Fisker is still likely to be rescued by a Chinese savior, but it won’t be Geely. Reuters is reporting that Fisker’s outstanding obligations to the Department of Energy have scared off the Chinese auto maker, leaving Dongfeng as the sole suitor for the beleagured EV maker.
Max Warburton and his team. Warburton, of Bernstein Research, assembled a team to interview over 40 auto executives in China (both Chinese and foreign-born) and even bought two Chinese vehicles from Geely and Great Wall. Warburton had them shipped to Europe, where they were taken to a test track, driven extensively and then taken apart by engineers and automotive consultants. And it was far from pretty.
Not Dongfeng, but China’s Geely currently looks best positioned to profit from U.S. government largesse by buying beleaguered and DOE-funded plug-in car maker Fisker, Reuters reports. According to the report, “Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is favored to secure a majority stake in troubled U.S. electric car maker Fisker Automotive, according to two sources familiar with Fisker’s search for a strategic investor or partner.”
Also according to the report, red flags are sure to flutter over Fisker’s HQ in Anaheim, as Fisker “is currently weighing bids from two Chinese auto makers: Geely, the owner of Sweden’s Volvo, and state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co.”
Reports by Bloomberg suggest that Fisker could sell up to an 85 percent stake to Chinese automaker Dongfeng. The automaker apparently bid $350 million for the beleaguered plug-in car maker, according to sources close to the company.
China Business News has the story (via Reuters) that Renault will start a joint venture with Dongfeng, and that “the two firms plan to invest a combined 6.5 billion yuan ($1.0 billion) in a plant in the central province of Hubei with an initial capacity of 200,000 cars a year.” The story promptly went as viral as a story about a Chinese joint venture can go viral.
Officially, the story elicited a “no comment”at Renault. Privately, after they were done yawning, contacts in Paris said that this is a non-story, but a popular one. News about a joint venture between Renault and Dongfeng appear with regularity, but they overlook the fact that Renault has had a joint venture in China for longer than most people seem to remember. (Read More…)
A company owned by China’s central government is taking it on the chin as Chinese customers avoid Japan branded cars. Dongfeng reduced production at its joint ventures with Nissan and Honda, the Wall Street Journal reports today. Amount or duration of what the company calls “production adjustments” is unknown. (Read More…)
A (hecho en Mexico) Cadillac SRX costs between $67,700 and $91,000 once it’s sold in China. It doubles its price compared to the U.S. because of a monster tariff in China. Soon, there will be a more affordable version. A much, much, much more affordable version. Except that it won’t be from GM. (Read More…)
Christmas is over so we go back to war. This is the newest kill-machine of the Chinese army. It is a 4×4 armored vehicle based on the Dongfeng EQ2050 (thank you America!). The new car seems designed as a hit-and-run fast attack vehicle with a big turret on the roof for a big fat machine gun or rocket-propelled grenade launcher. (Read More…)
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…)
We have been following this phenomenon for a while. Joint ventures in China create faux Chinese brands. Because? Because it’s the right thing to do, at least as far as the Chinese government is concerned. Officially, the reason for those fake Chinese brands is to make cars more affordable. Off the record, automakers roll their (slanted and round) eyes at this reasoning. A new brand doesn’t miraculously make a car more affordable. In the contrary. To establish a brand costs money. To establish dealer networks costs money. To build new cars costs money, even if they are on passé platforms. But you’ve got to do what China’s bureaucrats think you’ve got to do. Possibly, all these joint venture brands, from GM’s BaoJun on out, will end up in nice statistics that prove that homegrown Chinese brands are selling, and that exports are up.
Why the rant? Nissan and Dongfeng show the first production model of the faux Chinese Venucia brand at the Guangzhou auto show. (Read More…)
China’s Dongfeng makes a lot of cars with several joint ventures. It also makes its own cars. In a way. It’s ode to the Hummer is legend. Now, Dongfeng found inspiration in another legend: The Unimog. At a show in Shanghai, Carnewschina found the Dongfeng v-Tiger, or EQ2070FQJ, which it says is a spitting image of Daimler’s inconic Unimog workhorse. Well, that’s up to debate. One thing isn’t: (Read More…)
Last week, we brought you the news that the Nissan-Dongfeng joint venture will build an EV in China, that it will be ready by 2015, and that it will not be the Nissan Leaf. The Made-in-China plug-in will be offered by Nissan-Dongfeng’s “Chinese” brand, Venucia. This most likely in compliance with yet-to-be-released, but much-rumored regulations which will shower Chinese EV subsidies only on indigenous vehicles.
Barely a week after the news, there already are pictures of the future Chinese EV. (Read More…)
In fulfillment of my paparazzo duties, I stalked Nissan’s and Renault’s CEO all the way to China today. Easy for me to do: I could walk from where I live in Beijing. The walk was worth it. In the Grand Ballroom of the China World Tower 3, Ghosn and his Chinese joint venture partners announced an aggressive five year plan. Nissan and Dongfeng want to nearly double Nissan sales in China from 1.3 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2015. (Read More…)
At a press conference in Beijing’s tallest building, Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn announced today that the Nissan-Dongfeng joint venture will build an EV in China, and that it will be ready by 2015. No, it will not be the Nissan Leaf. It will be a plug-in that will sail under Nissan-Dongfeng’s “Chinese” brand, Venucia. Said Ghosn: (Read More…)