November 2011

Former Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., is reborn

(November 22, 2011) SPRING HILL, Tenn. — General Motors will invest $61 million to bring its idled Spring Hill assembly plant back to life as one of the world’s most-flexible manufacturing facilities capable of building any GM car or crossover based on customer demand or manufacturing need.

The investment will create 594 hourly jobs and 91 salaried positions for the flexible operation scheduled to begin with the hot-selling Chevrolet Equinox in the second half of 2012.

Laura Soave replaced as Fiat brand head in North America

(November 21, 2011) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Laura Soave is out as head of the Fiat brand for North America. The news was released today when Chrysler announced that it had named Timothy Kuniskis to the position. Kuniskis most recently served as director for both the Chrysler Brand and Fiat Brand Product Marketing. Chrysler said the move is effective immediately.

Chrysler uses century-old poem in new TV spot

(November 21, 2011) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Chrysler says words written nearly 100 years ago by a Michigan poet laureate about never quitting or running from adversity are just as true today in capturing the resolve of the people of Detroit and Chrysler to overcome obstacles and prove their best days lie ahead.

Ford to upgrade entire powertrain lineup in China by 2015

(November 21, 2011) Ford said today it is introducing 20 new engines and transmissions in China by 2015 in a comprehensive strategy to upgrade its entire powertrain portfolio in the world's largest auto market. The upgrade aims to support its aggressive plan to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015.

Smart 341 Parkour named 2011 Design Challenge winner at L.A. Auto Show

(November 21, 2011) LOS ANGELES -- Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Germany won the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge competition with the presentation of its Smart 341 Parkour, a futuristic vehicle that steals the screen in a fictional action adventure.

Kia says its concept sedan signals company's design direction

(November 20, 2011) LOS ANGELES — Kia is the fastest growing car company in the U.S., and the brand, which has recently undergone a design-led transformation, continued to turn heads at the Los Angeles Auto Show with the North American introduction of the striking Kia GT concept vehicle.

The forward-looking Kia GT concept — originally shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show — signals the company's distinctive new design direction with graceful yet confident styling and is the first rear-wheel-drive concept in Kia's history.

Small but wicked — Fiat 500 Abarth introduced to U.S.

(November 19, 2011) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Faithful to the “small but wicked” saying coined for Karl Abarth’s cars in the 1960s, the new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth arrives to America with the racing traditions that have made it a success on European roadways and racetracks — world-class performance and precision, purposeful and aggressive styling, high power-to-weight ratio and limited-production volume.

Toyota celebrates opening of Corolla plant in Mississippi

(November 18, 2011) BLUE SPRINGS, Miss. — Toyota celebrated the opening of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi on Thursday, the company’s new $800 million plant outside of Tupelo that assembles the compact Corolla.

Joining the celebration were Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

Porsche unveils plans for a West Coast 'experience center'

(November 18, 2011) LOS ANGELES — Porsche has again offered proof of the company's strong commitment to the U.S. market with the announcement of a new Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles, to be built in nearby Carson, Calif.
The new center will cover 51 acres.

The new West Coast location will be situated near the intersection of two major Los Angeles area traffic arteries, the 405 and 110 Freeways, is just minutes from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and is basically in the heart of Southern California, Porsche's largest market in the United States. Groundbreaking is anticipated for summer 2012.

Volkswagen sees all-electric van concept as delivery vehicle of the future

(November 18, 2011) WOLFSBURG/POTSDAM, Germany — Volkswagen has introduced the eT! Concept — an all-electric van created as a research project into the viability of electric-only transport and logistics.

The Volkswagen eT! Concept is powered by electric wheel-hub motors that maximize space for the cabin. But the distinguishing design feature of the eT! Concept is the passenger side sliding door that covers access to the front passenger seat as well.