Bernie's Feed
Jan 31, 2013

AutoNation earnings beat Wall Street estimates

Jan 31 (Reuters) – AutoNation Inc, the largest U.S.
auto dealer group, said strong new vehicle sales boosted its
fourth-quarter net income by 20 percent and revenue by 13
percent.

New-vehicle sales in the fourth quarter rose 19 percent to
$2.48 billion.

In early trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday,
AutoNation shares were up 0.6 percent at $45.35.

Jan 30, 2013

Fiat debts grow as recovery spending mounts

DETROIT/MILAN, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Fiat said on
Wednesday its debt grew by about 1 billion euros in 2012 as
European car sales tumbled 14 percent, leaving the Italian
carmaker ever more dependent on strong growth at U.S. unit
Chrysler.

As Fiat’s management moves to increase spending on new
models in Europe and the United States, investors are keeping a
close watch on its debts for signs that cash-burning European
operations are straining the group’s crucial ability to invest
in products that will win customers in the future.

Jan 30, 2013

Chrysler sees higher 2013 profit as comeback continues

By Bernie Woodall and Deepa Seetharaman

(Reuters) – Chrysler Group LLC, the U.S. automaker majority owned by Italy’s Fiat (FIA.MI: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), said its 2013 profit would come in toward the low end of its initial business plan, and it cut its 2014 free cash flow forecast by two-thirds.

The No. 3 U.S. automaker, which also reported higher fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, now expects free cash flow of $1 billion in 2014. In 2009, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne had forecast $3 billion as part of his five-year business plan designed to help Chrysler regain its footing after its government-funded bankruptcy nearly four years ago.

Jan 29, 2013

Michigan asks for state high court ruling on “right-to-work” law

DETROIT (Reuters) – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder asked the state Supreme Court to rule whether a law passed last month making payment of union dues voluntary is constitutional, a move critics said was designed to circumvent legal challenges by labor unions.

The new law is expected to make it harder for unions to organize in Michigan, the home of the U.S. auto industry and a major manufacturing center.

Jan 28, 2013

Analysis – Stuck in reverse, Detroit edges closer to bankruptcy

DETROIT (Reuters) – At the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, luxury was in the air. Pricey new Bentleys and Maseratis glittered – including a Maserati 2014 Quattroporte with a $132,000 price tag; U.S. Cabinet Secretaries and dignitaries rubbed shoulders; and many of the well-heeled attendees ponied up for a $300-a-ticket black-tie charity ball.

But in a city that is slowly dying, the glitz didn’t extend much beyond the Cobo Center exhibition hall.

Jan 23, 2013

Union membership falls to lowest percentage in 76 years

By James B. Kelleher and Lisa Lambert and Bernie Woodall

(Reuters) – The percentage of workers belonging to unions tumbled to 11.3 percent in 2012, the lowest percentage in 76 years, led by dramatic declines in states where lawmakers have put organized labor in the political crosshairs, government figures showed on Wednesday.

The total number of union members fell by nearly 400,000, from 11.8 percent of the workforce in 2011, the Labor Department report on union membership said. The rate of 11.3 percent of the workforce was the lowest since 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

Jan 18, 2013

Alfa Romeo brand to return to U.S. market in late 2013-CEO

DETROIT, Jan 18 (Reuters) – An Alfa Romeo 4C sports car will
be introduced in the U.S. market late this year, the chief
executive of Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC said on
Friday, adding that further details would come in the next two
to three months.

“For sure it’s coming back this year with the 4C. With the
Alfa Romeo 4C,” CEO Sergio Marchionne said after a speech to a
Detroit businesswomen’s group. “We are finalizing the car now,
so it should be here this year.”

Jan 16, 2013

Chinese auto dealer group sees big jumps in consumer financing

DETROIT, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Zhongsheng Group Holdings Ltd
, a large Chinese auto dealership group, said consumer
financing is fast gaining acceptance in China, which will help
boost the market as well as encourage younger buyers to buy more
expensive cars.

Currently only one fifth of car buyers use financing at
Zhongsheng’s 160 dealerships, with the rest paying cash.
Countrywide, that ratio is even less with only 10 percent of
consumers using financing.

Jan 16, 2013

VL Automotive combines Fisker shell with Corvette engine

DETROIT (Reuters) – Bob Lutz, who championed the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, was at the Detroit auto show on Tuesday pitching a new venture that combines an electric car’s exterior with a high-performance gasoline-powered engine.

VL Automotive, a tiny boutique carmaker less than a half-year-old and maker so far of only two cars, is combining the shell of a Fisker Karma with the guts of a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Jan 13, 2013

Corvette enthusiasts await debut of 2014 model

DETROIT, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Members of America’s Corvette
Club can’t wait to see General Motors Corp’s 2014
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the first new Corvette in nine
years, which the automaker will unveil this week at the annual
Detroit auto show.

The seventh generation Corvette, called C7 by fans of the
iconic American sportscar, has a front-mounted engine and a
shape like a race car. GM will show it to the media on Sunday
and make pictures and video available to the public.