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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  May 13 2011, 4:35 PM

Documents filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission revealed that Fisker, maker of the Karma hybrid sports car, is raising an additional $100 million in funding in advance of the company’s first customer deliveries.

While the investors have not been identified, the money comes in addition to Fisker’s $190 million in financing secured already. The Karma has entered production at Valmet’s Finnish plant. The Karma is expected to go on sale later this year, with an initial run of 3,000 cars before entering full production.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  May 12 2011, 3:01 PM

With the apparent collapse of the deal between Hawtai and Spyker, the Dutch parent company of Saab is now courting Chinese automaker Great Wall in an apparent bid to find a partner for the ailing Saab brand.

Hawtai was apparently unable to get the necessary approval to complete a transaction with Saab worth 150 million euros, in which Hawtai would get a stake in the Swedish luxury car maker. Saab would have used the cash to pay off suppliers and resume production at its Swedish plants.

Spyker released a short statement today, claiming ”Spyker and Saab Automobile continue to work on securing short and medium term funding. To that end Spyker and Saab Automobile are negotiating equity and debt financing and/or technology licensing with various (strategic) Chinese partners.”

A source close to the deal told Retuers that Saab and Great Wall had been in communication throughout the Hawtai deal, stating “the two sides have never stopped talking…”

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  May 10 2011, 12:20 PM

Chrysler filed documents with the Security and Exchange Commission that revealed that parent company Fiat has a one year option to increase its stake in the American automaker to as much as 70 percent.

The increase is contingent on Chrysler repaying its government loans, and the automaker will be issuing new debt in a bid to allow Fiat to up its stake from 30 to 46 percent. Currently, the United States treasury holds an 8.6 percent stake in the company, but that should be reduced by year end, when Fiat begins production of an American made vehicle capable of hitting 40 mpg. The United States government is hoping to fully divest itself from Chrysler as soon as possible.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  May 02 2011, 2:13 PM

With Saab parent company Spyker Cars having secured a 30 million euro short-term loan, Saab vehicles will now resume production after a payment dispute with suppliers forced them to suspend their operations.

Saab CEO Victor Muller released a statement to the media, remarking ”I would like to apologize to our dedicated employees, suppliers, dealers and customers for the disruptions of the past weeks. We will do everything in our power to restore the confidence in our company as soon as practically possible.”

Saab is also exploring other avenues for funding, including partnerships with Chinese automakers and a land deal with controversial Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, that would involve Antonov buying Saab’s Swedish production facility and then leasing it back to the automaker as a means of giving Saab some liquidity. European investment outlets previously expressed significant reservations regarding Antonov and his alleged connections to Russian criminal networks.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Apr 26 2011, 3:19 PM

Saab’s attempt at selling off assets to a Russian financial magnate Vladimir Antonov has stalled after the European Investment Bank told the Swedish auto maker to essentially find a new partner within a set time frame.

The EIB and other parties have expressed concerns regarding Antonov’s reported Russian mafia connections. All parties involved are understandably reluctant to elaborate on specifics, but Saab parent company Spyker said in a statement that “Saab Automobile is working with all parties involved on a solution to complete the sale of the property and will have further talks with the EIB today,” Spyker said.

Saab has borrowed $400 million from the EIB, but a cash crunch has also seen the company owe its supplier $49 million, leading to parts supply disruptions and a mere trickle of cars built due to the disputes. Saab has also been courting Chinese auto makers for a variety of deals, but said that it has nothing to do with Volvo, Saab’s fellow Swedish auto maker, currently owned by a Chinese corporation.

 |  Apr 06 2011, 1:52 PM

Fiat is set to increase ownership in Chrysler, from 25 to 30 percent, within the next few weeks, assuming regulatory bodies are satisfied with Fiat’s ability to meet specific demands for Chrysler.

Fiat has already been able to generate $1.5 billion in revenue for Chrysler outside of North America, but still needs to build a Fiat-based car in North America capable of getting 40 mpg. Fiat is aiming to own a 51 percent stake in Chrysler by the end of 2011.

CEO Sergio Marchionne is hoping that Chrysler will increase global sales by 32 percent and post a net profit for the first time this year. Fiat will also begin exporting Chrysler vehicles to Brazil and sell them as Fiats, where the brand is the current market leader. Among the products that will be offered are the Dodge Journey crossover, sold as the Fiat Freemont.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Jan 04 2011, 12:05 PM

F10_0144_fine

Canadians get a raw deal when it comes to cars. Even though their dollar is worth a little bit more than the greenback (and is projected to rise in the near future) cars still cost about 30 percent more on average. Due to the discrepancy, it’s common for Canadians looking for luxury vehicles to buy their cars in the United States, and import them back to Canada, where savings can be in the thousands, despite importation fees and taxes.

Porsche cars have been a popular choice for importation, due to the significant delta between USA and Canadian pricing. A base Boxster, for example, cost about $46,000 in the USA, while the Canadian MSRP was $58,000. The difference in higher end vehicles, like the 911 GT3 or 911 Turbo S was even higher, edging closer to a $20,000 gap.

Porsche Canada has responded by cutting the MSRP of its cars closer to USA prices. A Boxster now rings in just under $55,000, but still remains shy of the USA’s $47,600 sticker. Discounts remain similar for much of the range, but notably exceptions like the 911 Turbo S get a 5 figure discount.

Regardless, the price cuts don’t come close to bringing the prices to parity. With one-tenth the population, and different equipment requirements for such a small market, not to mention a small dealer network, the extra costs that can’t be amortized over a larger population are passed on to the consumer. Whether the discounts are deep enough to stop consumers from going over the border remains to be seen, but according to one dealer who AutoGuide spoke to before the discounts, the entire run of Cayennes has been sold out for the year, with Panameras moving briskly. Evidently, those with the means to buy a Porsche may not have the time to go through the hassles of importation to save an amount they consider inconsequential.

 |  Jan 03 2011, 3:44 PM

Chrysler_2010_LAShow

Fiat is looking to up their stake in Chrysler from 20 percent to over 50 percent, according to reports in the Detroit News. Fiat was awarded a 20 percent stake in the company as part of Chrysler’s bankruptcy proceedings in 2009, and can increase its ownership as it passes a series of milestones. Marchionne also hinted that a Chrysler IPO may come in the second half of 2010.

The company can own another 15 percent upon building engines in North America, marketing an American made car that can hit 40 mpg and meets sales targets for export markets. Paying back government loans before 2013 will also give the company an option to another 16 percent of Chrysler.

[Source: Detroit News]

 |  Dec 28 2010, 12:49 PM

tesla-roadster-sport-17

Tesla Motors share price feel by roughly 15 percent Monday as company insiders rushed to dump their shares after the expiration of a 180 day limit on selling their stock holdings.

The shares being sold were previously not available on the open market, and were reportedly offered to investors and other insiders as a form of compensation. Tesla’s stock rose more than 40 percent since its debut towards the end of June, and the company received $465 million in loans from the Department of Energy to help develop its Model S sedan.

As of 11:30 AM Tuesday, Tesla’s share price was steady at $26, up from Monday’s close of $25.55

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Nov 18 2010, 3:09 PM

General Motors long awaited IPO began trading on Thursday, and was up approximately $2 as of 12 noon, Thursday. Listed at $33 a share, the stock price quickly climbed to $35 a share, as GM’s CEO Dan Akerson rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

IPO’s are often volatile, with new startup Tesla Motors stock price dipping to around $15 over the summer, and now trading at over $30. The original GM stock was once one of the world’s most popular stocks before GM was forced into bankruptcy in 2009. With the IPO, the United States Treasury was able to unload 75% of their shares and recoup $12 billion of taxpayer money. GM stock would need to rise to $41 a share for the government to break even on its bailout.

[Source: Left Lane News]

 |  Nov 16 2010, 12:47 PM

Steve Rattner, who oversaw President Obama’s auto industry bailout, told Bloomberg News that GM’s Initial Public Offering share price was undervalued.

“There is definitely a greater level of confidence in the ability of the carmakers to perform,” Rattner said at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit. “That’s because of the profit numbers.”

According to Bloomberg sources, GM is expecting to be able to sell shares for over $30 each, with Rattner claiming that $35 to $40 a share is expected.

Rattner also criticised GM’s managment structure, stating that the roles of CEO and President must be separated, as GM’s rotation of four CEOs in 18 months reflected poorly on the company.

[Source: Bloomberg]

 |  Nov 09 2010, 12:18 PM

General Motors upcoming IPO is attracting a lot of attention, not least from Chinese car manufacturer SAIC. A long time partner of the General, SAIC is looking to buy a significant portion of GM’s IPO, and with nearly $6 billion in cash reserves, the company is in a good position to do so.

According to reports, the president of SAIC has recently visited America after GM posted its prospectus on November 3rd. GM is hoping to raise $10.6 billion through its IPO.

[Source: TTAC]

 |  Jul 22 2010, 10:55 AM

General Motors is buying AmeriCorp, a company that offers subprime loans (loans to those with poor credit), for $3.5 billion dollars. GM says the move is necessary to expand financing to those with subprime credit scores. 40 percent of Americans hold these subprime ratings, which are defined as a score below 620 on a 300 to 850 scale.

“Clearly there’s an opportunity to bring more people into our showrooms and help them with finance,” said Chris Liddell, GM’s chief financial officer. GM will also be able to offer more leases to customers, a major selling point for upscale brands like Cadillac and Buick, whose customer base tends to lease vehicles more than mainstream brands. Currently 7 percent of GM’s sales come from leases, compared to an industry average of 21 percent. GM rebranded their GMAC finance unit as Ally, and they will continue to provide financing for the bulk of GM’s customers.

Subprime auto loans are a staple of the used car market, especially independent dealers who offer “financing for anybody” and the infamous “good credit, bad credit, no credit” types of used car lots. By definition this group is the highest risk for loans, due to a history of poor repayment, defaulting or other unscrupulous practices. With 40 percent of GM owned by the U.S government, you have to wonder how much integrity both parties have in extending these loans to people after a similar form of these loans nearly caused a global economic meltdown.

Hit the jump to read the official press release

[Source: GM and Yahoo News]

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