While America Slept. Wednesday, March 4th 2009

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept wednesday march 4th 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. This column will be filed from Berlin until further notice – if & when time allows.

Forster plays the—usual—jobs card: Opel will have to slim down its workforce, says GM Europe chief Carl-Peter Forster, “hopefully not more than 3,500 jobs.” That according to Automobilwoche [sub]. How many and where exactly is unclear—and will depend on how much money which government will fork over. Forster said in Geneva that Opel has surplus capacities of 30 percent.

Sumimasen, can you spare some billions? Japanese automakers are keeping up with the Joneses, or make that Tanakas: Japanese automakers are turning to government lending to secure operational funds, the Nikkei [sub] writes. Honda is considering borrowing from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Toyota is negotiating a five-year loan of about 200 billion yen, also from JBIC. Mitsubishi Motors has applied for a low-interest loan from the Development Bank of Japan. Honda intends to seek tens of billions of yen in dollar-denominated loans from JBIC for its US financing arm, American Honda Finance Corp. The carmaker aims to build up more cash for auto loans and leases. Toyota Financial Services Corp. has also approached JBIC to procure funds for its US financing unit, Toyota Motor Credit Corp. Nissan is double dipping—at the very least. They applied for a roughly 50 billion yen loan with the DBJ as well as a low-interest loan from the US government. It is also considering tapping JBIC loans.

Nissan sets targets lower: Nissan has set its global auto production target for April-September at roughly 1.29 million units, down 27 percent from a year earlier and the lowest level in eight years, the Nikkei [sub] learned. Nissan did not reveal plans for the second half of fiscal 2009. And then the moment of Zen: “Anticipating a tough year, Nissan has urged autoparts makers to cut funds outflows and ensure that they have sufficient funds.”

EU Nano next year: India’s Tata will roll out its low-price Nano car in Europe as early as 2010, the Indian firm announced at the Geneva Motor Show. The Nano will be released in India later this month at a price of about 100,000 rupees (around 200,000 yen) the Nikkei [sub] writes. The Nano Europe will also be made in low-cost India, but is expected to be priced a bit higher. Even so, it will likely be the cheapest car on the European market. The Nano’s higher European price will be partly due to meeting local safety standards, and partly due to such differences as its three-cylinder 1,000cc engine. The Indian model will have a two-cylinder 630cc engine.

The return of Renault: Renault, one of the few larger brands without a Chinese presence, will restart its auto import strategy to the Middle Kingdom. They will do so with the mid-sized Laguna, Gasgoo reports. Renault is scheduled to bring to China 14 auto types in the coming three years.

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  • Wsn Wsn on Mar 04, 2009
    BDB said: Do you believe government loans are “socialism”? After all Toyota and Nissan can’t get loans from normal commercial banks right now in the “free market”. I believe it's wrong. But I don't know if "socialism" is the right word. It has so many meanings in different context. More importantly, I believe this whole government-bank mess started when the Federal Reserve was created. It has always been the same game. Just that recent developments are more dramatic and more revealing to the public.

  • Kurt. Kurt. on Mar 05, 2009

    Yes, government loans are SOCIALISM. The question is "Is it bad?" One would say that providing a LOAN when times are tough is humaine. However, if you are going to loan someone elses money, you better have a strong belief that you will get that money back in return. Otherwise it will have to come out of your pocket. The 2 American companies have no intention of paying back the loans. If they sold everything in a fire sale (chapter 7), they couldn't pay back the loans provided by the US government, not to mention all the other loans and bonds (basically just another type of loan) that have priority above it. The companies in Japan are requesting short term loans just to preserve capital. I really do feel for the employees of these companies and all their suppliers. It's a bitch what Detroit has has to endure. However, just because GM and Chrysler couldn't get it right, doesn't mean the tax payers should loan them 330 times the value of the company. I am of the belief that when/if GM and Chrysler finalyy do go down, someone new will step in and pick up the slack. That could be the reason for the foriegn brands to get loans...be prepared to pick up the slack. The employees of GM and Chrysler should be dusting off and polishing their resumes...

  • Johnny ringo It's an interesting vehicle, I'd like to see VW offer the two row Buzz in the states also.
  • Chuck Norton And guys are having wide spread issues with the 10 speed transmission with the HP numbers out of the factory......
  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!