on 05.24.2011 22:56
The carpocalypse rocked Detroit in 2009, with the economy circling the drain and drawing down the domestic auto industry. Both Chrysler Group and General Motors teetered on the edge of dissolution, threatening to truly cripple the American economy unless a federal bailout was made. Years ahead of schedule, both automakers have repaid their federal loans, buying back their freedom and signaling better days are ahead.
Thanks to some low-interest refinancing and Fiat taking a larger share in the momentum-building automaker, Chrysler Group today repaid the U.S. and Canadian governments the original loans totaling $6.7 billion, in addition to $1.8 billion of interest and other considerations. More...
on 05.15.2011 11:32
With the far-reaching business aftershocks from the Japanese crises shaking the auto industry, it has been challenging to predict how future production will be impacted. Reports have recently circulated suggesting that the Prius V, the larger Prius model destined to expand the hybrid model into a sub-brand, would be quite delayed. Toyota has confirmed that the Prius V will be on sale in the United States this fall; it had been previously promised in the summer.
The Prius V is about six inches longer, three inches taller, and an inch wider than the current Prius. More than a raised roof model, it is a slightly bigger MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) more akin to the Mazda5. With the added rear passenger and cargo space, this model should significantly expand the appeal for Toyota’s benchmark hybrid platform.
Some confusion stemmed this past week from overseas reports citing initial production had just started at 2,000 units per month and that customers would be waiting a year for their Prius V. The delay is caused by the significant number of pre-orders: 25,000 thus far. In Japan and even Europe, it is not uncommon to wait weeks or even months for a new car. When it arrives in the United States, there will likely be a rush during the first weeks, but supply and demand are expected to soon level out. More...
on 05.12.2011 22:54
The Saab sob story continues. We reported a few days ago that parent-company Spyker Cars secured essential short-term funding to continue business and formalized a partnership with Chinese-company Hawtai Motor Group Company Limited (Hawtai). Well, things have changed.
Today, Spyker Cars announced that the promising partnership with Hawtai has been terminated. But the struggling Swedish company is in talks with another company for manufacturing, technology, and distribution in China. And presumably funding. Reuters reported today that the company is Great Wall Motor. More...
on 05.03.2011 21:20
Spyker Cars has secured essential short-term funding to continue business and today, the announced that it has formalized a partnership with Chinese-company Hawtai Motor Group Company Limited (Hawtai). This latter agreement bring more funding and opens the Great Wall for a strategic alliance that includes manufacturing and distribution in China.
Hawtai will take a 29.9 percent stake in Spyker, as well as provide much-needed capital.
Victor Muller, CEO of Spyker and Chairman of Saab Automobile, said: “The partnership with Hawtai allows Saab Automobile on the one hand to continue executing its business plan since we secured the required mid-term financing subject to meeting certain conditions, whilst on the other hand it allows Saab Automobile to enter the Chinese car market and establish a technology partnership with a strong Chinese manufacturer.” More...
on 05.01.2011 17:25
Saab has struggled to act like the Phoenix legend its latest show car draws its namesake from. Product momentum is building, with the 9-5 sedan joined by the 9-4X SUV and to be followed by a 9-5 SportCombi wagon. But the fledging company now run by Spyker Cars sold less than 10,000 in the first quarter this year, losing $107 million. Its sales target was 80,000 vehicles for the year. Production has been halted due to suppliers demanding payment. Thus far, the math isn’t adding up.
Saab is reaching out to the Far East for a lifeline, and Bloomberg says the Swedish-based company is in talks with Great Wall Motor Co., China Youngman Automobile Group Co. and Jiangsu Yueda Group Co. Such a partnership may yield investment capital, as well as a production partner in China for the Saab 9-3.
This move to seek a Chinese partner isn’t unprecendented; In March, Saab signed an agreement with China Automobile Trading Co. LTD (CATC) for the import of Saab vehicles for the Chinese market.
These are nervous times for the Saab faithful, who remain optimitistic for a successful automaker independent of General Motors. Although, the New York Times has reported that GM may still play a role, as one piece in the puzzle involves real estate dealings that require government and GM approval.
Quite the tease: Saab has shown glimmers of real promise, but it takes truckloads of money to gain momentum in this expensive industry.
Read our 2011 Saab 9-5 review.
Visit the autoMedia Saab Research Center for quick access to reviews, pricing, photos, and much more.
on 03.29.2011 21:56
The automotive industry continues to shudder in the aftershock from the one-two punch the earthquake and subsequent tsunami had on Japan. Today, Honda and Toyota provided updates on how limited parts availability will impact those leading companies.
Honda has said that North American production will be adjusted to slow output starting tomorrow. The change in pace will vary from plant to plant. This move represents a strategy to keep the plants operating, while reducing the risk of a true stoppage.
There has been much speculation about hybrid production, but Toyota has resumed building the Prius and the Lexus CT 200h and HS 250h. The automaker has reaffirmed that damage from the dual catastrophes has hurt its Japanese parts suppliers, but it states that parts inventory is adequate to allow production to continue.More...