1st Gear: Democrats Claim All The Credit For Auto Bailout
Last week, Republicans gave their version of the events of 2008 and 2009. Last night, it was Democrats' turn to get the facts wrong. One of the biggest whoppers came from UAW President Bob King, who vastly overstated the Republicans' opposition to helping the car companies. "Unfortunately, most Republicans advocated doing nothing. What did Mitt Romney say? 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.'" (Delegates could take home keychains with that phrase, like the one in this photo tweeted by NPR's Don Gonyea.)
Of course, President Bush provided the first assistance to General Motors and Chrysler, through $17.4 billion in aid — $13.4 billion that went directly to the car companies, another $4 billion in funds released by Congress. Further, a bailout bill passed the House, with 32 Republicans joining 205 Democrats to support the measure (although 105 Republicans and 20 Democrats opposed it). The bill died in the Senate, but not before Tennessee Republican Bob Corker proposed a compromise whose terms ended up in the Obama administration's bailout packages.
Down on the convention floor, many delegates waved signs saying "1.1 Million Jobs Saved" a figure that former Jalopnik writer Justin Hyde noted is higher than the million jobs that most experts say is the ceiling of what the bailout paid for. (The number apparently includes direct, indirect, and something called "expenditure related" jobs.) Bill Clinton, in his nominating speech, declared there were 250,000 more people working in the auto industry "than on the day the companies were restructured." (He didn't mention that some of those jobs are at foreign owned plants down South.)
2nd Gear: Yet Another Ford Escape Recall
The Associated Press reports Ford has recalled the 2013 Escape again, this time for coolant leaks that could cause the engine to overheat or catch fire. The recall affects 7,600 of the new Escapes, equipped with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine. According to AP, it's the third recall in less than two months for the redesigned SUV, which also has had problems with fuel lines and carpet padding. In July, the company recalled 11,500 Escapes to fix lines that can crack, leak and cause fires that could lead to... fiery death. That same month, Ford said it would recall more than 10,000 of the vehicles to fix carpet padding that can interfere with braking. Safety advocates say three recalls in two months ought to set off alarm bells. Ford, however, says the recalls are proof it is responding quickly to problems.
3rd Gear: Audi Puts Its S Line On Parade
If you were watching football last night instead of the Democratic National Convention, you probably spotted the new commercial for the 2013 Audi S models. Audi is rolling the sport line out in the U.S. for the first time, and it's talking about them in a campaign whose tag line is "Heighten Every Moment." Along with football telecasts, Audi will be showing the spots on Food Network, FX, National Geographic, ESPN, USA, CNN, and AMC. The VW luxury brand also will be advertising during the Super Bowl, which means Luxkrieg will be in front of your eyes all fall and some of winter, too.
4th Gear: Boy, Can You Get A Deal On A Chevrolet Volt
Forbes reports on an eye-popping lease deal that's been offered on the Chevrolet Volt. Detroit bureau chief Joann Muller says her neighbors recently took home a $44,000 Volt on a two-year lease deal for just $159 a month. (That's the kind of price you expect to see for a Corolla or maybe a Focus.) They didn't have to put anything down, and got a free tank of gas. Nobody envisioned that when the Volt came out that it would sell for so little: in fact, Rick Wagoner vowed to Congress that it was the car that would lead GM out of its troubles and into a high-tech future. Officially, the best deal on Volt has been $249 a month. But Muller's neighbors discovered that GM dealers were offered extra cash if they exceed their Volt sales targets, up to $2,500 per vehicle. And, her neighbors, who traded in a BMW, unexpectedly got another $1,000 off. GM says the program has expired, but as Muller says, we'll probably see this one again.
5th Gear: Ford Not-Fusion Mondeo Gets 1.0-Liter Three-Cylinder EcoBoost
Ford's all excited that the Mondeo (what we call a Ford Fusion) is getting the brand's 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine three-cylinder. Yes, you heard that right, a three-cylinder engine (threebanger?) in a mid-size car. Welcome to the future. To show off the new engine the brand popped it into a Formula Ford to set a 7:22 lap at the Nürburgring, which they say is the 11th fastest all-time lap... if you don't count race cars. Which this is.
Reverse: Tank You, Tank You Very Much
On this day in 1915, the first prototype tank, nicknamed Little Willie, rolled off an assembly line in England. It weighed 14 tons, got stuck in trenches, and crawled along at only 2 miles per hour. But it changed military history forever. Little Willie was followed by another prototype, Big Willie, and then the Mark 1, the actual production tank, which made its debut at the first Battle of the Somme. [History]
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Today, tell us what you think of the Escape recalls. A reason to be concerned? Or Ford doing its job? Remember there's no right answer or wrong answer. It's Neutral.
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