By on November 19, 2008

While America Slept (WAS) is a daily round-up of the news that happened in other continents and time-zones while America suffers bailout-or-no-bailout-induced nightmares. Around the world, a network of bleary-eyed TTAC correspondents provides round-the-clock coverage of everything that has wheels. Or that has its wheels coming off.  Today in TTAC’s morning zoo:

Renault in dire straits: “Will Renault be the next car-casualty?” asks the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. This after Renault guided its year-end prognosis way down. Renault’s troubles will be Nissan’s pain. Both are joined at the aching hip. In an interview with the WSJ, Carlos Ghosn, double-head of Renault and Nissan, said he would “push for Europe to offer a €40 billion ($50 billion) loan program targeted at retooling,” (the books, presumably.) He also said, Japan should follow suit.  Gimme the money, s’il vous plait.

China pulling out of Russia: China’s largest SUV and truck maker Great Wall Motor Co said to Gasgoo that they will “terminate their joint venture in Russia because of hard industry protectionist measures in the country.” No Landwinds for the Russkies. Wait, there WAS more …

China‘s world flat for GM: GM’s joint venture with SAIC in China will likely sell roughly the same number of units in 2008 as it did in 2007, the venture’s executive vice president, Robert Socia, said. Gasgoo reports. In other words: They will perform sub-par to a still growing market. Shanghai General Motors Corp. sold 479,427 units in 2007. Socia spins a happy smile on it, remarking that the U.S. auto maker’s “liquidity woes at home haven’t affected” GM’s business in China.

China‘s drivers soaked by fuel tax: China will soon impose a fuel tax of 50 percent, reports their news agency  Xinhua today. Instead, the “road tax” (which is the same for all cars) will be scrapped.

Chinese car sales almost back to their old glory: Estimates released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers show that October production of passenger vehicles in the world’s second-largest car market rose by almost 10 per cent year-on-year. JD Power, the global auto consultancy, said informal surveys of Chinese car dealers also indicated an unexpected sales recovery. Details at Gasgoo. Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp has cut its automobile sales forecast for China by 100,000 vehicles to 600,000 this year, Japan’s Nikkei financial daily reported.

Mazda fundamentally altered: With Ford having cashed in 20 percent of their stock in Mazda, and are down to a mere 13.4 percent, Mazda now has “more latitude to develop its strengths, including smaller cars and green vehicles,” Tokyo’s Nikkei (sub) reports. Mazda Chairman and President Hisakazu Imaki said they will still be playing nice with Ford, but Nikkei deduces that their partnership will be “fundamentally altered.” First management changes have already been made.

GM to Japan: “We’re outta here.” GM had sold all its Fuji Heavy Industries stock in 2005 and Isuzu Motors stock in 2006. On Monday, they let their last holdings in Suzuki go. “GM has now dissolved all of its capital alliances with Japanese automakers,” grins Nikkei. Suzuki wants to power further into India, where they hold a 50% market share.

That’s why they call them Aussie yobbos: A motorist crashed his car into a stationary police vehicle in Perth. Two officers were sitting in the cop car.A constable sustained whiplash, bruised ribs, and a fracture and dislocation of his shoulder. The yobo is in a world of trouble, says the down-under ABC News.

Even gas stations have the yobbos: Up to 18 cars were left stranded for almost three hours after gassing up at a Brisbane gas station. Rain had seeped into the underground tank. Australia’s Courier-Mail has more wet stuff.

Car takes revenge on mechanic: A red car, perhaps enraged by a botched repair job, jumped off its hoist at the Centenial Pontiac Buick GMC dealership in St. John, Canada, and killed the mechanic.  St. Johns major crime unit is investigating, and The Telegraph-Journal has the story.

Mercedes in a cloud: Daimler is picking up on the “cloud computing” trend and will put all its navigation and infotainment functions on-line, via wireless access. Google is their partner. The Mitteldeutsche Zeitung has details (in German.)

Austrian yobbo: A 36 year old passed a car in Neumarkt, Austria (not Australia.) He crashed head-on in a car. The car was an ambulance. The 36 yo, the ambulance driver, a 76 year old lady on the ambulance’s stretcher, and two medics sustained heavy injuries.  A fleet of ambulances was needed. More in Der Standard (in Austrian.)

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18 Comments on “While America Slept. Wednesday, November 19, 2008...”


  • avatar
    denial

    This:

    Car takes revenge on mechanic: A red car, perhaps enraged by a botched repair job, jumped off its hoist at the Centenial Pontiac Buick GMC dealership in St. John, Canada, and killed the mechanic.

    Is very, very, very tacky. Very.

    You guys are no longer the ‘truth’ about cars. You are talk radio, drunk on your own sense of ‘cleverness.’

    I’m outta here — delete my account.

  • avatar

    It’s Yobbo. Double B.

  • avatar
    enderw88

    I agree with denial. That bit about the mechanic being killed was not appropriate in any sense. A man was killed. There was no indication that he did anything wrong other have a really bad day. Please make an effort to never sink this low again.

  • avatar

    @Trollhattan: Thank you. I’ll beat up my source tomorrow. But shit, he took classes in kickboxing and occasionally moonlights as my bodyguard …

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Re: Car takes revenge on mechanic

    It’s not funny when someone gets hurt doing their job. Hoists can be very dangerous, and small shops can’t afford the more modern ones used at dealers. My condolences to the family of the technician.

  • avatar

    Totally agree when it comes to the tastelessness of the story about the unfortunate mechanic. Should be removed.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    I still enjoy this site, but please, stop enjoying other people’s misery so much.

    A mechanic died doing his job. It’s sad no matter the situation.

    This site is a reflection of its readers. We all need to stop acting like school children when a car company you dislike hits hard times, or when a guy dies working on the very things we come here to read about.

    I admit, I’m guilty of this as well. For years I wished a pox on the house of VW. I’ve since seen the error of my ways and actually bought one of their products recently.

    Let’s all grow up a little.

    -ted

  • avatar
    brettc

    I also agree about the car that crushed the mechanic. Not cool to write it like it was written. The mechanic was just doing his job, and now he’s dead because a hoist apparently failed.

    Also, it happened in St. John, NEW BRUNSWICK, Canada. It’s important to include the name of the province. It’s like me writing that something happened in Portland, USA. (Portland, Maine or Portland, Oregon?)
    You wrote “St. Johns major crime unit is investigating”, which made me think it happened in St. Johns, Newfoundland until I went to the Telegraph Journal site and saw that it was actually New Brunswick.

    But the bigger issue is how the death of the mechanic was handled. If I wanted to read stupid web sites, I’d be reading Edmunds.com.

  • avatar

    Ok, I apologize. I’ll never ever write again that a car jumped off the hoist and killed a mechanic. Now about those provinces … I always include the source, and half of the time I don’t even know where in the world that paper is printed.

    I will definitely not beat up the yobbo source. Judging from the traffic here, I will need him full time.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    When I first saw WAS, I thought it was pretty good. An update to read in the AM about what happened in the auto industry overnight. I am disappointed to see it turn to news of car wrecks. Stick with industry news and I’ll keep coming back.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I am still unclear as to how Ford is going to unwind it’s relationship with Mazda. I mean, it’s more than just an equity stake; they co-developed platforms, and in some cases shared engines. *shrugs* maybe it’s not as hard as I think.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Hey guys,

    I love the site, and I don’t mind people taking glee (?) in bad INDUSTRY news, but making fun of someone dying & posting other non-industry related news (car crashes) is not really the (unofficial?) charter of the site, right?

    Wow that was a long sentence. I never was an English major.

    Also: GM sold their FUJI Heavy Industry stock? I had no idea they were a stockholder in Subaru! What pie DON’T they have their hands in ? Can we say “spread too thin” ?

  • avatar
    JT

    I have to agree with the others here…the tone has changed and not for the better. Please present more real news and less snark.

    The story on Brisbane, Aus. for example, has flat nothing to do with yobbos or chavs or anybody else.
    A friend there reports recent days of extremely heavy rain, “hail the size of cricket balls — the sport, not the insect,” severe property damage to roofs, etc., and many vehicles damaged by falling or flying objects driven by high winds.

    The TTAC head and lede on this and other briefs in W.A.S. are deceiving and not up to the site’s general standards.

  • avatar
    schadenfred

    Hmmm. I dunno, I’ve experienced several mechanics whom I’d wish this fate on, or for whom this is even too good a fate. Maybe this guy was a prince, though.

  • avatar

    My apologies again. I’ll lighten up on the non-industry stuff. May I put in one, for levity’s sake? I promise, it’ll be less morbid.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Keep your chin up, Bertel, and don’t let them get you down. If you try to please everyone you’ll wear yourself out going back and forth, to and fro, in and out. Maybe the car lift story was a bit over the top, but it wasn’t the bottom of the barrel.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Mazda now has “more latitude to develop its strengths, including smaller cars and green vehicles,

    Maybe this means that we’ll see the 2 in North America? They don’t have to worry about stepping on the Fiesta’s toes anymore.

  • avatar

    @50merc: Thank you for the support. If they want nannies, I’ll give them nannies. Today’s WAS will be cooked extra bland. Less work anyway….

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