Daily News Briefs: Aug. 6, 2012

Onetime Saab owner Spyker filed a $3 billion lawsuit against GM for blocking the sale of the Swedish automaker to Chinese companies Pang Da Automobile Trade and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile last December, Reuters reports. Spyker contends GM "had the direct and intended objective of driving Saab Automobile into bankruptcy." A GM spokesman told Reuters the news was "hard to believe," and GM wouldn't comment until it examined the lawsuit. At the time, GM still contracted technology and manufacturing for Saab — like the short-lived 9-4X crossover — and threatened to withhold assets from either Chinese company on grounds it would create competition with GM's operations in the country. The deal fell through, and Saab liquidated shortly thereafter. Its remnants eventually landed with to a consortium called National Electric Vehicle Sweden.

In other news:

  • Ford's latest application for Sync AppLink, called Allergy Alert, allows allergy-prone drivers to check pollen conditions by voice control on the road, The Detroit Free Press reports.
  • Amid a 41% drop in quarterly profits, GM CEO Dan Akerson defended his company's recent executive departures, telling analysts the automaker does "not hesitate to act when change is required to make the business stronger," according to the Detroit News.
  • Ford will hire 225 more employees at its Sterling Heights, Mich., transmission plant to produce what it claims to be the only North American-built, front-wheel-drive hybrid transmission, the Detroit News reports. Some 130 of those positions have already been filled.
  • 3-D digital models have helped Chrysler develop its eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions faster, Automotive News reports.
  • Reuters reports GM is investing in Rhode Island-based NanoSteel Co., whose lightweight steel could render the weight savings (and mileage improvements) of aluminum at a lower cost.

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