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When I strolled into the New Orleans Convention Center this weekend for the National Auto Dealers Association annual meeting, I expected optimism. Even in a recession, these guys are sales people. It's what they do.
Wondering what President Obama is planning to do to save the auto industry? Just ask some of the people the President's advisors have been consulting.
Now that he's taken the oath of office a second time, watched the Jesse White Tumblers in the inaugural parade, and danced at several balls celebrating his inauguration, President Obama faces some tough choices with the auto industry. What should he do? What would you do if you were sitting in the oval office?
A few years ago, this kind of news would elicit hand wringing in Detroit, another round of "Detroit is Failing" headlines, and statements of false bravado from GM executives who often reacted with denial whenever the company slipped. Those days are gone.
Like a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, the alliance between Chrysler and Fiat is an intriguing piece of work that leaves you scratching your head.
Less than a month from today, GM and Chrysler will have to give the federal government an update on how they are doing in restructuring their companies.
If you thought the auto industry and economy might be close to bottoming out and getting some traction, think again. The world's two largest auto makers are sending fresh signs that things will remain as bad, if not worse in 2009.
If there was ever a time to take the plunge and by that new, or at least newer car, this could be it. Congress is considering a "Cash for Clunkers" bill and in my opinion this is the ultimate win/win for buyers, dealers, and the auto makers.
What do you think will happen to Chrysler? That question was flying around the Detroit Auto Show this weekend, and trust me, some of the predictions I heard in Detroit were doozies.
I get the same question every year at the Detroit Auto Show: What was your favorite new car? My answer is almost always a model with an aggressive design and often it's a concept. This year, the Cadillac Converj stole my heart.
At an auto show that lacks "buzz", there are a couple of battles taking shape. Both of them could have major implications as to what we will be driving for years to come.
As I have spent the last two weeks preparing for the Detroit Auto Show, which starts this Sunday, it's become clearer than ever to me the electric car is coming and coming fast.
I spent part of Wednesday afternoon tooling around GM's tech center in a "mule" version of the Volt. When I hit the gas, the acceleration was instant. The Volt will deliver the same performance you would get from a car with 250 horse power
The Hyundai offer is significant because it addresses the one issue that is keeping people out of showrooms. Potential buyers are worried about keeping their jobs so they are putting off a new car for the family.
Tatsuya Mizuno, director of corporates at Fitch Ratings, predicts that the global automobile industry will remain weak for another two to three years. But he sees one somewhat bright spot amid the sector gloom.
As I was watching the dismal auto sales numbers come in on Monday, I was waiting for somebody to drop me an e-mail and sarcastically remind me that it was just a few months ago when I said, "Things can't get much worse in the auto industry."
For all the hand wringing you see from people wondering if GM and Chrysler can get the UAW to re-work wages and benefits or for debt holders to agree on a debt for equity swap, the real trick will be closing dealerships.
Happy New Year! Yes, I was bummed to see my Blackhawks get blown out by the Wings at Wrigley. But as I watched a hockey game played outside (very cool!), I read through your predictions for next year in the auto industry. Karnac has nothing on you guys.
With the auto companies on their holiday breaks, this is always a week when I think about the year ahead for the auto industry. In past years, some of the predictions I've made to myself have come true, while many more were so off the mark it was kind of funny. So: What will happen in '09?
When I called folks I know in the various auto companies to wish them a Merry Christmas, I heard the same thing over and over. I'm thankful to still be working and I'm wondering how much worse things will get next year.