While America Slept. Wednesday, November 26, 2008

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!

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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.

  • Kip65688146 "Everyone is worried about the public stations, but why don't we focus on the low hanging fruit: home charging? "BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.............This guy gets it!I'll add current battery tech means EV's in their current state are not replacements for ICE Cars & trucks but make a good argument as 2rd or 3rd vehicles in mulit-car households which is hardly a niche market.
  • 2ACL Looking forward to the next part. I didn't like the first generation, but the second-generation was on my radar; I like the low-key, yet elegant styling, and the automotive media raved that the road-handling was significantly cleaned up from its nautical predecessor's. I'd still consider one if a replacement event unexpectedly befell my TL, but developments since have made that something of a long shot.
  • Deanst “Switching to EVs will be end of the Dodge brand. Nobody wants EVs.”Tesla, a brand which only sells EVs, is the number 1 luxury vehicle seller in America. But do go on…….
  • Randall Tefft Sundeen Oldsmobile was ALWAYS my favorite GM marque ! I remember as a kid you couldn't walk down the street without tripping on one! In 1977 and 1984 respectively olds sold. Million units, GM's second biggest seller as well as being the test brand for new options (Why take a risk with Cadillac?) The first CLUTCHLESS MANUAL , the first ELECTRIC POWER WINDOWS the first AUTOMATIC not to mention in 1974 the first airbag. Iam fortunate enough to live in a warm climate where old cars are plentiful sadly very few Oldsmobiles. Many features we take for granted were developed by this special brand
  • Conundrum Some parts of the US are in a bad way due to drought and climate change as well, but Posky manages to avoid mentioning Lake Meade, Musk going bananas over no water for his Nevada gigafactory, a few wildfires and floods here and there. No let's have a chuckle over China's experience instead, and chuck in the name Toyota in the headline as a draw. Musk is demanding China ensures his Shanghai factory gets plent 'o power, because that's what spoilt billionaires do. Me, me, me first. Doesn't work when everyone's gasping for breath.Kind of seems to me that avoiding the obvious is the American way. Let's burn some more coal and make things much better! Yeah!Meanwhile, apparently whoever runs this website on a technical basis needs to go back to training school.meanwhileThe way this site "operates", which it mainly doesn't, is a complete farce!Let's have an opinionated article on that.