Auto Industry Analyst John Casesa: This Ain't No Party

John Horner
by John Horner
auto industry analyst john casesa this aint no party
Barrons [sub] offers Inside Baseballers a lengthy interview with former Merrill Lynch auto industry analyst John Casesa,. GM’s bestest best friend thinks the GM – Chrysler merger “looks terrific on paper.” That said, JC (coincidence?) thinks the resulting mega-domestic would have too many brands and dealers. “So this is a deal that would be difficult to execute operationally, although it could happen because the motivations are so strong on both sides… Just because GM has 22% share and Chrysler has 11% doesn’t mean the combined entity will have anywhere near a 33% share.” OK then. So what does the walking quote factory make of Kirk Kerkorian’s Ford share sell-off? “He’s not one to give up easily. The sale is alarming.” Less alarmingly, Casesa likes Toyota and Honda because of their strong balance sheets and well-hedged technology bets. [ED: For that he gets paid?] Barrons offers an excellent graphic comparing the debt loads of Ford, GM and Honda per vehicle sold. Ford was sitting on almost $4k in debt for every vehicle sold LAST YEAR and GM’s number was just a few hundred dollars less. The equivalent figure for Honda: $119. Strong balance sheet: Priceless. For everyone else: Disaster.

Much of the rest of Casesa’s summary of the current situation make sense, even if it’s spoken in measured tones out of synch with life during wartime. By the end of the piece, Casesa gazes into his crystal ball and jumps off a cliff. “Gas-electric hybrids and pure electric vehicles will become commercially feasible. And if it is electric — and it increasingly looks that way — the economics of auto-making are probably going to change a great deal. There will be a lot of value in the battery and in charging batteries. Utilities are going to play a big part in the automobile value chain. That could present serious risk to automobile companies, which historically commanded good margins for the value they put in the car. The automobile itself could become a less important part of the total cost of ownership. You could see car companies partnering with electric utilities.” As I’ve said before (in jest), Exxon-Mobil should buy General Motors from petty cash.

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  • Benedict Benedict on Oct 26, 2008

    "Kirk Kerkorian’s Ford share sell-off?" KK sold 0.4 % of the 6.5% he held. Still holding 6.1% of Ford is not a sell-off.

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Oct 26, 2008

    Nice way to get a few "Talking Heads" references in. You had me from the title, thanks!

  • Analoggrotto Robocop
  • ToolGuy Nice truck.Thinking out loud on a Monday: So if my next road-trip EV also has the towing capacity to handle a nice big (6'x14') wood-floor utility trailer (900 pound trailer weight plus 2090 pound trailer capacity = 2,990 pounds max) around town (say 10-mile radius typical for me), do I really need a truck anymore? (Probably not.) EV Towing Capacity (e.g., Model X = 5,000 pounds towing) Trailer (nice and low to the ground, see?)I'll miss you, truck. 😉
  • FreedMike Looks sharp. But did they fix the hilariously bad torque steer on the N-Line model? The one I drove brought back memories of the Omni GLH Turbo.
  • Kendahl I might believe that, on a back road in a rural county, one might run into a cop who doesn't know the law he is paid to enforce. However, I-75 is the main route for snowbirds, of whom a sizeable fraction are Canadian, commuting to and from Florida. It was the cop's responsibility to know that Florida honors foreign licenses. Nield should have hired a lawyer to rub that in.
  • Arthur Dailey So they cut the roof off the hatch area of a Dodge Journey?