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“GM is alive and Bin Laden is dead,” the Volt hearings and Toyota’s quiet race in today’s Motoramic Dash

January 25, 2012

What we're reading in the Motoramic Dash this morning about auto-themed campaign slogans, Volt hearings and this quiet little race car:

"GM is alive and Bin Laden is dead" [Real Clear Politics] Last night's State of the Union speech by President Obama will, like all such speeches, has a shelf life roughly equal to a gallon of milk. But it's noteworthy for the preview of this year's elections, and for us who follow the auto industry to see how tightly Obama will embrace Detroit's comeback after GM and Chrysler's bankruptcy — even though both moves rank among the least-popular decisions he made. David Axelrod's riff on what the campaign slogan might be isn't that far from the facts.

House committee holds hearing on Volt recall [CSPAN] Go ahead and watch the House Oversight Committee futz around on whether the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pulled any strings in its probe into Volt battery fires. NHTSA's major fault was in not revealing the probe itself — it took a Bloomberg report to do so — and that's led to dozens of other questions about political influence. That's there's no evidence of any such pressure, and that the fault in question has already led GM to a recall, won't stop the hearing.

Toyota reveals LeMans hybrid race car [Autoexpress] Toyota's officially unwrapped the LeMans prototype racer it plans to challenge Audi with this year, powered by a 3.4-liter V8 tied to a hybrid system. Lots of companies have jumped into the top rung of endurance racing only to embarrass themselves; but given Toyota's history with the series, the hybrid could be a real contender.

L.A. court seeks more info in Honda hybrid small claims suit [Detroit News] Remember Heather Peters, the attorney who sued Honda in small-claims court saying her Civic Hybrid never delivered the mileage promised, and suggested other aggrieved owners should go to small claims as well. The judge in the case wants to hear more arguments and has some legal questions as well.

Nissan plans $2 billion factory for Mexico [AutoNews] To plug demand for Versas — yes, Versas — Nissan will build a new $2 billion factory in Mexico capable of kicking out 175,000 vehicles a year, for sale in the United States, Mexico and Latin America.