While America Slept. Monday, November 24, 2008

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept monday november 24 2008
Hey, it’s Monday! Time to get back to work (if only to check that there still is a job.) Get a hustle on, most of the world got up much earlier. While America Slept (WAS) is a daily round-up of the news that happened in other continents and time-zones. TTAC provides round-the-clock coverage of everything that has wheels. Or that has its wheels coming off.

What are they smoking? To convince Congress that they mean action, GM wants to negotiate a cut in debt levels, wants to ask the UAW whether it’s ok to delay a $7 billion payment to a union retiree health fund, GM wants to drop brands, and get more funding from GMAC, Bloomberg reports. All that done before a “10-12 page report” will be submitted by 12/2? Don’t bogart that joint …

How to make a lot of money: Buy GM’s GM’s 8.375 percent bonds due in July 2033. Last Friday, that bond went for 17 cents on the dollar, Bloomberg writes, citing a report of Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The bond with a rating lower than most GM cars will yield you 49 percent interest, and you can retire worry-free. Or not.

Chery pickins: China’s home-grown (non JV) Chery will expand up and down, Gasgoo says. On the up, they will continue their partnership with US-based Quantum LLC. Intent: A high-end brand for the export market. On the down, they will launch a low-end brand called “Karry.” Already, your basic Chery QQ3 can be bought for $4K in China. How low can you go?

Big savings in Japan: Thirteen of 17 manufacturing sectors plan to spend less than initially planned, according to a recent Nikkei (sub) survey. Leading the pack of spendthrifts: the autos. Nissan cuts outlays by $500m. Isuzu wipes $260m off their budget. Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries also plans to invest less.

Cash is king at Kia: While automakers worldwide are scrambling and begging for loans, Korea’s Kia bought $378m of their debt in cash today. Reuters has the story.

Bumps ahead but still flying high at VeeDub China: VeeDub’s Chinese honcho Winfried Vahland says that the fist six months of 2009 “will be difficult.” Undeterred, his company plans “for further growth.” More at Gasgoo. VW’s sales in China have risen 12.6 percent to 853,800 vehicles, almost catching up to the 881,500 sold in Germany, where growth amounted to just 1.8 percent in comparison. Some guys have all the luck …

Vultures circling over Opel: Despite Opel’s recent proclamations that everything is hunky-dory, nobody is buying it. Instead, the discussion is: Who will buy Opel? After Opel dealers talked about buying Opel, and a solar panel company made a low-ball offer, Automobilwoche reports that Opel’s union boss Klaus Franz is offering that the workers take over. Both Automobilwoche and Autohaus opine that the only serious buyers for Opel will be in Asia. “Opel needs an investor who knows cars,” says Autohaus, and that investor “can only come from China or India.” What makes them think of India?

Looking for a recession-proof business? Forget cars, have a look at Internet fraud instead. Citing a report by Symantec, the Financial Times reports that “the industry is worth a potential $7bn,” with stolen bank account information starting at $10 and credit card numbers selling for as little as a nickel each. Imagine: Your bank account number is worth more than three shares of GM.

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2 of 5 comments
  • Autonut Autonut on Nov 24, 2008

    Opel employees taking over? Oh my, that's has been done in Germany 1919. 14 years later that had Fuhrer. Is this such a good idea?

  • Jahmhug Jahmhug on Nov 24, 2008

    Its all a big game.. Citi moved to First Base and GM is on the verge of striking out!

  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.