Episode 486 – Saab Powered by BMW?, Ferrari to Fund Chrysler Stake?, Ford Wants to Cut Line-Up

September 27th, 2010 at 11:40am

Runtime 6:29

Saab and BMW have hammered out a deal that would give the Swedish automaker access to BMW engines. Fiat is considering a Ferrari IPO in order to raise the cash necessary to boost its stake in Chrysler. Ford CEO Alan Mulally says he would like to slash the brand’s portfolio to as few 20 models. All that and more, plus a look at the Ford F-150′s new engines.

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This is Autoline Daily for Monday, September 27, 2010. Rod Meloni here, Business Editor at WDIV Channel 4 News, Detroit. McElroy’s in Europe this week covering the Paris Motor Show AND more. Here’s what’s going on in the world of cars.

SAAB POWERED BY BMW?
It’s no secret that Saab is working on a modern-version of the 92. Company CEO Victor Muller admitted it when he was on Autoline Detroit a few months back. What’s uncertain is which architecture the car would be built on. It’s been rumored that the Swedish automaker is in talks with BMW about sharing its Mini platform. Adding some credibility to this industry gossip, Bloomberg reports that the two companies have hammered out a deal that would give Saab access to BMW engines. According to the article, the company would initially purchase engines for use in its redesigned 9-3, which is scheduled to launch in late 2012. As you’d expect, neither company is talking about this agreement right now.

FERRARI TO FUND CHRYSLER STAKE?
In order to boost its stake in Chrysler, Fiat is considering a Ferrari IPO in order to raise the cash necessary. According to Reuters, Fiat has the option to push its stake in Chrysler up to 51 percent, which could happen next year or in 2012. Fiat currently has a 20 percent stake. Listing Ferrari is one option being considered. However, a Fiat spokesperson denied the rumors. Fiat owns 85 percent of Ferrari which is worth $3.1 billion.

CERBERUS REVIVES CHRYSLER FINANCIAL (subscription required)
Remember Cerberus? Yeah, they learned the hard way just how challenging the auto industry can be. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, the private-equity giant is making another foray into the car business. It’s aiming to revive Chrysler Financial, but not for the reasons you’d think. It plans to use the financial-services company to lend money to midsize firms unable to tap banks and public-debt markets. It will also finance leases and loans to car-buyers with less-than-perfect credit.

TOYOTA TO BUILD HYBRIDS IN FRANCE
Toyota announced it will build hybrids in Europe. According to the AFP, the company will start producing a compact hybrid at its plant in France in 2012. No other details about the car were released. The plant currently builds the Yaris and is only running at 60 percent capacity.

FOREIGN AUTOMAKERS PROFIT MOST IN CHINA
China’s auto industry has surged ahead over the last few years and it continues to grow, but it’s been the foreign automakers that have benefited the most from the increase in sales. According to Chinese automotive website Gasgoo, foreign automakers in China account for 70 percent of the profits in the market. Part of the problem is its domestic companies don’t have the technology imports do. So, I guess it’s no surprise we’ve heard reports that China is considering forcing foreign automakers to give technology to its joint venture partners in order to stay in the market.

FORD WANTS TO REDUCE LINE-UP
Bloomberg reports that Ford is aiming to simplify its global product lineup. Addressing the Confederation of British Industry in London, CEO Alan Mulally said the company could slash its portfolio to as few 20 models. The reason behind this drastic reduction in nameplates? According to Mulally, fewer products means you can focus more attention on quality engineering. The standardization of parts leads to better quality and lower cost. The Fiesta, for instance, is offered in about 10 different configurations around the world, but parts commonality across all of the variants is 65 percent.

Coming up next, a look at what’s new under the Ford F-150’s hood.

NEW F-150 ENGINES
On the truck-side of the market Ford’s powertrains have lagged behind the competition for years. Chrysler’s HEMI is a household name and GM’s smallblocks are as popular as ever, but the blue oval hasn’t kept pace in the horsepower war. All of that is about to change, though. Craig Cole reports.

Last month Ford revealed its powertrain lineup for the 2011 F-150 and it’s poised to rocket ahead of everyone else.  Four new engines will be available – two V-6s and two V-8s.  Throw in a standard six-speed automatic transmission and you have the most extensive powertrain overhaul in the truck’s history.

Let’s start with the V-6s.  The base engine displaces 3.7-liters.  It features dual-overhead camshafts, an aluminum block and heads, Twin Independent Variable Cam timing and a bunch of other high-tech features.  It’s so advanced calling it “base” is practically misleading.

Those are extraordinary numbers for an entry-level powerplant, but they’re even more impressive when you compare them to the base engine in the 2010 F-150.

It’s interesting how Ford is positioning its lineup of engines.  A V-6 is the entry-level offering – as you’d expect – but so is the range-topping option.  The company is putting its EcoBoost six above everything else, even the available V-8s.  This familiar 3.5-liter engine gets a host of upgrades for truck duty plus some add-ons for improved performance.  It should deliver 365 horsepower – the same as in the Taurus SHO – but with significantly more torque.  How does 420 foot-pounds sound?

Speaking of V-8s, we’ll fill you in on the other half of Ford’s engine equation later this week with an in-depth look at the other two F-150 powerplants accompanying these high-output sixes.

And that’s a wrap for today’s show. Again, I’m Rod Meloni, business editor at WDIV Channel 4 News here in Detroit. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you tomorrow.

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12 Comments to “Episode 486 – Saab Powered by BMW?, Ferrari to Fund Chrysler Stake?, Ford Wants to Cut Line-Up”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    I guess Saab can not learn from history, they mostly failed because of GM re-badging and now they want to do the same with BMW. One thing is to buy their engines but to base your cars on existing architectures is more of the same. China will end up throwing out the foreign makes if they refuse to comply with the sharing technology rule they want to implement

  2. D. Bruckbauer Says:

    What are those “extraodinary numbers”? “Let’s start with the V-6s. The base engine displaces 3.7-liters. It features dual-overhead camshafts, an aluminum block and heads, Twin Independent Variable Cam timing and a bunch of other high-tech features. It’s so advanced calling it “base” is practically misleading.

    Those are extraordinary numbers for an entry-level powerplant, but they’re even more impressive when you compare them to the base engine in the 2010 F-150″

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Now that would be something, a public offering for Ferrari stock. How many would purchase just to say, hell yeah, I own a part of Ferrari; ‘guilty as charged’. :)

    And some of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ of Fords’ new engine lineup (actually just good marketing); the engineer touted the V-6′s high horsepower when its number sounded superficially superior then brought up the torque figure when most advantageous (on the other engine); nothing wrong with that I guess, just that the differences are perhaps not as superior than they really are.

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Hey Ford,no diesels for the F150…….no sale.Oh,and be advised Ford,I’m looking now.

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    How is the gas mileage of the new Ford engines? You’d expect it to be better than the old ones, but you’d also expect them to brag about it.

  6. cwolf Says:

    Ford slimming down its model lineup! Sounds like a smart idea,but let’s include the diesels for the U.S. market. The new 6′s will be a welcome addition since most truck owners I know just use them as a street cruiser that sits higher off the ground and not for heavy hauling.

  7. Nick Stevens Says:

    “SAAB POWERED BY BMW?”

    John Mac, the dude or dudette that does your titles probably does not know much about car production.

    After the above title, you write that Saab may have its small car built on the MINI PLATFORM. Obviously, hat is quite different than just sharing the ENGINE with a BMW product.

  8. Nick Stevens Says:

    “FORD WANTS TO REDUCE LINE-UP
    Bloomberg reports that Ford is aiming to simplify its global product lineup. ”

    I was al,ways for that, but FOrd in the US actually never had too many models. Mercury was another story and it is correctly being shut down. GM especially, and even Chrysler, suffer from too many models cannibalizing each other’s sales since time immemorial.

    And yes, I hope when FOrd can do it and sell only a few high-volume, high-quality and high-profit models, it will afford to bring DIESELS in the US despite the very damning regulations that add $2-3k to each Euro-legal diesel vehicle to make it US street legal.

  9. Nick Stevens Says:

    Kit-I did read elsewhere (autoblog probably) that the MPG of the new FOrd engines is about 10% better, and they did brag about it.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If BMW shares the MINI platform with SAAB, it probably won’t have a BMW engine. At least the MINI’s don’t. They have Peugeot engines.

  11. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Agreement between BMW and Saab, or what is left of it, is to give them 1.6 lt turbo BMW engines.

  12. alexx Says:

    ferrari what percent of the market does the U.S. account for?