Industry News 40
The Italian automaker Fiat has just bought a 6 percent stake in Chrysler from the US government paying $500 million to the United States Treasury and raising its share to a controlling interest of 52 percent. Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat-Chrysler can now consolidate a full takeover of Chrysler instead of making it a publicly traded company again.
The previous assumption was that Chrysler would make an IPO but now a full takeover by Fiat Auto seems more palpable. By the end of this year, Fiat will have a 57 percent share of Chrysler after it will acquire an additional 5 percent by making a new Dodge model from a Fiat platform as part of the initial deal to invest in Chrysler.
The remaining share of the company is currently owned by the United Auto Workers’ Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, around 41.5 percent and the Canadian government also owns 1.5 percent shares of Chrysler. Fiat has also obtained the right to buy shares from the UAW from the US Government.
Russian automaker Marussia Motors has just started the production of the B1 and B2 models and also opened their first showroom in Moscow this week. The Marussia B1 was first unveiled two years ago and even though it was initially powered by a hybrid powerplant, the Russian automaker drooped that plan and mounted a Cosworth engine on it.
The design of the Marussia B2 was inspired from a jet fighter and both cars weight only 1,100 kg as Marussia Motors announced. Both cars are powered by a 3.6L V6 from Cosworth which will be available with three power levels: 300, 360 and 420 HP. Since these sports cars are pretty light weighting only a little over 1,000 kg, this will result in an incredible acceleration time of just 3.2 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h.
The B1 and B2 models will be priced at around 100,000 EUR and the Russian automaker already claims they have quite a lot of orders. In the near future, the company plans to produce up to 10,000 cars per year by 2014 and next year they will also release on the market an SUV called Marussia F2.
[Marussia Motors via WorldCarFans]
The famous Porsche tuner Gemballa is back in business with a new CEO, Andreas Schwarz, who has reserved the rights of the old company. The new Gemballa is built on the remains of the previous company after the liquidators broke it up and it will be located in Leonberg, Germany.
The new CEO of the company declared that millions were invested to rebuild the company and together with investor Steffen Korbach they will try to bring back the performance icon of Gemballa. Apart from purchasing the rights to the name and some assets from the old company, the new Gemballa will start with 22 employees.
Andreas Schwarz plans to continue the Gemballa design line following the old models and he said they’re already working on new concepts for the Panamera and Cayenne. His main goal is to establish the new company as an automaker rather than a car tuner in the upcoming years.
Chinese automaker Geely has finalized these days the purchase of Volvo Cars from the Ford Motor Company in a $1.8 billion deal. Geely paid Ford $1.3 billion in cash and issued a promissory note for an additional $200 million while the remainder of the sale price will be paid later in the year.
The acquisition of Volvo Cars is the largest by a Chinese company of a foreign automaker to date and Geely already has big plans with the Swedish automaker. Volvo Cars will be led by a new CEO, Stefan Jacoby, who left his position as head of Volkswagen of America back in June to take over Volvo.
Jacoby will replace Stephen Odell who has been already promoted to head of Ford Europe. Geely wants to take Volvo back into profit and will try to grow the brand both in Europe and North America and also in China which is already the world’s largest car market.
Ford executives will be presenting a proposal to the company’s directors in July to shut down the Mercury brand which is slowly going down and its already being starved of models. Sales of the Mercury brand went down by 74% in the last decade and last year only 92,299 models were sold while in 1978 Mercury managed to sell 579,498 cars.
Mercury was created by Edsel Ford, the son of the company’s founder Henry Ford in 1939 to fill the gap between Ford models and luxury Lincoln cars. Analysts consider that Ford has deprived Mercury of models and marketing resources because they didnt want to spent too much money on this brand.
Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally focused on rebuilding the Ford brand since 2006 and he’s credited for helping Ford avoid the bankruptcy fate of General Motors and Chrysler. Mulally decided to sell Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin but he told reports that he hasn’t changed its position about Ford or Lincoln or Mercury.
The Volkswagen Group has officially announced yesterday that they bought a 90.1% stake in the Italian design company Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A. The shares were acquired by Audi’s Italian subsidiary Lamborghini Holding S.p.A. and this deal was done as part of Volkswagen’s global expansion plan.
The Giugiaro family will keep a 9.9% stake in the company founded by them and will continue with the company. Italdesign Giugiaro is Italy’s most famous design studio and it has around 800 employees and generates sales of over 100 million Euros per year.
Giorgetto Giugiaro declared that becoming part of the Volkswagen Group means re-evaluating themselves and the company’s strength and he said this move means to open up a promising perspective to Italdesign Giugiaro.
The financial aspects of the deal weren’t revealed yet and we don’t know for sure if Italdesign will continue to work for their own projects and for other automakers or they will just focus on Volkswagen’s upcoming fleet.
There were a lot of rumors lately about a possible deal between Tesla and Toyota and today we finally got the official details about it. Tesla has revealed the location of their recently bought production plant which is actually the former Toyota Nummi factory in Northern California.
The cost of the deal hasn’t been revealed but it seems it could be a part of the $50 million Toyota investment in the American electric automaker. Tesla’s CEO and founder Elon Musk declared that the new Tesla factory has an ideal combination of hardcore Silicon Valley engineering talent, traditional automotive engineering talent and the proven Toyota production system and the company will have plenty of room to grow thanks to this new plant.
The Nummi factory was used by Toyota to produce the Corola and Tacoma but it was closed in April. Tesla will use this plant to produce the upcoming Tesla S which has a 300 mile range and a price of $49,900.
The Volkswagen Group is about to buy a controlling stake in Italy’s largest design and engineering firm, Italdesign Giugiaro according to sources quoted by the AutoNews. Volkswagen and Italdesign declined to comment on the rumors but apparently an official announcement will be made as early as next week.
Volkswagen plans to become the largest automaker in the world by 2018 with sales of over 10 million cars a year and to achieve their goal they need more designers and engineers and Italy’s best design company might be really helpful. Just this year, nine brands of the Volkswagen Group are launching 60 new or updated models on the market.
Italdesign Giugiaro currently has 975 employees and 800 computer aided design workstations with most of the workers and equipment in the company’s headquarters located near Turin. The company is own entirely by Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son Fabrizio with the father as the chairman and the son as the head of the design and model division.
Both will continue to work for the company after this takeover.
Autonews reported today that according to a recent survey made by Millward Brown BMW has overtaken Toyota and became the most valuable car brand. Toyota was considered the most valuable automotive brand last year but after the recall madness the company went a bit down just enough to loose the first place.
Millward Brown announced that BMW is valued at $21.82 billion (16.55 in Euros) now while the second place automaker, Toyota, is currently valued at $21.77 billion (16.58 in Euros). The third place is occupied by Honda with a value of $14,30 billion while Mercedes and Porsche come in the following two places with a value of $13.74 billion and $12.02 billion respectively.
The top 10 most valuable car brands is continued (in the following order) by Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi and Renault. Volkswagen is up 20 percent from last year and Ford is up 19 percent and in the other end, Porsche is down 21 percent and Toyota is down by 27 percent from last year.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that Porsche has announced a recall of all the 2010 Porsche Panameras sold until now for a technical problem with the safety belts. After a couple of tests Porsche discovered that the belts might not properly hold after accelerating and reversing repeatedly and the company will install an additional safety component during normal servicing.
No incidents due to this seat belt problem have been reported yet but Porsche wants to keep it safe and they recalled all Panameras delivered since the four door model was introduced. This means that exactly 11,324 Porsche Panameras will have to be fixed when they are taken to a dealership for scheduled maintenance.
The news is actually smaller than the problem but it seems recalls are getting more and more frequent and popular after the long line of problems with Toyotas.