Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
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.
Gettelfinger is not one to loaf around and show up at our summit at a leisurely hour of, say, sometime after the sun rises. Oh no. Gettelfinger was scheduled to kick off our Tuesday slate of guests at 7:00 am. But by now we know better.
In fact, when coming into the building this morning sometime after 6:00 am, Gettelfinger was already in the lobby of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce building doing a radio call-in program on his cell phone.
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.
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.
A few years ago, one of the guests at our annual Reuters Autos Summit — Tom Stallkamp from Ripplewood — pretty much stopped everyone dead in their tracks by predicting that auto sales in the United States was likely to fall to an obscenely low level of 14.5 million.
Those were the days.
Of course, Stallkamp was making that prediction at a time when U.S. car manufacturers were selling in the neighborhood of 16 to 17 million a year. If the number hits 14.5 million in 2010, people will be wild with enthusiasm as most now expect something in a range of 10 to 11 million.
If you’re losing the game, time to change the playing field. Yahoo is counting on exactly that.
Now comes the waiting, which, as Tom Petty can tell you, is the hardest part.
Now that General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC have filed their plans of reorganization to the U.S. government and have started what looks like a long and not-painless process to make themselves smaller, more profitable and better suited to the current U.S. demand for new cars.
For Bill Diehl, chief executive of manufacturing consulting firm BBK, one thing that he would not favor would be a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by one of the two troubled automakers.