The Great Debate UK

from DealZone:

‘New GM’ Gets a Visit from a Shareholder

obamalordstown1 GM's Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant has become a symbol of both GM's hard times and its best hopes for a turnaround after a $50 billion federal investment. A recent bump in sales because of the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program has allowed GM to call back more than 1,000 workers from layoff.   So it was a natural backdrop for a return visit by President Obama, who held a roundtable with workers and then gave a stump speech from the factory floor for his economic policies and health care reform.   But this is not your father's GM anymore and nothing about it as clear-cut as it seems -- even if you are the leader of the free world and head of the government that holds a controlling stake in the automaker.     At one point, Obama -- veering from his prepared remarks -- suggested that health-care reform would allow the UAW-represented workers in the audience to negotiate better wages.

“Think about it. If you are a member of the union right now, you’re spending all your time negotiating about health care. You need to be spending some time negotiating about wages, but you can’t do it," he said.

 

In fact, the UAW locked itself into a contract limiting wages and changes to health care, without the ability to negotiate with a threat of strike, until 2015. These stands were agreed to by the union at the prodding of the Obama administration, which demanded that union autoworkers accept lower wages -- as a condition to the bailout that saved Lordstown -- to match non-union workers at Toyota plants in Kentucky and Honda plants in Ohio.

 

Even so, Lordstown is something of a success story for both the UAW and GM, and Obama's remarks were punctuated with enthusiastic applause.  After winning deep concessions from the UAW in 2007, GM agreed to invest $500 million to retool the plant to make a new fuel-efficient small sedan, the Chevy Cruze.

from Commentaries:

Saab to Koenigsegg – another go slow GM sale

AUTOS SWEDEN KOENIGSEGGGeneral Motors doesn't do deals in a hurry -- at least when it is selling.

With the Opel sale grinding along, the U.S. automaker is also in the process of offloading its Saab brand to luxury sportscar maker Koenigsegg.

Financing is the major sticking point in the Saab sale process. Koenigsegg -- backed by U.S. and Norwegian investors -- reached a deal in June to buy Saab from GM but the process then stalled.

Jaguar will make it through the recession – but in what shape?

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dave9- Professor David Bailey works at Coventry University Business School. The views expressed are his own -

The UK operations of Jaguar Land Rover lost £673.4m last year after a £640 million surplus the year before, it was revealed last week in accounts filed with Companies House. Adding in actuarial and pensions adjustments, “total recognised losses” at JLR topped almost £1.2bn last year. Not that this is much of a surprise of course. This is a “once in a century” downturn as JLR boss David Smith put it, and most car makers have posted record losses – including Toyota, for the time in its history.

GM emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

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David Bailey- Professor David Bailey works at the Coventry University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own. -

General Motors announced its exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, and pretty speedy it was, too. The firm has quickly transferred its good assets to a new carmaker (“new GM”) which is majority owned by the U.S. government, and the whole bankruptcy process has taken just 40 days.

Van-ishing? Do we want to make vans in the UK?

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David Bailey- Professor David Bailey works at the Coventry University Business School and has written extensively on globalisation, economic restructuring and industrial policy, with particular reference to the auto industry. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Despite a run down in heavy commercial vehicle production in the UK in recent years, light commercial vehicles are still made in Britain in quite significant numbers.

GM: Chapter 11 or bust

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David Bailey- Professor David Bailey works at the Coventry University Business School and has written extensively on globalisation, economic restructuring and industrial policy, with particular reference to the auto industry. The opinions expressed are his own. -

GM declared itself bankrupt on Monday in one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history, in an attempt to seek protection from creditors.

German Opel rescue tests EU road rules

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paul-taylor– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Mon Dieu! Are the Germans starting to behave like the French?

Berlin’s efforts to salvage carmaker Opel from the wreckage of U.S. auto giant General Motors pose as big a challenge to Europe’s single market as French attempts earlier this year to tie loans to its carmakers to keeping jobs and factories in France.

from The Great Debate:

Fiat’s over-ambitious expansion strategy

paul-taylor
-- Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Could Italy's cash-strapped Fiat, Europe's sixth auto maker, build a workable alliance with Chrysler and Opel to become be a profitable global player? Or would it be a marriage of losers, doomed to fail?

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has made clear that his interest in Opel, the European arm of ailing General Motors, is more than just a well-timed tactic to get better terms in the alliance he is negotiating with troubled U.S. number three Chrysler. Chrysler faces likely bankruptcy if a deal is not clinched by April 30.

from The Great Debate:

Revival of U.S. automaking awaits if UAW will follow Toyota

morici-- Peter Morici is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. The views expressed are his own. --

General Motors and Chrysler are on the anvil of history. United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger holds the hammer and will determine whether they emerge more competitive or shattered in pieces and sold to foreign investors.

from The Great Debate:

Bush’s auto plan will test Obama’s union loyalties

morici-- Peter Morici is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission.  The opinions expressed are his own. --

President Bush has agreed to lend GM and Chrysler $17.4 billion on the condition these firms complete a plan to accomplish financial viability.

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