October 19th, 2009 at 12:28pm
The European Union has questioned the Opel bidding process and is suggesting GM may be allowed to give it another go. Kia has officially unveiled its new top-of-the-line sedan. Hundreds of workers protested Russian automaker AvtoVAZ in the country over the weekend. All that and more, plus Jim Hall shares his thoughts on the current auto industry “news vacuum.”
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. More news about the GM/Opel deal. Kia unveils its new flagship sedan. And Russian auto workers reenact the October revolution.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, October 19, 2009. I’m Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics, taking the reins today, filling in for my good friend John McElroy. And here’s the news.
Our lead story sounds like it could’ve been pulled from one of our summer shows. GM–Opel–keeping, selling or shutting down. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the European Union–or EU– has questioned the Opel bidding process and is suggesting GM may be allowed to give it another go. Now that’s not exactly what GM wants since it already has a deal with supplier Magna. But if it’s determined that EU state aid and market rules were violated by Germany who linked its 4.5 billion euro aid to Magna winning, then General Motors may be right back where it started with Opel some five months ago. Again, right now things are still on track with Magna but we’ll have to see what the EU ends up recommending and what GM wants to do.
Our friends at Autoblog report that Kia has officially unveiled its new top-of-the-line sedan. Known as the K7 in Korea and the Cadenza elsewhere in the world, it looks very similar to the KND-5 concept the company revealed at the Seoul Motor Show last April. Its stylish body, penned under the supervision of Kia design chief Peter Schreyer, advances the brand’s new design theme and banishes memories the snoozy-looking Amanti to the scrap yard. Look for the car to make its OFFICIAL debut at several Middle-Eastern auto shows late this year.
It’s getting tougher and tougher to make a living stealing cars. According to USA Today, reported vehicle thefts have fallen to a 20-year low, even though the number of cars on the road has DOUBLED. The FBI estimates that about 960,000 vehicles were stolen in 2008, less than half the number in 1991. And it’s no wonder, today’s cars feature space-aged technology far beyond simple alarms – like ignition immobilizers and GPS tracking systems. Beyond the tech, law enforcement has really cracked-down on theft rings and auto traffickers. The chances of having a car on the road stolen today are about a third of what they were in 1989.
GM is having trouble finding a new Chief Financial Officer (subscription required), to replace current CFO Ray Young, due to pay restrictions imposed by the Treasury Department. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is finding it hard to find qualified executives willing to work for less than they would normally make and with a company that’s future is uncertain. The federal government imposed pay limits on top executives of firms that received bailout money and will allow GM to offer stock options but not more than $1 million in annual salary for a new CFO.
Hundreds of workers protested Russian automaker AvtoVAZ in the country over the weekend. According to the AFP, workers protested job cuts and demanded that management resign and give them a pay raise. Last month, the struggling automaker announced it would cut over a quarter of its workforce due to the economic slump.
Coming up next, some of my thoughts on today’s “news vacuum,” we’ll be back right after this.
News, like nature, abhors a vacuum. In an absence of information, the 24/7 monster that is the Internet demands content, and cares little from where this content issues.
- Ford-Volvo buy
- Chrysler/Daimler deal
- Chrysler dumping Dodge as a car nameplate
Those who know, don’t talk. Those who talk, rarely know.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Again, I’m Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics, thanks for watching.