Monday, December 25, 2006

Ex-Delphi exec's mug no longer on display

Saturday, December 02, 2006
Steve Fecht / Bloomberg News
Business Insider
Ex-Delphi exec's mug no longer on display

J .T. Battenberg III has left the building.

Well, at least photos of him have.

While Battenberg left Delphi Corp. last year before the auto supplier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the former CEO's stern visage still graces a number of photos on display in the cafeteria and other areas of the company's Troy headquarters. Delphi officials recently asked the custodial team to remove the the photos, company sources tell Business Insider.

Why now? It's not clear.

But Battenberg has captured the attention of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators, who have been working out of Delphi headquarters and dining in the cafeteria for the past three months. In October, Battenberg was among nine former Delphi executives charged in an civil accounting fraud lawsuit brought by the SEC. Battenberg denied wrongdoing and said he will go to court to clear his name.

GM gets warm welcome in L.A.

Los Angeles already has balmy weather, movie stars and more luxury cars than almost anywhere in the country. That apparently isn't enough for Mayor Antonio Villaragosa. He'd like General Motors Corp., too.

The mayor introduced GM's Rick Wagoner before a speech at the L.A. Auto Show this week. Just before Wagoner took the stage, Villaragosa looked at the executive and said, "How about moving GM to L.A? Have I got a deal for you." When the two later shook hands, Villaragosa told Wagoner he was serious. Wagoner made no promises.

BMW keeps cool at auto show

If BMW wanted to drive home a point on global warming, it might have been wise to pick a warmer locale to do it.

The German automaker held a swanky event at the L.A. Auto Show to tout its new Hydrogen 7 no-emission luxury sedan. The event kickoff featured a panel discussion on the auto industry's role in protecting the environment.

The shindig was held at an airplane hangar during a late-fall cold snap. The kerosene patio heaters just didn't do the trick, though, and dozens of reporters sat shivering during the hour-long discussion. Most of the chatter for the rest of the night centered not on dazzling eco-friendly technology but on the chilliness factor.

"Kind of hard to make a case for global warming when you're freezing," said panelist Lawrence Benter, producer of former Veep Al Gore's global warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," said afterward.

Tiger putts around question

Tiger Woods got just one question from the media during a General Motors Corp. event in Los Angeles where he helped the automaker introduce the new Buick Enclave crossover.

And it wasn't about the vehicle.

Someone asked the golf megastar to rate Wagoner's performance on the links. Woods thought about it for a moment.

"Ah, it's interesting," he said. "I'm going to leave it at that."

Volvo hits the ground running

Auto designers find inspiration in many places. Classic cars. Spaceships. Animals. And, in Volvo's case, tennis shoes. The new Volvo C30 two-door hatchback that made its North American debut in L.A. comes with a distinct brownish -- or java -- trim against a whitish exterior. During a press conference introducing the car, Volvo folks said the idea for the color scheme came from a snazzy pair of running sneakers.

Gasp! Delphi lawyers go off-line

It was standing room only Thursday at Delphi Corp.'s bankruptcy hearing -- its 13th -- in New York. Two dozen lawyers crowded into the aisles.

With lots of lawyers, of course, come lots of BlackBerrys.

But interference from the personal communication devices, sometimes called "CrackBerrys" because users seem almost addicted to them, caused static in the court room's sound system. Every time a BlackBerry-toting attorney stepped to the microphone to speak, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain was forced to ask that the device be turned off.

Finally, he told them all to power down, but he got a laugh when he did it. "I know it's like cutting off your oxygen," he said.

Contributors: Sharon Terlep, Scott Burgess and David Shepardson.

© Copyright 2006 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


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