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Luxury auto makers are all flocking to the Chinese market, and Jaguar Land Rover have been lagging behind. Today, they have signed a deal with Chinese automaker Chery to manufacture and sell vehicles in China.
The deal comes after news that Jaguar, and owner Tata motors have been seeking out a deal in the past few weeks.
China is considered one of the largest car markets, and this deal is expected to help boost Jaguar Land Rover sales. The agreement, worth $2.78 Million, is now undergoing a complex approval process.
“This is an important step for JLR and Tata Motors moving forward,” said Vineet Hetamasaria, auto analyst at PINC Research in Mumbai. “Though this is only an agreement, and it will be some time before we see the results.”
The first vehicles expected to be put into production are Land Rovers, and Jaguar vehicles will follow.
We’re wondering if Jaguar is a little too late to the party, since a recent report has indicated that car sales in China have cooled off, dropping 24% in January. Jaguar is clearly thinking that it still has a chance to cash in on the Chinese Market, but the results remain to be seen.
[Source: Automotive News]
Fiat‘s iconic assembly plant on the Island of Sicily closed on November 24th and has been taken over by an investor.
The plant, which opened in 1970 and manufactured primarily Fiat 500s was sold for a token single euro. Massimo Di Risio, one of Italy’s largest car dealers, is that investor. He plans to re-open the plant as early as late next year to assemble four Chery models.
Thus far, his efforts to rebadge the Chinese vehicles under his DR brand have been unsuccessful, but he hopes that taking the plant over will help change that.
His goal, despite financial problems caused by the initial failure of his rebadged Chery project, is to produce 65,000 cars per year. Di Risio currently owns an assembly plant north of Naples where he manufactures the DR5 (Chery Tiggos), the DR1 (Chery M1) and the DR2 (Chery A1) that will now come from his new plant.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The automotive market in China right now is an interesting one, with obviously a huge consumer base to pick and choose from. It’s common knowledge that Chinese manufacturers still aren’t up to par with American, Japanese or European counterparts, and some of the major players continue to look at forming partnerships with established brands.
Chinese automaker Chery, has one of the best-selling economy cars in China, the Chery QQ, has been trying to form a joint venture with Subaru for quite some time now. But China’s National Development and Reform Commission opposed the joint venture due to the fact that Subaru is owned by Toyota and Toyota already has two joint ventures in China (the maximum allowed). It’s worth arguing though that Toyota only holds 16.5-percent of Subaru’s parent group, Fuji Heavy Industries, shares.
So in order for the joint venture to go through, Subaru would have to let Chery take the reins in China, meaning that every Subaru would be sold with a Chery badge and through a Chery-run dealer. Whether or not Subaru will agree to this has remains to be seen.
With the rise of turbochargers as a “green” technology, the lifespan of superchargers looked numbers as their popularity decreased, with the belt driven forced induction systems appearing only on high-end V6 and V8 powered sports cars. While superchargers delivery power in a smooth, linear manner, their cost, complexity and noise has relegated them to near extinction.
An interview with Automotive News, featuring Eaton’s Ken Davis, President of their vehicle group, suggests otherwise. Davis remarked that their new line of superchargers are gaining favor with automakers, among them Nissan and Volkswagen. Audi’s 3.0L V6 engines already use superchargers, as well as some of Volkswagen’s small displacement 4-cylinder engines not sold in North America. Volkswagen could use superchargers across a broader number of engines, but we’re stumped as to what applications the new Eaton blowers could have with Nissan products.
Davis also notes that Chinese OEM Chery has been using greater numbers of superchargers. Their QQ small car is equipped with a blower, and given the vast amount of vehicles sold in China, Davis’ claims of doubling supercharger sales in 5 years doesn’t look so outlandish anymore.
[Source: Automotive News]
Add some red to the yellow and blue
According to a report in China’s Oriental Morning Post, the Chinese government has, for its part, approved a deal that would see Chinese automaker Chery buy Volvo from Ford.
Neither side has confirmed that a deal is in the works, or even that talks are ongoing, however, Chevy has made their interest in the Swedish automaker public. Ford, for it’s part, has also made it clear that Volvo is up for the taking.
The deal would mean the complete dismantling of Ford’s grouping of luxury brands, which at one point included Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin. The sale of those other companies – with Land Rover and Jaguar going to India’s Tata Motors and Aston Martin going to a collection of companies that includes several Kuwaiti banks – totaled roughly $4 billion and is touted as one of the reasons that Ford has been able to stave-off bailout money.
As no deal has been made public, the Chery-deal could just be yet another rumor, as recently it was reported that China’s Dongfeng Motor Group was looking at the purchase, and earlier the Geely company was named as a potential buyer.
No cash value has been given for Volvo, but it is expected that the Swedish manufacturer could fetch as much as $6 billion.
After General Motors made it clear in its viability report submitted to the U.S. Treasury that the future of Saturn was uncertain at best, it appears as though Saturn’s network of dealers has its own plan.
Dan Januska, owner of Saturn of Scottsdale, told the Wall Street Journal that the dealers have been in talks to work with a foreign automaker from either China or India. The deal would see Saturn dealers keep their dealerships and retain the Saturn brand, and sell vehicles badged as Saturns, but made by another manufacturer, possibly Chery, Tata, Geely or Build Your Dreams (BYD).
“There are not a whole lot of alternatives,” said Januska to the Journal, “Someone is going to see the value of us and I don’t know who it will be.”
GM’s CEO Rick Wagoner commented on the possibility of the sale of the Saturn name (something General Motors would certainly like to see happen), stating that, “It’s a good distribution network. If someone comes up with an offer, we’re very open to that.”
As we already reported, General Motors stated in its viability plan that it will continue to produce and deliver vehicles to Saturn dealers until 2012, after which GM has no plans for the brand.
[Source: LeftLaneNews via the Wall Street Journal]