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Remember when Barack Obama was campaigning for President and he went to Detroit with a very unpopular message in Motown? In essence he told an audience filled with auto execs it was time for them to start building fuel efficient vehicles, hybrids, and models that would lead Detroit out of its money losing ways.
The man many thought would be "Car Czar" will now be leading the task force looking at how to fix General Motors and Chrysler. Steven Rattner is joining the Obama team as counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
With the UAW and Ford announcing they have agreed on a plan to re-work funding of union's Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, it is an important step not only for Ford, but GM and Chrysler as well.
When I woke this morning and surveyed what the morning papers carried about the auto industry, one article in the Detroit News about what cars the Obama Auto Team members own caught my attention -- It brings up the question: Will the cars these members drive influence their decisions regarding GM and Chrysler?
Halfway through the trading day, GM shares hit levels not seen since 1938....A lot investors are starting to wonder if GM stock is worthless.
When President Obama’s Auto Team meets for the first time Friday morning, it will be off camera, behind closed doors, away from reporters. Maybe that's good. After all, fixing this industry could be messy, very messy.
Saturn owners are getting an e-mail today that essentially tells them their beloved brand is not going to die.
GM says that by the end of March it will reach a decision to either sell the brand or phase it out. My gut, based on talking with people in GM and the industry, is HUMMER is sold, but for far, far less than what GM wants.
Yes, the numbers are staggering. Anytime a company says it may need up to another $16.5 Billion to fix its business, there's no way to sugar coat it.
Remember in college when you had to turn in that mid-term exam? Today, GM and Chrysler face their own mid-terms of sorts, but with a big difference.
When Toyota and Nissan both forecast full year losses within the last week, you knew it was only a matter of time before both companies took steps to limit their mounting losses.
The idea that a lack of credit is keeping a large percentage of people from buying a new or used car is one of the more ridiculous assumptions still swirling around the auto industry. If you are looking to buy, there's plenty of credit available and frankly, it is a buyer's market.
From The Chicago Auto Show, Frank Klegon of Chrysler
From The Chicago Auto Show, Jim Farley of Ford
From The Chicago Auto Show, Don Esmond of Toyota North America.
GM is trying to pull off a very tricky and painful double play. On one hand it is moving as quickly as possible to downsize the second largest auto maker in the world. On the other, it is trying to show Washington lawmakers that it is a viable company worthy of more government aid.
When I broke the news this morning about GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz retiring I had mixed emotions. On one hand I thought to myself, "Good for him. If this is what he wants to do, he should do it." On the other hand, I was thinking to myself, "It's too bad he won't be 'in the arena' because this industry needs someone like Bob Lutz."
At a time when there is little good news, I hate to be the bearer of even more bad news, but it kind of goes with the territory. So here it is: Used vehicle prices have bottomed out and are moving higher.
Yes, even the seemingly bullet proof auto makers have stalled. This morning, Toyota reported abysmal third quarter results and warned that it's heading toward its first annual loss since 1950.
The suppliers are now talking with the Treasury Department about getting $20.5 Billion in federal aid. These guys are hurting, close to collapsing, and on the verge of blowing a hole through the auto industry.