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Cars.com News Briefs: Feb. 22, 2012

Here's what we have our eye on today:

  • As prospects in the European car market continue to look grim — 2012 is expected to be another down year — there's word that GM and French carmaker Peugeot are looking into a business alliance, according to Bloomberg News. The partnership could include shared development of engines and vehicles. The plan would help bolster GM's Opel brand – which is closely aligned with Buick in the U.S. — and Peugeot and help reduce development costs. It could also allow the two carmakers to compete better against Volkswagen, which controls nearly a quarter of the European market. The alliance could be announced at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show.
  • Speaking of the Geneva show, Ford plans to unveil a concept commercial van that will look similar to the E-Series replacement for the U.S., which will be called the Transit. The Tourneo Custom Concept (pictured above) is a one-ton passenger van that, unfortunately, won't be coming to North America, Ford says. A rear-wheel-drive, two-ton Transit van — larger than this concept and with a higher payload capacity — will be revealed later this year, says the automaker.
  • The parent company to Land Rover and Jaguar says it will double its annual investment in the car brands, according to Reuters. Tata Motors will start investing about $2.4 billion a year into the brands. Last year, Tata said it was planning three new Jaguar models, including an entry-level sedan. The recently released Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is currently responsible for a surge in revenue growth at Jaguar Land Rover, Reuters reports. Overall, Jaguar Land Rover accounted for about 95% of Tata Motors' profit in the last fiscal quarter.
  • Struggling Mazda is looking to raise more capital in a public share offering that it hopes will bring in about $2 billion, according to Reuters. The carmaker says it may also borrow about $872 million from banks, too. The new stock offering would dilute existing shares by 69%, says Reuters. While the strong yen has hurt most Japanese automakers, Mazda (the fifth-largest automaker in Japan) has been hit the hardest, according to Reuters. Mazda makes about 70% of its vehicles in Japan, and 90% of those vehicles are exported to other markets, including the U.S. Mazda says it needs to raise money to help build factories in Mexico and Russia. The goal is to have 50% of Mazdas built outside of Japan by 2016.
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