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New York Auto Show:  Early Morning, First Day for Press
Mar31

New York Auto Show: Early Morning, First Day for Press

By Brendan Moore

First, it is obvious early this morning that there are more press people here this year as opposed to 2009. The breakfast for the media was crowded, the hallways are filled with people, there are no empty seats in the media communications center, etc.

The amount of media attending in 2009 was the lowest, at least from an observational viewpoint, that I’ve seen in the past couple of decades. And have I mentioned that everyone here last year seemed sort of depressed?

Auto journalists in media center - 2010 New York Auto Show

So, that’s an obvious difference this year.

Second, in my quick spin around the floor early this morning, it looks as if the manufacturers’ stands are more expensive this year – another good sign, and a continuation of what I saw in Detroit earlier this year.

Perhaps everyone is shaking off the malaise of last year – finally.

I’m off to some early morning press conferences – we have three writers here at the New York Auto Show this year, so you can expect updates during the day, and more posts this evening.

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco Will Use Shutters in Fascia to Improve Fuel Economy
Mar29

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco Will Use Shutters in Fascia to Improve Fuel Economy

By Brendan Moore

The first of two press days for the New York Auto Show occurs Wednesday (Techshake will have three writers at this year’s show), and one of the cars debuting on the first day is the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, a high-mpg car that GM hopes will attract buyers who want great fuel economy in a car without sacrificing creature comforts.

The Cruze Eco will get 40 mpg on the highway, according to GM, and it does that with the assistance of a feature unusual in the compact segment – automatic shutters in the lower front fascia that close when the car reaches a speed of 37 mph, much like an automatic spoiler on sports cars that raises when a specific speed is reached. An electric motor closes the shutters at 37 mph, and opens the shutters when the car’s speed drops to 34 mph.

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Saab Seeks Technology Partners, Says Spyker CEO
Mar26

Saab Seeks Technology Partners, Says Spyker CEO

By Brendan Moore

Saab’s goal of turning a profit by 2012 will be helped by teaming up with other auto companies in technology exchanges, says Spyker CEO Victor Muller. Spyker Cars is the new owner of Saab.

Muller told a gathering of Saab dealers in France that “a large number” of serious industry players have approached Saab about sharing their technologies with the reborn Swedish automaker. Muller stated that he wanted to make sure that Saab has the technology it needs to be successful moving forward. Muller noted that “successful” to Saab means being profitable as a stand-alone entity.

Muller also commented that the technology deals will be a two-way street, with Saab technology being supplied to new partners.

“Nobody sees us as a threat so everybody wants to talk with us,” Muller said. “And there are good chances that we will be supplying our technology to third parties, we’re not going to be just on the demand side of things,” he added.

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Strong March Sees Weak Chrysler Sales
Mar25

Strong March Sees Weak Chrysler Sales

By Brendan Moore

Sales in the United States auto market are expected to jump this month, with preliminary reports showing large increases due to a combination of incentives from all the major automakers (led by Toyota) and the recovering national economy.

Toyota has rolled out huge incentives in the form of low-interest and zero-interest loans, as well as subvented leases, in order to reverse the sales slide resulting from their particular hell of vehicle recalls, and the other automakers have rushed to respond, so as to remain competitive in the market. Consumers have responded en masse, and sales numbers for the month look very rosy so far.

But Chrysler is trending down 10% month-to-date from last year’s decidedly dismal results. Chrysler’s Fred Diaz, the company’s U.S. sales head, says not to worry.

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Daimler, Nissan Talk about Trading Engines and EV Platforms
Mar23

Daimler, Nissan Talk about Trading Engines and EV Platforms

By Brendan Moore

The Nikkei business newspaper of Japan is reporting that Nissan Motor Co. is in discussions with Daimler AG to get large V8 and diesel engines from the German vehicle manufacturer. The quid pro quo in the deal would be electric cars and batteries from Nissan, says the Japanese daily.

Daimler could make good use of the EV technology concerning EV versions of their A-Class cars and the Smart car.

Renault, Nissan’s partner in their automotive alliance, is already engaged in talks with Daimler over an equity exchange, so it appears that those discussions regarding cooperation may become three-way talks now. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is also the CEO of Renault, has commented that he is open to the discussions regarding an equity swap , but has not made any public statements regarding sharing of product.

Ghosn will brief Nissan executives this week on the status of Renault’s comprehensive talks with Daimler, the Nikkei said.

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