Category: Consolidation

By on February 1, 2016

car-brands

FCA’s sweater-in-chief Sergio Marchionne has a plan to turn around the debt-laden and ailing automaker: stop building cars that lose money. That sounds like common sense, so long as oil prices stay low and the demand for trucks, SUVs and crossovers remains high.

But that plan introduces a new set of problems, chief among them the fact that ditching the car market leaves FCA exceptionally exposed to future volatility in oil prices. Crude prices affect prices at the pump, which affects the demand for certain types of vehicles. Sergio is betting oil prices will stay low by focusing on vehicles with ever-increasing price tags and ever-growing gas tanks.

Still, there will always be some demand for small cars. It was true in 1950 and it is true today. So what will Mr. Sweater do to meet that demand? Simple: he’ll buy those vehicles from another automaker and badge engineer them the old-fashioned way.

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By on December 3, 2015

Sergio Marchionne at the Italian Embassy in DC Circa February 2012

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won’t attempt to takeover General Motors anytime soon, FCA chief Sergio Marchionne told investors Thursday according to Reuters.

Speaking following a shareholder meeting, Marchionne said that finding a partner for FCA wasn’t “life or death” for the automaker group. Reportedly, FCA will delay launching several of their cars — including the Alfa Romeo Giulia for six months — as the automaker shores up its $52 billion investment plan.

“We are not choking. We are in relatively decent shape,” Marchionne said.

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By on October 21, 2015

2014_Chevrolet-Impala-LTZ-tug-boat

General Motors is getting pickier about where it does business and the products it sells. Could that also translate to where it will build its products in the future?

In a recent piece from Automotive News’ Mike Colias, the trade publication paints a bleak picture for one of General Motors’ longest running nameplates. The subject was Impala and the question was whether the car named after an African antelope, while well received by the automotive press, could survive the guillotine in a market that increasingly prefers crossovers and SUVs over sedans.

“We have a broad portfolio. But how are we going to look at what are the right vehicles to put in the marketplace? We’ll look at what makes sense and what will generate a return,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra told Automotive News earlier this month.

Naturally, Colias brought up Impala, and the reply stopped short of commitment to the car and the segment.

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By on September 6, 2015

Sergio Marchionne - FCA

Speaking at the Formula One Italian Grand Prix this weekend, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne told Reuters that a merger with General Motors was at the top of his list.

“That discussion remains a high priority for FCA,” Marchionne told Reuters. “We consider it to be the best possible strategic alternative for us and for them. General Motors does remain the ideal partner for us and we represent a not easily replaceable alternative for them.”

(Emphasis mine. But what are the other “strategic alternatives?”)

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By on August 31, 2015

magnastronach Picture courtesy deadlysins.info

On Monday, Magna International completed its sale of its interior business to Grupo Antolin, a Spanish firm that’s relatively unknown outside of Spain.

That’s on top of Johnson Control International getting out of the interior business, along with other automakers and suppliers, as John McElroy pointed out in a well-written column for Autoblog.

Magna’s sale underscores the fact that the car-making business — and especially their interiors — isn’t exactly lucrative for most suppliers.

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By on August 30, 2015

Sergio and 1.4L Turbo MultiAir in better times at Dundee. Chrysler Photo

We have to hand it to Larry P. Vellequette at Automotive News for getting FCA’s Don Marchionne riled up. In addition to getting Sergio talking yesterday about automakers having a history of bending the unions over, the outspoken executive has now called for a General Motors takeover via a series of hugs increasing in their intensity each time.

“There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you,” said Marchionne to Vellequette. “Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact.”

And no, that’s not even the best part.

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By on August 5, 2015

Bob Lutz  Picture courtesy dailytech.com

My goodness, when isn’t former General Motors exec Bob Lutz just the best? The former GM chief recently appeared on an Automotive News panel and boy that guy has vision and the rest of us have bifocals.

Car and Driver correctly points out that Lutz makes good points regarding a merger between GM and Chrysler, but the sage’s wisdom doesn’t stop at the following quote:

“The knowledge that one is to be hanged in the morning focuses the mind wonderfully.”

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By on August 1, 2015

Spyker C12 Zagato (courtesy zcars.com.au)

Spyker — the former Saab owner, F1 contender, and builder of aircraft-inspired supercars — has emerged from moratorium and plans to merge with Portland, Oregon electric aircraft manufacturer Volta Volare, said the company in a release on Thursday.

As part of Spyker’s future plans, electrification seems to be the common theme, whether it be for airplanes or automobiles. Now silver-tongued Skyper CEO, Victor Muller, only needs to find an electric train company to complete the set for a modern movie remake.

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By on July 28, 2015

General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement.

The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker expects the line to eventually produce roughly 2 million cars annually.

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By on July 17, 2015

Getrag

Supplier and sometimes-assembler Magna International will buy German transmission-maker Getrag for roughly $1.9 billion, the Detroit News is reporting.

The deal would firmly plant Canadian-based Magna International as the world’s second-largest parts supplier behind Robert Bosch GmbH and ahead of ZF, which recently purchased TRW Automotive for $12.4 billion earlier this year.

“The trend among the suppliers is that we now have to be bigger as the auto makers go to us to do more for them,” Magna Chief Executive Don Walker told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

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