Correspondent, Detroit
Ben's Feed
Mar 23, 2015

GM to make next generation Chevrolet Cruze in Mexico

MEXICO CITY/DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will build its next-generation Chevrolet Cruze small car in Mexico, the company said on Monday, as automakers look to expand there to take advantage of low labor costs and free trade agreements. GM will invest $350 million to produce the Cruze at its plant in Coahuila, as part of the $5 billion investment in its Mexican plants announced last year.

GM also said it will continue manufacturing the model at its factory in Lordstown, Ohio. GM so far has identified only three plants globally that will make the next-generation Cruze, including in China.

Mar 11, 2015

Exclusive: GM capital plan may delay credit rating upgrade

DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co’s (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) decision this week to give back up to $10 billion to shareholders over the next two years will likely delay one of its important goals: achieving a top-tier credit rating that would benefit its growing auto finance unit.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker has been building its GM Financial unit through acquisitions and more aggressive marketing to dealers. Automakers use in-house lenders to offer discounted financing on new cars and trucks for consumers and dealers. Reaching a single A credit rating would give GM greater flexibility to fund GM Financial at lower cost.

Mar 11, 2015

Hyundai Motor plans to boost U.S. capacity as SUV sales rise: sources

DETROIT/SEOUL (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plans to expand its U.S. factory, three people familiar with the matter said, hoping to ramp up production of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) as lower oil prices boost demand for gas-guzzling trucks.

Sales of the South Korean automaker’s sedans like the Elantra and Sonata are slowing in the United States as consumers take advantage of lower fuel prices to switch to bigger, less fuel-efficient SUVs.

Mar 10, 2015

Apple seeks to dismiss lawsuit filed by electric battery maker

By Dan Levine and Ben Klayman

(Reuters) – Apple Inc asked a U.S. court on Tuesday
to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by battery maker A123 systems
over engineers hired by Apple, saying A123′s claims were too
speculative to proceed, according to a court filing.

Apple is exploring how to make an electric car and has been
hiring engineers with deep expertise in automobile systems.
Around June 2014 Apple began aggressively poaching A123
engineers tasked with leading some of the company’s most
critical projects, A123′s lawsuit said.

Mar 5, 2015

Two GM workers sue carmaker for not allowing unpaid religious days

DETROIT (Reuters) – Two General Motors Co workers at its Arlington, Texas, assembly plant have sued the No. 1 U.S. automaker and are seeking class-action status, claiming the company violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by denying them unpaid religious days off.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Forth Worth, Texas, charged the company with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act “by denying a reasonable religious accommodation” to James Robinson III, a Seventh-day Sabbatarian, and Chris Scruggs, a Messianic Jew, who had previously taken off religious holidays without pay.

Mar 3, 2015

Buffett questions putting activist on GM board

DETROIT (Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Chief Executive Warren Buffett, one of the largest shareholders in General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), said on Monday he would be wary of putting former U.S. autos task force member Harry Wilson or anyone else on the company’s board if the focus was on the short-term performance of the automaker.

“I totally disagree with the idea of putting somebody on the board who has an option on some other people’s stock which is only good for two years,” Buffett said on CNBC. “It’s just not the way to run a business,” he added.

Mar 3, 2015

Major automakers miss bullish February sales expectations

DETROIT (Reuters) – For the second year in a row, ferocious winter weather slowed U.S. vehicle sales in February, with several major automakers missing analysts’ projections and dampening bullish expectations.

The lackluster sales reported on Tuesday were “likely due to inclement weather,” said Joseph Amaturo of Buckingham Research Group, who expects “any lost sales to be made up in March.”

Feb 27, 2015

After Indonesia retreat, GM retrenches in Thailand, too

By Norihiko Shirouzu and Ben Klayman

(Reuters) – A day after announcing it is to stop making GM-branded cars in Indonesia, General Motors (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Friday it would cease production of its Chevrolet Sonic in Thailand by the middle of this year.

While GM will still sell cars like the Cruze sedan in parts of Southeast Asia, an emerging markets battleground for global automakers, it is shifting focus to push the ‘American heritage’ of its SUVs and pickups such as the Trailblazer and Colorado.

Feb 13, 2015
Feb 13, 2015

GM faces investor demand for slice of $25 billion cash hoard

DETROIT (Reuters) – An investor group demand that General Motors Co give back more of its $25 billion cash hoard confronts Chief Executive Mary Barra with a challenge to her plans for building the company and rewarding shareholders.

Barra and GM’s chief financial officer Chuck Stevens have signaled they will recommend returning more of the cash once the Detroit automaker knows how much it will have to spend to resolve legal issues related to the company’s recalls of millions of cars equipped with defective ignition switches. That includes a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Klayman is based in Detroit and in April was named leader of the global automotive team for Reuters. Previously, Ben covered the business of sports as well as consumer and retail for three years and led the manufacturing/housing team for four years. He also covered the telecommunications sector for three years. He joined Reuters in Detroit in 1998 to cover autos. Prior to joining Reuters, he worked at a series of daily newspapers in Ohio and Maryland. Ben graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in English literature."
      Joined Reuters:
    • More from Ben

    • Contact Ben

    • Follow Ben