Daily News Briefs: June 14, 2012

Saab

More details have emerged on the potential Saab asset sell, according to Automotive News. The deal, devised by a Japan-Hong Kong partnership, so far only includes the purchasing rights to the current Saab 9-3 vehicle and a platform Saab was developing called "Phoenix," which was supposed to be the next-generation 9-3. The firm also wants to buy the old Saab factory, but it plans to hire only 200 employees instead of the 3,500 that used to work there. The new Saab company, called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, aims to become the world’s largest purveyor of electric vehicles, turning Saab exclusively into an EV maker. The new company won’t have the rights to build the Saab 9-5 or the Saab 9-4x, according to GM, which owns the technology rights to those vehicles. The company won’t own Saab’s spare parts company, either. The biggest omission to the deal is the rights to the Saab brand name; those discussions are still ongoing, according to the company. If the deal goes through, the new company aims to build EVs using Japanese technology on the Saab platform by 2013 or 2014.

In other news:

  • Full-scale production of the 2013 Ford Escape got under way at Ford’s renovated Louisville Assembly Plant, according to the automaker. Ford has already added 1,800 new jobs to the plant, and it will add another 1,300 by this fall for a third shift. Total employment will be 4,200 workers.
  • When the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar goes on sale in the next two years, expect a price of more than $125,400, according to Bloomberg News. The i8 will compete with the Fisker Karma, which is priced at $103,000.
  • GM plans to close a plant in Germany, and it would mark the first time a car assembly plant has been scuttled by an existing carmaker there since World War II, according to Bloomberg News. The GM Bochum plant builds a small minivan and is scheduled to close in five years when the product is discontinued.

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