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AutoLine: Episode 283 – New Volvo Bid, Ford & Mazda Separate?, LA Auto Show Update

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Runtime 6:21

A consortium led by two former Ford executives submitted a revised bid for Volvo. Ford said it will be moving away from developing vehicles with Mazda in the future. All that and more, plus McElroy brings you the latest news from the floor of the LA Auto Show.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .


Here are today’s top headlines. Another group bids on Volvo. Ford and Mazda may be going their separate ways. And McElroy brings us more news from LA.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, December 3, 2009. I’m Christie Schweinsberg from Ward’s Auto filling in yet again for John McElroy who’s covering the LA Auto Show. We’ll hear the latest from him in the second-half of the program, but first up, today’s news.

PSA, the parent company of Peugeot and Citroen, said it’s in talks with Mitsubishi to form a “strategic alliance.” According to Bloomberg, this would include developing four-wheel-drive vehicles, electric cars and a joint venture in Russia. Japan’s Nikkei newspaper also reports that Peugeot may buy as much as a 50-percent stake in Mitsubishi for $3.4 billion. The two already are working together to develop a car based on Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV electric car to sell in Europe.

While it looked like Ford’s sale of Volvo to Chinese automaker Geely was a foregone conclusion, it has received a new bid for the company (subscription required). According to the Wall Street Journal, a consortium led by two former Ford executives submitted a revised bid for the embattled automaker. It has the backing of Swedish investors and is fully funded. It’s not clear how much the offer is, but it’s expected to be similar to Geely’s $2 billion bid.

In other Ford news, Mark Fields, the company’s President of the Americas, said that Ford will be moving away from developing vehicles with Mazda in the future. According to Bloomberg, the company wants to keep design and engineering within Ford. Since last year Ford has cut its stake in Mazda from 33 percent to just over 10 percent in an effort to raise cash during the economic downturn. Even Mazda’s CEO said “it seems both companies are going their separate ways” but he remained hopeful the two would collaborate in the future.

Yesterday Honda revealed a wild-looking concept at the LA Auto Show called the P-NUT. Short for Personal-Neo Urban Transport, it’s the company’s vision of a future compact, city car. Beneath the creased bodywork there’s enough space inside for three passengers, with the driver sitting front and center. The P-NUT also features a rear-mounted powertrain and rear-wheel-drive. Since it’s aimed at city dwellers, compact dimensions are a BIG part of its design. With a total length of just 134 inches, the P-NUT is 30 inches shorter than Honda’s subcompact Fit, the smallest car it sells in the U.S.

Volkswagen is taking another crack at building an ultra-efficient car with its Up! Light. Reminiscent of the company’s L1 concept from the Frankfurt Motor Show, the four-seat hatchback features a hybrid drivetrain and lightweight construction. It’s powered by a two-cylinder, 0.8-liter diesel engine coupled to a seven-speed direct-shift transmission. Output from the ICE totals 51 horsepower while the electric motor delivers an additional 13. Vee Dub estimates the car is capable of up to 70 miles per gallon with a top speed of 100 miles an hour.

Coming up after the break, Johnny Mac brings us the latest news from the floor of the LA Auto Show. But for now, I’m Christie Schweinsberg from Ward’s Auto, signing off.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

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