Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
October 20, 2012
(Author’s note: This is a new thing I’m trying out with the news coverage. Let me know what you think about this. -WM)
Everyday, I go through a number of stories that I will post on Cheers & Gears. However, a good number of stories that I have picked out don’t make it onto the page during the week and either get posted next week or never.
That’s about change with the arrival of the Cheers & Gears’ Weekend Edtion. Its where the stories that gotten forgotten about during the week get their due. In this first edition, we’ll be covering,
- Change of Guard at Volvo
- A Smaller Mazda
- California’s Best Selling Vehicle is..?
- Is There A Smaller Engine For The C7?
- And more..
Next: Change At Volvo
Volvo’s Change of Guard
Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby is stepping down from his position. According to a press release, Jacoby’s departure came “after an amicable agreement with the Board of Directors.”
This doesn’t come as a shock as Jacoby suffered a mild stroke last month and was on medical leave. There also have been rumors of Jacoby clashing with board over management decisions.. This has only been made worse with the arrival of Vice Chairman Hans-Olov Olsson, a former Volvo CEO. Volvo’s parent company, Geely bought Olsson in earlier this year to help balance out decisions.
Jacoby’s replacement is Hakan Samuelsson. Samuelsson currently is a member of the board and was the Chairman and CEO of truck manufacturer, MAN SE from 2005 to 2009. Samuelsson does come with some baggage. MAN SE was involved in a huge bribery scandal that involved inflated sales of their trucks. According to German business newspaper Handelsblatt last month, prosecutors had opened an investigation into Samuelsson to see if he was involved or knew about this.
"My time on the Board has provided me with insight in the Volvo brand and the company. My focus will be on execution and performance, to secure profitability and meet our sales objectives. No other business is as demanding, complex and full of challenges as the automotive industry. I look forward to leading Volvo Car Group in the most exciting period of its history," said Håkan Samuelsson in the release.
Press Release is on Page 3
The Small Mazda is on Page 4
Volvo Car Group appoints new President and CEO
The Board of Directors of Volvo Car Group has appointed Håkan Samuelsson, currently Board member, as new President & CEO effective immediately. Stefan Jacoby will leave Volvo Car Group* after an amicable agreement with the Board of Directors.
"I see major opportunities for Volvo Cars to improve profitability, and accelerate our growth plan in China specifically. I am convinced that Håkan Samuelsson's thorough experience and leadership will help us increase performance," says Li Shufu, majority shareholder and Chairman of the Board.
He continues: "We have a strong strategy and transformation plan in place which we will now execute. I would like to thank Stefan Jacoby for his valuable and strong contribution developing the strategy and taking the company through the first two years following the acquisition of the Volvo Car Group by Zhejiang Geely Holding," says Li Shufu.
Håkan Samuelsson has 35 years of experience from leading positions in the automotive industry, most recently as Chairman & CEO of MAN SE between 2005 and 2009. Since 2010 he is an independent member of the Board of Directors of Volvo Car Group.
"My time on the Board has provided me with insight in the Volvo brand and the company. My focus will be on execution and performance, to secure profitability and meet our sales objectives. No other business is as demanding, complex and full of challenges as the automotive industry. I look forward to leading Volvo Car Group in the most exciting period of its history," says Håkan Samuelsson."
Is There A Smaller Mazda In The Works?
At the moment, the smallest Mazda you can buy is the Mazda2, a subcompact vehicle that uses the underpinnings of the Ford Fiesta. But Mazda wants to go smaller than that.
“We are always looking at whether we need to produce a sub-B model,” said Mazda's GM of global sales and marketing, Yasuhiro Aoyama to Australian automotive website, GoAuto.com.au.
Two options are on the table. Option one is to do a low-cost transport option for emerging markets. Option two is to do a super-frugal city car like Volkswagen’s UP! Either one of these plans could be implemented easier if with a partner (Ford or their new Friend, Fiat) or government incentives (Indonesia). If Mazda can’t get a partner or incentives, Aoyama said that Mazda has the design and engineering capabilities to do it by itself.
If Mazda was to give a green light to this idea, the new vehicle would arrive sometime in the latter half of the decade.
Next: California’s Best Selling Vehicle
The Best Selling Vehicle In California Is...
The Toyota Prius.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that through the first nine months of 2012, Toyota has sold 46,380 Prius models in California alone. That’s about 25% of Prius sales in the United States.
There are two reasons for this. For one, California is still a place where imports are still king. Behind the Prius in sales, there is the Honda Civic, Accord, and the Toyota Camry. Secondly, the price of a gallon of gas in California is expensive. According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in California was $4.55, compared with a national average of $3.74.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
Next: Is There A Downsized Engine In The Cards For The C7?
C7: Will There A Be Downsized Engine?
This week brought forth the news we have be waiting for: the date of when we’ll actually see the seventh-generation Corvette. Chevrolet has teased that the only two parts of the C7 shares with the C6 is the cabin air filter and the rear latch for the roof panel. Otherwise, it’s all new.
Autocar speculates that the the C7 will come with a 5.5L V8 as the base engine, while the 6.2L V8 would be for higher-end models. The 5.5L V8 will utilize an aluminium block, higher compression, and direct injection. There is also talk of a twin-turbo V6 for the C7, though some reports say the V6 could be destined for the C8.
Next: Why You’ll Be Seeing Less S-Classes Rolling Off The Line
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sees A Production Cut
Reuters is reporting that Mercedes-Benz has cut production shifts for the S-Class down to one at its Sindelfingen, Germany plant. The reason: not enough demand for it.
According to Automotive News Europe, sales of the S-Class have dropped 27% in Europe through the first eight months of this year. In China, Mercedes-Benz growth has slowed down (up 7% last month) when compared to Audi (up 21% last month) and BMW (up 59% last month).
"Workers manufacturing the S class will be reassigned to the C-class assembly line during this period," Mercedes said.
Next: Opel, Europe’s Second Largest Automaker?
Opel Wants To Take Second Largest Automaker In Europe From Ford
In the “are you delusional” file; Opel’s interm CEO Thomas Sedran told German auto magazine Auto Bild, that he wants to be the second largest automaker in Europe, taking the title away from Ford.
To pull this off, Sedran says the automaker will invest billions of euros in the development of new products and technologies. Opel will also count on newly-introduced products like the Mokka crossover, ADAM hatchback, and Cascada convertible.
In spite of the large investments and new products, overtaking the blue oval in Europe is easier said than done for a few reasons,
- Opel has been hemorrhaging money for the past few quarters
- This September saw Opel sell 15.6% less vehicles than last September
- Rumors of General Motors selling Opel to PSA-Peugeot Citroen
"With hard work we will again achieve success," Sedran said.
Lets hope he’s not too late with that.
Next: A Quick Hit
AutoGuide has learned from a source that Hyundai is working on a manual transmission with rev-matching technology. The technology allows a vehicle create smooth downshifts by automatically blipping the throttle to match the engine rpms with the speed of the wheels. Nissan was the first automaker to implement this technology in the 2009 370Z.
When asked about this rumor, a Hyundai spokesman neither confirmed or denied it.
William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster