December 19th, 2011 at 11:11am
Well, as we’ve been predicting for over a year, Saab is filing for bankruptcy and will likely liquidate its assets. Chevy will debut an RS version of the Sonic at the Detroit Auto Show next month. Car sales this month in the U.S. could reach 1.23 million units, which is a 15 percent gain from November. All that and more, plus a look at the all-new Hyundai Accent.
This is Autoline Daily for December 19, 2011. And here’s what’s happening out there.
SAAB FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
Well, as we’ve been predicting here for over a year, Saab is filing for bankruptcy and will likely liquidate its assets. The company simply couldn’t come up with the money it needed, and an attempt to get Chinese investment ran afoul of General Motors, which refused to let Saab turn its technology over to them. Pang Da and Youngman Lotus will likely lose everything they put into Saab.
CHEVY SONIC RS
Chevy’s terrific B-segment car, the Sonic, is getting a sporty new trim level. The company will debut an RS version of the car at the Detroit Auto Show next month. It’ll be powered by the same 1.4-liter turbo churning out 138 horsepower, but it will benefit from a laundry list of other upgrades. A new grille, fascia and fog lamps punctuate the front end. The rocker moldings and mirror caps are also RS-specific. It gets a sport suspension, new seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, among many other upgrades. Look for the Chevy Sonic RS at dealerships LATE next year.
ALFA ROMEO 4C GETS THE GREEN LIGHT
Alfa Romeo’s sultry 4C concept that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show is rumored to be a go. Autoblog reports Fiat is just about ready to start building this mid-engined two-door. Supposedly, when it reaches showrooms, it will carry a base price of £45,000, roughly 70,000 U.S. dollars. It’s expected to be powered by a direct-injected turbo four that belts out 230 horsepower. We shall see.
CAR SALES REMAIN STRONG IN DECEMBER
Car sales are ending the year on a high note in the US. WardsAuto.com is forecasting that this month’s SAAR will hit 13.4 million units (subscription required), and that sales for December will reach 1.23 million units, which is a 15 percent gain from November. Overall for 2011, sales are expected to be 10 percent higher than 2010. And maybe here’s a reason why sales are picking up. A report from CNW Research says automakers and dealers combined have ratcheted up incentives and discounts. They’re up over 20 percent from a year ago.
CHINA’S CAR CONNOTATIONS
According to taxi drivers in China, it’s always best to yield to Audis, because odds are the German-bred luxury cars are driven by high-ranking government officials. Or at least that’s the brand’s stereotype in the middle kingdom. Audi isn’t the only brand with a different perception in the People’s Republic compared to the ‘States. Meanwhile, BMW’s reputation for sporty performance doesn’t seem to win it much favor in China, where the ultimate driving machines are more known for being involved in street racing and corrupt politicians. Mercedes is thought of as an old folks’ car, much the way Americans viewed Oldsmobiles, while Buicks including the outdated Lucerne, are considered must-have vehicles for the up-and-coming middle class. Buicks are highly regarded because the last emperor of China loved the brand.
After the break, a look at the new Hyundai Accent.
Don’t forget to join us Thursday night for a special Christmas edition of Autoline After Hours. Joining me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for that show is David Welch from Bloomberg. We’re going to play Santa Claus, giving out presents and lumps of coal for the best and worst of what happened in the auto industry this year. It’s going to be fun, and funny, so join us Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.tv.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.