’s choice: Just before Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe, rushed off to Berlin, Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley revealed to him that the Vauxhall Insignia has won the coveted COTY, a.k.a. European Car of the Year award for 2009, beating the heavily favored Ford Fiesta by a solitary point. 59 motoring journalists in 23 European countries gave 321 points to GM’s “repmobile” ( Telegraph). 320 went to the Fiesta. The VW Golf ranks third, but far away with 223 points.GM says sayonara to Suzuki: Desperately seeking dollars, General Motors Corp sells back its 3.02 percent stake in Suzuki Motor Corp for $232m, AFP says. Suzuki had entered into a capital tie-up with GM in 1981. Suzuki is paying 1,363 yen per share, not a sen more than Suzuki’s Monday closing price at the Tokyo exchange. The two might continue to co-operate on developing hybrid cars, and there may be tie-ups in emerging markets, Suzuki said. Suzukin can afford the price: They held 456 billion yen (US$4.73-billion) in cash and cash equivalents at the end of March.
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  • Dave M. I think I last listened to AM after 9/11, but the talk radio cesspool took its toll on my mental health. Prior to that I last listened to AM in the '70s....I'm a 20-year XM subscriber; Apple Music also has me in its grip. For traffic conditions I use Waze, which I've found to be highly reliable.
  • Art Vandelay Install shortwave so I can get numbers stations
  • THX1136 Radio World has been talking about this for a few years now. The public perception of AM has done much to malign it. As some have pointed out, there are parts of the country that work well with AM, especially when considering range. Yes indeed, there are options. To me that's what this is more about. The circuitry for AM is probably all on one chip now - or close to it. It cannot be a matter of cost - even at the inflated manufacturer asking price. Making what appears to be an arbitrary decision and reducing choice seems unwise in the area of radio in vehicles.Some have commented that they never listen to AM 'so I'm not missing it'. I'm guessing that many folks don't use ALL the features their many devices offer. Yet, they are still there for those occasions when one wants to avail themselves. Bottom line for me is it should still be an available option for the folks out there that, for whatever reason, want to access AM radio. Side note: Top 40 radio on AM was where all the music I listened to as a youth (55 years ago) came from, there were few (if any) FM stations at that time that carried the format. FM was mostly classical and talk and wasn't ubiquitously available in a portable form - AM was. FYI, the last I knew all stations - AM & FM - still have to have an EAS system as part of their broadcast chain. It's tested by the FCC at least once a year and all stations must be able to pass along the alert messages or face action from the FCC to correct the situation.
  • Robert I don't know why they don't use a knob for the gear shifter on the console like in the Ford Fusion. Takes up a lot less space than a shifter on the console and looks a lot better than a stalk on the steering column.
  • David S. "Stellantis" a woke company showing off evil ICE trucks!?! Bernie Sanders is having a stroke!!