production – will it ever end for SAAB? It seems that yesterday the Swedish automaker had to halt production again at its plant in Trollhattan due to issues concerning supplier deliveries (what else?)

As a reminder, the company resumed production on May 27th after almost two months of inactivity due to lack of operating money. The suppliers were worried that the automaker will not have the necessary funds to pay them so they stopped delivering the necessary parts.

Interestingly, the CEO of Spyker Cars (owner of SAAB), Victor Muller, said to Reuters that he wasn’t aware of this shutdown.

All is not bad for SAAB as they’ll probably get some serious operating capital thanks to an investment made in its parent company – Spyker Cars by Pangda Automobile, a Chinese car distributor. However, the deal has not been closed yet as it is still pending approval from the local government.

We really hope that they will receive the necessary funding so that they will not have to face these problems anymore. I’m sure that none of us want to see SAAB closing its doors.

Source: Reuters via WCF

Post tags: Tags: production, Saab

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Good news for those of you who are still waiting to buy a Chevrolet Volt as General Motors has announced that for the 2012 model, the Volt (along with the Opel Ampera) will be produced in 60,000 units and approximately 45,000 of them will be sold in the United States. In addition, GM will increase the production of this year’s model by 16,000 units.

The bad thing is that this production increase will not commence right away due to the reason that General Motors has shut down its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, where they assemble the Volt, so that it could be upgraded in order to prepare the factory for building the upcoming 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.

You probably know that the 2011 Chevrolet Volt is not available everywhere in the U.S. The states in which you can purchase one are: New York, California, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Michigan, Maryland and New Jersey. The company has said that by the end of this year, the Volt will be available nationwide in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Europe and of course, China.

Source: General Motors via WCF

Post tags: Tags: chevrolet-volt, General Motors, production

General Motors will most likely regain the number one spot as far as production figures are concerned, taking into consideration the problems that Toyota has these days. As a quick reminder, GM held the throne for the largest car manufacturer in the world as far as sales are concerned from 1932 until 2008. The Detroit-based company had a lot of financial problems after 2008 when they had to file for bankruptcy.

These problems allowed Toyota to gain the first position, but they will probably have to give it back to General Motors this year due to their production problems in homeland Japan, caused by the earthquake / tsunami that affected the country last month. What this means is that Toyota will probably not be able to manufacture enough cars in order to maintain their number one ranking.

Aside from supply issues, the Japanese automaker is also facing a lot of recalls which have affected the sales over the last few years, having a negative impact on the company’s image of reliability and quality. Over these last few years, Toyota was forced to recall about 14 million cars.

As far as General Motors is concerned, they got back into shape very fast after solving their bankruptcy problems. In 2010, it was a very close race between Toyota and GM, the latter managing to sell only 30,000 units less than the Japanese company. Taking into consideration that the Detroit-based automaker is getting more and more involved in China, selling three times more cars than Toyota, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if at the end of this year they will regain leadership.

Source: Detroit Free Press via WCF

Post tags: Tags: General Motors, production, Toyota

The Chevrolet Volt has been heavily hyped in the last few months, as we’re rapidly approaching the launch date of the extended-range electric vehicle.

Now, General Motors has finally pinned a date on when the official production will start at the Detroit-Hamtramck. On November 11, the first car, Job 1, will officially roll off the assembly line.

Currently the plant still manufactures pre-production Volt models, which will be used by GM in its private fleets and tested by its employees. The model is currently undergoing evaluation and rating by the EPA and other federal bodies, but everything should go along smoothly.

With production starting in November, expect the Volt to be available around December in the first preferred markets. These include California, New York, Washington and Texas. The Chevrolet Volt will be sold with a starting price of $41,000.


Post tags: Tags: Chevrolet, chevrolet-volt, extended range electric vehicle, General Motors, gm, launch, production

After presenting the actual price the Chevrolet Volt will have when it will be launched on select markets at the end of the year ($41,000 without tax credit, $33,500 with the rebate), General Motors has now revealed more good news for fans of the extended-range electric vehicle.

It seems that while in 2011, only 10,000 models will be made, the production scheduled for 2012 has now been increased by the American carmaker. Instead of the estimated 30,000 cars, 45,000 Chevrolet Volt models will roll off the assembly lines, in order to satisfy the big demand for the plug-in electric model.

According to GM, the ‘Volt enthusiast list’ is now over 25,000 strong, meaning a lot of people want to purchase the new car.

The announcement was made during President Barrack Obama’s visit to the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, where the Volt will actually be produced. At the end of last month, the US president also visited the battery plant, where he checked out a prototype Chevrolet Volt.


Post tags: Tags: Chevrolet, chevrolet-volt, extended range electric vehicles, General Motors, gm, production

Even though it was obvious that the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid sportscar would be making its way to production, given the positive feedback from both the media and the regular public, Porsche made the thing official today.

The Supervisory Board has given the green light to the development of the 918 Spyder as a hybrid sportscar, which will be made as a limited series.

Michael Macht, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG: “Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts.”

No other details were given, but it is expected that the production model will keep the same powertrain as the concept. This means that the 500 HP V8 will be combined with two electric motors, capable of 109 HP each. This allows not only high performance, but also all-electric, zero emissions driving, for up to 16 miles. The fuel average was estimated at around 78.4 mpg (3.0 liters/100 km) and emissions were ranked at 70 g/km of CO2.

Pricing has yet to be established, but given the impact the model will have, it will definitely be much more than a Chevrolet Volt, even with a tax credit of $7,500.


Post tags: Tags: Concepts, Hybrid, Porsche, porsche 918 spyder, production, sportscar

Toyota had some big plans for its US production, at least a few years ago. At that time, blockbusters like the Prius hybrid were set to be built at its own plant in Mississippi. Sadly, after the economic downturn, GM pulled out of its joint venture at the NUMMI plant, forcing Toyota to move the production of the Corolla in Mississippi.

Hybrid fans shouldn’t worry though, as the company’s executive vice president, Atsushi Niimi, revealed for Reuters that the Prius will be manufactured in the USA.

There’s a pretty big catch though, as the first US-built Toyota Prius will be part of the next generation hybrid. That model is expected to hit somewhere around 2016, so until then, the cars will still be imported from Japan.

So, why the long wait? Well, it’s largely because Toyota isn’t confident that the US market will make a comeback from the economic crisis anytime soon. As such, investments in the land of freedom and apple pie will be kept to a minimum. The recent recall scandal also made the Japanese company appear less than great in the eyes of American consumers.

So, if you want to drive around in a Toyota Prius manufactured in the USA, you’re in for a long wait.


Post tags: Tags: america, Hybrid, japan, production, Toyota, toyota prius, usa

It’s been an extra long time coming, but the Blue Oval finally decided to pull the curtain off its newest model: the 2011 Ford Explorer.

As you can see above and below, the new SUV is thoroughly overhauled, borrowing cues from the new Taurus, as well as the Flex or the Fusion. According to Ford, the next generation Explorer will offer “best-in-class fuel economy, improved driving dynamics and terrain management system – all wrapped in a modern, weight-saving design.”

In terms of engines, the new Explorer will be offered with a 3.5-liter V6 option, expected to output 290 HP with 255 lb-ft of torque, and be 20% more efficient. The new SUV can also be equipped with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged inline-four cylinder unit, capable of 237 HP and 250 lb-ft of torque, while at the same time being 30% more efficient than the outgoing V6. These two engines will be mated with a six-speed automatic gearbox, which feeds power to all four wheels.

Safety plays an important role for the new Explorer, as it boasts a more rigid unibody structure, as well as an array of safety features, including the innovative inflatable seat belts Ford premiered at the beginning of the year. Stability systems like the Curve Control we saw a few weeks ago, as well as a terrain management system are also included.

The next generation SUV will come in three trim lines, Base, XLT and Limited, each boasting various equipment. Among them we have the SYNC infotainment system, with the Limited getting the new MyFord Touch iteration.

The 2011 Ford Explorer SUV will be premiered in the following week all over the USA, with production set to start later this year. Expect it to hit dealerships before the end of winter. Until then, hit the jump to check out the high res photo gallery.


Post tags: Tags: 2011 ford explorer, details, Ford, ford explorer, next generation, official, photo-gallery, production, suv

As most of four-ring fans know by now, the 2011 Audi A7 Sportback will be officially revealed tomorrow, on July 26. Up until now, we were treated with the attractive Sportback concept, as well as with a teaser website.

Now, thanks to a leak published by CarScoop, we have the first official pictures of the production model.

As you can see above and below, the new Audi A7 Sportback is the company’s own answer to rivals like the Mercedes-Benz CLS, and will compete in the four-door coupe segment. In terms of its own range, as its name suggests, it will slot in ahead of the A6 and below the A8.

There aren’t a lot of differences between the production model and the concept before it, except that now we have more practical door mirrors or air inlets in the front. Speaking of the front, the fascia bears almost the exact same lines as the 2011 A8, only a bit more angular this time.

The sloping rear bears cues from the smaller A5 Sportback, and, at least from the profile, does resemble the BMW 5 Series GT (only it doesn’t seem that ghastly when Audi does it).

Besides the regular models, which will sport an array of gasoline and TDI diesel units, performance versions like an S7 or RS7 are expected to appear in the following years. A hybrid might also be planned, but nothing is clear as of yet.

Expect more details tomorrow, when Audi will formally unveil the new 2011 A7 Sportback four-door coupe.


Post tags: Tags: Audi, audi a7, audi a7 sportback, Concepts, leaked-photos, production

Citroen has just revealed that even though the fate of the stunning GTbyCitroen (Citroen GT) concept is still up in the air, the company will invest in bringing the Survolt electric sportscar and the Metropolis limousine concepts to production.

According to Autocar’s source, the Survolt, which has already seen action last weekend at the Le Mans Classic race, will be available as a limited production model in the future. Its performance figures, 248 HP with 738 lb-ft of torque, together with the zero emissions rating thanks to the electric powertrain, would definitely make it popular.

Meanwhile, even though it hasn’t had much success with the C6 limousine, Citroen will produce the Metropolis concept which was revealed at the beginning of the year. It will be incorporated into the new DS line, presumably with the DS9 badge, according to that same source.

This is definitely great news for the French company, as it will no doubt augment the growth it has been seeing in recent years. Add in the already successful DS line, thanks to the DS3, and we might see big things coming from Citroen in the future.


Post tags: Tags: Citroen, citroen metropolis, citroen survolt, Concepts, Hybrid, limousine, production, sportscar

Customization is definitely an integral part of owning a car these days, with many people opting to order special accessories or options straight from the automaker itself.

Now, as part of a novel marketing method, General Motors is taking customization much further, and has announced that for the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and ZR1, customers will be able to build the engines that will power their cars.

Yeah, that’s right, for a hefty price ($5,800 plus travel expenses to Detroit), you’ll be able to build your own LS7 or LS9 V8 engines, which will power your future Corvette.

Don’t go thinking GM will hand power tools to anybody without supervision, as a specialist from the Performance Build Center will be helping out the customer along the way, ensuring that the engine won’t blow up as soon as it is planted in the Corvette.

Interested to see how a 2011 Chevrolet Corvette engine is built? Then hit the jump and check out how a professional does it.

Post tags: Tags: 2011 chevrolet corvette, Chevrolet, chevrolet-corvette, chevrolet-corvette-z06, chevrolet-corvette-zr1, customization, General Motors, gm, production, Video

Ford’s Mercury division will soon be no more, as the Blue Oval wants to focus on its more popular brand, Lincoln.

Even though the announcement was made a month ago, no concrete details were given about when the Mercury production will be shut down, as executives limited to saying that at the end of the year, the brand will be no more.

Now, according to a new report from Automotive News, it seems that Mercury doesn’t have much time before it will cease production. The Grand Marquis will be axed on September 30, followed by the Mountaineer on October 1, the Milan on October 2 and the Mariner, on Oct 3.

With the production of the four models shut down completely, 1,712 dealerships across North America will also be left without a brand. Seeing as how most of them were joint Mercury-Lincoln establishments, it’s safe to say that most of them won’t be affected.

This isn’t official just yet, but don’t expect any more months of Mercury production.


Post tags: Tags: Ford, mercury, mercury grand marquis, mercury mariner, mercury milan, mercury mountaineer, production

The Ford Focus RS500 is definitely something else, as it has surpassed the status of hot hatch and entered the world of sportscars, thanks to the 350 HP it develops from the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine.

In order to showcase that even with all of the serious enhancements, the RS500 still starts out as an European Focus, Ford has just released a video detailing the manufacturing and customization process of its brand new hot hatch.

In it, you can see how performance parts like the bodykit, or mechanical upgrades to the engine are made, as well as how it gets its matte black vinyl wrap.

Curious? Then hit the jump and check out this new video.

Post tags: Tags: Ford, Ford Focus RS, ford focus rs500, ford-focus, hot hatch, production, Video

At the beginning of the week, we reported on a fresh batch of rumors which said that the glorious GTbyCitroen (Citroen GT) supercar concept won’t be seeing the light of day, as the French company opted to invest money in other areas.

Now, the blokes at Autocar say, according to their inside sources, that the Citroen GT’s fate is still undecided, and that it might be heading to production at some point in time.

It seems that even though Citroen is busy building and promoting its new, upmarket DS range, spearheaded by the DS3, the French company still sees some potential in a limited series run of the GT supercar.

No other details were spilled, but at least this gives us some hope that the GTbyCitroen will appear in a production form in the future.


Post tags: Tags: Citroen, citroen gt, GTbyCitroen, production, rumor

Lately there’s been a lot of turmoil in the Volkswagen Group, as the company is rumored to make a new sportscar platform, set to be used on concepts like the Volkswagen BlueSport, Audi R4 or other such models.

After hearing that things aren’t decided about the BlueSport or R4, we are now faced with a new report, coming from AutoExpress, which says that the BlueSport has been cleared for production.

It seems that the future ‘People’s sportscar’ will boast an array of the most potent small engines currently developed by VW. First off, the twin-charged 1.4-liter unit from the Polo GTI, next the bigger turbocharged 2.0-liter from the Golf GTI, plus a standard 178 HP 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine.

For those that don’t remember, the BlueSport wowed a lot of people when it was first presented as a cheap roadster with a frugal attitude, courtesy of its TDI engine.

Take this rumor with a grain of salt people, as until Volkswagen actually confirms some of these plans, they are still just speculation.


Post tags: Tags: audi r4, Concepts, production, Volkswagen, volkswagen bluesport