While America Slept. Turkeyday, November 27, 2008

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept turkeyday november 27 2008
Good morning! Lots of turkey ahead for you. The rest of the world has already provided its share of turkeys. 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. Gobble up the news! Maybe not on an empty stomach.

No EU auto bailout. The EU has released details of its stimulus plan. It’s a yawner. $257b, that’s all? Wait, there’s less: Brussels announced the plan, then told its 27 members: “You pay for it.” We predicted it, and Stratfor (sub) agrees: “It seems that no member state will bail out any other member state.” Also as predicted repeatedly by TTAC, not a word on EU auto bailouts. You’re on your own! You’re on your own!

Les Miserable: The same day, France’s Prez Sarkozy said he would announce a “rather massive” plan in the coming days to support French automobile and building industries. His plan will also help dealers and subcontractors. AP has the story. With so many recipients, the pickins will be slim. Sarkozy announced the plan after talking to Germany’s Angela Merkel. Expect some kind of plan from Angela as well. As in: “Europe: Buy German.”

No money under Opel’s Christmas tree. The German government asked Opel to provide hard data on why Opel needs money and how much. Opel returned devoid of data. “We had to send them back home” said a grumpy German government source to Die Welt. No data, no money. German observers smell two rats. Rat Opel doesn’t have the data. Rat #2 : The data are so bad that Opel doesn’t want to show them. What smell you? And there’s more bad news ahead …

Opel’s unions: “Send money urgently.” Opel’s unions seem to have better data. Or they are just making it up. The Bochum plant alone needs loans to the tune of €420m, say the unions. No money: Opel has to shut down, 25,000 jobs on the line. Automobilwoche reports now that PricewaterhouseCoopers has been hired to compile the necessary data to convince an increasingly disbelieving Deutschland.

Porsche bets future on Panamera: At the end of yesterday’s confab in Stuttgart, Porsche’s Wiedeking said that the “next jump in sales and revenue” will come from the Panamera. Quotes Die Welt. Planned are 20K units per year. Also: New generations of Boxster and Cayman, but Porsche doesn’t see material money in them. Making cars is a sideline of Porsche anyway: Last year, trading options was six times more profitable than selling slot-cars.

GM to workers: “Don’t buy GM!” GM workers will be unable to buy GM shares through two employee savings programs indefinitely because the plans’ administrator believes additional investments are not appropriate based on the automaker’s financial situation, AP reports via Yahoo. State Street Bank and Trust, overseer of GM’s employee stock fund, said loading up on GM is not appropriate “due to GM’s recent earnings announcement and related information about GM’s business.” Downright un-American.

Sweden to Volvo and Saab: “Come to mammy!” Rolf Wolff, dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law at Sweden’s Gothenburg University, called on his government to nationalize Volvo and Saab. “Why not?” says the professor. “If the state can own an energy company, then it can just as well own a car manufacturer.” According to AFP via TheLocal, the initiative is getting some traction in Sweden. Sweden’s Enterprise Minister Olofsson said the government wants a clearer picture of the two carmakers before any economic assistance is being contemplated. If Volvo and Saab will give what Opel just gave Berlin, the picture will be as clear as mud.

Suzuki casts eyes on young women: Japan’s Suzuki launched the all new Alto Lapin minivehicle. It is redesigned to be more fuel efficient “and more appealing to young women,” the Nikkei (sub) says. Thanks to an improved engine and lighter body, the Alto Lapin promises to be 25% more fuel efficient than the predecessor. No word on how it will woo the ladies.

Suzuki to Wagoner: “Let’s be friends.” In related news, Suzuki will stick with GM, for the time being. Nikkei (sub) says Osamu Suzuki had a talk with Wagoner, and the two confirmed to “continue to work on more than 10 projects” of unknown nature. Quizzed about the likelihood of GM going C11 or worse, Suzuki thinks it won’t happen. Reason being: “If a Big Three files for Chapter 11, the U.S. economy will go down to its knees.” That would suck. But doesn’t it suck already? On your knees, pray for a bailout.

China to be the world’s largest auto market – by 2020. The Chinese auto market is likely to overtake Japan to become the world’s second largest auto market this year and pass the United States to be the world’s largest by 2020, Shoju Nozaki, executive vice president of Toyota’s China operation said to Shanghai’s 21st Century Business Herald via Gasgoo. Nozaki’s estimates may be way too optimistic – as far as the U.S. market goes.

Hyundai to China: “If you pay it, we will come.” Hyundai’s Yang Woong-chul told China Morning Post (via Gasgoo) that they will bring their hybrid to China – if China makes “substantial tax concessions.” He also said Hyundai’s hybrids will be ready by 2010, and will all go to Japan and the U.S. because those countries give tax money for hybrids. In other words: Hybrids hopeless without high-up help.

Butch bears bear no babies: The Kushiro Municipal Zoo in northern Japan has been unwittingly hosting a lesbian couple of polar bears. After the amorous couple produced zero offsprings, zookeepers checked and found out that there was a bear of a same-sex marriage going on. Previously, the zoo was convinced that one of the bears was a guy. Now they know the bears are gay. Reuters has the bearish news. Moral for the auto industry: Check tooling before a merger.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Kendahl Kendahl on Nov 27, 2008

    Tricking the hedge funds into paying for Porsche's acquisition of VW was cool. Now, I hope they are smart enough to quit while they are ahead. Otherwise, some future move will go wrong and the company will lose its ass. As has been stated before, the coming restrictions on fuel consumption make VW valuable to Porsche. VW econoboxes will enable Porsche to continue building real Porsches.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Nov 27, 2008

    @Kendahl: Impossible as the VW-Gesetz stands now.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys you want america great again? bring back honest unions
  • TheEndlessEnigma ...and nothing is UAW politics, policies or behavior will change.
  • TheEndlessEnigma If the staff being directed to relocate aren't already in California or Illinois Rivan is likely to find a not inconsiderable portion of that staff decline the relocation; California and Illinois are not places folks are tending to MOVE TO unless you're already in those states.
  • MrIcky I think you spelled Sinn Féin wrong.
  • TheEndlessEnigma If they restrict it to electric only....well...another Stellantis fail inbound.