While America Slept. Thursday, February 5th 2009

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept thursday february 5th 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 Tokyo this week.

GM flirting with FAW: GM is holding discussions with major Chinese automaker FAW Group to form a partnership for light commercial vehicles, Reuters reports. The two parties have already registered a name with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which is the first step of Chinese joint venture courtship. GM already makes light commercial vehicles in China in a three-way tie-up with SAIC and Liuzhou Wuling. GM manufactures Buicks in Shanghai with SAIC, China’s largest auto maker. FAW, one China’s three biggest automakers, operates car manufacturing ventures with Volkswagen and Toyota. SAIC is also in a joint venture with VW. SAIC and FAW have been considered bitter rivals, although there are reports of a thawing. GM said its commercial vehicle venture in China sold 19.7 percent more vehicles in January than a year earlier, helped largely by sales of the Wuling Sunshine minivans.

Mitsubishi abandons Dakar: Mitsubishi Motors Corp will pull out the fabled Dakar Rally as part of steps to cope with worsening earnings, the Nikkei [sub] says. The move “is expected to cut costs by a few billion yen,” a company official said. Mitsubishi Motors won the rally 12 times, including a seven-year winning streak. Through a motor sports subsidiary, the firm will continue to support the rally by offering technological information and supplying parts to teams of individuals participating in various events.

Arigatou, but no arigatou: Mitsubishi Motors does not intend to seek government funds, the Nikkei [sub] reports. Mazda also said it “is not considering receiving public funds,” according to Nobuyoshi Tochio, general manager of the financial services division.

Honda’s new hybrid: Honda introduced an all-new Insight hybrid that the firm hopes will help it overtake rival Toyota in one of the few auto segments not yet affected by dismal sales, the Nikkei [sub] writes. Slated to hit dealerships Friday, the car will carry a starting price of 1.89 million yen, about 20 percent less than Toyota’s best-selling Prius hybrid. Honda’s proprietary new technology enabled it to make the vehicle lighter and more compact than its existing hybrids, thus pushing down production costs by about 40 percent.

Fiat tries again in China: Fiat has found new Chinese partners after its Nanjing fiasco . Its multiple tie-ups with Chery Auto, Guangzhou Auto and Changan Suzuki are awaiting the approval of China’s auto regulatory bodies, Gasgoo reports. The joint venture applications may have results next month. Changan Suzuki will make Fiat’s Sedici, a crossover model jointly developed by Fiat and Suzuki in Europe. Suzuki’s European facility has OEM operations for Fiat, and the Japanese carmaker’s Chinese venture said it could do the same job.

No foreign brands allowed: Volkswagen’s central parts depot is in Baunatal (in the district of Kassel, in Hesse, Germany). It’s a huge place. If you want to do business with them, you’d better drive a car made by VW (anything from a Seat to a Bugatti will do). If you arrive in a competing make, you will walk, Automobilwoche [sub] reports. Even if you deliver a truck full of parts.

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Feb 05, 2009
    No foreign brands allowed... I remember when I first saw a convoy truck load of new 1959 Buicks. They didn't look like any car I'd ever seen before, and the series names on the sides didn't even help. Finally I saw the chrome BUICK on a trunk lid. But before that I knew they were something GM because the truck was a GMC. It seemed more often than not that you'd see a truck from the same manufacturer as the cars in the load. Not so much anymore.

  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.
  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?