Ford and General Motors have signed a memorandum of understanding to regulate the development of new 9 to 10-speed automatic transmissions, aimed at reducing emissions and fuel consumption on cars employing them. General Motors has been appointed to study and produce nine-speed transmissions, designed for smaller cars with front-wheel drive.
Ford will instead be committed at developing ten-speed gearbox, which will equip high-end cars including pickups, SUVs and sports cars. The two transmissions are designed to be inter-changeable, in order to fit any car with minimal impact. Both gearboxes are still in the early stages of development, and won’t therefore be introduced until 2015.
At the moment the two Detroit groups have not released any official statement regarding the project, but it’s been confirmed that they have signed the MoU, which will contribute to “develop a variety of all-new fuel-efficient transmissions”. The two new transmissions break the record in terms of number of gears, previously belonged to the ZF’s nine-speed transmission that will soon be introduced on future Chrysler Group vehicles.
Cadillac had started the development of a new modular platform, with rear-wheel drive, that will be used for the production of large vehicles ranging from E to F-segments. According to Car and Driver, General Motors would like to introduce a new Cadillac flagship with an exclusive dedicated architecture: the Omega platform. The saloon is scheduled for 2015 and will be offered in standard and long wheelbase versions.
The standard engine will be a 3.5-litre V6 with output of 310 hp, also available in supercharged variant along with a V8 engine and a hybrid solution. The current four-speed automatic transmission will be replaced by an all-new and most efficient eight-speed gearbox. The Omega structure could also serve as the basis to build a spectacular four-door convertible anticipated by the Cadillac Ciel.
Citing not better specified ‘industry sources’, German magazine Wirtschafts Woche reported yesterday that BMW and General Motors are planning to team up in order to develop premium fuel cell technology that will end up feeding the electric and hybrid powertrains of the future models of the two groups.
Apparently, the talks between the two companies are highly advanced, with the carmakers close to signing a cooperation agreement. More specifically, the plan would give BMW access to GM’s fuel cell technology in exchange of a contribution to the research costs. A BMW spokeperson stated on Saturday that “We are speaking to GM about various future technologies but we are not saying anything more beyond that“, while GM declined to comment.
via | Wirtschafts Woche
General Motors will build today its 100-millionth small-block engine, 56 years after the first production unit was built. Since then, small-block engines from GM have powered plenty of vehicles all around the world, and today the direct progeny of the first Chevrolet unit ever produced in 1955 can be found worldwide pulsing in Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac models, Opel in Europe, Vauxhall in the U.K., Holden in Australia and also in various Baojun, Buick, Isuzu, Jiefang and Wuling vehicles.
The 100-millionth milestone engine will be a LS9 small block hand-built at GM’s Performance Build Center, Detroit, that will go on to equip a 205-mph (330 km/h) Corvette ZR1. It is interesting to notice that the first 4.3-litre engine produced in 1955 delivered about 195 hp with an optional four-barrel carburettor whereas today the LS9 6.2 litre supercharged small-block of the Corvette ZR1 is rated at 638 hp, making it the most powerful engine ever installed in a regular-production GM vehicle. We’d like to compliment GM for the impressive achievement.
via | GM.com
The arrival of a new Saab 9-3 has been confirmed, and it should prove to be a return to a five-door hatchback model. A three-door hatch is apparently not planned for the moment, and we could get a Saab 9-3 sedan in the future to appeal to the US car market. According to reports the 9-3 will be radically different from the past General Motors-era model with designer Jason Castriota apparently working on a design that would make the new 9-3 more individually Saab.
A debut is planned for the near future (possibly in about a year) and in addition to the hatchback we will see a 9-3 convertible, most likely a SportCombi wagon variant and the sedan model that could appear. The new Saab 9-3 design though, while taking inspiration from the PhoeniX concept, will also provide a streamlined hatchback that should appeal to sedan buyers as well (meaning we won’t be seeing anything boxy).
The news all comes from Autoblog.com and its quizzing of Saab’s Vehicle Validation Engineer, Magnus Hillerborn. The latter leaves a parting barb for GM executives who, he says, will be “very surprised” by the new model. With Saab sales needing a boost, developing a new 9-3 for the company’s new era is not only a good thing, it’s also necessary.
Over the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, among the plans for expansion of the Opel brand overseas, General Motors confirmed that models like the Opel Astra will be back on the Australian car market, not as locally-badged Holden models, but as Opel European premium brand vehicles. The move could involve internal competition among the General Motors group, with models like the Chevrolet Cruze being overlooked for the Opel badge, but Opel head Nick Reilly claims that the European models will be headed for a different market segment, with customers unlikely to swap over from brand to another.
So far comments in Australia seem to welcome the move, and the return of European-built models like the Opel Astra and Opel Corsa (originally on the market as the Holden Barina) could prove to be extremely popular. We already analysed how the change from European-produced, Holden-Opel models to Korean-built ones was unwelcome, and how it damaged the brand on that market, and the announcement to bring back Opel models may well be celebrated by those wanting more choice in the European brand offering.
Rather than badging the models as Holdens, Opel will work alongside the Aussie brand, but will likely have its own standalone division and possible dedicated dealerships. Australian customers will have to expect to pay a premium for the Opel models though, as they will be priced in a different bracket from previous Holden branded models. They could prove to be more expensive than Volkswagen models, but will still be placed in front of Peugeot, Citroen, Renault and Alfa Romeo.
The expansion of the Opel brand worldwide is key to its survival, particularly at an international level, and the brand is planning new ventures in China, South America and the Middle East. Plans for the Australian market will likely be clouded somewhat by the history of the Holden brand, and will depend on the success of the premium brand label with past attempts not producing the profits expected. We’re hoping though that this time the move will be successful enough to discourage Opel from importing Korean-made Corsa’s and other models into Europe….
Source | Carsales.com.au
There is a long preamble to this story that is coming up, but firstly reports are that the future Opel Corsa could be built in Korea, along with a new Opel citycar model being developed. According to the reports, there will be a new “premium hatch” and a budget citycar which will join the Opel Corsa in the small car line-up for the brand.
Despite being cars destined for the European market, the Corsa design and engineering will take place in Korea, along with the other two vehicles. The premium hatch, intended as a Mini competitor, will possibly have manufacturing trusted to Europe though, in what we see as a move indicating doubts on the build quality coming from Asia.
While nothing has been signed off as yet, General Motors has already tried this Asian-built Corsa experiment on another market - Australia. The model there is called the Holden Barina, and it was a stalwart on the Australian market for many years, especially as it gave local customers access to good, European-made cars, re-badged with an Australian brand. That was until recently when General Motors decided it could re-badge Daewoos rather than export the European models. More after the jump.
For the first time in Fiat’s 111-year history, Italy is no longer the brand’s number one market. The local market has been overtaken by Brazil, purchasing 750,000 cars a year to Italy’s 722,000. If any evidence was needed as to Brazil’s “emerging” market status, the stats speak for themselves. Italy’s purchases decreased by 0.5 percent, while Brazil’s increased by 12.6 percent.
That’s a big number which has left even CEO Sergio Marchionne surprised (figures of this kind were expected for Brazil, but further down the track). What’s more, Fiat seems to be on a winning formula for this South American market, taking out the number one spot for car manufacturers, too. Volkswagen follows, selling 695,395 vehicles and General Motors trails behind a little at 610,836 sales.
The results are not due to one particular model, but a combination of Fiat’s hard work over a number of years to build their presence in the Brazilian market, providing vehicles that customers want to buy, and new car tax incentives from the Brazilian government. By comparison, the Italian car market is likely to experience a slight decrease this year, which could get very costly if the government chooses not to continue scrappage schemes.
Source | Autoblog.it
These videos show Spyker to the rescue of Saab, given the 11th hour deal that finally went through, saving the company from closure by parent, General Motors. Saab seems relieved at the outcome, and we’ve no doubt the two European brands will find their way ahead nicely, although possibly slowly.
The videos show the press conference with Saab CEO Jan Åke Jonsson (who looks very pleased) and Spyker CEO Victor Muller, who looks quietly confident. Here’s to hoping the future will be a bright one for Saab. After the jump is a celebratory video of workers from Trollhättan, who got the day off when liquidators packed up and went home.
Opel experienced positive sales in 2009, reaching second place in its in local German market ahead of Mercedes and BMW. The results come despite the uncertainty over its possible sale and then reverse decision by General Motors to keep the precious European brand. While helped on the way by the German government, Opel still managed a sales increase of 31 percent.
Which begs the question of why GM was so bent on selling the brand in the first place. While we ponder that, 2010 is looking like a positive year with the new Opel Astra heading for success and new business plans on the table that should hopefully prove sensible.
Moving ahead, 2011 will see just one Opel sports model available in the range, in the form of the Opel Astra coupe. The coupe will be a true sports model, and not just a reinterpretation of the five-door version, and we could even see a possible re-birth of the Opel Calindra. Currently, the Opel Tigra and Opel GT are on stand by with no promises that they will appear on the product list next year.
Source | Auto Motor und Sport