December 21st, 2009 at 12:00pm
Though GM says it will wind down Saab, last minute bids could save the iconic Swedish brand. Was it an offer he couldn’t refuse or is Ford losing one of its top designers because of turmoil on its design staff? GM is doing great in China, and GM owns OnStar, so it was only natural that GM would have OnStar start operating in China. All that and more, plus John shares his thoughts on the new GMC Terrain.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Last minute bids could save Saab. Ford loses one of its top designers. And OnStar moves into China.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, December 21, 2009. And now, the news.
General Motors is getting last minute bids on Saab, including a new offer from Spyker. And while GM says it will look into those offers, it says it will continue to wind down Saab’s operations. And it says it will have no further comment until it evaluates these offers.
Hyundai, which has had a good sales year in America with cars, is now moving into China with trucks. Over the weekend the Associated Press reports that the company agreed to launch a 400-million dollar joint venture with a Chinese partner. It will be a 50-50 deal between Hyundai Motors and — since I don’t want to mangle its name — what we’ll call the BBB Heavy-Duty Truck Company from China. Their target is to sell a 100,000 trucks by 2014.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Honda announced plans for a new passenger car factory. It should boost capacity by 20 percent raising Honda’s total Chinese output to over 730-thousand units. The factory plans to be up and running by 2011.
And finally, big news for Cadillac owners in China as OnStar is rolling out this month in Mandarin (subscription required) no-less! Wardsauto.com reports that the company has been looking to expand its business with the reduction of GM brands and China was an obvious target. One of the biggest challenges though, has been gearing up its voice-recognition software for the difficult language of Mandarin which OnStar seems to have overcome.
Autoblog is reporting that one of Ford’s top designers is resigning from the company. Pat Schiavone, who ran Ford’s truck studios for North America, is reportedly leaving to take a job outside of the auto industry. He’s credited with the last three generations of the F-150, the Ford Flex, and even the 1994 Mustang. We’ll have to find out if this is a case of an offer he couldn’t refuse, or it its an indication of more turmoil at Ford’s design staff.
And speaking of design at Ford, it’s coming out with some wild graphics that customers can buy to customize their cars, or trucks or SUVs. It even has a graphics line it calls Warriors in Pink for survivors of breast cancer. And it has special green graphics for its hybrids. These will be dealer installed graphics that will be available in 2010. And you can see them all at a website called fordcustomgraphics.com.
Coming up next, I’ll give you my instant impressions of the new GMC Terrain.
The Terrain is a pretty good vehicle, but clearly the automotive media prefers its sister vehicle, the Chevrolet Equinox, which made it to the finalist list for the North American Truck of the Year award. The winner of that award will be announced at the Detroit auto show.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.