By on December 13, 2008

A short overview of what happened in other parts of the world while you were in bed. TTAC provides round-the-clock coverage of everything that has wheels. Or has its wheels coming off.

Canada ready to help – if U.S. goes first: Canada’s industry minister Clement said that the Canadian government has agreed to provide aid to automakers – as soon as the U.S. government approves a rescue package, says Reuters. The amount of money Canada is proposing is based the country’s 20 percent share of the auto industry. The more the U.S. shakes loose, the more Canada’s 20 percent share will amount to.

Japanese strength hurts Japan: Japan’s automakers will lose $2.2b in profits in the current fiscal year if the yen remains at current high levels against the dollar, the Nikkei (sub) reports. Toyota’s full-year operating profit falls by $450m for every 1-yen decrease in the value of the dollar. Most automakers have an exchange rate of 100 yen to the dollar in their budgets. If the yen stays stronger than planned, it’ll mean itai-itai (major pain) for their books. The Japanese fiscal year usually ends in March. Markets have a perverse way of regulating themselves. And governments have a tendency towards tinkering with the market when they see fit. Some, amongst them the Financial Times, expect an engineered drop of the Yen before March.

Japanese unions want more: Toyota Motor Workers’ Union is unimpressed by the plight of the company, and is expected to demand steep pay increase in the upcoming spring wage negotiations, the Nikkei (sub) learned. That would be the fourth annual pay increase in a row. In tune with the current discussions, the union argues that the increase would “boost domestic demand” in addition to maintaining living standards.

Japanese makers make less: Mazda will lower Japanese production by more than 100,000 in the fiscal year ending in March, on top already planned reductions of 73,000, the Nikkei (sub) reports. Nissan plans to cut domestic output by another 72,000 units. Fuji Heavy Industries will make a follow-up reduction of 40,000 vehicles. Japanese automakers are expected to reduce output for the current fiscal year decline by about 1 million units in Japan and around 2 million units worldwide.

Nissan sees growth in China: Meanwhile in China, Nissan forecasts 2009 sales 12 to15 percent higher than in 2008, Gasgoo says. Toshiaki Otani, general manager of Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Co., thinks that China will be less influenced by the international economic crisis, compared with the US, Japan, and Europe. Dongfeng has been repeatedly named as being in talks with GM to take over some “assets” and with Ford, to take over Volvo.

Volkswagen stops walk on water, sinks 16.5 percent in November: VeeDub’s vaccine against the motor malaise must have lost its efficacy. Most of the year, VW issued reports and forecasts along the lines of “what, me worry?” Now, the bad news: VW’s worldwide sales tanked 16.5 percent in November, Automobilwoche (sub) reports. Only consolation: For the first eleven months, VW still had a growth of a little less than a percent. With a little luck, VW will end the year where they were last year. 2009 will be tough.

Opel thinks about taking Dudenhöffer to court: Watch out, Robert Farago. Opel has given its in-house legal eagles a launch order, das Autohaus writes. Their task: Look into legal steps against motor-mouth Professor Dudenhöffer. He prognosticated that GM would go bankrupt at year’s end if no bail-out is forthcoming, and that Opel would follow “latest half a year later.” We’d say that’s one of the more reasonable assumptions of the fast-talking professor, but Opel and their workers want to put a legal sock in his mouth. In related news, the German government has indicated that they are willing to help Opel. All Opel has to do is come to Berlin, say “pretty please,” and ask. And possibly make some disclosures and warranties they are not ready to come up with.

No witty remarks necessary, leave it to the Financial Times: “Forget about the Big Three. The real bail-out – in Italy, anyway – is taking place in that other great engine of economic activity: cheese. Producers of parmigiano in the Emilia-Romagna region smell the pungent whiff of trouble. With many selling their cheese at below cost, parmigiano makers are facing the prospect of going out of business – some are even using their cheese as collateral against bank loans they are using to pay for workers’ salaries. Now Luca Zaia, the big cheese for agriculture in the Italian government, has intervened, announcing a €50m bail-out for the celebrated formaggio.”

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9 Comments on “While America Slept. Saturday, December 13, 2008...”

  • avatar
    Robert Frankfurter

    And there more wheels coming off
    – besides the Bernard L. Madoff bombshell:

    “Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion (Update2)”

    Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

    It would be really interesting to know who is currently bailed out behind closed doors, why and why…

    Fine that Bloomberg filed a suit in that case

  • avatar

    Clarification please: The Canadian government is reportedly offering $3.3 billion, which is approximately 20% of the $17 billion initially proposed in the U.S., however there is no suggestion that it will match 20% of anything “the U.S. shakes loose”. Does TTAC know something I don’t?

    Unscientific online polls in Canada reveal that the bailout is only slightly more popular than pulling out one’s nose hairs with vice-grips, so our Conservative government will likely keep the purse strings on the tight side.

  • avatar

    Toyota’s union is about as short-sighted and dumb as our unions. The next [email protected]

  • avatar

    @don1967: According to Reuters, “Clement said the amount of money Canada and Ontario are proposing is based on the country’s 20 percent share of the auto industry. Based on the $14 billion U.S. proposal, that would amount to $2.8 billion or about C$3.5 billion.”

  • avatar

    “many selling their cheese at below cost”

    Well, that’s the problem right there–excessive discounting. The Italian authorities need to investigate and find out who cut the cheese.

  • avatar

    50merc: brilliant.

  • avatar

    I prefer “Loccatelli Romano” on my pasta anyway. Plus the “Reggiano Parmasean” in my opinion has always been overpriced here in the US.

    One of the reasons that Reggiano got so popular here is because over the last 10 years or so it was constantly being hawked and promoted by the popular Food Network chefs. It became “trendy” to have “Reggiano” on your table, especially if you had guests even though it is $15.00/lb. There are plenty of very good grating cheeses out there that cost half that.

    Good economy = Reggiano = Trendy

    Good economy = SUVs = Trendy

  • avatar

    Italy … ‘Who SAVED my cheese?’

    Who will save Toyota’s exchange-rate itai-itai cheese?

    Weekend at Bernie’s: Bernie Madoff would be the perfect party host, except for one thing: he’s a scammer. Other than that, we cool. Or not.

  • avatar

    I’m wondering……

    Was this problem brought about by “Big Cheese”, or is it the result of the “Little Cheeses” wanting too much money?

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