Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Andreas Renschler, the head of Daimler Trucks, told the Reuters Autos Summit in Frankfurt that the transportation industry could react negatively to stricter exhaust emission rules. New laws that require investments will raise transportation costs and that could lead to higher transport prices.
He said that especially in emerging countries, stricter rules could curtail economic growth.
His company is offering cleaner engines and working on the next generation of trucks but he said in the end the company’s clients needed to earn their living with their trucks and therefore costs needed to be contained.
For the chairman and chief executive of French car parts maker Valeo, Thierry Morin, the legislators have to be strict on emission rules to save the planet. And as it happens, his firm has products that could allow carmakers to meet those stringent rules.
Morin said that the car and mobility will remain important, even with good public transport systems, and he told the Reuters Autos Summit that for people in Beijing, a car was only used in the weekend but it gave them freedom.
Luxury sports car maker Ferrari is eyeing economic developments with some worry, general manager Amedeo Felisa told the Reuters Auto Summit. He said he hoped that the financial crisis related to the subprime situation will not turn into an economic crisis as even the super rich may not want to buy a new Ferrari when the rest of the population has to tighten its belts.
The days of the mom and pop auto dealership selling a small number of cars are numbered, said Thomas Stallkamp, a partner at private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings and a former president of Chrysler.
But it may take a recession to speed up the consolidation of the business, he told the Reuters Autos Summit in Detroit on Sunday.
Jerry York, Kirk Kerkorian’s adviser and a former Chrysler CFO, is far from impressed with the quality of his former employer’s vehicles.After leaving the General Motors board (where he was Kerkorian’s representative) last year, York wanted to swap his GM-made Chevrolet for a Chrysler car but told the Reuters Autos Summit in Detroit on Sunday that he was “shocked” at how bad the styling was.
“They have just lost their way on styling, their interiors are cheap, their exteriors — the styling is too controversial.” In particular, he picked on the Dodge Nitro as a vehicle “totally out of step with style trends.”
Next time you take your car or truck in for service at the largest U.S auto dealership group be prepared to hand the keys over to a computer geek. Mike Jackson, the CEO of AutoNation Inc., told the Reuters Autos Summit on Tuesday that the increasing complexity of vehicle electronics means that old-style mechanics don’t cut it anymore.
“We used to have mechanics, then we had technicians and now we have geeks who run around with computers,” he said.