Hear that chafing sound? It is analysts scratching their heads. They wonder why in the world would GM buy 7 percent of France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen. Bloomberg says this is about to happen. Neither GM nor PSA wants to confirm the deal. However, Bloomberg already has intricate details of the planned transaction, someone seems to be talking on deep dark background. Sounds like the odd couple is about to do it.
Lotus is one of those brands that every auto enthusiast loved to lionize, despite (or possibly because of) the fact that it hasn’t made a profit for its owner, Proton, in 15 years. But now things are changing. Lotus itself is in the midst of a makeover, seeking to transition from niche sports- and track-car company to a Ferrari and Porsche-rivaling aspirational brand. Meanwhile, back in Malaysia, its owner, Proton, is undergoing a few changes itself. Having been founded as a state-backed business, Proton may soon be privatized, reports Bloomberg. And as a result, Protons private investors could push for a quick divestment of the firm’s Lotus holdings. One such investor, Gan Eng Peng of HwangDBS Investment Management, tells Bloomberg
It will make sense for them to sell it. Proton and Lotus are not a good fit. They are in different market segments, both in terms of geography and product.
Fuelled by Nissan’s decision to move the HQ of it’s Infiniti brand to Hong Kong, rumors of an impending Chinese production of the upscale marque would not end. In November, while not denying the story out of hand, spokespeople in Yokohama indicated that announcements of Chinese production of Nissan’s luxury brand were premature. Today, China Daily has an interesting twist on the story: A trucks-for-luxury cars swap. (Read More…)
Yesterday, first media day at the Tokyo Motor Show, the press corps was chased from press conference to press conference in 15 minute intervals. Today, the Fourth Estate was looking forward to lazy strolls through the halls, snapping pictures of attractive ladies cars, when an urgent email, followed by urgent telephone calls disturbed the peace: Come to the Grand Pacific Le Daiba at 4pm, when Toyota and BMW will hold a joint press conference. The local gang knows: When these short notice calls come, drop everything and show up, it will be interesting.
Suzuki has made good on its repeated threats to sue Volkswagen. The Japanese carmaker initiated arbitration procedures. This according to Reuters, The Nikkei [sub], and sundry other media that has been covering the domestic dispute between the couple. Suzuki originally had given Volkswagen some time to consider and was planning for a repurchase of the 19.9 percent Suzuki shares held by Volkswagen. After Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn denied the offer out of hand, and implicitly said that he was waiting for Osamu Suzuki to be replaced by younger blood, Suzuki said “mo takusan desu” (enough is enough)and filed papers with the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration in London. Don’t expect a quick end of the drama. (Read More…)
The last attempt at saving Saab failed when GM said it would not supply or license technology to Saab if it were 100% owned by PangDa and Youngman, scuttling the Chinese firms’ bid for outright control of the company. Now the two firms have sent a revised proposal to The General in hopes that they can provide safeguards for intellectual property, allowing them to purchase Saab without losing the link to GM. After all, both the 9-3 and 9-5 rely on GM technology and parts, while the 9-4X is wholly supplied by GM. Rachel Pang of PangDa tells TTELA.se
We have not discussed any changes with regard to ownership structure. We are concentrated on the GM issue… It’s about more commercial terms. We want to meet them and have asked for a meeting. First we must give them time to review our proposal. We are waiting for GM’s response and then we will of course respect it.
Of course, our understanding is that “the GM issue” is the same as the ownership structure issue… and keep in mind, PangDa and Youngman are looking for a meeting, not an agreement from GM. Which means this could drag on a while… and wouldn’t you know it, it’s time for Saab to pay salaries again.
Winterkorn will be at the Tokyo Motor Show. Someone with a perverse bent made Volkswagen (booths EP06 through EP10) close neighbors of Suzuki (EP12). Only Mitsubishi (EP11) keeps the brawling couple at distance. But Winterkorn doesn’t have Osamu Suzuki on his dance card:
“A meeting is not planned. Should we run into each other, then we can talk about everything. There is one exception: Our 19.9 percent share is not for sale.”
Asked how Winterkorn intends to settle the matter, he answers: (Read More…)
With traditional compact pickups growing into the new “midsized” segment, Scion has long been tipped as a likely candidate to lead the US market back towards smaller, car-based pickup trucks. And, Scion’s VP Jack Hollis tells TTAC’s sister site Autoguide that such a vehicle, though not a certainty, could be possible.
Versus other vehicles, I can’t say it’s priority one. I’m very interested in it. A lot of prospective owners are interested in it and every meeting I have in Japan, I’m asking, what else can we do.
Hollis reveals that he has, in the past, pushed for an imported Daihatsu pickup for Scion’s US lineup, but that regulatory issues killed the business case. But now he’s suggesting that Scion and Daihatsu might jointly develop a small, fuel-efficient pickup… just as Subaru and Toyota/Scion developed the FT-86 together. If that happens, I’d expect something larger than Daihatsu’s typical kei-style trucks, for reasons hinted at in the video above. And to help you understand the legacy that a Daihatsu-Scion pickup might draw upon, here are a few random images of Daihatsu “trucks” (or possible inspirations) through the ages.
It’s becoming increasingly clear as time goes on that the Chrysler five year plan promulgated in November 2009 was merely a stopgap strategy aimed at stabilizing the then-recently-acquired firm while CEO Sergio Marchionne plotted a strategic course globally. Now, with news that Alfa is going to be re-launched with the US as its major focus (possibly replacing Dodge), we’re getting a better and better picture of where the Sergio Show is headed with his transatlantic alliance. In an interview with Automotive News Europe [sub], Marchionne gives the latest snapshot
In his vision, Alfa Romeo and Jeep both have the DNA and the rich history capable to make them the alliance’s two global brands. “We need to continue to globalize Jeep and Alfa, so the development of architectures and engines that are designed to support these two brands is crucial, and everything else becomes almost secondary,” he said.
Chrysler clearly won’t be a global brand, as its products are rebadged as Lancias in Italy. Fiat will offer full lineups in Europe and South America, but only the Fiat 500 will be a truly global brand, in a role Marchionne compares to BMW’s MINI. Dodge doesn’t even rate a mention in this interview, which can only be interpreted as more evidence that it will be lucky to survive at all.
Divorce is a complicated matter. Sometimes, it takes a while for all involved that it’s over. Apparently, they are in that phase. If the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche is correctly informed, then VW CEO Martin Winterkorn wants to bring the matter to a conclusion until the end of this year – one way or the other. Says Wirtschaftswoche:(Read More…)
Commonly, arbitration is binding in these cases. It may not even come to that. David McAllister, Premier of Volkswagen’s home state Lower Saxony, which holds 20 percent of Volkswagen, intervened over the weekend. (Read More…)