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News watch August 2010: today's industry news

Thu, 26 Aug 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

Tuesday 31 August 2010
• HSBC has sold its US car loan business to Spanish bank Santander, for an estimated £2.6bn in cash and assumed debt. The move sees the bank further distance itself from the collapsed US sub-prime market (Financial Times, subsription required)
• Toll roads do not improve congestion, according to the Campaign For Better Transport. Its claims M6 toll road operator Midland Expressway Ltd is losing ‘tens of millions of pounds’ each year, while conditions on the original M6 have failed to improve (Campaign for Better Transport)

Friday 27 August 2010
• Spyker, which bought Saab earlier this year, has posted a €139m loss after tax in the first half of 2010 it announced today (Financial Times)
• Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne says the business is performing strongly in the third quarter – and has ruled out selling Alfa Romeo. As reported in Insider this month, VW has pulled up a secret proposal to buy Alfa from Fiat. 'I said I will not sell it,' said Marchionne (Automotive News Europe)
• Toyota has announced another recall in the US, with more than 1m Corolla and Matrix models built between 2005 and 2008. The recall will fix potentially faulty engine control systems (BBC News)

Thursday 26 August 2010
• Long-term collaborators Ford and Mazda will expand their JV to build pick-ups in Thailand. They're investing a further $350m in AutoAlliance Thailand to manufacture a new compact truck from mid-2011 (Automotive News)
• Analysts are warning that US car sales will continue to slip, with a dip in August registrations likely. The Detroit News warns that the August annualised rate could drop to fewer than 11 million units (Detroit News)

Wednesday 25 August 2010
• The new Audi A1 has generated such global interest that Audi will start selling it outside Europe from next year; only the US and China will miss out (Automotive News)
• Hyundai has revealed a new small saloon – the Concept RB – at the 2010 Moscow motor show. The production RB will be built and sold exclusively in Russia (Hyundai)
• Toyota plans to sell at least 5 million hybrid vehicles between now and 2015 as part of an 'environmental action plan' (Automotive News)
• Renault has launched its new Latitude saloon at the Moscow motor show. The Latitude, designed primarily for emerging markets, will be shown in European guise at September's Paris auto salon (Renault)

Tuesday 24 August 2010
• Lewis Hamilton has been punished with a £288 ($500) fine for deliberately spinning his wheels while driving away from Melbourne's motor racing circuit two days before this year's Australian Grand Prix. Magistrate Clive Alsop accused Hamilton, who was driving a Mercedes C63 AMG at the time, of 'behaving like a hoon' (BBC News)
• Alfa Romeos will 'more than likely' be sold through Fiat dealerships in the States, according to Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. Alfa is due to be reintroduced into the US market in late 2012 (Automotive News)

Monday 23 August 2010
• Morgan has bucked the trend for car makers struggling through the economic downturn, posting record sales (Financial Times)
• Indian car manufacturer Mahindra has penned a 'preliminary deal' to purchase Ssangyong. The news follows a decision by Ssangyong's parent company SAIC to stop injecting cash into the troubled Korean maker (BBC News)
• Toyota officials boasted in 2007 that they had saved upwards of $100m in 'unnecessary cost' by persuading US safety personnel not to go ahead with a mass recall relating to sticky throttle pedals (Detroit News)
• Daimler is denying a story in German magazine Focus that CEO Dieter Zetsche is preparing to step down early to make way for ex-VW high-flyer Wolfgang Bernhard (Automotive News Europe)
• Hyundai and Kia are planning to move upmarket in the US, by launching into new, more premium segments, according to AN (Automotive News)

Friday 20 August 2010
• Ford chairman and family leader Bill Ford says he welcomes GM's imminent IPO and is confident it won't dent Ford's stock market value (Detroit News)

Thursday 19 August 2010
• Mitsubishi has dramatically slashed the price of the electric i-MiEV – from £38,699 to £28,990. That's before the recently confirmed Government incentive of £5000 off, which would bring the price down to £23,990 (Mitsubishi)
• Car production in the UK fell 9% in July – the first drop since October 2009, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. However, year to date production is up 42%. 'The easing of demand was anticipated following the end of scrappage incentives in markets around Europe,' said chief exec Paul Everitt (SMMT)

Wednesday 18 August 2010
• New Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby made a public presentation this morning, pledging that Volvo will build 'more emotional cars' in future, will compete properly in China and may well cooperate with other manufacturers to seek economies of scale (Automotive News Europe)
• GM is likely to offer preferred stock as well as its initial public offering of common shares, according to AN. The trade title expects GM to go public very soon; it's still 61% owned by the American government (Automotive News)
• Ford has given punters who've waited over a month for their new Fiesta a £50 shopping voucher after delays caused by a hurricane in June. It has sold 4400 Fiestas in the US so far, with a further 7000 in transit (Detroit News)

Tuesday 17 August 2010
• The White House has backed General Motors' decision to appoint Dan Akerson as its new chief executive officer, after Ed Whitacre's surprise decision to step down next month. "Our belief is that Dan Akerson is a proven and well-respected individual who will carry on what Ed and others have started in restructuring an auto company that not too long ago was on the brink of extinction," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs (Detroit News)

Monday 16 August 2010
• New General Motors chief executive officer Dan Akerson faces a huge battle to convince IPO investors that he can reverse its European sales slump. GM Europe posted losses upwards of $600 million in the first half of 2010 alone (Detroit News)
• VW has cooled recent optimism for the car industry, issuing a warning that the global market could decline during the second half of the year (Financial Times)

Friday 13 August 2010
• General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre will stand down in September. He was appointed last year with the blessing of the Obama administration to guide GM through bankruptcy proceedings. His successor is Dan Akerson, a current GM board member (BBC News)
• Dan Akerson, the new 61-year-old GM CEO, was installed 'suddenly' and the move 'stuneed insiders', reports trade title Automotive News. The apointment seems to have been at the behest of investors and the board, who wanted Whitacre to commit to stay for a longer period to help smoothe through the planned IPO or to depart. All the paperwork for the IPO is now being frantically rewritten with the new boss's details (Automotive News Europe)
• Jaguar Land Rover is having to ask Ford to increase supplies of engines after an unexpected 59% jump in sales in the last quarter. Tata Motors has struck a supply agreement to buy Ford engines for Jaguars and Land Rovers until 2019 (Automotive News Europe)

Thursday 12 August 2010
• General Motors today reported a net profit of $1.6bn (£1bn) in the second quarter to June 2010. It's the largest quarterly profit in six years and the second straight quarter of profits; so far this year it's made $2.8bn, compared with a $4.3bn loss in the second half of 2009 (BBC News)
• Forget tittle-tattle about a mid-engined Corvette: no such plans exist, confirmed Karl-Friedrich Stracke, GM's vice president of global vehicle engineering. There might, however, be a hybrid 'Vette in the pipeline, he hinted (Automotive News)
• GM's IPO public stock offering could start as early as Friday, according to AN (Automotive News)
• Saab has struck a licensing deal to use GM's technology until 2024 on the 9-5, it emerged in a Detroit News interview with CEO Victor Muller. However, Muller suggested that the 9-5 could drop the GM platform around 2016, when it could switch to a new family architecture called Phoenix (Detroit News)
• Renault-Nissan has dropped out of the running to buy Ssangyong, it emerged today. The preferred bidder may be named this week (Automotive News Europe)
• Skoda has suspended production at all three Czech factories after a flood hit its key supplier's factory (Automotive News Europe)

Wednesday 11 August 2010
• Tata Motors has reported a return to profit after a jump in sales of both Land Rover and Jaguar. Net profits for the last quarter stood at 19.9bn rupees (£273m) compared with a loss of 3.3bn rupees a year earlier (BBC News)
• The much rumoured rebirth of the Lancia Stratos isn't a one-off, according to Car & Driver. It reports that the modern version scooped recently could go into limited production (Car & Driver via Autoblog)
• A study in America finds little evidence of electrical problems in Toyota's global throttle recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in at least 35 of 58 cases its studied, the driver had made no effort to brake before a crash (Automotive News)
• Aston Martin’s design chief Marek Reichman will make his race debut in an Aston Vantage GT4 at Oulton Park on Saturday 21 August. He'll compete in the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge (Aston Martin)

Tuesday 10 August 2010
• Woops – the entire CAR team was out in Wales on a top-secret photoshoot. Not much digital signal in the wilder corners of Snowdonia... Normal service resumed tomorrow!

Monday 9 August 2010
• Chrysler will today announce a healthy rise in sales and profits, but analysts warn that the recently rescued car maker has a huge mountain to climb to transform its image, invest in its future and make the deal with Fiat stack up (Detroit News)
• Ford is giving chairman Bill Ford a huge $16m cheque to make up for the tough last five years when he didn't draw a salary (Detroit News)
• America is tipped to be the world's biggest electric vehicle market, followed closely by western Europe and China. The prediction comes in a new report by consultants McKinsey (Financial Times)

Friday 6 August 2010
• Land Rover report July's UK sales were up 59% over the same period from 2009. The Range Rover Sport has seen a 109% increase over its 2009 sales figures (Land Rover)
• EV manufacturer Tesla announced a second quarter loss of $38.5m. This is the second such loss by the Californian manufacturer this year (Autoblog Green)
• BMW will continue using aluminium extensively in future models. This comes as part of the manufacturer's plans to reduce weight and improve consumption across all its models (Automotive News Europe)
• China is considering a $14.7bn investment to kickstart production of hybrids and EVs in the country. The country hopes the 10-year plan will help its aim to be the world force in alternatively fueled vehicles (Autoblog Green)

Thursday 5 August 2010
• Vauxhall has announced the Vauxhall Lifetime Warranty, which will cover all major powertrain, mechanical and electrical items for 100,000 miles on any new car bought from August 1 2010 (Vauxhall)
• Hyundai has vowed to increase the average fuel efficiency of its North American models to 50mpg (US) by 2025 (Financial Times)
• Toyota recorded its 4th consecutive profit in the April-June quarter. A fiscal quarter profit of $2.1bn is helping the Japanese manufacturer recover from losses sustained during the economic downturn (Detroit News)
• New car sales in the UK have fallen for the first time in a year. The 13.2% drop in registrations follows 12 months of successive climbing, although the market remains 15.1% up over the same period last year (SMMT)

Wednesday 4 August 2010
• Nissan has announced sales figures of 47,490 units across Europe in July, equating to a 7.6% increase over the same period in 2009, with an increased market share of 15% (Nissan)
• Bob Grace has been appointed President, Jaguar Land Rover China. Previously Overseas Operations Director, Grace is now in charge of Land Rovers expanding operations within China (Land Rover)
• Volvo's new Chinese owners, Geely, have suggested they want Volvo to compete with top-end BMWs and Mercs. Volvo and Geely chairman Li Shufu told a press conference in London: 'We want to make more high-level cars that compete with the S-class of Mercedes-Benz and the 7-series of BMW. We need products that compete in that segment' (Automotive News Europe)
• As a result of recovering sales in America and deliveries in Asia outstripping expectation, Toyota has raised its full-year profit forecasts. Led by sales of the Prius (up 23%) Toyota now expects net income of $3.98bn (Bloomberg)
• There are mixed results for car sales in the US. Despite sales being up 5% from the same period last year, GM and Ford posted their smallest gains, whilst Honda and Toyota saw their figures fall short of forecasts (Autonews)

Tuesday 3 August 2010
• The SMMT call for greater awareness of digital radio amongst consumers, as the digital switch over of 2013 draws closer. Figures of new cars registered, that are fitted with digital radios, have double year on year since 2007 but still represent a minority in the market place (SMMT) 
• Lamborghini report first half turnover at €152.9m (-2.6% on 2009). This comes as the volume of cars sold drops 18%, but sales in Asia-Pacific grow 200% to represent 34% of Lamborghini's overall sales (Lamborghini)
• Tata suits have confirmed in several interviews overseas that Jaguar will expand its range with a station wagon (expected to be an XF estate), a new smaller entry-level model (think X-type successor) and an XE sports car (see our separate scoop here) (Automotive News Europe)
• BMW has posted its biggest profit in 2.5 years on the back of sales of the new 5-series and a surge in the US and China. Second-quarter net income in 2010 rose from €119m in 2009 to €831m, with sales up 13% in the first half of 2010 versus the same period last year (Bloomberg)
• The economic downturn has been blamed for the increase of second-hand airbags available on internet auction site Ebay. There are currently more than 7000 listings on the site, up from 3000 in 2009, as consumers seek a cheap solution to save money (Carsite)

Monday 2 August 2010
• Volkswagen has announced a jump in profits of more than €1bn. The German giant has doubled its second quarter operating profit and has seen sales rise by 21.9% (Financial Times)
• The Chinese car sales boom is showing signs of slowing, as sales rose 17.2% over the month of July, down from a 19.4% recorded in June (Detroit News)
• Italy is also experiencing a slump in car sales, with new registrations down a massive 26% (Automotive News)
• Toyota is set to recall a further 430,000 vehicles amidst fears of steering problems (BBC News)
• PSA Peugeot Citroen has recorded a €630m profit and a 21% increase in revenue, owing to increased sales in China (BBC News)
• President Obama stands by his decision to bail out GM and Chrysler, as the US auto industry adds 55,000 jobs over the last year (Detroit News)
• As the USA Grand Prix is set to return, this time to Austin, Texas, race organisers announce the primary investor to be Red McCombs. This is in addition to the annual Government investment of $25 million (Financial Times)

By Tim Pollard, Ben Pulman, Ben Foulds, John O'Brien and Adam Sloman