Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Q+A: Maria Fiorini Ramirez

Photo
-

I sat down with Maria Fiorini Ramirez today after she joined us at the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit and asked her about starting her own company — the global economic consulting firm Maria Fiorini Ramirez, Inc — her advice for young entrepreneurs, and if women can balance a successful work and home life.

Where you were you born?
Naples, Italy

When did you come to the U.S?
1960. To East New York.

Did you go to high school there?
Yes, St. Michael’s. An all girl’s Catholic school.

Where do you live now?
Far Hills, New Jersey

Did you ever think that you were going to start your own business?
Yes. And a global one because I always liked geography and history.

Why a financial company?
I really like economics and how it affects life, people, and things in general.

How Leo DiCaprio started a car company

Photo
-

Henrik Fisker, the storied car designer who has shaped Aston Martins, Fords and BMWs, told the Reuters Autos Summit this week that he now wants a starring role in the green revolution.

But he also wants to make the world safe for sports cars for generations to come.

AUDIO – Mornings with Ron: A Reuters Autos Summit tradition

Photo
-

A few years ago, there was a book out called “Tuesdays with Morrie.” At Reuters, though, we spend our Tuesday mornings during Auto Summits with Ron.

It wouldn’t be a Reuters Autos Summit without our yearly visit from United Auto Workers head Ron Gettelfinger … at the crack of dawn.

Upstarts!

Photo
-

The U.S. government has pumped more than $100 billion into Detroit over the past year to keep automakers General Motors and Chrysler alive. But some of the sector’s remaining capitalists are having a hard time stomaching a $25 billion Department of Energy loan program intended to spark new developments in electric cars. 

Start-ups Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors have won about $1 billion in combined funding, while longtime players Ford and Nissan have received substantially larger loans from Washington to work on vehicle electrification — a technology the White House and many in the industry hope will reduce the United States’ dependence on imported oil and lower emissions of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas. 

Toyota’s Arashima on Reuters Financial Television

Photo
-

Toyota Motor Europe President and CEO Tadashi Arashima talked to Reuters Financial Television during the Auto Summit in Paris. See here.

Toyota will not freeze out Iceland, bets on Russia bounce

Photo
-

The world’s biggest carmaker, Toyota, will not follow the road of McDonald’s and abandon Iceland even though it is selling ‘very few’ cars there at the moment and its distributor has been seized by the banks as its owner went belly-up, Toyota Motor Europe President and CEO Tadashi Arashima told the Reuters Auto Summit in Paris on Tuesday.
“We have a big market share there, of 25 percent, and it is good for our after-sales,” Arashima said.
The banks are trying to sell the distributor but Toyota does not plan to take ownership like it does in its key European markets of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and some Scandinavian countries.
 

Arashima said he believes the Russian market will recover sooner than many think, after the west European markets but well before the rest of East Europe — in 2011 or 2012.

AUDIO – Commercial real estate: The auto industry’s next big (bad) thing

Photo
-

The U.S. auto industry has had one heck of a year.Sales have fallen off, credit has been pretty much nonexistant and two of the major U.S. automakers were bankrupt. Other that all that, things were fine.But Bill Diehl, chief executive of advisory firm BBK, said at the first day of this year’s Reuters Autos Summit, that one of the main concerns for 2010 (if it’s not THE main concern) is the industry’s overall exposure to commercial real estate.We have been hearing about the problems with commercial real estate in many other sectors of the U.S. economy and Diehl gave the strongest statement so far about the auto side.(To hear Diehl\’s comments, please click here)The Reuters Autos Summit continues through Thursday in Detroit and Paris.

The secret lives of auto executives

Photo
-

Ed Whitacre sneaks off to breakfast at a Detroit greasy spoon. Sergio Marchionne’s attention to detail extends to the condition of his factories’ bathrooms. And Bill Ford helped save his great-grandfather’s company by hocking the blue oval. 

These are just a few of the glimmers of top Detroit auto executives’ lives that you get when you sit down with Ron Gettelfinger, head of the United Auto Workers union. 

Diehl: Ford & UAW need to “work at it” a little more…

-

William Diehl, chief executive of advisory firm BBK says Ford and the United Auto Workers union need to work a little harder to come to some sort of agreement that puts the automaker on a more level playing field with its rivals. Click here to listen to what he had to say at the 2009 Reuters Autos Summit.

Diehl on Ford-UAW contract talks from Reuters TV on Vimeo.

Investors do not realise Valeo’s Asian potential-CEO

Photo
-

Valeo generates 18 percent of its sales in Asia, and 7 percent in China alone, and that percentage will increase due to fast organic growth in these booming markets, but investors still see Valeo as a company anchored in mature European markets.

“They still see us as mainly a west European company,” chief executive Jacques Aschenbroich told the Reuters Auto Summit in Paris. But despite a decline in turnover, Valeo is keeping up its research and development spending and is continuing to forge forward countries in China, Thailand, India, Turkey or Brazil.

  •