By on February 19, 2009

An overview of what happened in other parts of the world while you were in bed. TTAC provides round-the-clock coverage of everything that has wheels. Or has its wheels coming off. WAS is being filed from Beijing until further notice.

Increasing indications that GM plans to cut Opel loose: North Rhine-Westphalia’s Premier, Jürgen Rüttgers, had a chin wag with GM’s CEO, Automobilwoche [sub] reports. Rick Wagoner told Rüttger there are no plans to close any German plants, including the one in Bochum, which is in Rüttger’s state. “Currently.” News flash! Wagoner expressed his interest in spinning-off Opel. Rüttgers told Rick that GM would have to keep the German plants open to qualify for German government money. How the spin-off is going to work still is anybody’s guess.

Saab may go bankrupt this week: GM’s Saab will start insolvency procedures as early as this week, das Autohaus reports, citing Swedish news reports. Sweden’s Economy Minister has already said that this would be the proper way to go.

GM China unfazed by U.S. turmoil – or so they say:  GM China says [via Gasgoo] that the mothership’s proposed $30b restructuring would not impact its China operations. GM is still profitable in China. “China is one of our most important strategic markets. It is vital to GM’s global business growth,” GM said yesterday in a statement. GM China plans to launch 13 new models this year. Shanghai GM’s product lineup—Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet—will be among the six brands GM will focus on for the China market. More all-new or upgraded models of the Wuling, Opel and Saab brands are also scheduled to come on stream in the next few years, say GM’s boys in China. They must not have received the memo.

Honda sold 300K hybrids: Worldwide sales of Honda’s hybrid cars have topped 300k units since November 1999, when the first-generation Insight coupe was introduced in Japan, the Nikkei [sub] reports. Combined sales of the Insight, the Civic Hybrid sedan and the Accord Hybrid sedan came to 300,740 units as of Jan. 31. North America accounted for a total of 191,493 Civic Hybrid sedans, 75 percent of the sedan’s global sales tally. European consumers bought 34,757 gas – electric Hondas. Japan accounted for 22,899 units. All of the Accord Hybrid sales were in North America, which was also responsible for 14,288 Insight coupe sales. Japanese drivers purchased 2,340 Insight coupes. Honda has pledged to expand the lineup of its hybrid vehicles in the coming years with a hybrid sport car based on the CR-Z concept car to be released ”by the end of 2010.”

Dongfeng goes homegrown: Dongfeng Motor has announced that it will launch its in-house-developed passenger vehicle model in March, Gasgoo says. Dongfeng so far relied on products made in joint ventures with PSA, Honda, and Nissan.

That’s riich: China’s Chery, famous for its cheap small-car QQ series, will launch its own luxury car brand, Gasgoo reports. They start with six models aiming for the fickle Chinese affluent market. The brand is called Riich, which may be a bit too close to the target group, but who are we to decide what sells in China.

Dual fuel: China’s Harbin Hafei Automobile will mass-produce a self-developed dual-fuel sedan, Gasgoo says. The dual-fuel car will run on gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG.) The dual-fuel Hafei Saibao sedan model is low in emission and in price—clean and cheap.

GM? Mei you: Chinese engine maker Weichai Power Co. said it has no interest in buying General Motors’ auto parts unit in France, Reuters reports. GM said in August that it intended to sell its plant in Strasbourg, and saw possible interest from Asia. French media on Wednesday named Weichai as a potential buyer. “The board would like to state that the contents of such an article have no basis in fact. The company does not have any intention to make such an acquisition,” the Chinese firm said in a statement.

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One Comment on “While America Slept. Thursday, February 19th, 2009...”

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Google translate comes up with some funny things. Translating the first paragraph of that aftonbladet article yields:

    “Aftonbladet can today reveal that the nutritional Minister Maud Olofsson won a sour cream into the European Investment Bank.”

    Well, I thought it was funny :).

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