2012 Fiat 500 Abarth, 2012 Mini Roadster, and Honda knows the Civic blows

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1st Gear: Fiat 500 Abarth will Debut at LA
Fiat is finally bringing Americans the hotted-up 500 with a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and a sport suspension. But do we get the one with 135 hp or 170? Fiat's not telling us yet — guess we'll have to wait until the LA Auto Show to find out.

2nd Gear: Production Mini Roadster Unveiled
Now you can have a topless Mini with only two seats. Pity it's heavier than a regular Mini hatchback. Engines are the same as in the rest of the lineup. The Miata won't need any Ambien at night.



3rd Gear: Honda Realizes the New Civic Blows, Hurries to Fix
Automotive News says that because of the chilly reception this year for its redesigned Civic, which was universally panned for its cheap, hard-plastic instrument panel and center console, Honda is moving more quickly than planned on some mid-cycle changes. The mid-cycle update normally would occur in spring 2014. But Mendel said the change could occur sometime in 2013.


4th Gear: Saab Gets An I.O.U. For Next Year
Bloomberg reports this morning that Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co., the two Chinese companies that agreed last week to buy Saab, have committed to invest approximately 610 million euros ($855 million) in the cash-strapped Swedish automaker beginning next year, according to the company's reorganization plan that was posted today on the Vaenersborg District Court's website. The Chinese companies will also provide a $50 million bridge loan for Saab to use during the reorganization, according to the court document.


5th Gear: Feds to Scrutinize Automaker Loans
According to the Detroit News, the White House is ordering a review of the Energy Department's loan programs because of blowback from the Solyndra scandal. Some automakers' loans are going under the microscope. What, our investigation wasn't enough?



6th Gear: Rowan Atkinson Taken Over by Mr. Bean When Massa and Hamilton Crash
Missed the Indian F1 race? The Massa-Hamilton crash was good, clean, expensive fun. Atkinson spazzing out was the real prize, though. Check out a vid of the collision.


⏎ Honda warns Thai flooding will hit U.S. production. [Automotive News]

⏎ Bob Beaumont, who created early mass-produced electric cars in 1970s, dies at 79 [Washington Post]


⏎ Without Chevy, Campbell-Ewald chief runs a '100-year-old startup'. [Automotive News]

⏎ Ally Financial to launch unique Buyer's Choice car loan in 5 states [Freep]

⏎ Australian Company Building Electric Commodore [GoAuto]

⏎ Revised Land Rover DC100 Coming to LA Show [InsideLine]

⏎ All-New 2012 Honda CR-V: First Official Photos of Production Model [Carscoop]

⏎ Buick is paying dividends for GM. [Fortune]

Today in Automotive History:

On October 31, 1957, the Japanese car company Toyota establishes its U.S. headquarters in an old Rambler dealership in Hollywood, California. Toyota executives hoped to saturate the American second-car market with their small and relatively inexpensive Toyopet Crown sedans. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. sold its first Toyopet at the beginning of 1958; by the end of the year, it had sold 286 more, along with one behemoth Land Cruiser. Toyota cars were slow to catch on in the United States-it took until the mid-1960s for the company to gain a respectable chunk of the American market-but when they did, they did so with a bang. In 1972, thanks in large part to its success in the United States, Toyota sold its 1 millionth car, and three years later Toyota became the best-selling import brand in the United States. [History]


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