MotorMediaWatch May 23

The Indiana Jones motorcycle — what IS it?
When Shia LaBeouf speeds through a college campus with Harrison Ford riding shotgun, it will be aboard a Harley-Davidson. (LAT)+++

Gearhead alert: Cyclone Engine, a big steamer?
A novel steam engine design from Cyclone Power Technolgies (Pompano Beach, Fla.) — and EX-ternal combustion engine, strictly speaking(LAT)+++

Show restraint this weekend — thanks to Volvo
The boys in blue are running a ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign to make sure that Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest on American roads, isn’t memorable for all the wrong reasons.(LAT)+++

Spend Father’s Day on Rodeo Drive — Dad won’t mind
With Mother’s Day done and dusted, the next headache is Father’s Day, a breed who are notoriously difficult to buy for..(LAT)+++

Ford Stumble Signals Rising Risks
Ford said it is “extremely unlikely” to return to a profit in 2009 as higher gas prices cut into sales. CEO Mullally said the industry has “reached a tipping point” and that falling truck sales represent a long-term shift in the market. Ford shares fell 8.2%. (WSJ)+++

Questions for Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick is one of the biggest names competing at this year’s Indianapolis 500 race, both because she is a top driver and because she is a woman. She talks about what it takes to win one of the biggest sporting events in the world. (WSJ)+++

Ride Screen: Three Row SUVs
While the third-row isn’t always the best seat in an SUV, many buyers want them for occasional use. Here are five SUVs with third-row seats that get better-than-average fuel economy for the class.(WSJ)+++

Car Cast
David Patton and Mathew Passy discuss how motorists are going smaller, in some cases from four wheels to two, and how this is driving up prices of used vehicles. Also, car companies work to change perceptions about small-car safety while struggling to overcome a bubble in the U.S. market. (WSJ)+++

Honda Plans a Low-Cost Hybrid
Honda will introduce a low-cost, gasoline-electric hybrid car in the U.S., Japan and Europe early next year, one of four new hybrids it plans to release by 2015.(WSJ)+++

Worries About a Timing Belt
This week, Jonathan Welsh offers advice to readers on when to change the timing belt, why to keep a big SUV if saving money is important and why Toyota won’t make a new Previa minivan. (WSJ)+++

GM union approves new contract at Kansas plant
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Union members at General Motors’ Fairfax assembly plant here have approved a new contract, ending a nearly three-week-old strike. (SJM)+++

Ford cuts North American production, profit goal
Ford Motor is cutting North American production of pickups and SUVs as car buyers eyeing record gas prices turn toward more fuel-efficient models. The automaker says it no longer expects to return to profitability by 2009. (SJM)+++

American Axle workers OK contract, ending long strike
BREAKING NEWS: Workers from the largest union local at American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc. approved a new contract Thursday, ending a nearly three-month-old strike.(DFP)+++

Ford trimming production, cutting jobs by Aug. 1
When gasoline prices hit $3.50 a gallon last month, Ford Motor Co.’s promising start to 2008 fell off course.(DFP)+++

Axle workers at crossroads
More than 3,600 striking American Axle workers are contemplating crucial choices about whether to stay with the company at a lower wage with a cash payment to soften the reduction, or take a buyout and move on.(DFP)+++

Consultant: Auto woes far from over
The challenges faced by the North American automotive industry are far from over, according to John Hoffecker, managing director of AlixPartners LLC, a turnaround consulting firm in Southfield.(DFP)+++

Kansas GM employees to return
Greg Murray wasn’t looking forward to getting up at 5 a.m. today, but he’s happy to be returning to work at General Motors Corp.’s Fairfax Assembly in Kansas City, Kan.(DFP)+++

Ford board stays neutral on Kerkorian offer
Ford Motor Co.’s board of directors today announced that it will remain neutral in advising shareholders about billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s cash tender.(DFP)+++

Mulally’s memo to Ford employees
Here is a memo Ford CEO Alan Mulally sent today to Ford employees:(DFP)+++

Corn grown for ethanol feeds feud over food
Thanks to rising food prices, ethanol has lost its luster in Washington. Lawmakers reworked the recent farm bill to lower incentives for ethanol. The governor of Texas wants a waiver from federal requirements for more of the fuel in the coming years.(DFP)+++

Flex has streamlined lines
Ford’s striking new Flex wagon, which goes on sale next month, has a number of unusual design elements, including its two-tone paint and low and wide proportions, but none are more unusual than the horizontal grooves stamped into its doors.(DFP)+++

Ferrari Spyder bid sets a record
A record for automotive auctions was set last weekend in Italy. British TV and radio personality Chris Evans paid $10,894,900 for a 1961 Ferrari California Spyder formerly owned by actor James Coburn.(DFP)+++

Small used cars selling quickly
The beige 2003 Honda Civic sat on Mike Haile’s used-car lot in Atlanta for only three days before he sold it for $8,200. And that was $300 more than the asking price.(DFP)+++

Decision day for metro Detroit American Axle workers difficult
As a contract vote at the largest UAW local representing workers at American Axle & Manufacturing & Inc. dwindled into its last hours, workers who accepted the deal did so with reluctance. For those who said they rejected the contract, it was their last chance to protest.(DFP)+++

Ford shares sink upon news, making Kerkorian bid more attractive
If billionaire Kirk Kerkorian didn’t have enough takers on his offer to buy 20 million shares of Ford Motor Co. stock — at $8.50 a piece — he might face a stampede now.(DFP)+++

Telematics Detroit 2008 conference sold out
The Telematics Detroit 2008 conference, to be held at the Rock Financial Showplace through today, is sold out, according to show organizers. Nearly 1,500 exhibitors and others attended Wednesday to discuss in-car infotainment, navigation and other emerging technologies.(DFP)+++

American Axle workers face life-changing decision
Striking workers are contemplating crucial choices about whether to stay with the company at a lower wage with a cash payment to soften the reduction, or take a buyout and move on.(DFP)+++

Kansas GM workers OK contract
Greg Murray wasn’t looking forward to getting up at 5 a.m., but he’s happy to be returning to work at General Motors Corp.’s Fairfax Assembly in Kansas City, Kan.(DFP)+++

Read advice from a financial adviser on the American Axle strike
Do you have questions about what to do if the deal is ratified? Should you take a buyout? How do you plan for retirement after taking a wage cut? How should you use your buy-down? Workers at American Axle’s largest Detroit plant will decide today if they should accept a contract that would change…(DFP)+++

Chevy plant may restart Thursday
General Motors Corp. could be producing its hot-selling Chevrolet Malibu in full force again by the end of the week following the news late Tuesday night that the automaker had reached a tentative agreement with the UAW local in Kansas City, Kan.(DFP)+++

Locals saying yes to Axle deal
All of the UAW locals that voted on the union’s tentative agreement with American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. appeared to have approved the deal, including those whose members face some of the agreement’s worst terms, such as plant closures and $10 an hour wages.(DFP)+++

Honda plans 5-door hybrid sedan for ’09
TOKYO — Honda will sell a new, improved and affordable gas-electric hybrid in the United States, Japan and Europe starting in early 2009, underlining the Japanese automaker’s commitment to “green” technology, the company president said today.(DFP)+++

Volkswagen brand sales climb 10.3% in April
FRANKFURT, Germany — Volkswagen AG said today deliveries for its flagship brand were up more than 10% in April to a record level for the division.(DFP)+++

GM considers making more Malibus in Orion Township
General Motors was in talks Tuesday to add a third shift at an Orion Township plant that makes the Chevrolet Malibu as a strike in Kansas reduced production of the cars, a UAW local official said. A tentative agreement in the strike at GM’s Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kan.(DFP)+++

GM Kansas workers offered $1,250 bonus
UAW workers at General Motors Corp.’s Kansas City, Kan., plant will receive a $1,250 bonus as part of a tentative agreement between Local 31 and the automaker, the union reported in a highlights sheet distributed to members today.(DFP)+++

Futuristic vehicle designs blast off
Those Jetsons — the forward-looking cartoon family of the 1960s — were on to something with their bubbly, teardrop-shaped space car.(DFP)+++

Pieces of parts maker for sale
Plastech Engineered Products Inc. is pursuing a plan to put all of its assets on the auction block, a move that eventually could dissolve the company as it is known today.(DFP)+++

Calif. fuel law to benefit some foreign automakers
WASHINGTON — A little-noticed provision of California’s law setting tough limits on greenhouse gases from vehicles would exempt many foreign automakers from meeting the standards for years, a clause the industry said Monday would create unfair advantages. (DFP)+++

Younger adults to weigh in on making area attractive
For the first time, the Detroit Regional Chamber will formally bring into the mix of policy and decision-makers at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference a group of young professionals who have been brainstorming ways to attract young people to metro Detroit.(DFP)+++

Tax break OK’d in Detroit
The Detroit City Council approved a tax break Tuesday for a new investment by Chrysler LLC at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant. The tax break totals nearly $23 million over 12 years on an investment worth $281 million, according to city records presented at a previous committee meeting. (DFP)+++

More details emerge as Veritas RS III gears up for production
Regular readers will recall that about a month ago, our man Chris Tutor grabbed a photo of a mysterious car standing at the gates of the vaunted Nurburgring Nordschleiffe. (AUTOBLOG)+++

2009 Mercedes G-Class comes in for subtle revisions, more power
The Mercedes G-Class is like the tux and tails — its remains in vogue no matter what’s happening in the world around it. And like the tux, it looks pretty much like it did when it first arrived, and changes to it still don’t come quickly.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Wörthersee 2008: VW Golf GTI Performance study on display
W hasn’t released any info on the car you see here, which is called the Golf GTI Performance design study, so we’ll call it like we see it.(AUTOBLOG)+++

New Saab 9-5 set for Geneva next March
Originally predicted to be shown at the Paris Motor Show in October of this year, the 2010 Saab 9-5 won’t actually debut until the 2009 Geneva Motor Show in March of next year.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Finally… Mitsubishi Evo X MR coming to the U.S. this June
We’ve already spent some wheel time in the Mitsubishi Evolution X GSR, and despite some dynamic criticisms, we’re convinced that the new Evo remains one of the most compelling performance bargains south of $40-grand.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Volkswagen unveils Passat R36 Variant Styling Study at Worthersee
The Volkswagen and Audi crew are blowing up this year’s Worthersee GTI meet in Worther Lake, Austria, first with the introduction of the A3 TDI clubsport quattro concept and damn-near production version of the TT clubsport quattro, and earlier today with the unveiling of the Scirocco GT24.(AUTOBLOG)+++

Lexus considering two dedicated hybrid models
We’ve known for quite some time that Toyota would be introducing the world to its third-generation Prius hybrid sedan at next year’s Detroit Auto Show. (AUTOBLOG)+++

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