GM/Chrysler To Be Chinese Owned?
As this is being written in early December, Congress has twice rebuffed the Big Three Detroit automakers, sending them packing with no loan guarantee. And while developments over the intervening months may have brought a change of heart, at the moment it looks like one possible resolution--for GM and Chrysler at least--is that they will be bought and merged by the Chinese: either by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC received its charter in 1968 by none other than Mao Zedong himself), or by the Dongfeng Motor Corporation. Both companies are controlled by the Chinese government. The hint was dropped by Zhang Xiangmu, a senior member of China's Ministry of Information Technology, which is the regulating body of China's automotive industry.
This news, which was reported by China's 21st Century Business Herald--the Chinese equivalent of the Wall Street Journal--is considered reliable by some industry experts, but other media outlets, such as the global automotive source gasgoo.com, were unable to confirm this independently, reporting that recent heavy losses in other overseas investments would prevent such a bid. In any event, the cost of buying GM and Chrysler would be pocket change in comparison to China's $2 trillion in currency reserves. At the moment, the only thing holding back China's place on the automotive world stage is a reputation for poor quality and lagging technology, which would be immediately rectified with GM and Chrysler. GM and Chrysler both have robust technologies, quality suppliers, extensive dealer networks, and intimate knowledge of their markets--all things that the nationalized Chinese auto industry would be looking for in a global partner.
Move Over SRT-8:
Pontiac G8 GXP Is Here!
For all of you wanting a new 2010 Camaro SS, but who aren't digging the two-door configuration for family use, you may want to consider the new Pontiac G8 GXP--the massaged sibling to the already hot G8 GT. The four-door GXP increases on the GT's impressive 361 hp (the 6-liter L98) with 415 hp through the adoption of the Corvette's 6.2-liter LS3. The news gets better yet: for 2009, GXP will be available with a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual trans. Approximately 5,000 GXPs will be produced in Australia, where the car is built by GM's Holden subsidiary on the new Zeta rear-wheel drive platform. Other stats: 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds (109 mph trap speed), and top speed (limited) of 150 mph. Four-piston, 14-inch Brembo brakes also promise excellent stopping power. A Track Pack that includes additional coolers for transmission and engine oil will follow later in the year. When the GXP hits the market in late January, you can expect a sticker price of under $40,000--well south of Corvette territory.
PHR Magazine Goes Digital
For more than a decade, computer versions of print magazines have been available online, and now Popular Hot Rodding is getting into the action. Starting with the current issue, you'll be able to subscribe to PHR online at zinio.com, barnsandnoble.com, and popularhotrodding.com for the digital version. The digital version of PHR will look identical to the print version, and will cost about half what a print subscription costs. The best thing about it is that the digital platform supports future web-only content, including video.