26,000 Green Leaves for the Nissan LEAF in the U.S.
Apr01

26,000 Green Leaves for the Nissan LEAF in the U.S.

By George Straton

Nissan has announced a base price of $32,780 for its 2011 LEAF plug-in EV. With available tax credits of $7500, assuming the buyer owes more than $7500 in annual income tax, that drops the price to a rather palatable price of $25,280. State income tax credits, which vary, can further lower the final realized price. Nissan expects monthly leasing plans to start at $349, less any available income tax incentives.

The Leaf SV model – taking its trim line name from the Nissan Maxima – will include an advanced navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, which enables pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control and LED headlamps, in addition to Bluetooth, Intelligent Key functionality. Safety amenities feature six airbags, VDC, and traction control. The SL trim level at $940 will notably add a solar panel spoiler reduce battery draw for the pre-heat/ pre-cool system.

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Chicago 2010:  Product Specialists and Models Steal the Show
Feb15

Chicago 2010: Product Specialists and Models Steal the Show

By George Straton

02.15.2010

CATA_A_2010-02-10_01 067_signFeb. 10, 2010  was a day of many firsts. My first day at any auto show as a member of the media on a media day. My first visit to the Chicago Auto Show, the granddaddy of them all in North America, in 20 years. (The last time I had been there, the exhibition was in the old McCormick Place East on Lake Michigan). And it seemed a continuation of a new trend towards downsizing in terms of exhibit presence, size, content, and staffing.

Gone are the days when concept cars truly appeared of a design and substance 20 years before its time. That role has been left to the biennial Global Shows at Geneva and Tokyo.

According to media veterans the manufacturer addresses and displays simply lacked the “to the brim” media attendance of yore.

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GM’s “Last Call” for remaining Pontiacs and Saturns
Dec31

GM’s “Last Call” for remaining Pontiacs and Saturns

By George Straton

12.31.2009

GM_LC_a_pontiac-logo-xlGM_LC_b_saturn-logoThose who shop Neiman Marcus, the Dallas based high end retailer, are certain to be familiar with their “Last Call” end-of-year sales event where Sunkist bright orange Giorgio Armani sports jackets can be garnered at stupendous markdowns.  That is, if you fancy a Sunkist orange sports jacket.

Well, GM seems to be resorting to a similar event to clear the inventory of unsold new Pontiacs and Saturns that found no takers during this past August’s government-subsidized Cash Allowance Rebate “Cash for Clunkers” event.

In a cash-to-dealer incentive program announced yesterday dealers will be eligible for $7,000 from GM for each vehicle sold to rental-vehicle or servic-evehicle fleets.  The effect of this is that the vehicles will then be classified as used cars (because the dealer would be considered the vehicle’s first owner), and dealers will then be able to sell them at even steeper discounts to prospective customers.  The deal also will have the likely effect of boosting GM’s December sales results at least somewhat.

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Spyker Makes a Last-Ditch Effort to Buy Saab
Dec20

Spyker Makes a Last-Ditch Effort to Buy Saab

By George Straton

12.20.2009

Spyker_LogoSpyker Cars: “Nulla tenaci invia est via”

Saab: Going, Going …. Still here?

That first motto is Latin for “For the tenacious, no road is impassable,” and is used by Spyker Cars.  The second is just a suggestion for what Saab’s motto might be.

Perhaps both are fitting, as some 48 hours after GM European President Nick Reilly announced failure of the General and Spyker Cars N.V. to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement for sale of its Saab Division, there comes a last ditch offer from Spyker on a Sunday. Spyker’s CEO, Victor Muller, announced that points of impasse which developed during the due diligence phase of the previous contract negotiations have been addresed in his mind. Notably, the condition for approval of a $500 million short term loan from the European Union’s Equity Investment Bank prior to December 31, 2009 has been lifted. GM has until Monday’s end of business to accept.

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London 2012 Blowing off the Nissan Leaf
Dec11

London 2012 Blowing off the Nissan Leaf

By George Straton

12.11.2009

A_london2012_logoPerhaps the Fab Four were a bit off when they heralded “money can’t buy me love.”

Because it seems that $45 million USD and the ubiquitous “oohs” and “aahs” which accompany the Blue and White Propeller, mixed in with some political fears of failure are precisely what finalized acceptance of BMWs bid to supply the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games with 4000 courtesy vehicles.

You know; the transport for athletes, IOC officials and volunteers. Does BMW seriously expect the investment required by them to become a Tier One “corporate sponsor” will pay off the way it does for another Tier One, McDonald’s? After all McDonald’s serves “Billions and Billions” each year while BMW serves barely over one million. Perhaps BMW’s numbers can swell if it licenses technology and gets another line out of it  such as that of the composite-bodied planned Mega City Car.

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