Posts By: Bertel Schmitt

By on June 27, 2013

Company on the ropes seeks tie-up with financially secure dominant global player

PSA Peugeot Citroen has its backs to the wall, and empty pockets. After casting around for the usual suspects in China, PSA is back to their American Friends at GM. PSA is ready to hand over the keys and control to GM, as long as the General keeps PSA from dying.  Says Reuters: (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2013

“To suffer”


With luck- and hapless Susan Docherty cleaning out her desk in Europe, GM needs someone else to lead Chevrolet in Europe. They found Thomas Sedran, who will take the helm at Chevrolet’s EU HQ in Zurich, Switzerland. Sedran will start in July, says Reuters,  while Docherty will be leaving GM in September. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2013

Korea Strike - Picture courtesy

Workers at GM’s South Korean plant will stage a partial walkout, ominously on Independence Day, July 4th, Reuters heard from a union spokesman. The walkout could turn into a full-fledged strike, union spokespeople said. Reports Reuters:

(Read More…)

By on June 25, 2013


Volkswagen’s  R&D chief Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg is cautiously optimistic about the use of carbon fiber technologies in volume cars. Said Hackenberg today in Wolfsburg: (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2013

Hackenberg hints on future cars, with the members of the social media in rapt attention

Volkswagen plans to use the 0.8 liter diesel  hybrid drivetrain from its futuristic, ultra-efficient and ultra-expensive  (no pricing announced) XL1 two-seater in a future regular small car, Volkswagen’s R&D Chief Ulrich Hackenberg said today in an interview in Wolfsburg’s Autostadt. Said Hackenberg: (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2013
antisocial media

Hackenberg talks to reporters from SAE Magazine and Fortune …

“It is good for the future of diesel in the USA that  a domestic producer also uses a diesel engine,” said Volkswagen’s R&D Chief Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg today.  “If the volume of diesel engines is increasing, then it makes sense to produce diesel engines in the U.S.A. That would be great for us and the customer,” Hackenberg said. (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2013


This is day one of the Wolfsburg tour, where your BS returns to the scene of his former crimes. I came in on a 12 hours JAL flight from Tokyo. I was picked at Hannover Airport by an Iranian driver with a black Multivan. Imagine, this is the place where I was running through the parking garage in the olden days, looking for a Phaeton with the keys hidden in the exhaust pipe.

Johnny Lieberman of Motor Trend however … (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2013
Ford Setagaya Dori

Open: The Ford dealer down the road from me. Go there yourself.

Last week, I had a few very interesting discussions with a few very famous people, and I should not keep them to myself. The discussions were about one of my pet peeves, the supposedly closed Japanese car market, and the allegedly manipulated Japanese currency. Some very knowledgeable people I talked to were convinced it’s true. Other very knowledgeable folks said it’s utter baloney. In a rare display of balanced reporting, I will bring you both. And as they say, we purport, you decide.

(Read More…)

By on June 22, 2013

Jeff Glucker absolutely LOVED his seat! Business Class – by the door! (Can get a bit drafty on long flights in an old 747 …)

Good news for a certain vociferous segment of TTAC’s  readership: This coming week, you will read very little BS. On Sunday night, I will be on a flight from Tokyo to Hannover,  graciously laid on by Vokswagen, and I will spend the better part of the week in Wolfsburg and Berlin, to hear the latest on MQB, to drive the Golf GTD, the Volkswagen  XL-1 super saver, and to enjoy  Volkswagen’s hospitality, which has come a long way since the days when hospitality consisted of slices of cold cuts between soggy buns, served on a piece of grey cardboard. (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2013




J.D. Power published its 2013 Initial Quality Study IQS, and a miracle happened: Chevrolet jumped 10 spots  to number 5. The GMC brand even sits in #2.  In the real world, that puts GMC and Chevrolet in Place 2, along with Lexus and Infiniti.

(Read More…)

By on June 22, 2013


Susan Docherty, a life-long career woman at GM, suddenly wants to stay at home with her husband and 13 year old son, or so GM wants us to believe. According to Selim Bingol’s troops, Docherty “announced her intention to leave General Motors to spend time with her family, effective September 30.” Docherty is 49, that’s no retirement age.

Three years ago, Ed Niedermeyer and TTAC was “looking forward to her departure from General Motors.” Now his wish is fulfilled. In the tradition of Farago’s death watches, things always take a little longer than expected at GM, but eventually, they happen. Usually, they happen too late. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2013

Fiat in St. Tropez - Picture  courtesy

As we all know, the European car market is in bad shape. France, one of Europe’s volume markets, is especially hard hit. The month of May was no exception.  The French market was down 10.3 percent. Red ink and nose blood was running just about everywhere. Everywhere except Fiat. Fiat, the Italian patient, looks amazingly alive in France. Their passenger vehicle sales were up a whopping 12.3 percent in May and 6 percent for the first five months. In a market that tanks, just staying afloat would be a big deal. Double digit is huge. It was, until the scrappy auto site started digging. They found that the growth was made by dealers buying their own cars. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2013

Hackenberg - Picture courtesy

Volkswagen  today confirmed yesterday’s story, broken by Spiegel Magazine, that Volkswagen development chief Ulrich Hackenberg is taking the reins of Audi’s R&D.  The ostensibly lateral move includes a promotion:  Hackenberg  also becomes chief R&D coordinator of the Volkswagen Group. (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2013

Now that Better Place went belly-up,  Tesla  joined the battery-swapping lifestyle.  As promised, Tesla unveiled a system to swap battery packs in its electric cars.  According to Reuters, Tesla “will roll out the battery-swapping stations later this year, beginning along the heavily-traveled route between Los Angeles and San Francisco and then in the Washington-to-Boston corridor.” (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2013

Feds delayed  -again – a requirement for all new cars in the U.S. to be equipped with backup cameras, Bloomberg says.  Regulators want time until 2015 to deliberate whether it might be better to simply give better safety ratings to vehicles with the gizmo. (Read More…)

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