Inside the Industry

Saab retreats into automotive history as GM pulls the plug

(December 19, 2009) DETROIT — General Motors announced today that the intended sale of Saab Automobile AB would not be concluded. After the withdrawal of Koenigsegg Group AB last month, GM had been in discussions with Spyker Cars about its interest in acquiring Saab. During the due diligence, certain issues arose that both parties believe could not be resolved.  As a result, GM will start an orderly wind-down of Saab operations.

Ford comes up short on Taurus SHO, Ford F-150 double-cab

(December 19, 2009) Ford dealers are having trouble getting some versions of the 2010 Taurus, such as SEL and SHO trims, according to trade publication Automotive News. That's because Ford misjudged which variants of the vehicle would be popular and how many should be built, says a top executive. The 2010 Taurus went on sale in August.

“It's a problem for our dealers,” said Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, at a press event here Friday.

Volvo to build electric test fleet using the C30

(December 18, 2009) Volvo Cars is presenting a complete battery electric Volvo C30 with a range of 150 km (94 miles) at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The next step forward is to build a test fleet of at least 50 electric Volvo C30s, which will be used in real-life traffic from 2011.

Chrysler announces it will build new engine in Michigan plant

(December 17, 2009) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Chrysler will invest $179 million to launch production of an advanced technology, fuel-efficient engine for the North American market, which will be built at the company’s Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Michigan.

The investment will create up to 573 new jobs industry-wide, including up to 155 new Chrysler Group jobs.

Buick to put Ecotec 2.4-liter four-cylinder in LaCrosse

(December 17, 2009) Buick will offer its LaCrosse CX model with a new fuel-efficient, direct injected Ecotec 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine priced at $26,995 (including $750 destination charge).  The 4-cylinder is the third engine choice in the all new 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan. Backed by a fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission, the new powertrain combination is expected to deliver fuel economy of 30 mpg highway and 20 mpg city making LaCrosse one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its segment.

China's Geely hopes to complete acquisition of Volvo early in 2010

(December 16, 2009) Zhejiang Geely Holding Group aims to conclude the acquisition of Ford's Volvo unit in early 2010 and has hired consultants for restructuring and integration, sources with direct knowledge of the deal said.

German-based Roland Berger Strategy Consultants has been hired to launch a 100-day internal review and restructuring to improve Geely operations with a focus on sales of Geely's self-branded cars in China, a source told news agency Reuters.

Rinspeed unveils electric commuter vehicle

(December 16, 2009) Rinspeed, the Swiss creators of crazy concepts for the Geneva auto show, has turned its attention to urban mobility, unveiling on Wednesday the UC electric commuter vehicle.

Aston Martin reveals commuter concept car, the Cygnet

(December 16, 2009) Aston Martin today released the first official images of the ‘Cygnet’ — a new luxury commuter concept car.

The Cygnet concept represents a creative, environmentally conscious solution, being small, yet with presence — and highly fuel efficient, now combined with the prestige of Aston Martin’s luxury brand ownership.

Toyota says plug-in hybrid will be available to consumers by 2011

(December 15, 2009) Toyota showed its new plug-in hybrid Monday, available for leasing this month in Japan, the U.S. and Europe, and promised the green vehicle for sale to regular consumers by 2011 at an "affordable" price.

The plug-in Prius is the first from Toyota Motor Corp. packed with a more powerful lithium-ion battery that's different from the batteries used in Prius hybrids on roads today. A plug-in is even friendlier to the environment than the regular Prius because it travels longer as an electric vehicle.

Toyota to debut a new dedicated hybrid concept in Detroit

(December 15, 2009) Toyota announced today that it will stage the world debut of a new dedicated hybrid concept vehicle during the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The vehicle will be revealed during a news conference held on Monday, Jan. 11, in the Riverview Ballroom at COBO Hall.  News conference schedules are being finalized and exact timing will be revealed in the coming weeks.