By on February 14, 2009

An 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. WAS is being filed from Beijing until further notice.

Sweden to GM: “Take a hike”: GM is asking Sweden to guarantee $600 million in European Investment Bank loans to keep the Saab Automobile unit operating until it can be restructured. All they got from Sweden was a firm nej, inte alls. (Forgetaboutit.) Sweden’s Premier, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said that “GM has to bear the responsibility,” Automobilwoche [sub] reports. Some insiders see the mounting unwillingness of foreign governments to help US automakers as a backlash against the “buy American” campaign. Non-,conspiracy-bound observers point out that the Swedish government is hoping that both GM and Ford will be successful in unloading their respective Swedish brands. Sweden wants to add extra incentive to move fast by removing any additional life support.

Chery / Volvo still in play: Usually, on the second day after a dalliance between a Chinese manufacturer and a Detroit brand is floated, a denial follows like clockwork. Instead, Chery-owned Gasgoo today runs a new story reiterating a possible bid by China’s Chery for Volvo, a brand which Ford is desperately seeking to unload. The story itself provides no new insight, but the added traffic is relevant from a SIGINT perspective.

It’s a crimson-red bloodbath: More than 460, or nearly 30 percent of publicly traded Japanese companies, are expected to report group net losses in the year ending March 31, the Nikkei [sub] reports. The bloodletting is especially severe in the automobile sector, where profits through the third quarter have been wiped out by bigger and bigger losses in the last quarter of fiscal 2008.

Cheap plastic alert: Leading chemical producer Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. will by April drop its pricing policy for plastics used in car parts in favor of one that halves the time lag for reflecting market prices of the key material naphtha, the Nikkei [sub] says. More than 200 automakers (OMG, there are still 200 alive?) and other manufacturers have agreed to the switch. Subsidiary Japan Polypropylene Corp. will be responsible for sales and pricing under the new strategy.

El bailout, ole! The Spanish auto industry, one of the hardest hit of Europe, will receive €4.1b in help from their government. The money is earmarked for automakers and parts manufacturers, Automobilwoche [sub] says.

Porsche testdriver crashes: A Porsche factory testdriver crashed his 911 Cabrio on the autobahn near Darmstadt, Germany, at high speed, and died, Der Spiegel reports. His colleague, following in a Panamera, barely avoided similar fate. The perished Porsche driver had 25 years of experience.

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6 Comments on “While America Slept. Saturday, February 14th 2009...”


  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Looking at the picture in the Spiegel link, what I don’t understand is how the Porsche managed to slide under the guard rail.

  • avatar
    like.a.kite

    Martin: looks like the A-pillars just couldn’t take it. Perhaps it would not have been so bad if it weren’t a convertible.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Guess that’s why the term Sensible Swede entered the language.

  • avatar
    Luther

    The A5 south of Frankfurt was a perfectly fine road until they dug up the cement and put down asphalt…Then came huge ruts that made traveling downright dangerous as the road “steered” your car for you…Is it still that way? It was an accident waiting to happen there so I would always use A67 instead.

  • avatar
    the duke

    “More than 200 automakers (OMG, there are still 200 alive?) and other manufacturers have agreed to the switch.”

    I believe the proper reading of this is that more than 200 companies, both automakers and manufacturers (read: suppliers, aka Tier 1, Tier 2, etc.) have agreed to the change in pricing. Not that there are 200 automakers.

    I must say, this is a smooth move on Mitsubishi plastics part. Agree to slash prices quicker now, when automakers are hurting, and of course they agree. But when the market eventually swings up, and prices go up, Mitsubishi gets to increase prices quicker than they did in the past – so they eat less costs then they used to. Lower costs quicker now also means easier sales for them now. Its a win-win for them.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    GM should just kill Saab then. We know the brand is unimportant to Americans and if the Swedes don’t care, then, well, who cares? Seems like a no brainer to me.

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