Tech drive strips old-school carmakers of clout

By Breakingviews Columnists
March 2, 2015

Apple is the latest to take an interest. From Tesla to Google, the shift to connected, self-driving vehicles may take a while, but it could shake up everything from systems to materials to car usage. The winners may be able to rev up returns far higher than current performance.

Rob Cox: It took the Grim Reaper to restructure GM

January 14, 2015

The carmaker’s swift bankruptcy sparked less soul-searching than the process of determining who died from faulty ignitions. Bringing Ken Feinberg in will go down as CEO Mary Barra’s smartest decision. She should go a step further and memorialize the dead in the lobby of GM’s HQ.

Tech steering carmakers down valuation dead end

January 12, 2015

As the Detroit auto show kicks off, manufacturers from Toyota to Ford to VW are getting little, if any, credit for profit growth. Recalls, currencies and geopolitics are all to blame. Longer term, they’ll feel the squeeze from connected vehicles. Low multiples may be here to stay.

Hertz gears up for another financial spin

August 21, 2014

Carl Icahn is the latest to buy into the struggling $14 bln car rental firm. Over nearly a century, automakers GM and Ford, an airline, a 1960s conglomerate, private equity and the public have owned Hertz. It’s a perennial investor plaything. Maybe Uber could even be next.

“Buy China” auto drive not just protectionism

February 29, 2012

Excluding foreign brands from new government orders looks unfair. But domestic overproduction, and the image of privileged Audi-driving officials, have created a political dilemma. When growth slows, concerns at home can seem more important than keeping trade partners happy.

There’s no need to rush a GM IPO

June 22, 2010

General Motors boss Ed Whitacre has put the pedal to the metal on the automaker's initial public offering. Underwriters have been chosen and fees negotiated. To allow for a deal in the fourth quarter, a prospectus should come within weeks. But there's no rush.

Toyota gives Detroit an opening — and a warning

January 28, 2010

Detroit’s Big Three must be breathing a huge sigh of relief. Toyota recently sped past General Motors to become the largest seller of vehicles in the United States.