Daily Edition: Apr. 7, 2006

April 7, 2006

Audi Unveils 2007 TT

Apparently, Audi just couldn't wait. The German automaker was all set to lift the veil on its next-generation TT at the New York International Auto Show, next week. But Audi decided not to wait for theNew York show, a lightly attended event for the European press, and unveiled the car in Berlin on Thursday.

It's been six years since Audi introduced the original TT, a car that did a lot to buff up the automaker's sporty image. For the new version Audi increased both the car's overall length and width. It now measures 165 inches nose to tail, and 72.4 inches door to door, up five and three inches respectively.

Read more about the new TT



Padilla Retiring from Ford

Jim Padilla plans to step down as president and chief operating officer of the Ford Motor Co., effective July 1, the automaker announced late Thursday. Padilla said he had decided the time was right to end a 40-year career with the automaker.

Find out more about Ford's plans to succeed Padilla




Kia President Barred from Leaving Korea

Kia Motors President Chung Eui-sun has been reportedly barred from leaving the country amid a widening probe into suspicions that Kia and its parent Hyundai Motor may have created slush funds to bribe government officials.

Chung Eui-sun is the only of Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo, who recently flew to the U.S. in what appears to be a move to avoid expanding investigation into the two automakers.

Prosecutors have raided offices of the two automakers and their affiliates - Kia, logistics unit Glovis Co., and parts maker Hyundai Autonet. They later questioned key officials of the companies.

Glovis is suspected of embezzling company money to create slush funds.

Company officials said Chung's one-week trip, which includes a visit to its Alabama plant, had been planned before the investigation was launched last month.

Hyundai Motor is suspected of paying a lobbyist billions of won (millions of dollars) from slush funds to use his influence to acquire construction approvals and business permits. -Peter Chang



What Happens When The Oil Runs Out?

That's a question of increasing concern, and one that echoed through Cobo Hall this week, during the annual SAE World Congress. That's likely to remain a subject of intense debate in the coming years, but during a panel discussion of future energy sources, Nigel Gale, director of the Southwest Research Institute, said there's growing consensus we're approaching "the big rollover." By the middle of the 21st Century, and perhaps by 2020, humans will be using more oil than they're discovering. So what can fill the gap?

There's been plenty of talk about the so-called "hydrogen economy," said Dr. David Baldwin, senior vice president of General Atomics. But where will our hydrogen come from? It's everywhere we look, but not in usable form. As the name of his company might imply, Baldwin's focus is on a new breed of high-temperature nuclear reactors being billed as safer and cleaner - and Baldwin added, produce a fraction of the waste of today's light water reactors.

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