An editor that I know once said something about disappearing into a rabbit hole when you start to read about an automotive topic. You never know where you’ll come out minutes, hours or even days later. Doug DeMuro’s post where he ranked vehicles used as taxicabs elicited a thread of comments about London’s signature black taxis. While some of our more curmudgeonly readers think it’s rather arrogant of TTAC to call our site’s commenters the Best & Brightest (anyone besides me see the irony there?), we do have a well informed readership so I wasn’t surprised to see Geely mentioned as the owner of Manganese Bronze Holdings, who make the distinctive London hacks. The mention of the London cabs, though, pricked my memory. I had recently read that someone else, another company, made London taxis besides Manganese. Then I just had to remember who it was.
Earlier this month, when Detroit Electric revealed their first car, the Lotus based SP:01, the EV startup’s CEO, Albert Tam, said that the battery powered sports car is only the first of three cars that Detroit Electric will be introducing over the next year or so. Only 999 of the carbon fiber bodied SP:01 will be made but Tam said that next year Detroit Electric will be introducing two more mass market cars, a sedan and hatchback. Tam said that those cars will have Detroit Electric specific styling and interiors but will be based on gliders sourced from an existing auto manufacturer with final assembly being done in Michigan. At the time of the SP:01 reveal, Detroit Electric executives said that the vendor whose platform they’d be using was “in Asia”. They company also said that an announcement of a strategic partner would be made at the Shanghai Auto Show. I assumed that partner would be Chinese and that Detroit Electric would be announcing who their platform vendor for the sedan and hatchback would be. I was half correct.
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.
Henrik Fisker has resigned from the automobile firm that bears his name, as the company’s future looks to be headed towards an inexorable buyout by a Chinese auto maker.
Two months ago, we wrote that Geely will pour $11 billion into a development program for the next generation Volvos, and that half of that money would go to Sweden. Our commentariat did not quite buy that and said that the technology will go to China. Right they were. (Read More…)
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.”
The (not really) silent bidding for British sports car maker Aston Martin still is undecided. The current favorite appears to be the Mahindra Brothers in India, with an Italian private equity group also interested. Allegedly, there is another courtier, and that is China’s Geely. (Read More…)
Two years ago, China’s Geely bought Sweden’s (and Ford’s) Volvo lock, stock, and barrel. Among the assets: A few good Volvo platforms, along with a fair technology licensing contract from Ford. However, the platforms are not getting younger, and from what I heard back then, the licenses with Ford also have their limits. Geely has to invest into the future if Volvo is supposed to have one. Price of admission to the future: Many times the purchase price of the car company. (Read More…)
Further on the news that Stefan Jacoby is out at Volvo and that Hakan Samuelsson is in, the parties decided to forgo the face-saving explanation that the change was due to medical reasons. They confirmed that is was a boardroom brawl which Jacoby lost. In a press conference today, Volvo Vice-Chairman Hans-Olov Olsson said “that Jacoby’s illness had nothing to do with the decision to remove Jacoby,” Reuters says. (Read More…)
I know I normally don’t come around and annoy you at this time in the week but the news are too important to wait.
Last month I brought your attention to the fine performance of Great Wall in Bulgaria where the Chinese company has started production, a first for a Chinese manufacturer in Europe, and I wondered whether this would finally mark the start of the oft-predicted ‘Chinese invasion’ of the Old continent…
Looks like the invasion invited itself to the party…
With a new Volvo XC90 finally getting a re-design in 2014 (after 12 years on the market!), the old platform, like so many old European cars, will move on to become a Chinese market car – though Geely has grand aspirations for the venerable Swedish SUV.
Our man Bertel Schmitt is en route, all set to cover the Beijing Auto Show for the next two days. By our count, there are over 70 debuts, with many of them being Chinese market products; concept cars, older vehicles re-issued and manufactured in Chinese JV factories and obscure concept cars. A complete list, with a brief description can be read at just-auto.com for anyone really interested in the Brilliance Jinbei Large Sea Lion Camper or the HaiMa Yao.
NBA star Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks will endorse Volvo cars, after signing a deal with the company. Lin, who graduated from Harvard and took an unconventional path to the NBA, has Taiwanese-born parents, is extremely popular in China, where basketball has a strong following.
Today is Wagon Day, a brand-new made up holiday when North Americans are tortured with photos of wagons that will not be available to us despite our endless pleas. First up, the Volvo V40.