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OEM News

Friday, 28 October 2011 09:49

SAAB to be sold to Chinese firms

Chinese firms Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. have agreed to buy Saab for 100 million euros ($142 million), according to reports in Automotive News.

Saab owner, Swedish Automobile, said on Oct. 28 that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding to sell 100 percent of the shares of Saab to the Chinese companies. The memorandum of understanding is valid until November 15, provided Saab stays in reorganization. Swedish Automobile said Saab's administrator, Guy Lofalk, has withdrawn his application to a Swedish court for Saab to exit reorganization. The court had been due later the same day to decide on Lofalk's application.

Swedish Automobile said an important part of the deal "is the commitment of Pang Da and Youngman to provide long term funding to Saab Automobile."

Pang Da and Youngman will provide sufficient financing so that a court-backed reconstruction process under creditor protection can continue, a court document showed.

Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) launched its nationwide Nissan Certified Collision Repair Network at NACE in Orlando. The new certification program is open to both dealer-owned and independent collision shops.

Chrysler’s Southeast & Southwest Service & Parts Business Conference was held at the Disney Contemporary Resort in Orlando from October 12 through 14.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011 09:49

GM Ratifies Contract with UAW

Automotive News is reporting that the UAW has ratified a four-year labor agreement with General Motors by a 2-to-1 margin -- marking another milestone in the automaker's post-bankruptcy restructuring.

Thursday, 08 September 2011 11:48

Swedish Court Rejects SAAB Bankruptcy Petition

A Swedish court has rejected an application by ailing carmaker Saab for protection from creditors to give it breathing space to solve a cash crisis and get funds from Chinese investors. Saab says it has commitments for additional short-term funding.

The Vanersborg district court in western Sweden said in a statement on its Web site that there was no reason to believe a new creditor protection process, known as a reconstruction, would work. Saab went through the process in 2009-2010 when it was owned by General Motors Co.

The company says it is looking for short-term stability while it seeks additional equity funding. The reorganization would have been self-managed but headed by an independent administrator appointed by the court. Under Swedish law the plan must be presented to creditors within three weeks of the filing and the plan would be executed over a period of three months.

Toyota and Tesla Motors, Inc. confirmed August 5 that their jointly-developed RAV4 electric vehicle will be built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc. (TMMC) in Woodstock, Ontario beginning in 2012.

"The Tesla-Toyota joint development team has agreed that building the vehicle at the Woodstock plant on the same line as the gasoline-powered RAV4, will streamline and simplify the production process and guarantee the highest level of quality control," said Ray Tanguay, TMMC Chairman, who hosted Canadian officials at the plant August 5 and thanked them for their support. "This is a great example of Toyota's determination to collaborate with companies with leading edge technology."

As previously announced, Toyota will pay Tesla approximately $100 million to supply the electric powertrain, which includes the battery, motor, gear box and power electronics for the RAV4 EV. Tesla will build the electric powertrains at its production facility in Palo Alto, California and then ship them to TMMC for final assembly into the vehicle.

The RAV4 EV will be sold at U.S. Toyota dealers through Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. Details including pricing, volume and regional distribution will be determined and announced at a later time.

According to reports made by Bloomberg, General Motors Co. outsold Toyota Motor Corp. globally in the first six months of 2011 to become the world’s largest automaker after the record March earthquake disrupted production in Japan.

GM sales rose 8.9 percent to 4.536 million units in the half-year ended June 30, the Detroit-based automaker said in a statement yesterday. That compares with 4.13 million units at second-ranked Volkswagen AG and 3.71 million units for Toyota, including its luxury Lexus marque and affiliates Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd., according to statements by the companies.

Output at the Toyota City, Japan-based automaker slumped 23 percent to 3.37 million units in the half-year after the company halted production following the magnitude-9 temblor and tsunami in March. Toyota expects to enter a production recovery phase in September, one month earlier than previously announced, the automaker said Aug. 2.

Thursday, 04 August 2011 10:53

Chrysler recalls nearly 300,000 minivans

Chrysler is recalling nearly 300,000 minivans for a possible heating and air conditioning problem that could inadvertently trigger the air bag, the second related recall in nine months.

John Yoswick has reported that Doug Craig, collision repair manager for Chrysler, said last week at the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) that Chrysler, Ford and some other automakers are working to "commonize where we can" some of their "approaches to different repairs."

He said Chrysler also will be moving away from "recommendations" to instead offer much more specific "requirements on what process, procedure and/or components...should be used in a repair."

For example, Craig said Chrysler will often say a certain Mopar part number for an adhesive -- "or equivalent" -- should be used. "What is equivalent? That could take a chemical engineer to tell you," Craig said. "I'm sometimes amazed when I take things to our materials engineering folks and ask, 'Is this the same thing?' It turns out some of the snake oil isn't even close to being the same, even if the label or the product rep says it is. We're not trying to drive any costs in the repair. We're not trying to over-simplify repairs. We just want to take some of the judgment calls out of it, so the customer ends up getting an equivalent vehicle back."

The Obama administration is considering requiring cars and light trucks to average 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025—a move that could end up boosting the cost of vehicles by $2,100 or more.

That represents an improvement of about a 5 percent per year in each company’s fleetwide average fuel economy from 2016--when they are required to have a 35.5 mpg average for vehicles sold in the US, according to Bloomberg.

Federal regulators and White House executives met with the Detroit Big Three automakers and foreign-based automakers earlier this month to debrief them on the initial proposal, according to the Wall Street Journal. The White House also has met with the UAW on the issue.

The 56.2 mpg figure and EPA's proposed greenhouse gas emissions limits equivalent likely is an opening bargaining point. The final proposal could change as automakers and the White House hold more meetings to try to reach agreement.

“There’s a way to go in this process,” said Greg Martin, a spokesman for Detroit-based GM, according to Bloomberg. “Any number out there right now has the rigidity of Jello.”

The administration hopes to formally propose new standards in September and finalize them by July 2012.