News watch October 2010: today’s auto industry news

Published: 29 October 2010

Welcome to CAR Magazine’s news aggregator as we round up the daily stories in the auto industry. Top tip: news summaries are added from the top hour-by-hour

Friday 29 October 2010
Spyker has announced third-quarter losses have increased since its takeover of Saab. Spyker lost £35 million in 2010, compared to £3.6 million last year (BBC News)
GM will repay $2.1 billion of the Obama government’s preferred stocks. This will bring total repaid debt to $9.5 billion (Automotive News)
Despite the strengthening yen. Honda doubled second-quarter profits. It sold 898,000 vehicles in the quarter, a 7.2% increase on 2009 (Automotive News)
Hyundai posted better than expected third-quarter results. Net profit was up 38%, and it hopes to increase US market share by launching new models in the US; it currently has a 5.5% share of the American new car market (Wall Street Journal)

Thurday 28 October 2010
Nissan has recalled 2.1 million vehicles worldwide, owing to a fault in the engine control unit which can cause the engine to stall when running. The recall affects nine models, including the Juke, March and Tiida (BBC News)
Audi contributed half of VW’s $6.6 billion profit for the first nine months of 2010. Audi almost doubled its profits to $3.1 billion, up from $1.6 billion (Detroit News)
The Renault group announced third-quarter sales of 591,855 units, an increase of 5.7% on the same period last year (Renault)

Tuesday 26 October 2010
 Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has opened a can of worms with comments suggesting that not a single cent of profit has come from Fiat’s domestic operations. ‘Not a cent from the €2bn of profits forecast for 2010 will be generated in Italy,’ he said (BBC News)
 Fiat reported a sevenfold increase in profits to €190m in the past quarter, up from €25m one year ago (Fiat)
Ford is to invest $850 million in its Michigan facilities, creating 1200 jobs (Detroit News)
Ford announces third-quarter profits of $1.7 billion, a 68% rise from the same time last year (BBC News)

Monday 25 October 2010

 Nissan has announced record production and sales in the six months from April to September 2010; production rose 34% year on year to 2,020,316 vehicles, while sales jumped 20% (Nissan)
 Production of the new Nissan Leaf electric vehicle has started in Japan; exports to the US begin in November 2010, to Europe in December 2010 (Automotive News)
 Honda has recalled 470,000 cars in the US – 528,000 worldwide – owing to a brake fluid leak on the 2005-07 Acura, and the 2005-07 Odyssey (Detroit News)  
 Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says Fiat will still be unprofitable in Italy this year (Detroit News)
 Jaguar is in talks with an unnamed Chinese manufacturer over a joint sales and manufacturing venture. It wants to increase its presence in the world’s largest auto market, which overtook the US last year (Wall Strret Journal)
 Mazda wants to double sales, up to 400,000 units a year, and move more upmarket in the US, by employing new green technologies, which most models will have by 2015 (Automotive News)

Friday 22 October 2010
The Paris motor show has confirmed attendance of 1,263,467 at the 2010 expo. They claim that makes it the world’s biggest motor show (Mondial de l’Automobile)
Fiat will have met the requirements to raise its stake in Chrysler from 20% to 35% by 2011, CEO Sergio Marchionne announced yesterday. At the time of the takeover of the bankrupted company, Fiat signed up to a sliding scale of ownership (Detroit News)
Ford of Europe today announced a couple of management changes; Roelant de Waard becomes vice president of marketing, sales and service while Frank Davis is the new vice president of product development in Europe, replacing Joe Bakaj (Automotive News Europe)

Thursday 21 October 2010
Land Rover has appointed Colin Green its new UK managing director (Land Rover)
Volvo is celebrating after the Mayor of London agreed to cut the £8-a-day Congestion Charge for any vehicle producing less than 100g/km of CO2 and meeting Euro5 emissions regs. It says three of its DRIVe models will be exempt, saving owners up to £2500 a year (Volvo)
Renault has cut up to £1855 off the newly facelifted Laguna range (Renault)
Toyota is recalling a further 1.5 million cars over potential brake and fuel pump defects (BBC News)
 Audi plans to sell more than 1m cars a year in China, reports CEO Rupert Stadler. He says Audi may have to build a new factory there to cope with demand (Automotive News Europe)
 GM has started educating the emergency services in the US on how to respond to an accident involving the Chevrolet Volt. Firemen are being told how to manage batteries and electronics with which they may be unfamiliar (Detroit News) 

Monday 18 October 2010
Jaguar Land Rover today announced a raft of management changes. Phil Popham, currently MD of Land Rover, is global sales and service director; John Edwards, the European MD, becomes global brand director of Land Rover; Adrian Hallmark quits Saab and comes back to the UK as global brand director of Jaguar; and Mike Wright is new executive director of JLR (Jaguar Land Rover)
The inaugural Latin NCAP crash testing in south America launched today; the Geely CK 1 1.3 performed worst – scoring zero stars. Most cars performed worse than their European counterparts but the Geely bombed. Judges said: ‘Protection for the driver poor for most body regions. Significant collapse of the body shell during test’ (Latin NCAP)
Daimler AG has won an appeal against a court ruling ordering it to pay $324m to shareholders in a dispute over its 1998 merger with Chrysler. A court in Germany ordered Daimler to pay a group of investors $22 per share in 2006 (Detroit News)
Toyota will show a Prius MPV at January’s Detroit auto show, reports Autoblog. They expect a seven-seater people carrier based on Prius hybrid mechanicals (Autoblog)

Friday 15 October 2010
Volkswagen has poached Renault’s electric car boss to head up its own EV division; Joerg Sommer will be sales director of all VW Group brands’ electric car operations (Automotive News Europe)
The confirmation of the Jaguar Land Rover factory decision came this morning; see our full story here (CAR Online)
Jaguar Land Rover has made a major U-turn and will not close one of its three UK factories, the BBC claims. It quotes union sources who say a deal has been struck to make the workforce more competitive. A full announcement from JLR is due this morning (BBC News)
Gerard Coyne, regional secretary of Unite, told BBC News: ‘It’s an excellent deal and we are very pleased that this now secures the future for Castle Bromwich, but also a commitment to a three-site solution for JLR in the UK, which is great news’ (BBC)

Thursday 14 October 2010
Toyota has struck a new $60 million deal with Toyota to develop the electric powertrain for the proposed RAV4 EV. The deal had already been mooted, but this pins down the contract (Automotive News Europe)
BMW will launch a new X4 crossover in 2014, reports ANE (Automotive News Europe)
Supercar entrepreneur Uwe Gemballa, who was found dead in South Africa earlier this month, could have fallen foul of a money-laundering ring, report South African media. A newspaper there reports Gemballa cars were occasionally used to smuggle money in and out of South Africa (Autoblog)  
 Chinese car maker BYD has been fined the equivalent of $443,000 and ordered to hand over seven factories in China after a land dispute with authorities (Detroit News)
 GM chairman and former CEO, Ed Whitacre, said today that GM shares were likely to be sold for around $20-$25 in November’s IPO (Automotive News)
 Saab chairman Victor Muller appears to suggest he is speaking to BMW as a possible partner for his proposed 9-2 supermini; although not in the business plan, Saab has said the 9-2 will be their next project once the business picks up (Automotive News Europe)
 Toyota has denied it plans to bid for Fiat’s troubled Sicily plant, which is due to close by the end of 2011. Reports had indicated that the Japanese giant was looking to expand its European manufacturing base, a claim it denies (Automotive News Europe)

Wednesday 13 October 2010
Porsche’s parent company, Porsche Auomobil Holding SE, today announced a 454 million euro loss in the the past fiscal year 2009-10 as the costs of its Volkswagen takeover bid unravelled. However, the loss is reducing and the company expects to return to profitability in 2011 (Porsche)
Meanwhile, the new CEO of Porsche’s car making wing, Matthias Muller, has joined the executive board of Porsche SE, succeeding Michael Macht. He joins chairman Martin Winterkorn, Hans Dieter Potsch (finance) and Thomas Edig (commercial) (Porsche)
 Chrysler could bring the new 200 to be sold in the UK and Europe to attract fleet buyers, reports ANE. It would be badged as a Chrysler in the UK and as a Lancia in the rest of Europe (Automotive News Europe)

Tuesday 12 October 2010
 UK car insurance rates have risen at the highest rate since records began, claims the AA. It reported a 47% annual jump in the past year for a typical young driver aged 17-22 (BBC News)
 GM’s new chief exec Daniel Akerson is meeting top US Treasury chiefs today to discuss the planned flotation of GM. The US government still owns 61% of the rescued car maker and hopes to claw that back through the IPO (Detroit News)
 Car makers advertising spend is keeping the US media sector afloat, reports the FT. Ad spend by manufacturers is outpacing other traditional rivals such as pharmaceutical companies (Financial Times)

Monday 11 October 2010
 Jaguar managing director Mike O’Driscoll will stand down in March 2011, it was announced today. He will continue as chairman of Jaguar heritage, but it seems that the new Tata management team will appoint a new broom (Jaguar)
 VW group design director Walter de Silva says he will start to influence Porsche design starting with the new proposed mini SUV, the Cajun. Porsche design director Michael Mauer now reports to de Silva (Automotive News Europe)

 The Alvis Car Company is back! The company claims it is relaunching the 1930s 4.3-litre Alvis model built using original technical drawings but assembled with the latest computer-aided design; the Alvis company has joined UK trade body the SMMT (Alvis)
 The Detroit Three are fighting back, says the Detroit News. It points out that sales data in 2010 shows Ford market share is up 1.5% and Chrysler’s has risen by 0.3%, while Toyota’s has dipped 1.4%. Autodata Corp says US makers’ share is up to 45.1%, while Asian brands fell to 47.8% (Detroit News)
 Toyota is on a quest to make its cars more interesting, reports AN. It quotes senior engineers who say new boss Akio Toyoda, a confirmed petrolhead, is pushing through dynamic changes to their cars to rid them of their white goods reputation (Automotive News)

Friday 8 October 2010
 Ford and Fiat are opposing a free-trade deal with Korea, which could see Europe flooded by cheap Korean cars. The deal was signed this week and stands to remove a 10% tariff on Korean-built cars imported to Europe (Automotive News Europe) 
has committed to the British Touring Car Championship in 2011 (Honda)
Pininfarina has won the order to re-equip the Eurostar fleet; it designed the trains which will be made by German giant Siemens (Pininfarina)

Thursday 7 October 2010
Renault has raised €3.1bn by selling most of its stake in truck maker Volvo; most of the cash will be used to cut its debt below €3bn (BBC News)
Saab aims to enter new markets in Mexco, Russia and China in 2011, the sales chief said in an interview (Automotive News)
Meanwhile, Saab has scotched speculation it could cooperate with Volvo on new smaller convertibles. A spokesman said: ‘There are talks on various levels, but I’m not aware of whether talks are on a product level. It’s too early to say whether Saab and Volvo would work on a new car’ (Automotive News Europe)

Wednesday 6 October 2010
Smart will sell a Nissan-built five-door in the US to make up for weak sales of its Fortwo Stateside; it confirmed a B-segment five-door gasoline model would be launched in autumn 2011 (Automotive News)
UK car sales fell for the third month in a row, according to figures out today from the SMMT. September registrations dipped 9%, reflecting the end of the scrappage scheme which inflated 2009’s figures (BBC News)
Aston Martin is selling assets and rights after reporting a 30% sales drop last year, reports the Guardian. Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund Investment Dar has sold some land and buildings, the distribution rights to the Middle East and north Africa and merchandising rights to raise cash (The Guardian)
Worryingly, the Guardian reports that Aston Martin has halved its R&D budget to less than £13m (The Guardian)
MG will start building the new MG6 in Birmingham at the end of 2010; the Chinese-owned badge will be relaunched as a value brand. Although the first cars will be merely end-assembled at Longbridge, if the market picks up the company claims it will expand its activities in the Midlands (Financial Times)
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne’s investment freeze has held up plans for the new Panda, reports ANE. It has now been postponed to January 2012 (Automotive News Europe)
The Japanese government has ended susbsidies on hybrid cars, forcing sales of the Toyota Prius to dip for the first time in a year and a half; however, the Prius remains Japan’s favourite hybrid with sales of 27,000 last month (BBC News)

Tuesday 5 October 2010
Rolls-Royce’s new CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos told the BBC that the luxury car maker is on course to sell 2000 cars this year. He said the new Ghost had boosted sales from around 1000 in 2009 (BBC News)
The Obama administration has agreed a deal to pay $5bn into a pot to help offset healthcare and pension costs for early retirees; Ford and Chrysler are two companies included in the deal (Detroit News)

Friday 1 October 2010
BMW has recalled 350,000 vehicles, including 955 Rolls-Royces over potentially faulty brakes. The recall affects certain 5-, 6- and 7-series models worldwide and BMW said around 10,522 cars in the UK were affected (The Independent)