December 18th, 2009 at 1:17pm
GM announced it was not able to put a deal together to sell Saab. Chrysler’s CEO Sergio Marchionne says it’s going to take two years for the company to turn around. Fiat’s Doblo could be Chrysler’s answer to the Ford Transit Connect in North America. All that and more, plus master spy photographer Jim Dunne talks how he had his face plastered on wanted posters.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Saab is going to die. Don’t look for Chrysler to turn around anytime in the next two years. Fiat’s answer to the Ford Transit Connect.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Friday, December 18, 2009. And now, the news.
This just in. General Motors announced it was not able to put a deal together to sell Saab. And it will begin to immediately wind down operations at the Swedish automaker. Saab will continue to pay any bills it owes, and will continue to honor the warranties on its cars. But it will probably be officially out of business before the month is out.
Chrysler’s CEO Sergio Marchionne says it’s going to take two years for the company to turn around. He was speaking at an event yesterday where Chrysler confirmed that the 1.4 liter engine going in the Fiat 500 to be sold in the Americas will be built at one of the company’s factories in Michigan.
And sticking with Fiat for the moment, but over to Europe, the company introduced the new Doblo. This little vanette offers a choice of three diesels and one gasoline engine, all with a stop/start feature. It also offers all the airbags you’d ever need, plus electronic stability control, a nav system, and MP3, so this is not just a little delivery van. And I wonder if Chrysler or Dodge would put this in its line-up to compete with the Ford Transit Connect in North America.
General Motors named Brian Sweeney as the head of Buick-GMC. Actually we knew this yesterday, before the official announcement, but didn’t have a picture of him. Sweeney, 42 years old, was a district sales manager for GMC, but at some point in his career, he has worked for every GM brand in the US market, except Hummer.
A123 Systems, the company that makes lithium-ion batteries, announced it will form a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive in China, the Associated Press reports. It will become the main supplier of these batteries to SAIC and all its subsidiaries. And that could give A123 some pretty good manufacturing volume.
Ford plans to launch new software for the Sync that will let companies develop applications in an open environment for it, similar to the Apple iPhone. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford and music site Pandora will collaborate using the software to allow drivers access to the web to listen to music. Both declined to comment on the report but Ford plans to make an announcement at January’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Coming up next, a look at some of the comments from last night’s Autoline After Hours when master spy photographer Jim Dunne talked how he had his face plastered on wanted posters.
On last night’s Autoline After Hours, Jim Dunne talked about how weird it would be to be trying to sneak into styling centers and proving grounds in his role as a spy photographer, and how he would be invited in to these place in his role as a journalist. He talks about this contradiction in the following sound bite
You can watch the entire Autoline After Hours show on our website right now at www.AutolineDetroit.tv. Just look for it in the John’s Journal section.
Ok, it’s Friday and you know what that means. It’s time to answer this week’s trivia question. We asked you to identify who made this tank and what war it made its first appearance. As always we randomly selected this weeks winner from the pool of correct responses. And the correct answer is it was built by Renault and first appeared in the Great War, also known as World War I. And the winner is David Andrews of North Arlington, New Jersey. Congratulations David you’ve just won this collector’s edition Autoline Detroit coffee mug.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next week.