News Briefs: March. 1, 2012

Here's what we have our eye on today:

  • Ford may lose $500 million to $600 million in the tough European market this year, according to Ford CFO Lewis Booth, who spoke with Bloomberg News. Other large carmakers, such as Opel (owned by GM) and PSA Peugeot Citroën, also are having a tough time operating in Europe and have agreed to collaborate on some vehicle developments together. Europe's unemployment levels continue to hit record highs, according to the Economist. The economies of Italy, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal have officially slipped back into recession. 
  • Chrysler may dump Ally Bank as its preferred lender, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. General Electric Capital Corp., U.S. Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally are all vying for Chrysler's auto loan originations, which come in at over $25 billion a year. Wells Fargo is interested, too, according to Bloomberg. Ally's current relationship with Chrysler's dealers and customers ends in April 2013. 
  • Terrafugia, maker of the first “flying-car,” will debut its vehicle at the 2012 New York auto show, according to the company. The Transition, which is the name of the model (shown above), has folding wings and a propeller. It will be street legal, too. The company will discuss its plans for the Transition at the show, with a new round of flight tests scheduled for next month, according to the Wall Street Journal
  • The state of California is set to pass new laws that will permit automated cars on its roads, according to Bloomberg News. The new law will mimic the legislation passed in Nevada earlier in the year that gave its highway authority the permission to develop regulations for self-driving cars on state roadways. Google, who's developing its own advanced automated-vehicle technology, had a strong hand in the legislation passed in Nevada and in California. Similar bills have been introduced in Hawaii, Oklahoma, Florida and Arizona, says Bloomberg.
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