Wiesmann, the German maker of BMW powered retro sports cars, looked like it was going to join other European specialist automakers that have declared bankruptcy like Cosworth, Gumpert, Artega, Lola and the London Taxi Company, but the small company has apparently cleaned up its balance sheet and has applied to have its insolvency proceedings dismissed. Wiesmann has been operating since 1993 in Dülmen, Germany. No further explanation was given in the company’s announcement beyond stating that the application to dismiss the bankruptcy was “due to abolition of the insolvency reasons”. A meeting with Wiesmann’s creditors is scheduled for mid-December.
Sergio Marchionne’s plans to merge Chrysler and Fiat have been delayed because Fiat failed to convince a Delaware Chancery Court judge to set the value of Chrysler stock owned by the UAW’s health care fund known as VEBA. Judge Donald Parsons rejected Fiat’s request to find that a call-option agreement covering at least 54,000 Chrysler shares valued the stock at slightly less than $140 million. That decision means that the dispute over the shares’ value will now proceed to trial. (Read More…)
The video above is the closest we’ll ever have to enjoying a World’s Wildest Police Chases segment featuring the Carbon Motors E7. Somewhat lost in the breaking news of March regarding the bankruptcy of Fisker Automotive and Coda was the demise of the nation’s other other startup vehicle manufacturer, the Carbon Motors Corporation. Although Bertel correctly predicted Carbon’s death shortly after they failed to qualify for a DOE loan last year, the company maintained a brave public face and soldiered on defiantly until the end of March. As late as mid March they were announcing the introduction of two new vehicles: an armored truck called the TX 7 and a skateboard shaped drone called the CT 7. Two weeks later they would be slipping out of their Indiana state taxpayer funded digs without so much as a “Dear John” letter to the desperate Hoosiers who needed the jobs they’d promised
I’d been watching and waiting for an official announcement that the company had liqudated before poking the body with a stick. That moment finally came on June 7 with a Chapter 7 filing in Indianapolis. The bankruptcy filing shows that Carbon Motors had assets of less than $19,000 and outstanding liabilities of over $21 million. It seems that the dream of a purpose-built police car is dead.
Yesterday, battery acolytes who hate to see stories of EV makers going bankrupt complained about a TTAC story of another EV maker going bankrupt. They said the story was unfair, because Miles Electric made electric essential services vehicles, used for parking enforcement and the like, whereas bankrupt EV makers such as Coda tried to sell real cars,so where’s the connection?
Our story actually went to great pains trying to explain this promising niche, in an attempt to say “well, if it doesn’t work here, where will it?”
Wire services such as Reuters are less subtle. (Read More…)
The electric vehicle revolution has eaten another one of its children. “U.S. electric car manufacturer Miles Electric Vehicles filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early on Tuesday, court documents showed, highlighting the difficulties faced by battery-powered vehicles in gaining wide market acceptance,” says Reuters. (Read More…)
Fisker has laid off nearly all of its rank and file employees. Reuters reports that 160 people were out of a job as of today, while 53 senior employees will stay on, apparently to help find a buyer for Fisker’s assets. Fisker is also hoping to re-negotiate a loan payment to the Department of Energy, due on April 22nd.
NOTE: I received the following email from Saab Automobile Parts North America. As I was not aware of the recent details behind Saab’s parts/service operation (my bad) I felt obligated to share this, unedited, with everyone. – SM
We read, with great interest, your latest Piston Slap post and the many comments in response to “The Last Saab = good Deal?” We wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about Saab Automobile Parts North America, the exclusive authorized provider of Saab Genuine Parts in North America. Venues like yours help us to get the message out that Saab Genuine Parts and Service are available. (Read More…)
I got my 2007 9-3 serviced at the Falls Church, VA Saab dealership. My question: They had new (2011) 9-5s for $20,000 off the sticker price. Almost half off. Are they a good deal? Would you buy one? (Read More…)
Only 6 dealers haven’t taken a buyout offer from Suzuki – of the 219 Suzuki dealers in America, 213 took the offer from American Suzuki, including the top 50 dealers by volume.
Being a Suzuki dealer is surely one of America’s least enviable jobs; franchise holders must choose whether to accept a cash settlement and a contract to provide parts and service in exchange for their franchises, or whether they want to fight the matter in court.
American Suzuki has received court approval to borrow $45 million to help restructure their dealer network following a Chapter 11 filing.
A couple of weeks ago the Wall Street Journal published an article about a “little-noticed” lawsuit in U.S. Bankruptcy Court filed by a trust representing “old” GM’s unsecured creditors. Those creditors are challenging a 2009 deal between GM Canada and a group of hedge funds that helped keep GM’s Canadian subsidiary out of its own bankrupcy. It’s a bit surprising to me that the WSJ article itself got very little notice in the automotive world because, if successful, the lawsuit could undo at least part of GM’s restructuring or result in a $1.3 billion price tag for the automaker. In regulatory filings GM has said its possible exposure will be less than that, $918 million, though in theory the bankruptcy court could reopen the entire bankruptcy, which would be much more disruptive to GM than just paying out a billion dollars.
“President Obama is proud of his bailout of General Motors. That’s good, because, if he wins a second term, he is probably going to have to bail GM out again.” Sounds like our august founder, Robert Farago, sounding off about
American Leyland the New GM. Nope, it’s Forbes this time, and they come to bury the General, not to praise him.
The most successful brands in our industry don’t have much meaning to them.
Toyota, Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, all of these are names that wouldn’t evoke much of any imagery had their manufacturers never existed.
Mercury and Saturn are popular planets that make you think of space and the futuristic pursuit of those faraway places. Acura should be quite accurate and precise. Rams are tough. Infiniti pays homage to the outer limits of capability and performance.
Yet all of these names experienced failure, or ultimately failed, due to the key essential ingredient within any brand’s reputation.