Tengzhong expected to close Hummer deal shortly

August 24th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Tengzhong expected to close Hummer deal

Chinese suitor Tengzhong is slowly getting closer to sealing the deal to buy troubled truck maker Hummer from General Motors. Chinese reports have come almost completely around, from being staunchly dismissive a few months ago to a near certainty that the Chinese government has little to lose in green lighting the acquisition.

Chinese government officials haven’t made a statement, but the Chinese commerce ministry, one of the two bodies overseeing approval of the purchase, is now saying that it’s only natural for Tengzhong to want Hummer. And with Tengzhong issuing pronouncements about maintaining Hummer’s dealer network, it looks like the company is confident it will achieve its end.

Final price for Hummer is expected to be less than half of what GM wanted, coming in at around $200 million USD.

Corvette C7 due in 2012

August 18th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Corvette Stingray Concept fq

If you’re a Corvette fan, it’s time for some good news. Fresh after dodging financial ruin, General Motors has announced its two-year product plans for Chevy, Caddy, Buick and GMC. Included were some details for the new C7 Corvette.

The plan at this stage is for the C7 to be introduced in April of 2012 as a 2013 model which is an improvement on the pre-bankruptcy plan to not reinvent the Corvette until 2014.

Almost nothing at all is known about the new Corvette at the moment. One thing that has been shelved, however, is a rumoured switch to a mid-engine layout. The C7 will stay front-engine just like it’s been for 57 years, according to the recent report. Like the current car, the C7 will also make extensive use of materials like carbon fibre, aluminum and magnesium to help cut weight while maintaining rigidity.

In terms of exterior appearance, it’s likely that the Corvette Stingray Concept (pictured) shown at the Chicago Auto Show is a likely indicator of the new styling direction for the C7.

As far as powerplants go, there is speculation a smaller, forced induction engine – most likely a supercharger, will be utilised to help the car meet fuel economy targets. A dual-clutch gearbox has also been talked about, and would make sense to keep pace with the likes of Porsche’s 911 and Nissan’s GT-R.

Like the C6 improved on the C5 the new C7 will likely be an incremental advancement on the already proven Corvette platform. It will be an evolution rather than a full revolution but should provide a serious performance package.

Expect to hear more details on the C7′s progress over the next year or two.

Huge demand for 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

June 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

2010 Chevrolet Camaro fq

A report that is bound to make GM’s new owners happy is that Camaro supply cant match demand, and buyers are paying more than the list price to get their hands on one. Dealers have placed orders for 25000 cars, so far only half have been supplied, no doubt due to interruptions relating to GM’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

On average buyers are paying $500 USD above the recommended retail price to get the keys to one. When you consider the current state of the US economy, this is a fantastic sign. With Transformers 2 currently in cinemas, demand is bound to get even stronger.

Koenigsegg preparing to buy Saab

June 12th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Koenigsegg logo

Few details are known so far, but reports are claiming that Koenigsegg, makers of ultra high-performance supercars, and a group of Norwegian investors have signed a letter of intent with Saab to purchase the brand from General Motors. Final negotiations will reportedly take place in the coming months.

Along with the Saturn and Hummer brands, Saab was put up for sale by GM before the automaker filed for bankruptcy. Apparently companies and investor groups from all over the world, were interested in the Swedish brand, and Koenigsegg’s name was thrown into the list of finalists late last month.

Koenigsegg and Saab are two automotive brands that share a home country but sell completely different kinds of cars. It might just be crazy enough to work.

Chevrolet builds 1,500,000th Corvette

June 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Building 1,500,000 of any machine is a serious milestone, but when it’s an iconic sportscar it means even more. Yesterday General Motors announced the production of the 1,500,000th Chevrolet Corvette at its Bowling Green Assembly plant in the states.

The announcement of the sales landmark was an opportunity for some shameless promotion for the latest Corvette – the 2010 Grand Sport.

“The Corvette Grand Sport achieves a 0 – 100 time in less than four seconds and pulls 1.0g on the skid pad,” Chevrolet product marketing director Karen Rafferty said. “These numbers are unmatched by any of Corvette’s competitors.”

It’s nearly 60 years of Corvette production that has got them to the Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR-1, Rafferty remarked, “The 1.5 millionth Corvette is a great example of how Chevy is America’s Brand. For nearly 60 years we have built America’s Sports Car and this milestone is a solid proof point.”

It’s no secret GM are in financial turmoil and will be leveraging its most iconic products to help rebuild the company’s image in the wake of its massive bailout and bankruptcy. The new Grand Sport is an important halo model and is a representation of GM’s proud history and it’s current performance credentials.

Chevrolet build 1,500,000th Corvette

June 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Building 1,500,000 of any machine is a serious milestone, but when it’s an iconic sportscar it means even more. Yesterday General Motors announced the production of the 1,500,000th Chevrolet Corvette at its Bowling Green Assembly plant in the states.

The announcement of the sales landmark was an opportunity for some shameless promotion for the latest Corvette – the 2010 Grand Sport.

“The Corvette Grand Sport achieves a 0 – 100 time in less than four seconds and pulls 1.0g on the skid pad,” Chevrolet product marketing director Karen Rafferty said. “These numbers are unmatched by any of Corvette’s competitors.”

It’s nearly 60 years of Corvette production that has got them to the Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR-1, Rafferty remarked, “The 1.5 millionth Corvette is a great example of how Chevy is America’s Brand. For nearly 60 years we have built America’s Sports Car and this milestone is a solid proof point.”

It’s no secret GM are in financial turmoil and will be leveraging its most iconic products to help rebuild the company’s image in the wake of its massive bailout and bankruptcy. The new Grand Sport is an important halo model and is a representation of GM’s proud history and it’s current performance credentials.

Hummer finally sold to a Chinese buyer

June 3rd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Hummer fq

General Motors has announced it’s entered “into a memorandum of understanding with a buyer for Hummer,” but under the terms of the transaction, the buyer can’t be officially disclosed. Insider’s reports say that the Hummer division has been sold to a machinery company in western China. That company, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd., isn’t a carmaker by trade but is well known for making construction and maintenance equipment, but has recently shifted into heavy-duty trucks.

GM’s announcement only scratches the surface of the plan, saying that the deal is expected to close by the third quarter of this year, that the new investor is committed to funding future Hummer products – perhaps the expected H4 and a two-door H3T. In addition 3,000 U.S. manufacturing, engineering and dealer jobs will be saved.

According to the New York Times the memorandum of understanding between GM and Sichuan Tengzhong needs to be approved by Beijing officials, as the Chinese government has the discretion to veto any purchases of overseas firms by a Chinese company, particularly those transactions valued over $100 million USD. Hummer’s final price tag hasn’t been confirmed but it is widely believed that to be under $500 million USD.

Holden remains unaffected by GM bankruptcy

June 2nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Holden remains unaffected by GM bankruptcy

Holden are set to continue normal operations in Australia and New Zealand and does not expect changes to its business after General Motors announced its bankruptcy in the US. “Operations at Holden are unchanged in Australia and New Zealand and we expect it to remain that way,” Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Reuss, said yesterday.

“GM has clearly stated that all of its businesses in the Asia Pacific region — and that includes Holden — continue normal operations and are not directly impacted by this process in the US. “No operations outside the US are included in the court filing or court supervised process. “Holden is a subsidiary of GM but we are a corporate entity in our own right — an independent company under Australian law. “Beyond that, GM has indicated that Holden will be an important part of the New GM. “We intend to maintain our focus on Holden product programs and activities. “That means technology improvements to our Commodore range, launching the all-new Holden Cruze this month, and the introduction of our locally-built fuel efficient, four cylinder small car next year.

“We continue to run full operations at Elizabeth and Port Melbourne, producing cars for our 300-strong independent dealer network. “We don’t anticipate this decision will have any direct impact on Holden’s workforce, dealers, or suppliers. “Holden customer warranties are not affected. We wouldn’t normally issue statements to highlight nothing has changed, but we appreciate that customers will naturally ask questions about this sort of announcement from the US.” Mr Reuss said Holden would remain informed of developments in the US, a process which had been determined to reinvent General Motors.

“The process being used in the US is unlike Australian and New Zealand law. It is a fast, court supervised process that permits the sale of selected assets to a new entity,” Mr Reuss said. “Unlike court-controlled processes in many other countries, US chapter 11 allows GM to deal with the financial issues that have built up over many years and for New GM to emerge as a healthier business, better able to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow. “It does not mean ceasing to trade.” Pending approvals, the New GM is expected to launch in about 60 to 90 days as a separate and independent company from the current GM, with two distinct advantages: it will be built from only GM’s best brands and operations, and it will be supported by a stronger balance sheet due to a significantly lower debt burden and operating cost structure than before.

GM has previously indicated it is negotiating with prospective buyers for the Saab and Hummer brands. GM is working closely with dealers, including those in Australia and New Zealand, to continue delivering vehicles and maintaining aftersales and servicing requirements.