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Found 6 results

  1. http://www.autoblog.com/2009/12/11/report-detroit-three-call-japans-cash-for-clunkers-program-unf/ http://www.autoblog.com/2010/01/07/report-obama-urged-to-push-japan-to-open-its-cash-for-clunkers/ Protectionism in full swing once again in Japan. Why should their cars be eligible for cash for clunkers in the US, if American cars are not there. That is not free trade. Hopefully President Obama puts an end to this nonsense.
  2. Luxury automakers smash August sales records in Canada By Nicolas Van Praet, Financial PostSeptember 6, 2009 When auto executives gathered at Pebble Beach in Carmel, Calif. this month to show off a bevy of new luxury car models, the mood was decidedly more downbeat than in previous years. Managers for Lamborghini and Lincoln decried the state of sales for their high-end cars, arguing that their well-heeled American buyers are fearful of flaunting their money with lavish purchases at a time when the United States is still gripped in financial scandals and climbing unemployment. “Keeping up with the Joneses is passé,” lamented Ford Motor Co.’s Mark Fields. Somebody forgot to tell that to Canadians. Amid the worst job market in 15 years, several luxury automakers smashed August sales records in Canada. Mercedes-Benz reported a 20% increase in sales and has sold 2,318 more vehicles this year than last. BMW and Lexus are also besting last year’s tally with double-digit percentage increases last month. Audi nearly doubled its sales in August over a year ago, and has sold 27% more vehicles this year. The country is in a recession and yet the luxury market is holding up. Meanwhile, sales of the most affordable vehicles, subcompacts, are down 26% through the first eight months. “It’s totally counter-intuitive,” said John White, chief executive of Volkswagen Group Canada, Inc., which comprises the Volkswagen and Audi brands. “It’s taken us a little bit by surprise. And the Audi division has had to turn around and ask [headquarters] for more cars because we didn’t think the demand would be as strong in a down market.” Mr. White’s read on the situation is that Canadians who believe they are secure in their jobs are pulling the trigger on buying middle-of-the-road luxury vehicles like the A4 sedan and BMW 3-Series, not the higher-end models. He said the luxury segment has become hyper-competitive as BMW and Mercedes “are out there as aggressive as you’ll see mainstream competitors,” offering deals that were unthinkable only a few years ago and making it easier for buyers to step into premium cars. Mercedes is offering lease deals such as $398 per month on its 2010 C250 car, based on an interest rate of 4.9% for 36 months. That’s on par with a similarly-equipped Honda Accord or Mazda6, according to the Automobile Protection Association. Roughly 40% of luxury vehicle sales transactions in Canada are leases, according to J.D. Power & Associates’ Power Information Network. One third of people pay cash while the rest take out a loan. Sales growth is particularly strong in one sub-segment of the premium market: compact luxury SUVs. Volvo, Mercedes and Audi have launched new vehicles into that category this year, which has helped boost sales volumes 66% over 2008 levels, said industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers. “We’re still a society that needs to carry stuff,” said J.D. Power analyst Geoff Helby in explaining why SUV models like the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5 are clicking with buyers. “[People] are stepping away from the previous generation of minivans and big honking SUVs and they’re going into something smaller” without giving up luxury features. In the mind of the Canadian luxury buyer, downsizing is the compromise they’re making in the recession, Mr. Helby said. Mary Weil is proof. The media relations professional and her husband started looking around for a new vehicle earlier this year after the lease on a larger sports utility vehicle he drove expired, she recalls. They decided on a Mercedes GLK compact SUV. “The price point was surprisingly not that much higher than comparable vehicles.” In a Jan.15 analysis, Mr. DesRosiers predicted the luxury market in Canada overall will drop 5% this year. Automakers sold 131,436 luxury vehicles in 2008, a 3% decline over the year before. Financial Post [email protected]
  3. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Honda+expands+recall+more+Toyotas+probed/2545016/story.html#ixzz0fArsGWkh Hmm....
  4. Bush offers $17.4B to automakers Ford tells White House it doesn't need bailout loan Last Updated: Friday, December 19, 2008 | 12:14 PM ET CBC News U.S. President George W. Bush pauses during a statement on the auto industry at the White House on Friday in Washington. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press) Calling it the "more responsible option," U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday dipped into the massive financial bailout package to offer $17.4 billion US in short-term loans to automakers. "If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers," he said during a news conference at the White House. "Under ordinary circumstances, I would say this is the price that failed companies must pay. These are not ordinary circumstances." U.S. stocks rose in trading on Friday after the president's announcement. U.S. president-elect Barack Obama praised the announcement. "Today's actions are a necessary step to help avoid a collapse in our auto industry that would have devastating consequences for our economy and workers," he said. "With the short-term assistance provided by this package, the auto companies must bring all their stakeholders together — including labour, dealers, creditors and suppliers — to make the hard choices necessary to achieve long-term viability." TARP loans The loans will come from the $700-billion financial market rescue package approved by Congress in October, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The loans will be handed out in December and January, but will be recalled if the companies are not viable by March 31, 2009. GM CEO Rick Wagoner told reporters in Detroit that he doesn't think the March deadline is impossible. "What we need to do is show we can get that stuff done on the required timeframe, and then on the basis of that we will develop future projections for the company, and I'm highly confident we'll be able to meet that test," he said. The plan requires firms to accept limits on executive compensation and eliminate certain corporate perks, such as company jets. "The automakers and its unions must understand what is at stake and make hard decisions necessary to reform," Bush said. White House officials said Ford has told them it doesn't need the loan, so the money will likely go to General Motors and Chrysler. Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli thanked the Bush administration for the help, saying it would get the companies through their immediate needs and on the path back to profitability. Ford CEO Alan Mulally said the bailout will help stabilize the industry, even though his company doesn't immediately need cash. "The U.S. auto industry is highly interdependent, and a failure of one of our competitors would have a ripple effect that could jeopardize millions of jobs and further damage the already weakened U.S. economy," Mulally said. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Congress should authorize the use of the second $350 billion from TARP. Tapping the fund for the auto industry basically exhausts the first half of the $700-billion total, he said. Collapse would be 'painful blow' Bankruptcy was unlikely to work for the auto industry at this time because the global financial crisis pushed the automakers to the brink of bankruptcy faster than they could have anticipated, Bush said. "They have not made the legal and financial preparations necessary to carry out an orderly bankruptcy proceeding that could lead to a successful restructuring," he said. Consumers, already wary of additional spending, will be more hesitant to buy a Big Three auto if they think their warranties will become worthless, said the president. "Such a collapse would deal a painful blow to hardworking Americans far beyond the auto industry." Bush said the "more responsible option" is to provide short-term loans to give the companies time to either restructure, or set up the legal and financial frameworks necessary to declare bankruptcy. The Senate failed to pass a $14-billion US bailout package to the automakers last week. Earlier this month, Ottawa and the government of Ontario reached a deal to offer money to Canada's auto industry based on a proportion of any package agreed to by U.S. officials. Auto sales have dropped drastically, with carmakers reporting their lowest sales in 26 years. With files from the Associated Press
  5. As the Economy Worsens, Is There Money for Play? The economy was a factor in a recent merger involving Dale Earnhardt’s team, left. General Motors often runs Super Bowl commercials, center, and sponsors events like the baseball All-Star Game. By KATIE THOMAS Published: November 15, 2008 From the “Buick” emblazoned on Tiger Woods’s golf bag to the Chevrolet Camaro that Cole Hamels drove home last month for being named the most valuable player of the World Series, it is hard to be a sports fan without stumbling across some type of advertisement for General Motors. The company consistently ranks first among advertisers of televised sporting events, outspending other automakers by more than two to one. Billy Casper, left, received a car for winning the inaugural Buick Open in 1958. The tournament has been a PGA Tour staple. But as G.M. faces a financial crisis that has executives pleading with Congress for a federal bailout, many are wondering how far the company’s troubles will extend into the sports industry, which is already struggling to attract advertisers and sponsors in a weakened economy. “It’s one of those trickle-down effects that people don’t look at,” said David E. Cole, the chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, a nonprofit research organization. “It has already hit hard.” G.M. has been scaling back its sports presence for at least a year. Cadillac, a G.M. brand, withdrew its sponsorship of the Masters golf tournament in January, and this summer, G.M. ended its relationships with two Nascar racetracks: Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The company is not renewing its longstanding partnership with the United States Olympic Committee when their contract expires at the end of this year. In one of the most dramatic examples of the company’s diminishing sports profile, G.M. said recently that it would not buy television commercials in this season’s Super Bowl broadcast. As G.M. argues its case before Congress, some firms whose contracts with the company are up for renewal are anxiously monitoring developments. “We’re actually in negotiations as we speak,” said Mitch Huberman, the senior vice president of Fox Sports Enterprises, which owns Pac-10 Properties and handles marketing for the Pacific-10 conference. Its contract with Pontiac, also produced by G.M., ends this year. “There are a lot of question marks in terms of where budgets are going,” Huberman said. “It’s kind of wait and see.” G.M., hit hard by plummeting consumer spending and tight credit markets, has reported that it is running out of cash and faces bankruptcy if it does not receive emergency federal assistance. In its third-quarter report, released earlier this month, the company said it planned to trim advertising by 20 percent and promotional spending by 25 percent. “We’re looking at literally everything,” said Peter Ternes, G.M.’s director of communications for sales, service and marketing. He said the cuts would be applied evenly but did not provide details about proposed changes to the company’s sports budget. Still, he said G.M. would not withdraw from sports entirely. “I think we’ll still be there,” he said. “It may not be at the volume that people have seen before, but we’ll still be a presence.” G.M.’s troubles come at a time when sports organizations are struggling to attract sponsors in a weak economy. The Nascar teams Chip Ganassi Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., citing a difficult economic climate, announced a merger last week. On Friday, the Tour de Georgia, one of the nation’s premier cycling events, said it was canceling its 2009 race because it could not find a sponsor. Also on Friday, Nascar said it was suspending all testing at its tracks next season as a cost-cutting measure. Like beer and razors, automobiles have long been a staple of commercials during major sporting events, and for good reason, marketing experts said. At a time when digital video recorders and an array of cable channels have splintered television audiences, sporting events attract a large and passionate audience who often watch events as they happen. G.M. has historically taken advantage of this audience by investing heavily in television advertising. The company has been the top TV sports advertiser for at least the last five years, vastly outspending its nearest competitors. For example, in 2007, G.M. spent close to $578 million on TV sports advertising. The No. 2 advertiser, Toyota, spent less than half that, or nearly $287 million, according to Nielsen Media Research. Earlier this year, General Motors aired 11 advertisements during the Super Bowl, according to TNS Media Intelligence, a research firm. The decision not to buy a Super Bowl ad in 2009 may have more to do with public perception than with the company’s cash-strapped predicament. This year’s spots are each selling for $3 million, a fraction of G.M.’s total sports spending. However, if the company were to receive a federal bailout, airing a Super Bowl commercial could anger taxpayers who see the purchase as extravagant, said Kenneth L. Shropshire, the director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. “Then people are saying, was that the right use of money for a one-day sporting event?” he said. Although executives for several television outlets would not speak publicly, several said their sales representatives had detected a shift in G.M.’s ad purchases — what some called a “flight to quality” — toward programs that have proved successful in the past. And although G.M. recently scaled back its presence on networks in prime time, one network television executive said sports remained a “stable destination.” There are signs that G.M. is continuing to invest in some sports. About a year ago, Chevrolet extended its sponsorship of Major League Baseball through the 2010 season. Ternes, the G.M. spokesman, pointed to plans by the company to invest heavily in next year’s N.C.A.A. men’s Final Four in Detroit, the nation’s automobile capital. On the surface, organizations with existing agreements with G.M. may consider a bailout a preferable outcome, because under a bankruptcy, the company could ask a court to void contracts. But because a federal bailout would also very likely lead to significant restructuring, some said G.M. could be compelled to try to renegotiate active contracts anyway. “With the bailout probably comes strings attached, and what those strings are, who knows?” said Greg Brown, the president of Learfield Sports, which handles marketing for 50 university athletic programs. Rather than seek to cancel existing contracts, several sports executives said G.M. and other companies were more likely to scale back promotions and focus on initiatives that led directly to a sale. “If you’re on the verge of bankruptcy, then you want to find out how to get the money now, rather than how do I get the 15-year-old to start thinking about the car they want to buy in the future?” Shropshire said. Sponsors may focus on promotions that draw fans to dealerships, like T-shirt giveaways or ticket sweepstakes, said Jim Andrews, the editorial director of IEG Sponsorship Report, a trade publication. Sponsorships, he added, can also create a “warm, fuzzy” perception that a company is supporting a customer’s favorite team. “That’s why you’re not seeing any of the automakers, even though they are in dire straits, saying we’ve got to pull out wholesale,” Andrews said. “Because I think they know there is a return on investment.” In some cases, foreign automakers have stepped in when American companies have pulled out. Chevrolet, for example, decided not to renew its sponsorship of the United States Ski Team last year, but Audi took its place. Honda recently replaced Dodge as the official automobile of the N.H.L. Although the troubles in Detroit played a role in that outcome, Honda fit better within the N.H.L.’s goal of becoming a more international brand, according to Keith Wachtel, the league’s senior vice president for corporate sales and marketing. But for now, marketers at a variety of sports organizations say they are in for some tough times. “In this environment, autos are going to be off across the board,” said Tim Finchem, the commissioner of the PGA Tour. Two of its tournaments are sponsored by Buick through 2010, and others are sponsored by Chrysler, BMW, Honda and Mercedes. “They’re doing, in varying degrees, terrible,” he said. “The U.S. automakers are really struggling. Now, who knows?” Finchem, however, said he was confident the companies would remain in business, which meant “they’re still going to be selling cars and, again, we have a good platform from which they can promote.”
  6. Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The Senate rejected a $14 billion bailout plan for U.S. automakers, in effect ending congressional efforts to aid General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which may run out of cash early next year. “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow,” Majority Leader Harry Reid said before the vote in Washington. “It’s not going to be a pleasant sight.” The Bush administration will “evaluate our options in light of the breakdown in Congress,” spokesman Tony Fratto said. The Senate thwarted the bailout plan when a bid to cut off debate on the bill the House passed yesterday fell short of the required 60 votes. The vote on ending the debate was 52 in favor, 35 against. Earlier, negotiations on an alternate bailout plan failed. GM said in a statement, “We are deeply disappointed that agreement could not be reached tonight in the Senate despite the best bipartisan efforts. We will assess all of our options to continue our restructuring and to obtain the means to weather the current economic crisis.” Reid said millions of Americans, “not only the autoworkers, but people who sell cars, car dealerships, people who work on cars,” will be affected. “It’s going to be a very, very bad Christmas for a lot of people as a result of what takes place here tonight.” Asian stocks and U.S. index futures immediately began falling after Reid’s comments. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slumped 2.2 percent to 86.13 as of 12:33 p.m. Tokyo time, while March futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 3.4 percent. ‘Deja Vu’ “Remember when the first financial bailout bill failed” in Congress in late September, said Martin Marnick, head of equity trading at Helmsman Global Trading Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The markets in Asia started the slide. Deja vu, this looks like it’s happening again.” Congress approved a financial-rescue plan weeks later. Senator George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican, urged the Bush administration to save the automakers by tapping the $700 billion bailout fund approved earlier this year for the financial industry. “If this is the end, then I think they have to step in and do it -- it’s needed even though they don’t want to do it,” Voinovich said. Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd, who helped lead the negotiations, said the final unresolved issue was a Republican demand that unionized autoworkers accept a reduction in wages next year, rather than later, to match those of U.S. autoworkers who work for foreign-owned companies, such as Toyota Motor Corp. ‘Saddened’ “More than saddened, I’m worried this evening about what we’re doing with an iconic industry,” Dodd said. “In the midst of deeply troubling economic times we are going to add to that substantially.” Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee, who negotiated with Dodd, said, “I think there’s still a way to make this happen.” Earlier today, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino warned that an agreement was necessary for the U.S. economy. “We believe the economy is in such a weakened state right now that adding another possible loss of 1 million jobs is just something” it cannot “sustain at the moment,” Perino said. Also earlier, South Dakota Republican John Thune suggested that if talks collapsed, the Bush administration might aid automakers with funds from the financial-rescue plan approved by Congress in October. “I think that is where they go next,” Thune said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they explore all options.” The Bush administration thus far has opposed that option, which was favored by Democrats. To contact the reporters on this story: Nicholas Johnston in Washington at [email protected] Hughes in Washington at [email protected] Last Updated: December 11, 2008 23:34 EST http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aDkK4lEZsSsA&refer=home