Weekly Roundup: 19.01.2009 - 23.01.2009
The American soap-opera of the two struggling carmakers, General Motors and Chrysler, continued on Monday as Chrysler received its $1.5 billion installment from the US Treasury. On the other hand, GM continued its restructuring plan (ironically) with a new paint shop opened in… Egypt. Despite the fact that it cost about $32 million, the new facility is said to improve the durability and quality of GM vehicles’ paint. Moreover, it will create new jobs in the area, which is a fairly important aspect during recession times.
Also on Monday, Pagani unveiled one of the most-awaited models designed by the company, namely the Zonda R. Just like you would expect from a Pagani car, the Zonda R produces insanely high power, around 750 horsepower at 8000 rpm, partially thanks to Mercedes AMG engine.
The first day of the week was pretty awkward for Alfa Romeo as its newly-launched model, the MiTo, was officially crowned the “Gay Car of the Year 2009” by a French group that organizes meetings for gay car
We also find out on Monday that Volkswagen may plan to bring the Polo to the United States, obviously as a move to increase its market share. Given the difficult market conditions and the Americans’ appetite for small cars, launching a fuel-efficient model in this region pretty much makes sense. Polo is set to arrive in the US in the next few years.
Formula 1 fans received a pretty surprising news on Monday as journalists who attended a testing session discovered that Ferrari may have used an illegal exhaust system. It seems like the Ferrari F60 features an exposed exhaust outlet which, according to the FIA regulations, is strictly prohibited. However, Ferrari did not comment on the reports and continued to focus on its testing sessions for the upcoming season.
Despite the fact that most people already knew about it, Tuesday finally brought the official confirmation: Chrysler joined forces with Fiat in order to establish one of the largest strategic alliances currently in the automotive industry. While Fiat will receive a 35 percent stake in Chrysler, the American automaker will have the chance to bring several fuel-efficient models produced by the Italian manufacturer to the United States. This way, it could stick to the restructuring plans, as promised to the US government last December.
While Audi praised its A4 model and said it is Germany’s most popular premium car in 2008, BMW Sauber unveiled its new F1.09 in Valencia, Spain. There are no new aesthetical changes brought by the new car as it features almost the same aerodynamics package as the other 2009 challengers.
world’s number one carmaker. After announcing its financial results, General Motors fell on the second position of this virtual ranking and, even if the American company says it has absolutely no interest in the leader position, we’re sure that seeing Toyota jubilating isn’t the greatest thing to accept during extremely difficult recession times.
Besides this report, we also found out that Ford started the production of Focus RS in Germany, its high-performance Focus expected to bring very high sales to the American company. In addition, it also announced a dual-clutch transmission system for the upcoming small models, a move especially aimed at fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The Formula 1 section was still dominated by Ferrari’s illegal exhaust system reports, as most teams were urging the Scuderia to change the aforementioned part in order to comply with FIA’s regulations.
This day brought pretty interesting news for F1 fans. It appears that Sir Fred Goodwin may run for FIA presidency
After announcing their strategic alliance, Fiat and Chrysler already started rethinking the short-terms plans and it may seem like Fiat 500 might be the first European model to be launched in the US. According to this report, Chrysler aims to launch the 500 in the US by 2010, obviously with slight modifications to comply with the American regulations.
Also on Thursday, Lexus said it will recall about 214,500 LS, IS and GS models in the United States due to a glitch related to two fuel pipes in the engine compartment. The faulty parts will be replaced free of charge, with recalls scheduled to start in the next few weeks.
The day ended with another report concerning (from now on) the world’s second largest automaker General Motors. The American company said it may run out of cash by March 31 in case the government does not provide the second installment, just like it did to Chrysler. The money were supposed to be transferred last Friday but, due to the complex nature of the case, the payment was delayed.
Despite the rumors claiming that Renault may leave the Formula 1 championship at the end of the upcoming season, Friday mostly brought economic crisis-related news.
announced it will idle the Ingolstadt production facility for five days, as part of its plans to align production with the market demand. While Toyota may cut approximately 1,000 full-time jobs, Cerberus Capital Management, aka Chrysler’s majority owner, said it aims to axe about 10 percent of its workforce in the next few months.
On the other hand, Chrysler delayed the light-duty diesel Ram 1500 initially scheduled to be released in 2011 due to the high costs of new hardware equipment. Given the market interest for fuel-efficient models, Mazda announced that the upcoming Mazda3 models will boast a stop-start system especially aimed at fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
The only good news were, again, related to General Motors because the American automaker finally received the second installment of its US loan. Obviously, GM was excited with the transaction but is now preparing for the biggest challenge this year: the restructuring plan set to be forwarded to the United States government on February 17.