Even over the weekend, TTAC never sleeps. While America Slept (WAS) is a daily round-up of the news that happened in other continents and time-zones. TTAC provides round-the-clock coverage of everything that has wheels. Or that has its wheels coming off. Guarantee: Contents 100 percent car related (well, except for one.)
Opel: “We’re doing great.” GM should send Opel Chief Demant to DC. He knows when to say the right things: “All jobs are safe “(at least until 2010.) “We’ve got enough cash” (at least until next year.) “GM doesn’t owe us money” (at least not immediately.) “We don’t need a loan guarantee” (we didn’t really mean it.) Germany’s government is now a) a bit miffed because they thought it was urgent, b) relieved because they can go Christmas shopping with the money saved. Automobilwoche (sub) has the story.
Germany goes to the polls over Opel: Wary of wearing Opel’s new rose-colored glasses, Automobilwoche (sub) is running a poll. The question: “What should happen to Opel?” Here’s the tally so far. “Opel goes it alone” – 50 percent. “Opel remains part of GM” – 15 percent. “Opel merges with BMW” – 15 percent. “Opel merges with Fiat” – 13 percent. “Opel merges with Daimler” – 7 percent. Don’t blame us, just reporting the news.
Just say no: Bernhard Mattes, chief of Ford Motor Co.’s German unit, would also make quick friends in DC. He says that Ford Deutschland can survive just fine, thank you, without a bailout from the German government, AP reports via Yahoo. Ford wouldn’t turn down a share of the loan package by the European Union, if offered. The consensus in Europe is the package is dead in the water, because it needs the consensus from the non auto making members. Dream on. And read on …
Europe eats less carbs: Europe’s four big auto making nations have reached agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions from cars. Last month, Britain, France and Germany agreed to stick to their guns and CO2 targets, phasing them in between 2012 and 2015. Now, they talked Italy into it also. The plan needs the approval of other EU member states and the European Parliament. This time, an easy vote for the non auto making nations.
GM opens new plant – in Russia: Despite being destitute in America, GM remains bullish on Russia. They just opened their second plant this month. This time in Kaliningrad, where 30,000 Lancettis are planned to be cranked out a year. And that’s just for starters, says the Automobilwoche (sub) Kaliningrad happens to be the same place where Russia is stationing its new anti-ballistic-missile-anti-missiles, so GM’s plant should be safe from intruders.
VeeDub to cull 500 dealers: Germany’s tortured car dealers are waking up to reading more dire news in Das Autohaus. VW wants 500 of them dead. The euphemism factory calls it a “sliding adjustment.” Wolfsburg has allocated €200m for golden parachutes. TTAC hears that dealers will take the money, run, and continue servicing cars. “This is where the money is anyway,” says one. Also, VW Germany will emulate GM, and bundle their former separate (and often antagonistic) units of Marketing, Sales, Service, and Dealer Management into one big (or not) “Marketing and Sales” unit.
Less service from Audi: When VW does something, Audi does the same – slightly different. Audi wants to terminate 300 service centers, says Das Autohaus. Service is profitable, and with 300 less, more profit for the survivalists. Or so the thinking goes in Ingolstadt. A carnage of service centers will be harder to pull off than a massacre of hapless dealers. There is something called EU law. To service a brand, you must fulfill some basic standards, and you are golden. Ingolstadt will see resistance from the wicked wrenchies on the warpath – and possibly Brussels.
Good night, Vietnam: This time last year in Vietnam, demand for cars was so high that customers had to pay a 30 to 50 percent deposit and then wait at least three months for delivery. Now, dealers are happy if they sell a car a month, reports Than Niem from Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam’s new car sales fell by 37 percent in October.
Slimy business: “By removing the spare tire and tools, motorists and auto manufacturers can reduce overall weight of the vehicle by an average of 70 pounds, resulting in better fuel efficiency,” suggests Accessories Marketing Inc. in the International Business Times. Instead, they propose to carry their Slime SafetySpairTM flat tire repair kit. Got a flat? Slime the sucker.
Are you …. drunk? Japanese Bandai will release next month a body wash that gushes out bubbles from its beer-bottlelike container, allowing users “feel as though they are spraying beer on themselves just like baseball players do when celebrating a championship victory,” The Nikkei (sub) telegraphs. What does this have to do with cars? Nothing. You should know better: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.
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