Episode 283 – New Volvo Bid, Ford & Mazda Separate?, LA Auto Show Update

December 3rd, 2009 at 12:00pm

Runtime 6:21

A consortium led by two former Ford executives submitted a revised bid for Volvo. Ford said it will be moving away from developing vehicles with Mazda in the future. All that and more, plus McElroy brings you the latest news from the floor of the LA Auto Show.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Another group bids on Volvo. Ford and Mazda may be going their separate ways. And McElroy brings us more news from LA.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, December 3, 2009. I’m Christie Schweinsberg from Ward’s Auto filling in yet again for John McElroy who’s covering the LA Auto Show. We’ll hear the latest from him in the second-half of the program, but first up, today’s news.

PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, said it’s in talks with Mitsubishi to form a “strategic alliance.” According to Bloomberg, this would include developing four-wheel-drive vehicles, electric cars and a joint venture in Russia. Japan’s Nikkei newspaper also reports that Peugeot may buy as much as a 50-percent stake in Mitsubishi for $3.4 billion. The two already are working together to develop a car based on Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV electric car to sell in Europe.

While it looked like Ford’s sale of Volvo to Chinese automaker Geely was a foregone conclusion, it has received a new bid for the company (subscription required). According to the Wall Street Journal, a consortium led by two former Ford executives submitted a revised bid for the embattled automaker. It has the backing of Swedish investors and is fully funded. It’s not clear how much the offer is, but it’s expected to be similar to Geely’s $2 billion bid.

In other Ford news, Mark Fields, the company’s President of the Americas, said that Ford will be moving away from developing vehicles with Mazda in the future. According to Bloomberg, the company wants to keep design and engineering within Ford. Since last year Ford has cut its stake in Mazda from 33 percent to just over 10 percent in an effort to raise cash during the economic downturn. Even Mazda’s CEO said “it seems both companies are going their separate ways” but he remained hopeful the two would collaborate in the future.

Yesterday Honda revealed a wild-looking concept at the LA Auto Show called the P-NUT. Short for Personal-Neo Urban Transport, it’s the company’s vision of a future compact, city car. Beneath the creased bodywork there’s enough space inside for three passengers, with the driver sitting front and center. The P-NUT also features a rear-mounted powertrain and rear-wheel-drive. Since it’s aimed at city dwellers, compact dimensions are a BIG part of its design. With a total length of just 134 inches, the P-NUT is 30 inches shorter than Honda’s subcompact Fit, the smallest car it sells in the U.S.

Volkswagen is taking another crack at building an ultra-efficient car with its Up! Light. Reminiscent of the company’s L1 concept from the Frankfurt Motor Show, the four-seat hatchback features a hybrid drivetrain and lightweight construction. It’s powered by a two-cylinder, 0.8-liter diesel engine coupled to a seven-speed direct-shift transmission. Output from the ICE totals 51 horsepower while the electric motor delivers an additional 13. Vee Dub estimates the car is capable of up to 70 miles per gallon with a top speed of 100 miles an hour.

Coming up after the break, Johnny Mac brings us the latest news from the floor of the LA Auto Show. But for now, I’m Christie Schweinsberg from Ward’s Auto, signing off.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

19 Comments to “Episode 283 – New Volvo Bid, Ford & Mazda Separate?, LA Auto Show Update”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    Those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch the live broadcast yesterday from LA should do so. It was cool (at least until the feed died…gotta love live TV). I think they put the rest of it up now.

    Very insightful.

  2. bert anderson Says:

    she’s proof that its not easy to be on camera. Wihle I respest her courage, I suggest some prompter reading classes

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    +1 to what Tony said. The Live show (I couldn’t watch live but caught it this morning) was very good. Let me tell you John Mc is one hard working car guy. Kudos to you John for all you do.

  4. Max Christensen Says:

    Tony

    Do you have a link for that?

    Thanks!

  5. dcars Says:

    Hopefully the Ford and Mazda break up will mean more engineering new hires here in the US. Interestingly my auto engineering friends tell me that the current group of US engineering graduates aren’t very interested in the automotive world.

  6. Nick Stevens Says:

    I was able to listen to about one hour of the live broadcast, it was great, I liked it so much I wrote a thank you comment to John Mxc Elroy in the “comments” section.

    Far better than actually going to the show and just seeing the cars and not having all these interviews.

  7. Lex Says:

    John,

    Is the entire webcast from the LA Auto Show available on your website. Some Americans like myself are still gainfully employed and would like to stay that way, so I was unable to watch the live webcast. I believe you only put up about a 30 minute segment on your John’s Journal section of the website.

    GM and Ford better watch out because the new product from Hyundai is going to rocket pass them in sales. Hyundai has the right formula.
    I believe I am paraphasing Peter DeLorenzo when I write: “An Automaker needs great looking product with stellar reliability and a great warranty back by a caring dealer network to succeed in the current mearket and build customer loyalty.

    I drove past Hyundai’s plant in West Point Ga this summer and it was great to see that brand new plant. It must employee hundreds of American Workers.

    Way to go Hyundai!
    Keep Americans Working!

  8. Darron65 Says:

    for Max Christensen: Yesterday’s live show is on the John’s Journal page.

  9. Max Christensen Says:

    Thanks Darron!

  10. Jim Thykeson Says:

    John, ask Chrysler where their ‘lust’ car is. They have this concept car called the ‘Firepower’ which looks like a civilized version of a Shelby Daytona coupe! Nissan has already done a copy of the ‘Firepower’ with their Essence’ concept. Chrysler needs a ‘signature lust’ car, and the ‘Firepower’ could be it.

  11. Jim Sachetti Says:

    The (base) Price is Right!

    “…if you head on over to Ford’s official page for the new Fiesta, you’ll see that it starts at $13,320 (plus a $675 destination charge).

    Even better, the full Build and Price section is available, meaning you can see each and every individual option and its price. We went ahead and spent some time perusing the options list, and we see that the low base price is for the base S model, which comes exclusively in sedan form. The least expensive hatchback model is $15,120 (about $800 more than a comparably-equipped sedan).

    Step up to a hatchback with Ford’s new six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and you’re looking at $16,190, and the uprated SES hatchback starts at $17,120 ($18,190 with the auto). Click past the jump for more interesting little tidbits that we noticed when pricing out our own Fiestas, including what Ford is offering for reserving one early.”

    (from Autoblog)

  12. Jim Sachetti Says:

    in 2011, the Mazda2, which is probably a Fiesta clone, will also be offered in the US

  13. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Fords Reliability is in 6th Place, they cant have parts sourcing from a 15-20th placer like Mazda if Reliability is going to be their creed.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I checked out the Fiesta “build and price,” and found that the only way to get speed control in the SE hatchback is by getting the $795 “super fuel economy package” which requires the automatic transmission. You can’t get speed control in a manual transmission SE. That means the cheapest manual tranmission Fiesta hatch with cruise control will be the SES for over 18K with destination charge. I guess that’s about the same as a Honda Fit Sport, (Sport model required to get speed control), but I’d hoped the Mexican Fiesta would be a little cheaper than the Fit.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Correction:
    The MSRP of a zero option Fiesta SES hatch is $17,795 including destination charge.

  16. Nick Stevens Says:

    Both the Fiesta and the one size larger Chevy Cruze can get 40 MPG highway, and both as a paid option. This is NOT good news for the Fiesta, when a car one size larger can match its MPG.

  17. Nick Stevens Says:

    These prices for tiny econoboxes seem way too high for me. They reaffirm my belief that only very rarely (when there are tech advances not present in any used models, etc) does it make any sense buying a brand-new vehicle.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    December 4th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    “Both the Fiesta and the one size larger Chevy Cruze can get 40 MPG highway, and both as a paid option. This is NOT good news for the Fiesta, when a car one size larger can match its MPG”

    The Fiesta will have one big advantage over the Cruze, at least to me, in that it will be sold as a hatchback. They may eventually sell Cruze as a hatch or wagon, but not initially from what I’ve read.

  19. Nick Stevens Says:

    HAtches are better, but the American buyers are used to hatches that are $1-2k cheaper than 4-doors or coupes (such as the old Civic hatches, of which we still own an “as new” 91 with 45k, a 5-speed, very lightweight (less than 1900 lbs).

    But Ford is doing a total 180 from the above and is pricing the hatch Fiesta above the 4-door! I am curious how US buyers will react.