Fiat Punto, not long for this world.
Sources tell Bloomberg News that Fiat Spa will spend as much as 9 billion euros ($12 billion) over the next three years developing new models for for the European market. The Italian automaker hopes the strategy will end losses on the continent and restore drastically underutilized Italian factories to profitability. Many of the new models will be based on either the Fiat 500 subcompact or the small, low cost Panda. A five door version of the 500 will replace the Punto. The Punto, last restyled in 2005, has long been a fixture in Fiat showrooms and as recently as 2007 it accounted for almost a third of the Fiat brand’s sales in Europe.
Though Fiat wants to use its Italian factories better, the Punto’s replacement will be built in Poland to save on costs. Sergio Marchionne believes that “made in Italy” works with upscale brands like Maserati and Alfa Romeo. The upcoming Maserati Levante SUV will be made in Fiat’s Mirafiori factory. (Read More…)
A bit of bad news from the Continent: Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is cautioning that Western Europe’s auto market will not recover before the end of the decade.
Subaru is set to expand capacity at its Indiana plant by 100,000 units, adding the Impreza alongside the Legacy, Outback and Tribeca to help fill demand for its vehicles in the United States. (Read More…)
Jeep is counting on the new Cherokee to help continue its streak of year-over-year sales growth, but the brand is facing production related challenges that could torpedo their quest for three consecutive years of sales growth.
The drama circling around the New York Times test of the Tesla Model S doesn’t surprise me one bit. Why? Because I understand, perhaps at a deeper level than most of the motoring press, how batteries work. Perhaps that has to do with growing up in a family of engineers and scientists, but battery technology has always interested me. So when people from Phoenix came to me crying in their soup about their LEAFs in the heat and friends started wagging fingers at Tesla and the New York Times, I figured it was time for a battery reality check.
The high cost of auto manufacturing in Canada isn’t solely an issue for domestic auto makers; Honda, which manufactures the best-selling car in Canada (the Civic) is grappling with this issue as well.
The Windsor Star spoke to Jerry Chenkin, Executive Vice-President of Honda Canada, who summed up the biggest issue with Honda’s Canadian production: (Read More…)
Excess capacity through 2016 will be a royal pain in the butt for Ford, hurting their margins on the all important small car segment.
GM’s German union chief wants the company to move production of the Mokka baby SUV (aka our Buick Encore) from South Korea to Europe. The reason? Because it would help with overcapacity in Europe.
The situation in Europe is “very volatile”, Ford CEO Alan Mulally told Reuters today in Berlin. “We don’t know whether it the European economy will stabilize or hit bottom or not because it’s continuing to decrease.” (Read More…)
Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn is eyeing another North American plant for Nissan, one that could be used to build both Nissan and Infiniti vehicles.
Thailand will be the recipient of a $358 million dollar Nissan plant, with a maximum capacity of 150,000 cars, with half of those set for export.
It looks like Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne does not want to be head of the European automakers association ACEA much longer. Today, he called for a massive EU rescue package for the ailing European car industry, with coordinated capacity cuts as the centerpiece. He also called for a stop of free trade agreements. “Let the European car industry make its adjustments… This is not the time to embrace free trade,” Marchionne said while Reuters was taking notes.
The Windsor Star is reporting that the CAW “has all but given up” on trying to re-open the Oshawa Consolidated line that was closed earlier this year. The Star quotes CAW President Ken Lewenza as saying
“We’re going to keep raising it until the deal is done…But the reality is vehicle production is based on market and market is based on capacity and GM told us they don’t need the capacity.”
While all eyes are on GM’s hemorrhaging Opel, Ford is said to be even more affected by the European contagion. Ford could have to close at least one plant in Europe, analysts say, with Southampton, England, and Genk, Belgium, in the cross-hairs. (Read More…)
Ford last closed a plant in Europe a decade ago, when its Dagenham assembly plant was shuttered, but the Blue Oval may be forced to do it again.