Daimler presented its new S-Class yesterday night in the airbus factory in Hamburg, and with the pomp and circumstance appropriate for a car that is supposed to bring the big turn-around at Daimler. German Spiegel magazine promptly grouched “that the most revolutionary part in the car is the fact that in large parts, it is not new at all.” Der Spiegel called an unimpeachable witness: Germany’s Kraftfahrtbundesamt, the agency that issues type approvals in Germany. It simply amended the type approval for the old W221 model. Read More >
Bloomberg relentlessly covers a fight very few care about: Who sells the most “luxury cars?” Never mind that the only way to win this is to sell more, what do they call them, “approachable” cars. Which Bloomberg’s latest dispatch from the upper class struggle aptly proves.
Now that Opel workers in Bochum refused a plan to keep the factory open, now that an intervention by UAW’s Bob King went exactly nowhere, the question is where to move production of the Opel Zafira when Bochum closes its doors by end of 2014.
In the running: Rüsselsheim, Germany, and Ellesmere Port, UK. Read More >
Jesus Christ! Visitors of the 2013 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta on May 10-11 will think a red Mini convertible will drive on water.
BMW’s MINI brand sponsors the festival of university and college rowing along the along the Schuylkill River. The miraculous MINI actually is a fiberglass mold of the car mounted to a boat hull. Powered by a 6 hp outboard motor, it floats down river.
Germany’s new car sales were up 3.8 percent in April, says Germany’s Kraftfahrtbundesamt. This is the first time in nearly a year that German car sales were in plus territory. In France, an April loss of 5.2 percent already was feted as the turn-around. Has the European bottom been reached? I don’t think so. Read More >
German autoworkers want their share of the record profits announced by German carmakers last year. IG Metall labor union demanded 5.5 percent. Employers countered with 2.3 percent. Today, workers went on strike. Read More >
After plans failed to sue Porsche in America, where juries are impressionable and awards are rich, the lawsuits are now in Germany, where courts are cautious, and where professional judges need to be convinced. The wheels of justice crank slowly. Read More >
Bob King’s attempts to ingratiate himself with German unions, and to make Opel’s Bochum workers reconsider their decision to turn down Opel’s restructuring plan, are being ignored. Actually, it appears as if they had the opposite effect. Days after King’s comment, Bochum plant manager Manfred Gellrich rejected new discussions, saying Opel does not want to “waste precious time,” Reuters says. Over the weekend, Opel dropped another bomb: Bochum will be closed completely. A parts depot that was supposed to stay open, will also close its doors. Read More >
UAW boss Bob King told Opel’s Bochum workers to vote again, and to this time accept a deal that had been worked out between the German metal worker union IG Metall and GM. Read More >
Condition red at Daimler: Germany’s influential auto club ADAC gave the Mercedes Citan only three out of five stars in the Euro-NCAP-Crashtest. The loss of stars means “a meltdown” for the starred brand, says Automobilwoche [sub], “after all, the vehicle is supposed to excel with supreme safety.” Read More >
The American justice system has shown a large degree of overreach in the not so distant past, punishing or shaking down foreign companies for misdeeds performed on foreign soils by foreign perpetrators on foreign victims. This is not a matter of right or wrong. It is a matter of jurisdiction and sovereignty. Enough is enough, says the U.S. Supreme Court and decided to hear Daimler’s appeal against a decision by a San Francisco court that workers or relatives of workers at an Argentina-based plant operated by Mercedes-Benz, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler, can sue for alleged human rights abuses performed by Daimler in the 1970s in collusion with Argentina’s then military junta. Daimler had been on the receiving end of judicial overreach in the past. Read More >