Hong Kong, and I speak from experience, is a great place to incorporate, to save taxes, and to throw a cloak of secrecy over financial operations which otherwise would be out in the open. In the case of GM, it is also a great place to save their Korean behinds. In December 2009, GM sold a 1% stake in its Shanghai-GM (SGM) joint venture to the Hong Kong part of its Chinese partner SAIC for the paltry sum of $85m. GM also put its India business into a Hong Kong based joint venture (HKJV). GM provided the India business, SAIC provided cash. As it turned out later, unearthed in Ed Niedermeyer’s seminal oeuvre about the mystery golden share, SAIC also underwrote a $400 million loan. In its darkest hour at the end of 2009, GM was kept afloat by the Chinese. Now, history seems to repeat itself in some convoluted way. (Read More…)
The excitement about battery electric vehicles seems to die down amidst disappointing uptake. Range, weight and cost are in the way. At the same time, dormant interest in fuel cell vehicles is being rekindled. A month ago, we had a new look at the technology from the perspective of the Toyota/BMW linkup. Today, The Nikkei [sub] takes a broader view and says that carmakers are in the final lap of the fuel cell race. Let’s have a look at the contestants and where they stand.
The intensified alliance between Toyota and BMW shines a new light on a technology that has been discussed for decades, but that never quite made it: Hydrogen fuel cells. BMW will get access to Toyota’s fuel cell technologies. This most likely spells the end of the fuel cell cooperation between BMW and GM. Let’s take another look. (Read More…)
Here some background on the GM/Isuzu tie-up. Japanese wire services such as The Nikkei [sub] and Jiji report that GM approached Isuzu and “informally proposed acquiring a stake” in the Japanese truck maker. The source is an unnamed executive of Isuzu.
According to The Nikkei [sub], GM and Isuzu will start negotiations in early May for a roughly 10 percent share. If the negotiations are successful, Isuzu President Susumu Hosoi and GM CEO Dan Akerson could meet this summer to sign the agreement. (Read More…)
Coda Automotive, a Southern California start-up that assembles EVs with Chinese components, announced at today’s Beijing Auto Show that it would partner with the Chinese OEM Great Wall to develop a new, lower-cost EV. Says Coda CEO Phil Murtaugh (who you might remember as a key character in American Wheels, Chinese Roads) explains in a press release
When I wrote that PSA and Toyota are exploring their sado-masochistic tendencies a tie-up of production in PSA’s ab- under-used Sevelnord plant in northern France, commenters said it will never happen. Others complained about the choice of choice illustrations.
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy rode to the rescue of embattled TTAC, and confirmed the tie-up. (Read More…)
Following the many inter-company alliances and dalliances is becoming as cumbersome as covering the couplings in a swing club. PSA Peugeot Citroen is said to be in talks with Toyota. The same PSA that just hooked up with GM is reportedly talking tie-up with GM’s arch nemesis Toyota. They discuss sharing PSA’s Sevelnord plant in northern France, where PSA’s erstwhile partner Fiat pulls out. Still with me? (Read More…)
With the government still waiting to see how much it will get out of its equity in General Motors, The General seems to be attracting more of the media commentary than Chrysler these days. And not without good reason: GM saw the greatest drop in market share last month of any Detroit automaker, its government-hyped Volt is flopping, Opel continues to be an open sore and it can’t help but flaunt its cluelessness about youth marketing. But interest in GM’s shortcomings seems to be driven by little more than election-year political implications, which Chrysler was able to avoid by borrowing cash and misleadingly claiming to have squared up with the American taxpayer. After all, Chrysler is facing just as many challenges as GM, if not more. And despite having formally closed the bailout chapter of its history, Chrysler’s performance still bears on the decision to rescue America’s weakest major automaker.
Hear that chafing sound? It is analysts scratching their heads. They wonder why in the world would GM buy 7 percent of France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen. Bloomberg says this is about to happen. Neither GM nor PSA wants to confirm the deal. However, Bloomberg already has intricate details of the planned transaction, someone seems to be talking on deep dark background. Sounds like the odd couple is about to do it.
The question remains: Why? (Read More…)
It’s not that the cross-sharing of technologies between Renault-Nissan has been a well-kept secret. However, it is good to hear that loose alliances between unlikely partners work, while a marriages made in the automotive compatibility heaven (we are looking at you, Volkswagen & Suzuki) don’t even get to the consummation part.
Renault-Nissan announced today in Detroit that its Decherd, Tenn., plant will build Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder engines for Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz starting in 2014.
Read this sentence carefully. (Read More…)