While America Slept. Tuesday, February 10th 2009
Nissan’s no-hitter: After announcing an expected loss in the current fiscal, Nissan will suspend corporate sports activities, including its standout baseball team, the Nikkei [sub] reports. Nissan’s ball club, which was founded in 1959, has won corporate championships and produced a string of professional baseball players. Also to be sidelined is Nissan’s table tennis team, which also dates back to 1959. Its most recent stint atop the winner’s podium occurred in 2007. The table tennis and track and field teams will be disbanded at the end of next month. All eyes are on Toyota and whether they will ditch their vastly more expensive F1 team. The rumor mill says they will stick with it for the now.
Nissan goes for green green: Nissan has applied for low-interest loans being offered under a US government program aimed at promoting the development of environment-friendly cars, the Nikkei [sub] says. This is the first time a Japanese carmaker has applied for the 25-billion-dollar program. One of the conditions for qualifying for the federal loan program is that the applicant has been operating facilities in the US for an extended period of time. Nissan intends to apply for similar aid programs for developing environment-friendly vehicles in Europe and China.
Cheaper hooch: One of the many problems of bio-ethanol is that it’s expensive to make. Toyota, Nippon Oil, Mitsubishi Heavy and three other firms will jointly develop technologies to produce cellulosic ethanol from nonfood plants. By bringing together their know-how in such fields as plant cultivation, glycation and fermentation, they hope to develop a comprehensive production system and bring down production costs to around 40 yen ($0.44) per liter by 2015, says the Nikkei [sub].
PSA China up: Dongfeng Peugeot Citroën joins the ranks of Chinese carmakers who had surprisingly good January sales. They sold more than 19,000 vehicles, including 12,414 units of the Dongfeng Citroën brand and 6,750 units of Dongfeng Peugeot, Gasgoo writes. In January, the Dongfeng Citroën series saw its retail sales reach 12,414 units, up 107 percent year on year.
Great Wall up in China: Chinese private automaker Great Wall Motor sold 15,000 vehicles in January 2009, hitting a record high. The growth of its total sales volume for the entire 2008 topped 10 percent.
Denmark first in Europe for China’s BYD: Denmark will be the first European market for BYD’s electric cars, due to be on the streets by 2011. Sales manager for BYD, Henry Z. Li said that Denmark was chosen as the first European test market because it ‘has the best tax policy among EU countries in relation to electric cars.’ BYD intends to launch its own 3F DM hybrid car and the E6 electric cars on the Danish market, together with a network of car charging stations, Gasgoo reports
PSA: “It’s going to be horrible:” PSA CEO Christian Streif is readying his company for 20 percent less sales in 2009 than in 2008, Das Autohaus reports. According to Streif, “the perspectives are horrible.” He doesn’t see a quick turnaround. 2010 will also be challenging, said Streif.
It’s official: China largest car market in January: Largely due to the plunge in American car sales, China overtook the U.S. in monthly vehicle sales in January 2009 for the first time to be the world’s No. 1 auto market for the month, according to official data released by China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) today, Gasgoo says. According to the CAAM, 735,000 vehicles were sold in China in January. That surpasses the 656,976 vehicles sold in the U.S. the same month. If China can outpace the United States in sales for all of 2009, it will become the world’s largest vehicle market. Last week, Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors Corp.’s executive director of global market and industry analysis, projected that Chinese auto sales could hit 10.7 million vehicles in 2009, more than his estimate of 9.8 million unit sales in the U.S. this year. Autodata Corp. forecasts 2009 U.S. sales at 9.57 million.
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- Keith Some of us appreciate sharing these finds. Thank you. I always have liked these. It would a fun work car or just to bomb around in. Easy to keep running. Just get an ignition kill switch and you would have no worries leaving it somewhere. Those OEM size wheels and tires are comical. A Juke has bigger wheels!
- Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
- Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
- Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
- Theflyersfan The two Louisville truck plants are still operating, but not sure for how much longer. I have a couple of friends who work at a manufacturing company in town that makes cooling systems for the trucks built here. And they are on pins and needles wondering if or when they get the call to not go back to work because there are no trucks being made. That's what drives me up the wall with these strikes. The auto workers still get a minimum amount of pay even while striking, but the massive support staff that builds components, staffs temp workers, runs the logistics, etc, ends up with nothing except the bare hope that the state's crippled unemployment system can help them keep afloat. In a city where shipping (UPS central hub and they almost went on strike on August 1) and heavy manufacturing (GE Appliance Park and the Ford plants) keeps tens of thousands of people employed, plus the support companies, any prolonged shutdown is a total disaster for the city as well. UAW members - you're not getting a 38% raise right away. That just doesn't happen. Start a little lower and end this. And then you can fight the good fight against the corner office staff who make millions for being in meetings all day.