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News watch Sept 2010: today's auto industry news

Wed, 29 Sep 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

Wednesday 29 September 2010
• Porsche today posted record turnover, off the back of rising sales. It announced an 18% leap in annual turnover to €7.8 billion while sales rose 9% to 81,500 vehicles, up from 75,238 the previous year. Chairman Michael Macht said strong sales of the new Cayenne and Panamera drove the business forwards; however, 911 sales dropped 28% to 19,663, while the Boxster and Cayman fell 11% to 11,717 (Porsche)
• London's Salon Privé today announced a new location for its 2011 show. It'll move from the Hurlingham Club to the 200-acre Syon Park near Chiswick (Salon Privé)
• Mitsubishi has announced a 43% leap in car production in August 2010 compared with 2009. Year to date, Mitsubishi has built 753,636 vehicles this year – up 74% (Mitsubishi Motors)
• Porsche has announced the highest turnover in company history – preliminary data puts the figure at €7.79bn. And that's despite Boxster series (Boxster and Cayman) sales being down 10.8%, 911 sales down 27.4%, and Cayenne sales down 12.9%. But in the past 12 months to 31 July Porsche sold 20,615 Panamera, and although it's only been on sale since May, 11,618 Mk2 Cayennes have been shifted too (Porsche)
• Michelin has issued a €1.2 billion rights issue, forcing shares to fall 10%. The company said it was raising the cash to fund further expansion; it's already launching three new tyre factories in 2012 (BBC News)
• News watch might be more sporadic over the next 24 hours as the CAR team decamp to France for the Paris motor show. More updates soon!

Tuesday 28 September 2010
• BMW is set to offer chief exec Norbert Reithofer a five-year extension to his contract, a German newspaper reports today (Automotive News Europe)
• Ford is adding 120 new UK jobs to the 15,000 British workforce, CEO Alan Mulally told the BBC after his speech yesterday (BBC News)
• Chrysler has fired 13 staff and suspended two after the row over factory workers drinking and taking drugs at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit, where they build the Jeep Grand Cherokee (Detroit News)
• Fiat is considering a partial listing of Ferrari to raise funds to increase its stake in Chrysler (Automotive News Europe)
• Meanwhile, Dodge has been removed from UK sale. It had been selling just one model – the Journey MPV – but that has now been scrapped as new owners Fiat shake up the European operation (Autocar)
• President Obama will this week spell out plans for new car efficiency and emissions regs for model years 2017 and beyond (Automotive News)

Monday 27 September 2010
• Spyker has confirmed that it is currently in negotiations with BMW, thought to include the supply and engine and transmissions from the German car company to Saab – specifically using Mini engines and tech for the proposed Saab 9-1 (Spyker)
• ANE reports that the new 2012 Saab 9-3 will use BMW engines, while the Mini Countryman 4x4 could underpin the new 9-1 (Automotive News Europe)
• Saab will hold a press conference in Sweden this Wednesday where a formal announcement will be made
• Lotus has announced an extraordinary line-up of talent for its new advisory council: ex-BMW R&D chief Burkhard Göschel, former GM product chief Bob Lutz, ex-Rolls boss Tom Purves and ex-Porsche guru Frank Tuch are all members of the new Lotus Advisory Council to help form new strategy at Hethel (Lotus)
• Porsche has confirmed that a smaller, sub-Cayenne SUV would be brought to market as soon as possible. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn told Der Spiegel that 'a new SUV, a smaller brother to the Cayenne which might be name Cajun' (Automotive News Europe)

Friday 24 September 2010
• GM's planned IPO flotation in November is likely to raise as little as $8 billion to $10 billion. But the US Treasury, which owns 61% of GM, wants to recoup the $50bn it pumped into GM during the bankruptcy process (Automotive News)
• Chrysler says that the response from its US dealers wanting to sell Fiats has exceeded expectations. Wednesday this week was the deadline to bid for a Fiat franchise, as the company seeks 165 dealerships in the US (Detroit News)
• Meanwhile, Chrysler has suspended 15 staff caught drinking and using drugs during their lunch break at the Jefferson North plant that produces Jeep Grand Cherokees (Detroit News)
• Audi is converting its plant in Gyor, Hungary, to a full assembly factory. It currently assembles A3 and TT models from parts shipped in from Ingolstadt, but from 2013 it will do the whole manufacturing process on its own (Automotive News Europe)
• Opel today confirmed it will build a smaller, sub-Corsa city car in Germany to rival the Ford Ka. It is investing €90m to develop the new model, codenamed Junior – and there might be an electric version (Automotive News Europe)
• Infiniti is cutting the price of the FX crossover in the US following a dip in sales; the FX has sold 12% fewer models year to date (Autoblog)

Thursday 23 September 2010
• Car production in the UK has leaped 41% so far this year; engine production is up 28% so far in 2010. The SMMT said the increases were a sign Britain's automotive sector was rebounding (SMMT)
• Subaru has revealed a new, third-generation boxer engine, the first all-new variant in 21 years. 2.0 and 2.5-litre variations will be available, and fuel economy is claimed to be improved by 10% (Subaru)
• Car makers in Britain have warned that proposed caps on immigration could harm the industry. Nissan, Toyota and GM have all warned that they might find it harder to move staff to their UK factories if the Government continues with its planned caps (BBC News)
• Daimler has quashed rumours it was in discussions with Fiat over a possible buy-out of truck maker Iveco (Financial Times)
• Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko has said his company won't pull out of the US market, where it has struggled in recent years (Automotive News)
• A $16m bill unpaid by Saab has gone to a debt collector. A local authority in western Sweden is claiming the money back, although Saab and parent company Spyker had earlier said that the debt should be written down like other official state aid during the administration process (Automotive News Europe)

Tuesday 21 September 2010
• The British Motor Sports Association (MSA) will move rally cars towards less aggressive tyres patterns in the coming years to reduce the impact on roads. 'Spill kits' and the use of mud flaps will also become mandatory (MSA)

Monday 20 September 2010
• Renault could join Nissan to help increase productivity to 1.2million units per year by 2012 (Automotive news)
• VW group is ending production of the Bugatti Veyron to make way for the Galibier expected to go on sale in 2013 (Automotive news)

Friday 17 September 2010
• Small auto dealers to receive federally guaranteed loans under senate bill (Automotive news)
•  Porsche to return to Detroit motor show in 2011 (Automotive news)

Thursday 16 September 2010
• UK regulator the Office for Fair Trading is in the early stages of investigating an alleged price fixing cartel among lorry manufacturers. It is alleged that brands including Mercedes-Benz are involved; the OFT confirmed it had visited Daimler's offices in Tongwell, Milton Keynes (BBC News)
• Shares in Toyota, Honda and Nissan have jumped after the Japanese government intervened to weaken the yen. The Nikkei share index increased by 2.3% to a one-month closing high (Automotive News)
• Ford says it will export the Canadian-built Edge to the Chinese market; it plans more US exports to China to feed the growing demand for cars there (Detroit News)

Wednesday 15 September 2010
• Chrysler will rename its Sebring replacement the 200; it showed the new car to dealers yesterday (Automotive News)
• Renault plans to sell its 20% stake in Volvo's truck division (Automotive News Europe)
• Complaints about second-hand cars sold in the UK have soared by 18% in the first six months of 2010, the Office of Fair Trading warns. Its advice arm Consumer Direct received 38,138 complaints in the first half of the year (BBC News)
• Daimler and Renault-Nissan are looking to expand their cooperation to include electric vehicles. Daimler research chief Thomas Weber told Reuters it 'will b e expnaded to include all three partners as far as electric motors, batteries and powertrains are concerned' (Automotive News Europe)

Tuesday 14 September 2010
• Toyota has confirmed plans for six new hybrid models by the end of 2010 – taking the number of part-electrified cars to 20. The Wall Street Journal reported that two would be Lexus branded and four Toyotas. In addition, Toyota will unveil a fully electric RAV4, codeveloped with Tesla, at the 2010 Los Angeles auto show in November (BBC News)
• As predicted yesterday, Volkswagen has appointed Brit Jonathan Browning as the boss of its American division. He plans to treble US sales in eight years (Detroit News)
• Cosworth has announced it has reached agreement to end its engine supply deal with Lotus; it is likely that Lotus will now team up with Renault for next season (Autosport)
• Geely may build as many as three new Volvo plants in China, a spokesman said today. Spokesman Ning Shuyong told Reuters that it could raise Volvo capacity in China to 300,000 cars per year (Automotive News)
• Fiat will build a new small mininvan in Serbia. Codenamed LO, it will appear at the 2012 Geneva auto show and will be assembled alongside the Punto in Kragujevac, central Serbia (Automotive News Europe)

Monday 13 September 2010
• Toyota GB has appointed Jon Williams managing director from 1 October 2010. The 43-year-old replaces Miguel Fonseca, who has been appointed vice president sales and marketing at Toyota Motor Europe after four years in the UK. Williams was previously commercial director of the UK outfit (Toyota) ined Toyota in 2002 having previously held senior positions with the Ford Motor Company in the UK and the USA.
• The pay of top automotive CEOs has bounced back after the recession, according to a survey. Equilar Inc reckons that while average base pay remained at around $1m, total compensation jumped by nearly $1m to a $3.9m average (Automotive News)
• Fiat is at a crossroads as it chooses whether to separate its motor business from its industrial units, reports the FT (Financial Times)
• Mazda has built its two millionth 6, the company announced (Mazda)
• Volkswagen is set to appoint GM veteran Jonathan Browning, 51, as the new CEO of its US wing. He replaces Stefan Jacoby, who was headhunted to lead Volvo (Automotive News Europe)
• Ford has dropped plans to shift production of its Kuga soft-roader from Saarlouis, Germany, to Kentucky in the US to cut labour costs. Bloomberg reports that shifts in currency exchange rates no longer make the plan viable (Automotive News Europe)

Friday 10 September 2010
• Carlos Ghosn has admitted that he was offered the CEO job at GM in 2009 – but he had 'no hesitation' in turning the job down. He was approached in 2009 by Steven Rattner, the leader of president Obama's automotive task force (Automotive News Europe) 

Thursday 9 September 2010
• VW boss Martin Winterkorn is tipped to have his contract renewed as chief executive. Winterkorn’s current deal expires at the end of 2011, but a new three-deal (he is 64, so isn’t expected to be offered five-year contract) should be sorted by February (Financial Times, subscription required) 

Wednesday 8 September 2010
• Chinese car maker Geely will lose its brand name by 2012, allowing its sub brands Gleagle, Emgrand, Shanghai Englon and Volvo to become the focus (China Car Times)
• Kia's vice chairman Jeong Sung Eun has resigned after taking responsibility for the recent recall of four models (Automotive news) 

Tuesday 7 September 2010
• Audi's August 2010 sales in China were up 67.5% over August 2009. China is the German brand's largest foreign market (Audi)
• Kia is recalling 73 Soul models and 476 Sorento KX-3 vehicles to fix a small section of door wiring loom that controls the cars' 'mood' lighting (Kia)
• Lotus Engineering has been awarded $2m by the Air Resources Board of California to undertake further work on efficient, lightweight vehicles manufactured with lighter and stronger materials (Lotus Engineering)
• Peugeot's year-to-date UK sales are up 16.8%, in a market up 13.2%, while its share of the August new car market (6.3%) is its highest market share since October 2007 (Peugeot)

Monday 6 September 2010
• Jaguar is celebrating its best August sales in two years – the British company's August sales were up 74% versus August 2009. XK sales are also up 27% YTD, and Jaguar also claims the XF has outsold the A6 and 5-series in every month of 2010 (Jaguar)
• Tata Sons, parent company of Jaguar/Land Rover, is looking for a new chairman, after twice extending Ratan Tata's leadership, in 2002 and 2005. Mr Tata is set to retire in 2012 (Financial Times, subscription required) 
• Avis Budget has raised the cash portin of its hostile bid for Dollar Thrifty, bringing its total bid to a value of $1.35bn. Hertz's offer, made in April, is worth $1.1bn (Financial Times, subscription required)

Friday 3 September 2010
• The Obama administration vetoed GM’s plans to abandon its Detroit headquarters, according to a new book. The book, detailing the memoirs of President Obama’s former auto advisor Steven Rattner, reveals GM planned to leave Motor City in favour of its Tech Centre in Warren, Michigan until the US government stepped in to prevent the move (Detroit News)
• Skoda has won the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The Czech manufacturer took first, second and third at the Czech round of the IRC, securing the constructors' silverware, while Skoda’s drivers currently hold the top three places in the drivers' championship, too (Skoda UK)

Thursday 2 September 2010
• Mazda’s MX-5 has racked up its 100,000th UK sale. Launched in 1989, the Japanese drop-top awakened the then-dormant small roadster segment, previously dominated by British marques in the '60s and '70s. Twenty years on, the third generation MX-5 continues to be popular with UK motorists, with Britain taking 40% of European MX-5 sales (Mazda)
• The Renewable Fuels Agency claims the majority of biofuel on sale through UK forecourts does not meet environmental standards. Its latest report states that while suppliers were meeting legally binding volume targets, they had fallen well short of the voluntary green standards (BBC News) 
• New car sales in the US slowed in August, with GM, Toyota and Ford all reporting a dip in sales compared to the same period for 2009, when the US scrappage scheme was running (Detroit News)
• New car sales in Asia increased sharply in August, with Japanese, South Korean and Indian manufactures all reporting increased demand. Honda, Hyundai Kia and Tata all reported strong increases in their respective domestic markets (Financial Times, subscription required)

Wednesday 1 September 2010
• General Motors' gains its fourth chief executive in 17 months as Daniel Akerson takes charge of the American car giant. The 61-year old is a newcomer to the automotive sector, with previous experience in the communications industry (Detroit News)
• Bugatti has appointed a new head of sales and marketing, Dr Stefan Brungs. Brungs began his career with Volkswagen in 1997, later oversaw the launch of the Bentley Continental GT, and has most recently been responsible for Volkswagen’s international fleet management (Bugatti)
• In other VW Group news, Bentley has appointed Alasdair Stewart as its sales and marketing boss. Stewart takes over from Dr Stefan Brungs, who left to take up the same post at Bugatti. One of Stewart’s first duties will be to oversee the launch of the new Continental GT, due to be unveiled in just under a week’s time (Bentley)
• South Korea’s biggest car manufacturers have avoided strike action for the first time in 20 years. The big three, Hyundai, Ssangyong and GM Daewoo reached an agreement with workers, ending decades of militant union activity (Financial Times, subscription required) 

By Tim Pollard, Ben Pulman, Sarah-Jayne Harrison and Adam Sloman