Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Upstarts!

Photo
-

The U.S. government has pumped more than $100 billion into Detroit over the past year to keep automakers General Motors and Chrysler alive. But some of the sector’s remaining capitalists are having a hard time stomaching a $25 billion Department of Energy loan program intended to spark new developments in electric cars. 

Start-ups Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors have won about $1 billion in combined funding, while longtime players Ford and Nissan have received substantially larger loans from Washington to work on vehicle electrification — a technology the White House and many in the industry hope will reduce the United States’ dependence on imported oil and lower emissions of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas. 

Funneling federal money to new entrants to the automaking world does not sit right with Tim Leuliette, chief executive of parts supplier Dura Automotive. 

“If there’s a real market for electric vehicles, the OEMs will do it,” Leuliette said, using industry jargon for automakers. “We don’t need to have people who have never built a car in their life take $1 billion of our tax money and say ‘I can do it too.’” 

The secret lives of auto executives

Photo
-

Ed Whitacre sneaks off to breakfast at a Detroit greasy spoon. Sergio Marchionne’s attention to detail extends to the condition of his factories’ bathrooms. And Bill Ford helped save his great-grandfather’s company by hocking the blue oval. 

These are just a few of the glimmers of top Detroit auto executives’ lives that you get when you sit down with Ron Gettelfinger, head of the United Auto Workers union. 

Diehl: Ford & UAW need to “work at it” a little more…

-

William Diehl, chief executive of advisory firm BBK says Ford and the United Auto Workers union need to work a little harder to come to some sort of agreement that puts the automaker on a more level playing field with its rivals. Click here to listen to what he had to say at the 2009 Reuters Autos Summit.

Diehl on Ford-UAW contract talks from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

Yahoo cedes search game to Google, for now

-

(Updated with more quotes)

If you’re losing the game, time to change the playing field. Yahoo is counting on exactly that.

Ari Balogh, Yahoo’s chief technology officer and product development czar, would be among the first to admit that Google reigns supreme in the search space.

  •