In America, government bailouts of ailing car companies are (at least in some circles) viewed as an inalienable right. In the EU, government aid generally is forbidden by law. Ironically, Ford, the only un-bailed-out Detroit company, now is in collision with these quaint continental regulations. (Read More…)
Some of TTAC’s readers have made it absolutely clear that they cannot abide it when I pick on Red Bull’s Mark Webber. So let’s say something nice about the man: he made up for
his usual an unexpectedly poor start to finish in fifth place, just behind his teammate, Sebastian Vettel. If you’re a Mark Webber fan, now would be a good time to feel good about the whole thing and look forward to the next race.
Everybody else should click the jump.
Yet another bit of bleak data from Europe relating to new car sales. A popular school of thought holds that young people’s aversion to cars is largely rooted in economic factors. When everyone under 30 is broke, living at home and wallowing in student debt, the last thing on their mind is a car. But the hope is that once things turn around, it will be time for Generation Y to get motoring again. At least in North America. Over in Europe (or certain parts of it, at least) things are much more bleak.
If anyone is hoping for a turn-around of the European car market, be it Opel, PSA, or Pch101, January definitely was not the month it happened. Some people, who get paid a lot of money for a very long-term vision, believe we have to wait years for the turn-around. The French car market dropped 15 percent in January, with “Volkswagen and U.S. carmakers leading the drop,” Reuters reports. Massive sales subsidies of 2,000 euros ($2,700) per car, reintroduced in October in Spain, could not reverse the Spanish market. It dropped 9.6 percent. (Read More…)
Europe’s auto market implosion has led BMW to shift units earmarked for the continent over to the United States and China, where demand remains strong.
Alright, so we’ve gone to South America (Argentina, Brazil), Africa (Libya) and Asia (North Korea). It’s now time to visit Europe, and why not start with Spain, a perilous but fascinating place at the moment.
How many times had I written that Volkswagen’s sicklish SEAT will come to China? I had to peruse Google to find out. For more than two years, SEAT’s impending arrival in the Middle Kingdom had been floated, and then, like clockwork, the denials followed. So with a good deal of “yeah sure, it has been tried before” do we read the story in Autocar that “the Spanish marque will exhibit for the first time at next month’s Shanghai Motor Show and expects to be selling cars in China from early in 2012.” (Read More…)
Sure, Internet video is mostly about dental-fetish porn (particularly the very stimulating “spit sink” subgenre), but when the novocaine wears off and the last vinyl-clad hygienist has put aside her last stainless-steel scraper, you’re ready to explore the other great thing about Internet video… old television ads for the Citroën AX. (Read More…)
See the picture above? It’s a lady in a white car. Nothing unusual there, right? Well, not quite. For starters, the lady is a queen. A real one.
Before I clarify the picture, let me set the scene. Spain is in the middle of economic turmoil. Its credit rating was cut to AA, it pushed through a €15b austerity plan with just one vote and is having trouble overhauling its labor market (which is considered to be one of the most inflexible in Europe). So, suffice to say, money’s too tight to mention, as someone once said. Unless … (Read More…)
Renault has made a big splash with their el-cheapo Dacia in the European market. In the first 4 months of this year, 17 percent of Renault’s sales came from Nicolae Ceausescu’s former auto works in Romania. France’s PSA doesn’t want to take it any longer, and now plans for their own low-cost line. (Read More…)
Ford’s first hybrid models for European customers will be built in Valencia Spain. Valencia was the logical choice.
Valencia had been picked in 2009 as the European single source for all versions of the “compact multi-activity model” Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX . Powered by EcoBoost gasoline and Duratorq TDCi diesel engines, they will launch later this year. A gasoline-powered seven-seat version of the C-MAX model for North America will go into production in Valencia in late 2011. (Read More…)
Over the daily Toyota runaway stories, it’s easy to forget the plight of GM and its children abroad. If you think that’s the idea, then you are a miserable conspiracy theorist, and you should stand in the corner. With that in mind, let’s check in with GM and its worldwide siblings to see how they are doing. (Read More…)
General Motors made one point very clear, 100 percent clear, the restructuring plan could only be achieved when European member states with Opel plants give some financial help. So the plan works only with state aid. The idea that General Motors can finance this on its own was not shared by General Motors, this possibility does unfortunately not exist
EU Industry Minister Guenter Verheugen reveals to Automotive News [sub] that GM does indeed seem to be trying to limit the amount of US taxpayer money spent on its $4.9b rescue of Opel. GM’s Opel fixer Nick Reilly explains “we have indicated that we will inject some GM funds into that requirement too. That is quite difficult because we are also going through a restructuring of our U.S. operations and other parts of the world.” We’ve already seen loans for jobs floated in the UK, where Reilly came up just short of offering to save Vauxhall jobs for government restructuring loans on a quid-pro-quo basis. And GM will have to continue walking that fine line, as EU competition rules forbid member states from offering financial support in exchange for jobs, especially if the saved jobs come at the expense of jobs in another EU member state. But Germany’s leadership was humiliated by GM’s decision to drop the sale of Opel to Magna, and has already ruled out funding an Opel restructuring that would keep the automaker under GM control. Will Belgium, Spain and the UK be able to come up with enough money to make the restructuring happen? Or will GM simply be forced to dip deeper into its taxpayer-funded escrow account? GM’s plan will be announced this week, and we’ll be watching.