While America Slept. Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept tuesday february 17th 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.

Hell, no, let us go: On Monday, GM’s European labor leaders called for GM to jettison their Opel/Vauxhall brand. According to Reuters, the unions would prefer an independent Opel/Vauxhall, rather than face what they called “potentially fatal cost-cutting.” A statement on the labor force’s website left no doubt that the long knives were out. “The spin-off of Opel/Vauxhall . . . and the spin-off of (Swedish brand) Saab is the only reasonable and feasible option for General Motors which would not destroy the European operations and its European assets and could avoid lawsuits.” German state and central governments appear to be supportive of the plan.

Daimler down: Daimler’s EBITA dropped from €8.7B in 2007 to €2.7B in 2008. Net profit fell from €4B to €1.4B, das Autohaus says. Surprise! The Boys from Stuttgart predict it will be worse in 2009.

Success Insight: Honda’s ultra fuel-efficient hybrid Insight hatchback has barely been on sale for 10 days and it’s already flying out of the door, the Nikkei [sub] says. More that 10k units have been sold, double the company’s monthly sales goal. Price has something to do with it. The base Insight retails for 1,890,000 yen [approximately $20,500 as of 2/17/09], compared with 2,331,000 yen [approximately $25,300 as of 2/17/09] for the base model of Toyota Prius.

Fewer Japanese cars: The eight Japanese passenger-car manufacturers expect to sell a total of 19.4m vehicles worldwide in the current fiscal year through March 31, down 13 percent from the previous year, the Nikkei [sub] reports. Overseas sales are seen falling 17 percent, while domestic Japanese sales are projected to dip 11 percent to 4.29m.

Honda hao: Honda joins the chorus of automakers reporting good January sales in China. Honda Motor said its sales in China in January rose 16.8 percent to 38,022 units from 32,564 units a year earlier, the Nikkei [sub] says. Sales by Guangzhou Honda Automobile Co., Honda’s 50-50 joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., rose 29.5 percent.

Ho-HUMMER: Sichuan Auto Industry Group Co, a small automaker in southwestern China, has denied a media report that it is in talks to buy General Motors’ HUMMER brand, Gasgoo reports. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Sichuan Auto was considering a $500M bid for GM’s HUMMER line. “It’s a complete rumor. We have never had discussions with GM, nor are we interested in HUMMER,” said an executive of Sichuan Auto. “We have no energy to consider making bids for foreign companies; we’re too busy running our own business,” said an assistant to the general manager of the company.

Changan at the doors: Chang’an Automobile, the Chinese carmaker that has joint ventures in China with Ford, Mazda and Suzuki, has signed an agreement in Mexico with Grupo Hispanoamericano Autopark for the manufacture and marketing of Changan cars in the region, Gasgoo says. Could come in handy for Changan’s bid for Volvo.

Join the conversation
2 of 14 comments
  • TireGuy TireGuy on Feb 17, 2009

    Jared: as far as I understand, the idea of the European Works Council is that Opel/Vauxhall and Saab shall be sold together as one European operation. Saab on its own has near to no chance of survival.

  • Tom Tom on Feb 17, 2009

    Actually, the way I understood it, they don't want Saab to tag along. I guess Saab is gone.

  • Ronin They all will back off, because the consumer demand is not there. Even now the market is being artificially propped up by gov subsidies.
  • Keith Some of us appreciate sharing these finds. Thank you. I always have liked these. It would a fun work car or just to bomb around in. Easy to keep running. Just get an ignition kill switch and you would have no worries leaving it somewhere. Those OEM size wheels and tires are comical. A Juke has bigger wheels!
  • Ollicat I have a Spyder. The belt will last for many years or 60,000-80,000 miles. Not really a worry.
  • Redapple2 Cadillac and racing. Boy those 2 go together dont they? What a joke. Up there with opening a coffee shop in NYC. EvilGM be clowning. Again.
  • Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?