It was a big week in auto land, one that gave us our first formal look at General Motors' post-bankruptcy financials, new drama in the seemingly ever-unfolding Toyota
A humbler Daimler finds new partners
That not-a-merger, a stock swap and joint development agreement among Daimler
Obviously, those last two are related. With governments around the world requiring ever-higher fuel economy and ever-lower pollution from new cars, automakers are racing to develop new technologies that will allow them to meet upcoming standards in a competitive way.
For the largest automakers, companies like Ford
But for the somewhat smaller automakers like Daimler and Nissan that lack the scale of the giants, pooling investments and sharing technologies -- especially between companies that don't directly compete -- makes a great deal of sense. While Nissan and Renault have been partnering for several years, it's not a surprise to see Daimler seeking this kind of arrangement, given the German company's recent round of belt-tightening -- notwithstanding its unfortunate history with previous attempts at globalization-by-acquisition.
Last call for Hummer
Just bought a garish McMansion at a foreclosure sale and want some matching driveway jewelry? You've still got a chance to relive those glory days of 2005, but time's running out: Having failed to find a buyer, GM is (finally) winding down the Hummer brand, and the last 2,200 new Hummers in existence are being sold at big discounts.
Speaking of Nissan and green technologies ...
Nissan announced pricing for its much-anticipated all-electric Leaf, due in the U.S. in December, and true to an earlier promise, it's priced in family sedan territory: $33,000. That's actually more than most buyers will pay, thanks to federal incentives that will lower the net purchase price to a positively wallet-friendly $25,000.
Ford is expected to counter with an electric version of the upcoming new Focus early next year, and given Ford's recent strides with products -- and the rave reviews the gas-powered Focus is already receiving in Europe -- I expect it to give the Leaf some stiff competition. And it'll be priced in the Leaf's neighborhood -- Ford said as much earlier this week.
GM, on the other hand, may have just had the air let out of its long-inflated Volt balloon. While the No. 1-for-the-moment U.S. automaker hasn't officially announced pricing for its upcoming electric darling, rumors hint that the Volt's sticker price could start with the number 4. That number just went from "high, but intriguing" to "hopelessly uncompetitive," and it will be very interesting to see how the Detroit giant chooses to proceed.
Good news for Toyota, for a change
Last, but not least, some good news for Toyota: Its U.S. sales may be propped up by incentives at the moment, but at least it still has Japan's best-selling car. This week brought news that Toyota's Prius has topped the country's sales chart for the 11th straight month, with its sales helped, as in the U.S., by government subsidies for environmentally friendly vehicles.
Sure, it's not much of a surprise, but hey, if you'd had a week like Toyota's, you'd take any good news you could find.
Read more of this week's Foolish auto coverage:
Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Ford preferred stock. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Ford is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.