Re-Grilled, E85ed and ESPed
Dodge will update the Durango SUV for the 2007 model year
in anticipation of a new hybrid version coming in the 2008 model year. For this
year, the Durango
sports a revised grille that mirrors
the one installed on the Caliber hatchback. The 4.7-liter V-8 engine available
on the Durango
is now available as an E85-powered vehicle, which means it can use ethanol-blend
fuel instead of gasoline. And inside, the Durango
gets curtain airbags, electronic
parking assistance, and stability control. Dual-zone climate control, remote
starting, and 20-inch wheels are new options. In the 2008 model year, the
get more updates to its floorpan, second-row seats, and electrical system so that
the HEMI-powered versions can be mated to a battery pack, turning the HEMI into
a hybrid powertrain. Dodge promises up to a 25-percent fuel-economy benefit from
the dual-mode hybrid coming in '08.
Spy Shots: '07
Chrysler Aspen by Brenda Priddy
New Durango-based ute
coming in January.
Miller Says GM Is the Key
Ultimately, General Motors will
provide the key to locking down a settlement between bankrupt supplier Delphi
Corp. and its increasingly angry union workers, Delphi CEO Steve Miller told
TheCarConnection on Wednesday.
The automaker, Miller noted, has
already booked $5.5 billion to cover the anticipated cost of a bailout. GM
recently unveiled a proposal to buy out thousands of Delphi workers and bring still more back to the
automaker's own plants. But that proposal has not secured a settlement,
especially now with Delphi asking that the
judge in its bankruptcy case to toss out its current labor agreement. If
approved, that would slash wages and eliminate thousands of jobs.
"We're broke," said Miller,
insisting that only GM can ante up what it will take to satisfy the UAW and
Delphi's other unions. But with the automaker
facing its own troubles, "It's a question," said Miller, "of whether they can
Despite the angry rhetoric flowing
from labor leaders, Delphi's CEO said he's
confident union officials understand the supplier's situation and recognize the
need to sidestep a confrontation. "I'm confident we can avoid one. A strike
doesn't do anyone any good. It just destroys value." Even so, Miller
acknowledged that there's a political issue at stake as well. Many top leaders
of the UAW are up for re-election in June, while others are stepping down. That
could make it more difficult for the union to take what Miller believes are the
necessary steps. -TCC Team
Find out why Steve Miller wants
Delphi to band together
Bill Ford Says No Bankruptcy
The challenge for Ford Motor Co.
is to institutionalize change, said CEO Bill Ford, "without it being chaotic. We
have to make (innovation) part of the decision-making process without disrupting
the company." Ford had plenty more to say during an appearance on Wednesday,
where he was named Industry Executive of the Year.
Has Ford stabilized, or is it
still in freefall?
Tower Prepares Chapter 11 Exit
Tower Automotive Inc. has reached
an agreement with retirees on pension and healthcare issues and remains in talks
with its unions on proposed wage and benefit cuts, chief executive Kathleen
Ligocki said on Wednesday. Ligocki said the agreement was an important step
forward in the company's effort to exit bankruptcy by the end of next
Tower, a metal vehicle frames producer that filed for bankruptcy
protection in February 2005, has asked a bankruptcy judge to cancel its labor
agreements with its unions, including the United Steelworkers and the United
Auto Workers. The judge, however, has not yet ruled on the motion.