In a detailed report on the failed alliance between Suzuki and Volkswagen, Automotive News reports that the Japanese automaker wanted to re-badge and sell Volkswagen Jetta Hybrids in the U.S. before the company eventually decided to close up its local sales arm.
The report, which came out on Monday, is a play-by-play of what happened from the time Suzuki CEO Osamu Suzuki and Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn first shook hands in 2009, to when Suzuki announced it was cutting its losses, up to today as the automakers struggle over VW’s 19.9-percent ownership of the Japanese automaker.
More bad news from Europe: The new car market in Germany, last year an island of stability in a sea of red, was down 8.6 percent in January. On the back of worse news from other European volume markets, this does not bode well for when ACEA will publish its European data next week.
It was one of the worst-kept secrets: Two weeks ago, Reuters reporters had picked up the scent of Daimler planning a big investment into China’s BAIC. This week, rumors started flying around in Beijing that it is true. Today, Daimler announces, as expected, that “Daimler AG is going to invest in BAIC Motor, the passenger car unit of BAIC Group, one of the leading automotive companies in China.”
Now about those Benz-BAIC rumors: While Beijing is going gaga, Reuters has been suspiciously quiet about an upcoming deal between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC. Reuters, which has good ears and feet on the ground in China, had reported two weeks ago that something might be happening. Today, Reuters breaks its silence and says:
How do you beat the Dow? Occasionally, by reading TTAC. Yesterday, we wrote about Beijing rumors that Daimler and China’s BAIC are planning a big tie-up.
While we at TTAC are busy looking for the appropriate tie-up pictures, in case the rumor should prove true, the Dow Jones Newswire reports today:
And now for the Italian section of our collection of tasteful tie-up art. Mazda and Fiat not quite tied the knot, but they became engaged. Mazda and Fiat signed “a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and manufacturing of a new roadster for the Mazda and Alfa Romeo marques based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture,” Mazda says in a statement.
With all the tie-ups going on between Japanese and mostly European car makers, conventional wisdom had it that Honda would not take part in the nampa with the gaijin. Everybody saw them stay pure and Nipponese. Not so, said Executive Vice President Koichi Kondo yesterday to The Nikkei [sub]. They would very much like a little tete-a-tete with attractive suitors. They were the wallflower, because they were too shy and awkward. Now, Honda is ready to play.
Guess who was matchmaker for Daimler’s three-way tie-up with Renault and Nissan? The Nikkei [sub] thinks it was Volkswagen. VW’s alliance with Suzuki “spooks Daimler into thinking small,” says the Tokyo business paper. And that’s quite a change for formerly bigthinking Daimler.
I’m running out of gratuitous tie-up pictures, so let’s celebrate the good news with a video: The Nikkei [sub] sends us the news that Nissan and Daimler “are in the final stages of negotiations to obtain stakes of less than 5 percent in each other.” This comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that Daimler and Renault will exchange shares. With Nissan joining the couple, the tripartite axis will be perfect. No Italians this time.
After long hand-holding and necking, Daimler and Renault finally seem to progress to third base. The Financial Times reports that the French and the Germans “are in the final stages of wide-ranging strategic partnership talks that would involve the German and French car makers taking ‘symbolic’ minority stakes in each other.”
Time to break out the (tasteful) shibari pictures. “Nissan would seriously consider joining a comprehensive tie-up between Renault S.A. and Daimler AG if the alliance they are discussing happens,” says The Nikkei [sub]. With Renault and Nissan tied-up both at the hips and on top, such a move would make more than just sense.
Again, Renault and Daimler are reported to having a serious tête–à-tête that could lead to a formal marriage. According to the Financial Times, “Daimler and Renault are discussing acquiring mutual equity stakes as part of a possible alliance that would go beyond their current talks on small cars.” Their source? “Two people briefed on the matter.”
Stakes to be bought or swapped were likely to be smaller than 10 per cent.
Last December, France’s PSA group and Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors seemed to get really tight (and set off the memorable TTAC series of shibari illustrations.)
Something must have happened during their courtship. The main players met on neutral ground at the Geneva auto show and called off the engagement.
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- ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
- ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
- Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
- Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
- Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.