The growing Chinese market is pushing some of the country's domestic automakers to look outside the People's Republic as a means of gaining prominence and influence across the globe. This has certainly been the case with Volvo, which was snapped up by Geely. More recent examples include Dongfeng and its investment in PSA Peugeot Citroën.
Daimler and Beijing Automotive are officially going steady, with the German company set to take a 12-percent stake in the Chinese brand tomorrow. The two are already tied up in a Mercedes engine plant in Beijing, of which BAIC will increase its stake in, from 50 to 51 percent. Daimler will also get two seats on the Chinese company's board. BAIC may also gain the ability to produce cars on Mercedes-Benz platforms, according to Automotive News Europe.
Beijing Automotive Group has said it plans to sell 400,000 units in markets outside of China by 2020. In order to accomplish this goal, the company intends to acquire a "medium-sized" European automaker with a good brand image for a takeover. Right now, Bloomberg indicates that BAIC has identified three unnamed potential candidates, and says that it wants to move while the European economy is still sluggish. Buying an existing automaker makes sense, as doing so will allow BAIC to hit the ground
General Motors' Saab brand has been given a one month stay of execution as the Detroit, MI-based automaker has announced that it will hold off on a decision regarding the brand's fate until the end of the year. GM's apparent non-decision comes just one week after it announced that Swedish specialty car maker Koenigsegg unexpectedly pulled out of the running for Saab.
If Billy Joel is right that only the good die young, the outgoing Saab 9-5 has been very, very bad. In automotive terms, the 9-5 is positively ancient, having first seen the light of day in 1997 and getting very little in the way of meaningful changes since that time.
Even though Beijing Automotive (BAIC) tendered a non-binding offer for Opel, the company is said to have no chance of actually acquiring the brand. General Motors is still in talks with Magna and its partners, GAZ and Sberbank, and according to Sberbank CEO German Graf, "The choice has been made and the question now is of how to structure the deal."
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, watching the travails of GM, Opel and Magna from his comfy Italian perch, has sent word that his previous offer for Opel is still on the table if anyone is interested. That offer, though, can't be sweetened because he doesn't "believe we could improve Fiat's offer. It's the most rational one we can put forward from an industrial viewpoint."
It turns out that the Geely GT didn't corner the market on coupe concepts at Auto China 2008. Beijing Automotive -- whose Wrangler-style B40 you saw earlier -- is also on the case with its 700R coupe concept, a clean and attractive design with some interesting details. An accent line angles upward, merging with muscular rear haunches, giving the car a nice, aggressive presence. In front, knifelike headlamps; stylized, outboard air intakes; and a teensy main grille slit come together to give the