December 5th, 2011 at 11:15am
Automakers are ramping up their production plans for the first quarter of 2012. EV start-up company Aptera announced it’s closing its doors because the company is out of money. Volkswagen’s new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee was just rated the greenest auto assembly plant in the world. All that and more, plus a look at the new Volkswagen Beetle.
This is Autoline Daily for December 5th. That means there’s only 20 more shopping days left to Christmas, but in the meantime, let’s look at the news.
AUTOMAKERS BOOST PRODUCTION (subscription required)
New car sales are slowing climbing back in the U.S. market, and it looks like the car companies expect sales to get even better. Wards reports that automakers are ramping up their production plans for the first quarter of 2012. They are going to boost production by 10 percent to nearly 3.7 million units, the highest production in five years. Some companies expect to do more than that. Chrysler, for example, will boost production almost 19 percent.
APTERA PULLS THE PLUG
But as they are ramping up, one is ramping down. EV start-up company Aptera announced it’s pulling the plug on its operations. In a statement, CEO Paul Wilbur said the company is out of money. Aptera had hoped to get a loan from the Department of Energy but couldn’t come up with matching funds.
NEW SAAB INVESTOR?
And speaking of companies that are struggling, we’re back to Saab. Yesterday Reuters reported that the Bank of China is working with Youngman Lotus to take stake in Saab and would replace Pang Da as an investor. But today Bloomberg reports that Youngman Lotus denies that the Bank of China is involved in the talks.
VW PLANT WINS GREEN AWARD
Volkswagen’s new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee was just rated the greenest auto assembly plant in the world. It won LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The facility has lots and lots of insulation, it has a hydroelectric power source; the exterior is illuminated with LED lights; and they even collect rain water to cool welding equipment and flush toilets. GM has the second-greenest plant; its gold-certified Lansing Delta Township factory in Michigan.
A GATHERING OF NARCISSISTS
Bloomberg reports a convoy of eight Ferraris and one Lamborghini were involved in a 14-car crash in Japan yesterday. The accident occurred when a driver switched lanes and skidded out of control. The vehicles were valued at more than $1 million. Thankfully nobody was injured or killed. A Japanese police official called the pileup a “gathering of narcissists.”
2012 VW BEETLE
The most recent reincarnation of the Volkswagen Beetle didn’t sell very well around the world. At first it did reasonably well in the American market, but sales soon fell off, and it didn’t help that Volkswagen failed to freshen the design for more than a decade. But now, as you know, we have an all-new version of the Beetle, and here are our impressions.
I love the new styling of the Beetle. To me it almost looks as if it could have come out of Porsche’s design studio. And I’ll bet is sells a lot better in markets outside of North America.
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And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.