As the rumor mill turns, Cars 2 has no set release date, and has bounced around from 2012 to a date of June 24 2011 (which puts it up against The Green Lantern) to a date of December 2011. Disney has denied that their plans for Cars 2 have changed, and that the film will come out in Summer 2011. Then it was rumored by Blue Sky that Lasseter was spending more time at Pixar than his Disney offices, and that the reason was because he was doing major story work on Cars 2. It was believed he would remain uncredited, and allow Brad Lewis to make his directorial debut alone. Now, Jim Hill is reporting that his Disney reps confirmed Lasseter will receive a co-director credit with Lewis, indicating he's done major work on the film.
Lasseter did come up with the original Cars 2 concept, though. While doing press for Cars, he wondered what his small-town characters would make of foreign driving rules, and cooked up a story to put them there. We still don't know what that story is, though rumors say it's a North by Northwest scenario where Mater gets involved in a spy plot, but no one believes him.
As Slashfilm notes, every Pixar film is supposedly a disaster at some point, and the creative team have completely rewritten a number of films halfway through pre-production, with Ratatouille and Toy Story 2 being two of the most legendary. Cars 2 may be a similar stroke of genius. I'd like to think it's Lasseter taking responsibility for a concept he created, and making it work, instead of letting a newcomer Lewis take the fall. Others might see it as proof there never should have been a Cars 2 -- after all, the original didn't work very well, so why make another?