While America Slept. Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept thursday november 20 2008
When America gets out of bed, Tokyo is heading home in crowded subways, and Europeans still finish long lunches. 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. Due to popular demand, today, no sordid jokes. Get A1 if you want spice.Aussie wants SAIC to buy Holden: In the SAIC-buys-GM saga, Melbourne-based publisher of GoAuto.com.au, John Mellor, said to Gasgoo that “Holden could wind up in the hands of SAIC and being Asian-owned could help springboard the local industry into the growing Asian car markets.” While Dear John was at it, he also opined that Australia could be bought by the Indian-based Tata Group.Opel stunt a derivates play? As reported, the German company SolarWorld AG offered €1b to buy Opel Germany. German wags think the SolarWorld is a “marketing stunt” at best. Other think, SolarWorld lost their mind. For sure, SolarWorld’s stock tanked on the news. SolarWorld’s CEO Asbeck denies this morning via Reuters allegations that the matter was a derivatives play. Asbeck still claims he’s serious, and that he has “received a different answer from GM HQ than from Opel.” Opel yesterday said: “Nein.”Opel survival guaranteed: In its final hour, the parliament of Hesse approved up to €800m in loan guarantees for Opel, writes the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung. After the money was approved, the parliament dissolved itself. New elections are scheduled for January. The loan guarantees are in place for the unlikely case that GM goes bust. Wait, there’s less …Less work, less pay at Opel: Big austerity program in place. Plants all over Europe will go idle. Workers lose pay. Managers lose bonus payments. Autohaus has the bad news. A model for Detroit? Don’t even think it.Chinese want some bailout, too: Looking to America for guidance, China’s still-young car manufacturers are appealing for their government’s help amid a sales slump, The Star reports. Most Chinese automakers are state-owned companies that enjoy support from their local government owners. But seeing how automakers in the US and Europe are asking for money, Chinese manufacturers think it is prudent to – well – copy it.Beijingers breathe easier or harder, however you may see it. The Beijing city government has decided not to put any restrictions on vehicle numbers, or available license plates, Gasgoo says. To solve the traffic jam, Beijing will enhance the construction of public transport.No EU bailout: In a DPA story that got attention as far as in India, EU officials pour ice-cold water on hopes for any pan-European industry bail-out. The European Investment Bank has dismissed a €40-billion demand as “fantasy.” Instead, EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso is threatening to report the United States to the WTO over Washington’s plans to bail out its cancerous car industry. The EU “might allow” support by individual member states, Autohaus reports. Currently, such help could violate EU law.BER to survive 2010? Meanwhile, the motor malaise is being used to prevent the fall of the last vestiges of Europe’s Block Exemption Regulation (BER.) Reformed in 2003, the new BER already made Europe one of the most liberal auto markets on the planet. The last remnants are scheduled to fall in 2010. Then it’s a free-for-all. Now, EU parliamentarians suggest to wait until the market has recovered, says the Autohaus.Mazda/Ford divorce aided by friends: More than 30 companies have chipped in to purchase a 13.2 percent stake in Mazda, sold by Ford Motor Co., The Nikkei (sub) found out. Mazda itself bought 6.8 percent, bringing the total to 20. Major banks bought 1 percent each. Business partners such as Kajima, Bridgestone, Sumitomo, Denso, Nippon Sheet, Koito, or Panasonic acquired smaller stakes. Meanwhile, Mazda got a new boss: Takashi Yamanouchi. Nikkei (sub) suggests Mazda should get a new partner also.Renault/Nissan not flirting with Chrysler, or anybody else: Renault/Nissan’s head cheese Carlos Gohsn quashed any speculation about linking with Chrysler LLC, The Nikkei (sub) says. Ghoshn is focused on conserving cash rather than entering any alliances whatsoever. Meanwhile, back home, Nissan announced plans for a redesigned “Cube,” a box-on-wheels which they want to unleash on the U.S. and Euro market also next year.Bad/good news for VeeDub workers: No extended Christmas holidays. The order books at VW look good, the new Golf model is to be delivered to dealers, Tiguan and Passat CC are selling well. There is work to be done. Detail at Reuters.New VeeDub strategy: On Friday, VW’s Supervisory Board is expected to approve yet another strategy, says the Handelsblatt: Greener cars, blacker numbers. Name of the strategy? “Mach 18.” Possible meanings? 18 times the speed of sound (which it would take to catch up with Toyota.) Or, in German, “Make 18.” What, holes? Would make sense, with a car called Golf.Huh? UK auto industry wants a bailout: The UK auto industry asked the government for financial help, the (Dire) Straits Times reports. The UK auto industry seeks cash and loan guarantees. Which UK auto industry? There is none left. However, there still are some factories, owned by BMW, Honda, Nissan, etc. And it doesn’t hurt to ask.Daimler darkness: At a conference organized by the IFA industry think tank in Stuttgart suburb, Daimler’s Zetsche warned today: “In all likelihood, it will probably get worse before it gets better. At the moment it is difficult to make forecasts even for the rest of the week or the month let alone the rest of the year.” DPA via Earthtimes. Anonymous industry sources told TTAC that home state Baden Wuerttemberg is ready to play (or find a) white knight in case of a takeover attempt by hostile forces.Daimler idles more workers: Daimler continues to prepare for the worst by firing 570 workers in their German Rastatt plant (A and B-Class.) Parts manufacturers will do likewise. Total damage: More than 1000 on the dole. Automobilwoche (sub) reports. Rodents a risk to roadworthyness: The safety and wallets of Germany’s auto owners are endangered by rodents. Martens develop an urge to take a bite out of cable looms. The city of Burscheid now has their own marten commissioner who will assist in getting rid of the cable-chomping rodents, says the Westdeutsche Zeitung. Where’s PETA when we need them? Asks your animal loving scribe.
Join the conversation
  • Arthur Dailey So they cut the roof off the hatch area of a Dodge Journey?
  • Desertwanderer Across Australia, from Sydney to Perth, via the Nullarbor Highway. Desolate, very impressed to pass a bicycle tourist somewhere in the middle, I think he'd have a story to tell. Oh, and the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, NS, in my S4.
  • Cprescott Please stop production of all Camry's - they are hideous and vomit inducing ugly.
  • Cprescott Excellent! Complete garbage.
  • Kos65701744 A lot of people back then didn't like the downsizing idea, which is why some didn't sell better than before. Which is why in final gen sales were record high in sales. My own father wouldn't buy a downsized GM car, he switched to a Ford LTD, a nice car but he hated it but wanted a big car