Consolidation

Despite Automaker Profits, It Was Another Rough Year for Suppliers

When the pandemic convinced practically every industry to press pause in 2020, supply chains became so crippled that just getting sectors of commerce rebooted became a challenge in itself. It was the business equivalent of a twenty-car pileup, with the automotive industry being hit particularly hard due to the complexity of its own supply lines. While the following year represented an improvement, production failed to stabilize to pre-pandemic levels.

The solution for automakers and dealerships was to begin demanding more money for cars. With vehicles in short supply, the value of new and used models blew through the roof. This move kept automakers largely in the black for 2021, despite a general inability (or unwillingness) to manufacture products at the normal pace. However, it didn’t help suppliers, who are haven’t been able to tack on the same premiums to individual components while still having to cope with rising economic hurdles.

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2023 Vantas VX SUV and T-Go Coming to the U.S.

The Vantas VX SUV will go on sale in the U.S. in late 2022. HAAH Automotive Holdings and Sicar announced yesterday that they will import Vantas and T-Go vehicles. This is a prelude to HAAH and Shanghai Sicar Automotive Technology manufacturing vehicles stateside. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed their U.S. manufacturing startup.

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QOTD: What New Vehicle Would You Picture Yourself In?

Jan, Toyota’s innocuous ad spokesperson, poses our question of the day (QOTD) to picture yourself in a new Toyota. We’re asking, what new vehicle of any make would you picture yourself in? Assuming, of course, dealers still exist.

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Advance Auto Parts Grows Its Presence in California

Advance Auto Parts announced today that they are leasing the retail space of 109 Pep Boys stores in California, for conversion into Advance Auto Parts stores in the next 9-12 months. The agreement between Advance and Pep Boys, which was signed earlier this month, does not include any Pep Boys Service Centers.

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Cooper Go Goes to Goodyear

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced that they are acquiring Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, strengthening their position in the market, and expanding the number of brands where the rubber meets the road.

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Electronic Arts Outruns Take-Two in Codemasters Race

Electronic Arts said it had reached an agreement to buy Codemasters in a deal worth $1.2 billion, beating rival video games maker Take-Two Interactive Software to the finish line for the British company.

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Need a Loan for a Mitsubishi? Nissan Now Has You Covered in Three Countries

Mitsubishi’s new ownership spells big changes for the automaker’s product future, but the controlling stake recently purchased by Renault-Nissan also means the newly joined automakers will partner on financial services.

As such, buyers in three markets will soon be able to turn to Nissan for a loan on a new Outlander or Mirage. Sorry, Americans — there’s good reason why Mitsubishi’s U.S. financing arm is staying put for now.

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Dueling Development Centers Force GM to Slam the Brakes on Opel Sale

The handover of General Motors’ European operations and creation of a new Opel corporate identity, which was expected later this week, has come to a screeching halt.

As part of the $2.3 billion sale to France’s PSA Group, GM’s longtime German subsidiary will take on the name Opel Automobile GmbH — but not until the two companies clear a big hurdle. It seems the problem comes down to a tale of two development centers: one owned by GM, the other by PSA.

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Subaru's Parent Kills Industrial Division, Plans to Coddle Its Overachieving Child

It was a bombshell decision that Fuji Heavy Industries describes as “extraordinary.”

Subaru’s parent company announced today that its board of directors has decided to eliminate its industrial division to free up resources for its car division. FHI built its empire on small industrial powerplants, spawning a quirky car company in the process, but that car brand is now the corporation’s main focus.

What does the new love mean for Subaru?

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Ghosn: 'Massive' Plans for Mitsubishi-Nissan Alliance in US

Carlos Ghosn, the synergizing executive that Sergio Marchionne only wishes he could be, isn’t mincing words when it comes to Nissan’s plans for fledgling automaker Mitsubishi.

According to the Renault-Nissan top boss, the deal between Nissan and Mitsubishi is “massive.”

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'Good Times' Return for Volkswagen Around 2020, Diess Predicts

After the awkward auto show apologies of the past year, Volkswagen executives are looking forward to a rosy time in the near future after the brand stabilizes itself.

Those “good times” will return, according to global brand chief Herbert Diess, but not before three to four years of rough slogging. In a Bloomberg TV interview from the Paris Auto Show, Diess mulled adding new models to its U.S. lineup.

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Cadillac President Will Pay Dealers to Disappear

If dealership owners spring for a recent offer by the president of Cadillac, expect to see a vastly reduced brand presence in towns and cities across the U.S.

Johan de Nysschen is offering 400 low-volume Cadillac dealers cash to close up shop and walk away, Automotive News reports.

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Auf Wiedersehen: Volkswagen Quietly Kills Sole Hybrid Model

If you’ve long since erased the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid from your memory bank, don’t worry. Buyers forgot about it at the same time, and the automaker is prepared to do the same.

When Volkswagen rolled out a list of changes to its 2017 year vehicles today, the Jetta Hybrid was nowhere to be seen. Instead, the automaker placed a note in its empty chair, reading “Jetta Hybrid no longer available.”

It was an undignified (but not unexpected) end for a very unpopular model — one the automaker doesn’t need weighing it down as it tries to streamline its operations in a bid to save cash.

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Volkswagen's 2025 Plan: Be More Open-Minded, Cut the Fat, and Build 30 Electric Models

Volkswagen Group wants to give its operation a top-to-bottom shakeup, which means ditching the bureaucratic, centralized ways of the past and positioning itself as a lean, nimble player in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Oh, and there will be tons of electric vehicles. Piles and piles of them.

In its announcement of the TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 plan, the automaker came off sounding more like a tech startup, touting a newfound “entrepreneurial mindset and approach” that will bring the company out of the long shadow of the emissions scandal.

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Volkswagen Might Hold a Big Ol' Yard Sale: Report

With its expansion dreams fading fast in the rear-view, Volkswagen needs to shrink and streamline its operations in a hurry, meaning unwanted brands could soon be priced to sell in its driveway.

According to Bloomberg, the automaker plans to conduct a wide-ranging strategy and portfolio review, with details of the strategy expected to go public tomorrow. An asset sale could be in the works, and insiders are already hinting at which brands will be dropped.

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Ghosn on the March: What Does an Alliance Mean for Nissan and Mitsubishi?

Yesterday’s news that Nissan will buy a 34-percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi for $2.2 billion was the latest win for Carlos Ghosn, the man behind the Renault-Nissan Alliance of 1999 and possessor of many fingers in many pies.

Ghosn, CEO of both Nissan and Renault, inked the agreement with Mitsubishi as the other automaker battles a misleading gas-mileage scandal. At a price of 468.52 yen/share, Ghosn’s purchase of new shares was a smoking deal. Mitsubishi shares traded for 1,100 yen just last December.

What becomes of the two companies now? And how will Ghosn’s world-straddling empire benefit by snapping up beleaguered Mitsubishi?

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Taking Names: That's 'Mr.' Subaru Corporation, to You

Subaru’s parent company plans to change its name from Fuji Heavy Industries to, simply, Subaru Corporation. Why? Because #branding, of course.

In an effort to leverage the recognition of its Subaru brand, the transportation giant says the move away from its long-winded company name will help grow Subaru as a distinctive global presence in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Fuji Heavy Industries currently has four divisions: Automobile, Aerospace, Industrial Power Products, and Eco Technology.

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Buick to Axe the Verano, Leave the Compact Sedan Market: Sources

Buick is poised to take the Verano behind the barn and vacate the compact car market in North America, according to sources familiar with the automaker’s plans.

The Verano’s dwindling sales share and the popularity of the automaker’s crossovers and SUVs is behind the decision to phase out the entry-level luxury compact, Automotive News reports.

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Cheap and Green: Volkswagen Wants to Build You a Low-Priced Electric

“Do those non-diesel things, only better,” seems to be Volkswagen’s mantra these days.

The aftermath of the continuing diesel emissions scandal saw the embattled automaker dive deep into cleaner technology, and it now looks like VW wants its name on a relatively cheap electric vehicle, Autocar reports (via Carscoops).

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Volkswagen Isn't Selling Any Brands Just Yet, But It's Still Their 'Plan B'

Rival automakers salivating at the thought of snapping up a castoff from Volkswagen’s brand portfolio will have to sit and wait.

Amid grim fourth-quarter financial data and ongoing expenses linked to the diesel emissions scandal, the company is standing by its assets, but admits they might have to jettison some if unexpected expenses crop up.

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Tuesday Could Shed Light on Marchionne's Master Plan, or Not

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, could shed light on the company’s uncertain future this Tuesday when the company reports earnings. However, as the Detroit Free Press reports, Marchionne may not take the opportunity to clear the air, which would leave employees at FCA plants wondering about their futures for months to come.

The sweatered one has already stated in no uncertain terms that the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart will get the axe. Just when that will happen, and what product will fill freed-up plant capacity and dealer lots, remains a guessing game.

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Come Dance With Me: Fiat-Chrysler Makes Another Pitch for a Partner

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chairman John Elkann, like the company’s sweatered CEO, is making come-hither eyes in the hopes of luring a suitor.

FCA needs a partner to turn its lofty debt pile into capital, so Elkann wants other automakers to know just how thrilled he’d be if they helped FCA save $10 billion a year, he told shareholders of the investment company controlling FCA (via Bloomberg).

The problem, he lamented, is that other automakers are all wrapped up in trying to develop autonomous technology, often with outsider help. Like a wallflower with a heart of gold, FCA feels ignored despite having a lot to offer.

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Office Space: Ford Goes Green With Its 10-Year Plan

Referring to one’s corporate buildings as a campus is en vogue, from Apple’s planned Spaceship HQ to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. Yesterday, Ford Motor Company announced plans to transform its facilities in Dearborn into a green, modern, and high-tech work environment.

The 10-year plan will co-locate over 20,000 employees in the Dearborn area. Ford currently has a hodgepodge of more than 70 disconnected buildings along Oakwood Boulevard, many of which have been around since the Falcon and Galaxie were being sold in showrooms.

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TTAC News Round-up: Volkswagen's Plans Paltry Payout, Sergio Talks up Players, and a NASCAR Driver's Busted
Volkswagen shareholders are wondering if they’ll be receiving a lump of coal in their dividend stocking this year.That, Sergio is seeking a partner (but not those French guys), NASCAR’s Derek White is in trouble north of the border, GM seals the deal with a startup, and no Baby Buick for you … after the break!
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FCA Hands Out Band-Aids, Tourniquetes to Fiat Dealers

Fiat’s American retailers are struggling to bring in buyers as well as pay the cost of their dealerships, but help is on the way from the parents.

On March 9, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pitched a plan to stabilize dealers, offering Fiat stores the opportunity to combine their operations with the Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealers many are adjacent to, Automotive News reports.

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Marchionne to Apple: Pick Me! Pick Me!

It seems Sergio Marchionne may be switching teams when it comes to shacking up with another company to build cars of the future, reports Bloomberg.

At the Geneva International Motor Show, the self-confessed Apple geek said that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be well-suited to contract build a car designed in California.

“I would assume that we have the credibility to be one of the players they have looked at,” Marchionne said in Geneva. “There are parts of us that would be interesting for them.”

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Who Will Build Sergio's Next Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200?

FCA’s sweater-in-chief Sergio Marchionne has a plan to turn around the debt-laden and ailing automaker: stop building cars that lose money. That sounds like common sense, so long as oil prices stay low and the demand for trucks, SUVs and crossovers remains high.

But that plan introduces a new set of problems, chief among them the fact that ditching the car market leaves FCA exceptionally exposed to future volatility in oil prices. Crude prices affect prices at the pump, which affects the demand for certain types of vehicles. Sergio is betting oil prices will stay low by focusing on vehicles with ever-increasing price tags and ever-growing gas tanks.

Still, there will always be some demand for small cars. It was true in 1950 and it is true today. So what will Mr. Sweater do to meet that demand? Simple: he’ll buy those vehicles from another automaker and badge engineer them the old-fashioned way.

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Fiat Chrysler Not Planning Hostile Takeover of General Motors Because of Course They Can't

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles won’t attempt to takeover General Motors anytime soon, FCA chief Sergio Marchionne told investors Thursday according to Reuters.

Speaking following a shareholder meeting, Marchionne said that finding a partner for FCA wasn’t “life or death” for the automaker group. Reportedly, FCA will delay launching several of their cars — including the Alfa Romeo Giulia for six months — as the automaker shores up its $52 billion investment plan.

“We are not choking. We are in relatively decent shape,” Marchionne said.

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As GM Gets Picky About Products, Could Factories Be Next?

General Motors is getting pickier about where it does business and the products it sells. Could that also translate to where it will build its products in the future?

In a recent piece from Automotive News’ Mike Colias, the trade publication paints a bleak picture for one of General Motors’ longest running nameplates. The subject was Impala and the question was whether the car named after an African antelope, while well received by the automotive press, could survive the guillotine in a market that increasingly prefers crossovers and SUVs over sedans.

“We have a broad portfolio. But how are we going to look at what are the right vehicles to put in the marketplace? We’ll look at what makes sense and what will generate a return,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra told Automotive News earlier this month.

Naturally, Colias brought up Impala, and the reply stopped short of commitment to the car and the segment.

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Sergio Marchionne Hasn't Forgotten About GM, You Guys

Speaking at the Formula One Italian Grand Prix this weekend, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne told Reuters that a merger with General Motors was at the top of his list.

“That discussion remains a high priority for FCA,” Marchionne told Reuters. “We consider it to be the best possible strategic alternative for us and for them. General Motors does remain the ideal partner for us and we represent a not easily replaceable alternative for them.”

(Emphasis mine. But what are the other “strategic alternatives?”)

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The Biggest Car Interior Makers Are Now Companies We've Never Heard Of

On Monday, Magna International completed its sale of its interior business to Grupo Antolin, a Spanish firm that’s relatively unknown outside of Spain.

That’s on top of Johnson Control International getting out of the interior business, along with other automakers and suppliers, as John McElroy pointed out in a well-written column for Autoblog.

Magna’s sale underscores the fact that the car-making business — and especially their interiors — isn’t exactly lucrative for most suppliers.

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Marchionne Calls For GM Takeover Just Short of Hostile

We have to hand it to Larry P. Vellequette at Automotive News for getting FCA’s Don Marchionne riled up. In addition to getting Sergio talking yesterday about automakers having a history of bending the unions over, the outspoken executive has now called for a General Motors takeover via a series of hugs increasing in their intensity each time.

“There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you,” said Marchionne to Vellequette. “Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact.”

And no, that’s not even the best part.

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Lutz: GM-Chrysler Merger Makes Sense

My goodness, when isn’t former General Motors exec Bob Lutz just the best? The former GM chief recently appeared on an Automotive News panel and boy that guy has vision and the rest of us have bifocals.

Car and Driver correctly points out that Lutz makes good points regarding a merger between GM and Chrysler, but the sage’s wisdom doesn’t stop at the following quote:

“The knowledge that one is to be hanged in the morning focuses the mind wonderfully.”

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Spyker Emerges From Bankruptcy Charged With Enthusiasm

Spyker — the former Saab owner, F1 contender, and builder of aircraft-inspired supercars — has emerged from moratorium and plans to merge with Portland, Oregon electric aircraft manufacturer Volta Volare, said the company in a release on Thursday.

As part of Spyker’s future plans, electrification seems to be the common theme, whether it be for airplanes or automobiles. Now silver-tongued Skyper CEO, Victor Muller, only needs to find an electric train company to complete the set for a modern movie remake.

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GM to Develop Global Car With China-based SAIC Motors

General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement.

The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker expects the line to eventually produce roughly 2 million cars annually.

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Magna Completes $1.9B Acquisition of Transmission-maker Getrag

Supplier and sometimes-assembler Magna International will buy German transmission-maker Getrag for roughly $1.9 billion, the Detroit News is reporting.

The deal would firmly plant Canadian-based Magna International as the world’s second-largest parts supplier behind Robert Bosch GmbH and ahead of ZF, which recently purchased TRW Automotive for $12.4 billion earlier this year.

“The trend among the suppliers is that we now have to be bigger as the auto makers go to us to do more for them,” Magna Chief Executive Don Walker told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

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Ferrari Filing 'Days Away' Says FCA Boss Marchionne

Speaking to reporters in Toronto on Friday, Fiat Chrysler Automobile chief Sergio Marchionne said the official filing to spin off Ferrari could happen within the next few days.

“We are days away from filing the prospectus,” Marchionne said, according to the Detroit News.

The future standalone supercar maker will make available 10 percent of the company through its initial public offering, which is widely expected in October. The remainder of the company will be held by Fiat investors and Enzo Ferrari’s son, Piero Lardi Ferrari, who is vice chairman of the company.

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Jeep Points to Map of India, Says Let's Print More Money Here

More and more automakers are looking at exotic locales to produce their wares (us Canadians can consider Mexico exotic thanks to its ice-free beaches) as they expand their brands and explore in-roads to untapped markets.

For Jeep, that means investing in a shared money-printing press with an unlikely partner: Tata, the parent company of Land Rover. FCA will put $280 million USD into joint venture Fiat India Automobiles Private Limited which, since 2007, has solely produced Fiat models.

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Marchionne Not Yet Ready For GM, Fields Not Interested In Any Merger

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says he’s not ready to court General Motors’ shareholders for a merger, while Ford’s Mark Fields prefers no mergers at all.

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General Motors, FCA Recruit Advisors Amid Merger Standoff

The Lifetime movie starring FCA has reached the “dangerous stalker” phase, as the automaker and General Motors recruit advisors amid a merger standoff.

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Toyota, Ford Show No Interest In Heading Down The Aisle With FCA

When General Motors ultimately rebuffs FCA’s attempts to put a ring on it, Toyota or Ford could be the one true love, right? Not so fast.

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Marchionne Planning Shotgun Wedding For FCA With General Motors

How desperate has FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne become about marrying off his company? He’s asking activist investors to prod General Motors to the chapel.

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Bloomberg: Subaru "has to Decide What Kind of Company It Wants to Be"

Subaru has a problem, though it’s a problem many other automakers would love to have. The small Japanese automaker is growing at a rapid rate and it’s fully expected to run out of capacity to fulfill demand sooner rather than later. Most automakers would simply expand and flood the market with more units to feed the sales rush, but for Subaru it might mean becoming the opposite of the market position and perception they’ve taken years to cultivate.

As Bloomberg‘s Kyle Stock puts it, “Being small, though, is the reason Subaru has become such a big deal. With manufacturing capacity maxed out, it now has to decide what kind of company it wants to be.”

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FCA Delaying Dozen Model Introductions, Redesigns Across Product Range

Suppliers close to FCA and its plans say production for a dozen new and redesigned models have been delayed, including key Jeep and Ram offerings.

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Elkann: Marchionne Emailed Barra, Others About Consolidation
Marchionne Hearing Wedding Bells By 2018, No Marriage With Opel

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne believes consolidation will occur as early as 2018. Meanwhile, Opel won’t be taking FCA’s hand in marriage.

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Marchionne May Marry FCA To Apple, Google If No Automaker Will

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s search for a consolidation partner may take him to Silicon Valley if the automakers won’t give him the time of day.

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Marchionne Makes Case For Consolidation With 25-Page PowerPoint

Not one to give up on corporate marriage, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne posted a merger thesis on his company’s website prior to FCA’s Q1 2015 earnings call.

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German Automakers Rally In Support of US-EU Trade Agreement

Leaders from Germany’s automotive sector held a rally Wednesday in Berlin to lend support to a transatlantic trade agreement heavily facing opposition.

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Marchionne: New No. 1 Manufacturer Could Arise From Mergers

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne — who will be retiring from the company after the next five-year plan runs its course after 2018 — believes mergers between automakers will one day result in a new No. 1 automaker.

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Buffett Enters Dealership Business With Van Tuyl Group Purchase

Warren Buffett — no relation to Jimmy — is a lot of things: investor extraordinaire, railroad magnate, newspaper mogul, hip-hop enthusiast et al. As of last Thursday, however, he picked up a new title: master auto dealer.

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Volvo Restructuring To Three Families, Configurations By 2019

By 2019, the face of Volvo will change as the Sino-Swedish automaker begins restructuring its offerings, with the new XC90 leading the way.

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Fiat Sets Date Of Shareholder Meeting For August 1

Own any shares in Fiat S.p.A.? The automaker just announced it will hold its next general assembly of all shareholders August 1, where the topic of discussion will be the approval of the merger of Fiat with Chrysler Group to become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

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Endless GM Recall Parade Sign Of Industry-Wide Action To Come

Detroit Free Press posits the endless recall parade General Motors has been leading since late February 2014 may be doing more harm than good for public perception or its bottom line. Though spokesman Greg Martin claimed the recalls were an effort to make his employer “a first-class safety organization” by focusing hard upon the consumer, a survey by AutoTrader found 51 percent of auto consumers were less confident in the industry’s overall safety record as a result of the actions by GM, up from 44 percent who thought the same five days’ earlier. In addition, the automaker will take a $400 million charge in Q2 2014 for the recalls since April 1 as of this writing, while its current stock price of $33.07 per share is a few cents above its IPO price from November 2010.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' London Headquarters To Focus On Corporate Finance

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ new headquarters in London, England will be as small as many Silicon Valley startups, with a staff of 50 mostly focused on finance.

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Japanese Automakers Form Alliance To Develop Next-Gen Fuel-Efficient Engines
Analysis: Toyota Could Bring $7.2 Billion To Texas Over Next Decade

Toyota’s big move from California to Texas may also bring a big return for Plano, Texas over the next decade, to the tune of $7.2 billion of economic activity.

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Walmart Unveils Online One-Stop Auto Insurance Venture

Walmart is the home of low prices on many, many things, from clothes and groceries, to televisions and tires. The retailer also offers a number of financial services, such as prepaid debit cards and money transfers. And of course, they’re even experimenting with heavy-duty truck design for better fuel economy.

As of this week, though, Walmart shoppers can add one more item to their list: Auto insurance.

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AutoNation Parts Ways With Third-Party Lead Providers, Pursues Own Online Project

In its pursuit of establishing an online store where shoppers can do (almost) everything related to the car-buying experience, AutoNation Inc. announced last week it would no longer use third-party lead providers, focusing instead on its own online plans.

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Cadillac Flagship, Redesigned LaCrosse To Be Made In Detroit By 2016

In light of General Motors’ recent announcement of a $384 million investment in its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, two vehicles from Cadillac and Buick could wind up being produced alongside the next-generation Volt.

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  • Fred There is also a case going before the SCOTUS https://www.levernews.com/scotus-is-considering-a-deregulation-bomb/ It's about a convenience store challenging debt card fees. But it could be used to restrict government agencies from regulating industry. Warning, this is a liberal site that some may find difficult to believe
  • Vatchy And how is the government going to recoup the losses from gas taxes and EV incentives? They are going to find another way to tax us. Maybe by attaching a GPS device to every car and charging by the mile.
  • Kwik_Shift And the so-called GND / TGR experts were so sure of themselves.
  • Verbal It seems there is an increasing number of cases where the factories send out software updates to fix their products in the customer fleet. Either their software engineers don't know what they're doing, or the factories are using their customers as beta testers, or both.
  • Kwik_Shift "But wait...there's more!"