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Mazda’s severed ties with Ford and recent shift to a single, scalable platform have birthed a series of noteworthy products, but there’s one major question mark left in the company’s portfolio.
It still isn’t clear what Mazda plans to do for either of its performance nameplates. Information on the next MX-5 is still scarce, but a new report suggests Mazda plans for its new roadster to weight in 220 lbs lighter than the current car.
That’s significant considering the current car only weighs 2,447 lbs when equipped with the soft top and a manual transmission. Both the convertible hard top and the automatic transmission add weight.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Mazda MX-5 to Get 1.3L Turbo
Mazda will partner with Fiat to build the car, which will lead to both a new MX-5 and a new Spider for Alfa Romeo. While Mazda hasn’t made details about the car availble, past speculation suggests the car will be powered by a turbocharged 1.3-liter four cylinder rather than the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four it uses today. That, at least in part, could help account for the weight savings.
[Source: Automotive News]
Discuss this story at MazdaWorld.org
General Motors and Isuzu are mulling over the possibility of jointly developing a new pickup truck, according to an announcement by GM made today.
Toyota is deepening its partnership with BMW by agreeing to supply the German automaker with hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell technology. The companies first partnered in December of last year with BMW supplying Toyota with small diesel engines for the European market in exchange for Toyota’s lithium-ion hybrid systems and research.
In its continued effort to spread the message of the all-electric Leaf, Nissan has partnered up with Fleet Forum and is providing five vehicles for a year for free.
Fleet Forum manages vehicle fleets for foreign aids and charitable organizations, such as Red Cross and the UN World Food Programme, and will take the Leaf EVs from Nissan and distribute them among five of their charities.
The charities that will benefit from this program this year are: United Nations World Food Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, Islamic Relief, and the United Nations Logistics Base.
This program will not only show the viability of electric vehicles in different applications around the world, but also reduce the environmental impact and reduce costs.
“This is an excellent example of learning through demonstration,” says Paul Jansen, Executive Director of Fleet Forum. “Through this programme these different organisations can see for themselves how electric vehicles can be used to help achieve their objectives. From a Fleet Forum point-of-view we’re happy to facilitate this as a way of increasing efficiency and reducing pollution.”
Jansen goes on to say, “The partnership with Nissan fits perfectly with Fleet Forum’s commitment to offer our members practical knowledge and experience of transport-related products and services. The participating members will benefit directly, but in the end all members will benefit. Together with Nissan we will gather and analyze the test data. We will build knowledge regarding electric driving, and we can advise our members how to maximize the best use of electric vehicles. Fleet Forum promotes electric driving because this is a very constructive way of reducing the environmental impact of the operational activities of Fleet Forum members.”
The first two cars will be handed over to the chosen organizations in a ceremony in Geneva. These cars will be used in Switzerland.
The Leaf is one of the few all-electric vehicles on sale anywhere in the world. It has a range of just over 100-miles on a full-charge and sells for a base price of $35,200.
A few years ago, Italian auto giant Fiat was very close to partnering up with General Motors. However, that deal went sour at the last minute and a few years after that, Fiat bought a big chunk of Chrysler in its quest to have a large slice of the American market.
More recently, the company was in the news announcing that Fiat is looking to partner up with Mazda or Suzuki, which would not only help expand Fiat’s reach into the Asian market, but also co-develop future small car platforms and technologies together.
Not content with sitting idling by, waiting for deals to happen, Fiat/Chrysler are constantly seeking alliances to further its growth.
The latest round of news from the 2012 Geneva Auto Show is that Fiat is “open to Volvo talks.” Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne expressed that he is “interested in talking to everyone that wants to talk with me.”
Volvo, which is now owned by the Chinese auto firm Geely, wants to expand itself in the small car segment in developing markets which makes Fiat an good fit because it already has plenty of small cars in its line-up. This tie-up could prove very beneficial for Volvo, to offer a new small car, without going through the expense of designing and engineering a complete new vehicle itself.
Fiat will benefit by finding a route into the Chinese market, which is currently the fastest growing economy in the world.
As for future drive-train technologies, Marchionne says; “There’s still lots of unexplored technology with combustion. Future drive-trains need to be cheaper and more cost effective.”
While Fiat is to introduce its first electric car later this year, the 500e (shown above), it only did so because it pooled technology from a host of companies already in the electric car field and thus saved cost of developing a complete new system themselves.
When asked if Fiat was in talks with PSA Peugeot Citroen, Marchionne denied the claim saying, “I would not like to be GM. The integration for the cost does not go far enough and would not have met our requirements.”
Fiat was at one point in talks with GM to take over Opel-Vauxhall and Saab, and Marchionne confidently said he could have “found a solution for the brands.”
German car firm BMW is well known for its technological innovations, and the company won’t be caught resting on its laurels.
In pursuit of future technologies, BMW is looking to partner up with General Motors to develop fuel-cell technology, and may even further extend their hand to PSA Peugeot Citroen to co-develop gasoline engines.
According to BMW’s CEO Norbert Reithofer, he “can imagine” joining forces with a North American partner to develop advanced technologies, since that cuts down on cost for future products.
Peugeot also has several partners around the world (like its recent partnership with GM) for developing technologies, and hence BMW now wants to use that strategy as well.
GM recently bought a 7% stake in PSA, hoping this partnership will help expand not only the brands technologies, but also its sales.
BMW recently signed a deal with PSA to jointly develop four-cylinder engines. This current deal will expire in 2015.
[Source: Automotive News]
General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroën inked a deal yesterday that will see the companies partnering to further their interests in Europe.
“This partnership brings tremendous opportunity for our two companies,” said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “The alliance synergies, in addition to our independent plans, position GM for long-term sustainable profitability in Europe.”
The companies plan to share vehicle platforms, components and modules and to create a global purchasing joint venture that will improve both groups’ leverage in sourcing goods and services from suppliers by commanding $125 billion in purchasing power.
As part of the deal GM will acquire a seven percent stake in PSA Peugeot Citroën.
“This alliance is a tremendously exciting moment for both groups and this partnership is rich in its development potential. With the strong support of our historical shareholder and the arrival of a new and prestigious shareholder, the whole group is mobilized to reap the full benefit of this agreement,” Philippe Varin, chairman of the managing board of PSA Peugeot Citroën said.
The alliance will initially focus on small and midsize cars, MPVs and crossovers, the first of which is expected to launch in 2016.
According to Reuters, General Motors and BMW are jumping into bed over fuel cells. GM is already established as a leader in the technology, though they are staying tight-lipped about the partnership according to Autoblog.
BMW told the site that they are ”speaking about various future technologies.” Additionally, German business magazine, Wirtschafts Woche says according to an inside source that talks are already very far along.
The partnership isn’t surprising considering car companies will need to achieve 35.5 miles-per-gallon by 2016 in the U.S. and 54.5 mpg for cars and light trucks by 2025.
This isn’t the first move BMW made with other companies to advance their green tech. Earlier this month we reported that the German automaker announced a partnership with Toyota to work on green projects.
The soap opera between Suzuki and Volkswagen has been ongoing for almost a year and now the Japanese automaker is looking to back out. Suzuki wants to buy back all the 19.9% of its shares that VW currently owns and that if the German automaker does not comply, Suzuki will seek mediation.
According to a statement by Suzuki Motor Corporations Chairman Osamu Suzuki, they have terminated the partnership as of today.
This whole rift starter when VW accused Suzuki for violating their agreement when Suzuki made a deal with Fiat S.p.A. over engines.
VW then went on to anger Suzuki by listing it as an “associate” and not a partner in its annual report, and lists Suzuki under “other holdings.”
Suzuki felt this was an insult to its honor and has thus been wanting to end their partnership ever since.
VW has not commented if it will indeed sell its shares back to Suzuki, so this story is far from over yet and from a legal stand-point can get much uglier still.
[Source: Automotive News]
In the world of motorsports, it’s nearly impossible for a new team to come out of the box and be competitive. So what is a novice group that is looking for success to do? Simple, partner with one of the most successful teams in the sport.
That is exactly what Toyota is doing by partnering up with ORECA Racing Group to take victory at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Toyota has attempted a win at Le Mans before, but that very expensive effort bared no fruit. Having learned that they need help, the Japanese automaker has gone on to recruit the French team ORECA Racing, which has been competing at Le Mans for the past 35-years and have achieved the top podium step in each form of racing it has ever competed in.
At the announcement of this partnership, ORECA Racing’s President Hugues de Chaunac said; “It’s a very big day for ORECA. To be chosen by Toyota Motorsport GmbH is a huge reward for the work we’ve done in recent years. ORECA has proven its worth at the highest level of endurance racing, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011 and finishing three straight times in the top 5 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Thanks to its know-how, ORECA now has the opportunity to work with the biggest automobile manufacturer, and on a project that’s particularly interesting. We are proud to support Toyota Motorsport GmbH in this challenge and we’re looking forward to an exciting future.”
Toyota will provide the new hybrid-racing powertrain, while ORECA develops a new chassis to compete in the LMP1 class. Next year’s Le Mans will be the 80th installment of this race and will be held on June 16-17.
A public disagreement between Volkswagen and Suzuki in early September left the Japanese automaker wanting to end its partnership, but that might not happen. In a news release Monday, the company said it “will retain its stake in Suzuki Motor Corp. unchanged.”
Suzuki requested its shares be returned in light of what representatives say are numerous violations in the 2009 agreement to develop green cars. Two years ago the companies partnered, agreeing to share VW technology with Suzuki in exchange for insight into emerging markets like India. The agreement disintegrated since then, with both companies citing violations by the other.
Suzuki claims Volkswagen violated the agreement in developing hybrids and electric cars several times thus far. On the other end of the argument, Suzuki also bought diesel engines from VW rival Fiat, something Volkswagen said was contradictory to their agreement.
Volkswagen made an announcement about the issue early last month, leading to a public dispute between then two companies. The fight left Suzuki insisting the companies part ways.
Suzuki owns just under a 1.5 percent stake in Volkswagen.
[Source: The Detroit News]
It was only a few months ago, when talks of an engagement between Aston Martin and Maybach was making headlines. This partnership would have seen the two uber-luxury brands sharing technology and platforms.
Now according to sources, the union has broken before it even started, citing money issues. If the deal had stayed intact, Aston Martin would have built the next generation models of the Maybach 57 and 62. In return, Aston Martin would have benefited from Mercedes-Benz‘s hybrid technology, the 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 and platforms for the 2012 M-class and 2013 S-class.
Sources say Aston Martin wanted too much money to build cars for Maybach. Nothing is confirmed yet, but if this deal really does go sour, it might lead to an end for Maybach, which is currently owned by Mercedes-Benz. With no Maybach, one has to wonder, what car will any future, self-respecting hip-hop artist choose to hacksaw for the amusement of their fans?
[Source: World Car Fans]
In 2009, Volkswagen, in its ever growing quest to become the largest automaker in the world, bought 20% of Suzuki for $2.5-billion. The partnership would have given VW insight into Suzuki’s small-car technology, a segment the Japanese auto-maker is very successful at in Japan. Suzuki on the other hand would have gained valuable knowledge on hybrid technology. It looked like a win-win for both sides, but things have been far from ideal between these two companies.
However, according to Suzuki’s Executive Vice-President Yasuhito Harayama, no progress has been made. In a statement, Harayama said, “It was made very clear when we tied up with Volkswagen that we did not want to become consolidated, and that we would remain independent.”
Harayama, who was previously a bureaucrat for Japans economy and trade ministry was hired by Suzuki two years ago. He went on to say, “We feel we need to return to the starting point, including over the ownership ratio. The understanding that we are independent companies, and equal partners, is the absolute prerequisite in pursuing any specific cooperation.”
He feels that VW was just looking to take control over Suzuki, and that it was not any kind of partnership. As part of their cross-shareholding partnership, Suzuki has also been buying shares in VW.
Hans Demant, the man in charge of the alliance between VW and Suzuki is trying to calm the storm between these two companies. He said, “Volkswagen and Suzuki are and will remain two independent companies. No increase of Volkswagen’s Suzuki stake has been agreed upon.”
VW also said that they would not encroach on Suzuki’s autonomy. In a back-handed remark, Osamu Suzuki, the CEO of this Japanese brand congratulated VW on developing a low cost car for India and South America, without Suzuki’s help.
Suzuki last month signed a deal with Fiat, to purchase their 1.6-liter diesel engines, for a car to be built in Hungary. Both Suzuki and Harayama said this proves that Suzuki does not need the help of VW to expand and move forward.
The drama involving Saab is on-going and doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down.
It seems every time the company starts production, something will cause the production line to stop, whether its money related or parts supply related, and often both.
Saab was hoping to have some stability back in their lives after signing a $110-million deal with Pang Da, a Chinese parts firm, but that wasn’t enough. Now, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co., which is another parts distributing company in China, is taking an equity stake in the company as part of a distribution and manufacturing joint venture.
This new deal is reportedly worth $195-million, and will give Youngman a 45% stake in parts manufacturing in China, while Saab N.V. retains 45% and Pang Da 10%.
Even this deal is still subject to the approval of the Chinese government, so this drama is still far from over. Stay tuned.