Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for February, 2012

GM – Peugeot Announce “Broad-Scale” Alliance

Partners anticipate improved European competitiveness.

by on Feb.29, 2012

The new partnership brings "tremendous opportunity" for both companies says GM CEO Dan Akerson.

General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen have confirmed the creation of a “long-term and broad-scale” strategic alliance they expect to contribute to improved profitability and competitiveness, especially in the weak European market where both makers have been struggling.

As part of their new partnership GM will take a 7% equity stake in the French manufacturer, becoming the second-largest shareholder in PSA after the founding Peugeot family, which will continue to hold a one-third stake in the firm.

Insight!

“This partnership brings tremendous opportunity for our two companies,” said Dan Akerson, GM CEO and Chairman. “The alliance synergies, in addition to our independent plans, position GM for long-term sustainable profitability in Europe.”

(more…)

It’s Official: Ferrari Names New Supercar the F12

Forget the 620 – but it’s still the most powerful Ferrari ever.

by on Feb.29, 2012

The Ferrari F12 will be the maker's fastest and most powerful production car ever.

One thing about a Ferrari, it’s able to make a fast turn, and apparently that applies to the Italian automaker itself, which has delivered a surprise today, announcing that its newest supercar will be named the Ferrari F12, rather than the 620 as widely reported.

One key detail hasn’t changed, however: the new super GT will be the fastest and most powerful automobile ever to wear the prancing pony badge.  Its 6.3-liter V12 will be able to launch the Ferrari F12 from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds – with a top speed of more than 210 mph.

Subscribe for Free!

The replacement for the Ferrari 599 will land in an increasingly crowded supercar market that will feature the likes of the new McLaren MP4-12C and the Lamborghini Aventador, so the opportunity to deliver anything but extreme performance will be minimal.

(more…)

Could Fiat/Chrysler Make a Bid for Peugeot?

Marchionne hints he may try to outbid GM for French alliance.

by on Feb.29, 2012

Might Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne be the spoiler in talks between GM and Peugeot?

Might the Fiat/Chrysler alliance try to outbid General Motors to set up a global automotive powerhouse with French automaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen?

It’s clear that Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sees that as a potentially powerful alternative to letting PSA tie up with General Motors.  As TheDetroitBureau.com reported this week, GM is apparently seeking a 7% stake in the French company, while the two partners would set up a series of joint ventures to develop new products and powertrains.

Stay in the Know!

But according to a report by Dan Howes, of the Detroit News, Marchionne is ready to step in as the spoiler.  He previously considered an alliance with Peugeot, having approached the French maker with the idea of an alliance during the Geneva Motor Show three years ago, even as Fiat was considering the option of buying GM’s struggling Opel division – then on the auction block.

(more…)

Dodge Confirms New Viper Debuting in NY

New driveSRT website promotes upcoming launch.

by on Feb.29, 2012

This tease of the new Dodge Viper also introduces the sports car's new logo.

The Chrysler Group has confirmed the all new Viper will be unleashed for the first time in the Big Apple, normally not the place one might expect to be driving a high-performance sports car.  But the reborn Dodge sports car will reappear during a press event at the New York Auto Show in early April.

In anticipation of the upcoming Viper reveal in New York, the Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology brand has launched a revamped “driveSRT.com” website to help show off its vehicles, which
are designed and built by the Chrysler Group’s in-house performance division.

Your Auto Source!

“We’re excited to bring the newly redesigned driveSRT.com to life,” said RalphGilles, the SRT president. “The new site not only offers more exclusive content but it also provides unique ways to connect and stay connected with many enthusiasts groups that we’re building the new SRT brand around,” he added.

(more…)

Last-Minute Delay on New Backup Camera Rules

Final rules still likely before year-end.

by on Feb.29, 2012

A new backup camera rule has been delayed but should be announced before year-end.

The nation’s automotive safety chief has called for a last-minute delay before issuing new rules that could require all vehicles sold in the U.S. to be equipped with rearview cameras.

But in a letter to Congress, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he still hopes to have new standards in place before year-end, which indicates the government will almost certainly call for the use of the devices – estimating that if all future cars came equipped with backup cameras as many as 300 lives a year could be saved.

In the Know!

“I now anticipate the department can issue the final standards by Dec. 31, 2012,” LaHood said in a letter addressed to members of automotive safety oversight committees in both houses of Congresses.  The delay suggests it will now be all but impossible to mandate the use of the technology on all cars, trucks and crossover by 2014 as many observers had expected.

(more…)

Rising Consumer Confidence Likely to Buoy Auto Sales

Separate study finds auto lending market loosing up.

by on Feb.29, 2012

Automakers stand to benefit from the rise in consumer sentiment - and an upturn in lending.

A sharp rise in consumer confidence – which helped drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a 13,000 close for the first time since 2008 – is likely to also help push the auto industry towards a faster recovery than initially expected.

Consumer confidence, which is also one of the key indicators for car sales, remained strong in February due to a record number of consumers who were aware of ongoing increases in jobs, says University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin, director of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

Your Inside Source!

A separate study further buoyed prospects for the auto industry by showing that lenders continue freeing up more cash for potential buyers.

February marked the sixth consecutive month of gains in the Sentiment Index as consumers became more positive about prospects for the economy. But there was a downside, researchers warned.

(more…)

GM May Take 7% Stake in France’s Peugeot

Proposed alliance unlikely to resolve GM's Opel problem.

by on Feb.28, 2012

Will GM CEO Dan Akerson approve an alliance with PSA Peugeot-Citroen?

General Motors could take as much as a 7% stake in French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen as part of a new alliance the two manufacturers are putting into place.

The alliance is expected to involve a variety of different areas of business, notably including joint vehicle and powertrain development, according to knowledgeable sources.  The key goal for both manufacturers would be to improve their economies of scale, especially in Europe, where GM last year lost $747 million.  But whether the proposed alliance will help turn things around for GM’s red ink-stained Opel division remains to be seen.

Your Source for Auto News!

Peugeot is the Continent’s second-largest maker on a unit sales basis but has serious problems of its own, rising debt leading it to plan a 1 billion Euro ($1.34 billion) rights offering that notably could reduce the holdings of the founding Peugeot family.

Beyond possible cross-holdings, the alliance appears to focus on three areas, according to sources: (more…)

Subaru Tops Honda in New Consumer Reports Study

Japan still tops "Automotive Report Card," but lead shrinking.

by on Feb.28, 2012

The 2012 Impreza helped position as the new leader in the Consumer Reports Automotive Report Card.

In another setback for longtime Japanese quality leader Honda, it has been knocked out of the top spot according to the annual Consumer Reports Automotive Report Card by up-start Subaru.  Honda had topped the study for the last four years but has taken sharp criticism, of late, for a variety of problems, notably with the latest version of its long-popular Civic model.

Tackling the News!

Subaru, the maker of all-wheel-drive products like the Outback and Forester also topped industry giant Toyota in the yearly measure of performance, comfort, utility and reliability.

Japanese makers retained their lead, overall, in the annual automotive study.  But, “While Japanese automakers still hold the top five spots, their lead is shrinking. In some of Honda’s and Toyota’s recently redesigned models, cost-cutting has become more noticeable,” said David Champion, senior director of the Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center.

(more…)

Former Chrysler Chief LaSorda Now Fisker CEO

“They didn’t have to twist my arm.”

by on Feb.28, 2012

Former Chrysler Chief LaSorda will now serve as CEO at Fisker Automotive.

Former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda is back in the saddle, albeit one with a relatively silent source of power, as the new chief executive of battery-car start-up Fisker Automotive.

LaSorda, who had been serving as advisor and vice chairman of the California-based company will step into day-to-day management replacing founder Henrik Fisker as CEO.  The Danish-born Fisker will continue to serve as executive chairman and as the company’s design chief.

In the Know!

The 57-year-old LaSorda will have plenty of challenges ahead of him.  Fisker Automotive is months behind with the launch of its first product, the plug-in Karma sports car, and it is struggling to renegotiate $528 million in federal loans needed to complete the development and production launch of the maker’s next product, a more mainstream plug-in model codenamed Project Nina.

(more…)

Jaguar Bringing XF Sportbrake to Geneva

Images of wagon leak ahead of Geneva.

by on Feb.28, 2012

An image of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake leaked ahead of schedule, it seems.

The long-awaited Jaguar XF Sportbrake will be rolling into Geneva’s PALExpo Convention Center next week, it seems, and thanks to a brochure falling into the wrong hands we’ve got these preliminary pics to show our readers before we get a look at the wagon in the flesh, so to speak, at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

Considering the strong popularity of station wagons – aka “shooting brakes” in Brit-speak – it’s a surprise that it has taken Jaguar so long to bring into its line-up after a few false starts over the decades.

Subscribe Now - It's Free!

But the maker is now on a roll, along with its British sibling Land Rover, and between them they plan more than three dozen new products, variants and major powertrain launches before mid-decade, according to senior company officials.

The brochure images – which align with recent spy shots – reveal that from the B-pillar forward Jaguar has maintained the basic look of the XF sedan.  But from mid-body back it’s all-new, including the use of black-out trim that appears lifted from the bigger Jaguar XJ.

(more…)