While America Slept. Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept wednesday november 26 2008
Better go back to bed. It’s safer in there. Lot’s of bad news awaiting you. 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. Are you really ready for this? Then read on.

Porsche: We told you so. Autohaus somehow got ahold of Wendelin Wiedeking’s notes for today’s “Bilanzpressekonferenz.” And as predicted, Wiedeking will say that Porsche will take it easy with VW’s takeover. They won’t even go for 50 percent yet. “Given the current economic circumstances, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will reach that target in the current calendar year.” More as it develops. There still is (faint) hope. What does it say on the manuscript? “Es gilt das gesprochene Wort.” (Check against delivery.) Always a good idea in the car business.

Nipponese go-slows: Mazda will suspend operations at Hofu No. 1 and No. 2 plants in Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan on Dec. 25 and 26. Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to slash production 20 percent at its French factory from January through March, following similar moves in the U.S., Britain and Turkey. Suzuki will increase its production capacity for scooters and motorcycles in India by 47 percent to meet rising demand. Mitsubishi will build forklifts in China. All sources Nikkei (sub).

Limeys go for the green: The U.K. auto industry (what U.K. auto industry?) welcomes the government’s attempts to boost consumer spending by reducing a sales tax, but says it needs urgent help to overcome the cash flow problems created by the credit crunch. The society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders will meet Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson Thursday for an intensive begging session, CNN reports. You think that’s bad? Try Spain ….

Spain in pain: If you think there is a car crisis in the U.S., head on over to Spain. In October, sales dropped by 40 percent. Sales for the year are expected to drop by more than 25 percent. Definitely much worse than in the rest of Europe, where sales dropped by 14.5 percent in October. So …. the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Commerce, Miguel Sebastián met with representatives from the car manufacturing sector. His advice: get help from the European Investment Bank. More dire news in News From Spain.

Volkswagen develops malaise vaccine: They must have a secret antidote in their beer in Wolfsburg. One by one (Seat excluded) VW reports rosy numbers. Last: VW’s Czech unit Skoda Auto. They guide this year’s expected sales level to 690,000 cars, up from 630,000 in 2007. This according to Skoda board member Holger Kintscher, who talked to Reuters. Next: VW to walk on water.

Electro-Smart on the waiting list: Daimler’s all electric Smart won’t hit the showrooms until 2012, probably later, “industry sources” told Reuters. The same source figures that the E-type will cost twice as much as the ICE model, and that’s after expected government incentives. A dose of reality for the electric fantasy-ville.

ToMoCo downgraded: The Fitch rating agency took the sheen off Toyota’s platinum-plated credit rating, says a devasted Bloomberg. Fitch took Toyota down two notches from AAA to AA (with a negative outlook.) Your money in Toyota is now seen as safe as in the Columbus City School District, or in Sarasota County. More shoes to drop: Both Moody’s and S&P still have ToMoCo at triple-A. Bloomberg’s consolation: “The company is still valued at 18 times GM and Ford Motor Co. combined.”

Chrysler’s Chery goes pop: Chrysler wanted China’s Chery to build a small car. According to Gasgoo, that deal is on ice indefinitely, or until both makers “sort out their individual financial futures,” whatever comes last. Gasgoo cites a former Chery executive who said: “I wouldn’t place much hope on it… both companies have their own problems to deal with, and both have run out of money.” Hmmm …. Gasgoo is “ financed by Chery Automobile Co.” Unusually candid for China.

BYD’s hybrid approved: BYD’s hybrid F3DM has received government approval and will go on sale, Beijing Times says via Gasgoo. The Beijing Times got it straight from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) – the state regulator of China’s auto industry. BYD says the F3DM will have a 109 km all-electric range. Once the juice runs out, a 1 liter gasoline engine will kick in and re-charge the batteries. DM stands for Dual Mode. The entire DM system was developed in-house by BYD, a major global manufacturer of batteries. That helps.

Numbers to watch today: A full day of disastrous economic data starts with a barometer for industrial confidence (or the utter lack thereof), followed by (the name says it all) disposable income data. Growth is expected in weekly jobless claims. According to Bloomberg, former consumers are on a spending strike. Equip yourself with Maalox, or single malts and watch. Speaking of spirits …

Ethanol glut in Russia: The global financial crisis has gotten so bad that Russians are cutting back. On vodka. According to Reuters, “stockpiles of Russia’s national drink were six times higher at the start of the month than the same time a year ago because factories are producing vodka faster than they can sell it.” Someone go there and explain the E85 boondoggle to the Russians. Don’t drink, drive!

Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • No_slushbox No_slushbox on Nov 26, 2008

    Who knew Morgan has so much lobbying clout.

  • IDANECK IDANECK on Nov 26, 2008

    I believe Mazda is suspending production at the plants where the 3 is produced...this is for a product changeover. Markets are going to shit, auto industry is going to shit...glad I'm a cheap bastard with two reliable cars (although I hope my Volvo mechanic stays in business) and 40 years until retirement.

  • 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
  • Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs
  • Sid SB Not seen a Core without the performance pack yet. Prefer the more understated look of the Core vs the Circuit, but both are great fun to drive.