October 28th, 2011 at 11:53am
Victor Muller has thrown in the towel, agreeing to sell Saab to the Chinese. Caterham wants a piece of the Indian pie as it moves to build cars in the sub-continent. Opel Ampera sales are off to a surprising start. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week with J Mays and a walkaround of the Ford Evos.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, October 28, 2011. And here’s what’s going on in the world of the automobile.
NO VICTORY FOR VICTOR
Well, it sure looks like Victor Muller has thrown in the towel with Saab. He’s signed a memorandum of understanding with Pang Da and Youngman to sell 100% of of Saab Automobile to the two Chinese companies for 100 million euros, or about $142 million. The agreement still needs approval from the authorities, shareholders and other parties. All I can say is I hope the Chinese are ready to start pouring billions into getting Saab back on its feet. And I don’t mean billions of yuan.
CHRYSLER POSTS DECENT NUMBERS
Chrysler posted decent third quarter earnings. Revenue for the last three months were just over $13 billion. Net income was $212 million, which compares to a loss of $84 million last year. And global vehicle sales came to 496,000 units, which was up 24%. The company’s cash position was down slightly, but is still strong. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he’s excited about 2012 when the company is going to be coming out with more new product, especially its new C-class car based on a Fiat platform.
CATERHAM IN THE SUB-CONTINENT
Every automaker seems to want to jump into the Indian market these days, even the best known kit-car company. Autoblog reports that Caterham will actually be building cars in India, and will sell its SP/300.R sports prototype racing car there to generate interest in motor racing. And as F1 fans know, the first ever Formula One Grand Prix in India takes place this weekend.
KIA GETS WORRIED
Car sales in China have been growing by leaps and bounds the last several years but now they’re starting to cool off. And that makes Kia nervous. It’s worried that China’s economic tightening policy will hurt demand. It’s also concerned about the European debt crisis and a slow down in the South Korean car market.
OPEL AMPERA SELLS BETTER THAN EXPECTED (subscription required)
So far this year, sales of the Chevy Volt have been modest in the U.S. Fewer than 4,000 have been sold through September. But over in Europe, the Opel Ampera which is based on the Volt, looks like it will get off to better start. According to Ward’s, the car doesn’t go on sale until next month in Germany but the company says it has over 6,000 orders. Opel originally projected it would sell 8,000 Ampera’s in the first year but now the automaker is projecting sales of up to 15,000. Sales of the Volt in the U.S. have been hampered by production problems but Opel says it will be able to fulfill demand.
SUDDENLY IT’S 1964
We’ve got pictures of the new Mustang from Ford. And man, does it sure look like the original 1964 model. There’s a reason for that, it’s a Ford-approved and officially licensed body shell of the original. The body uses a higher-grade steel than the original and has more welds as well. It’s made by Dynacorn International and sells for $15,000. By the way, you can also buy Ford-approved parts and components and build a brand new original Mustang from scratch.
Coming up next, a styling analysis of the new design language coming from Ford from none other than J Mays, the head of design at Ford.
Ford is on the verge of completely changing the look of its cars, as it signaled with its Evos concept car that it showed at the Frankfurt Auto Show. I asked J Mays, the vice president of global design at Ford, to walk me around the car and explain why they’re making these changes.
There’s a lot more to that interview with J Mays, and by the way, I also have Peter Schreyer, the head of design from Kia as well as Marco Tencone from Maserati who provides a styling analysis of the Maserati Kubang, an SUV based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee that will be built in Detroit. You can watch this latest Episode of Autoline This Week at Autoline.tv
And that wraps up this week’s reports. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you on Monday.