This weekend’s story about General Motors and Chrysler merger talks seemed like a shock. But as it turns out, it’s more like closing time and GM is looking to take anyone desperate home from the bar. According to the New York Times, GM and Ford began merger talks in July. When the talks broke down last month, GM turned its bar stool to the other side and started to see if Chrysler wanted to go home with it.
Ford broke off the talks in September, because it seemed to have concluded that it had a better chance to reorganize on its own than in tandem with another automaker. “What we can say is that we are convinced our best opportunity is to continue to integrate Ford and leverage our global assets,” Ford spokesman Mark Truby told the New York Times. “That remains Ford’s focus.”
A GM/Chrysler deal may take a few weeks for executives to figure out if it is advantageous enough to work. Also, General Motors is not the only one trying to take Chrysler back to its bachelor pad. The swinging duo of Renault-Nissan has been lurking in the shadows. It has set up manufacturing deals with Chrysler and is exploring the possibilities of ownership.
The operations of Chrysler and General Motors are not too different in the struggling North America. Unlike a merger with a foreign brand that may have a strength in smaller cars, GM and Chrysler have similar product lines. Their merger would likely mean making people and cars redundant (less employees and less plants.) So while the businesses may survive the tough road ahead, they may be a shadow of their former selves.
General Motors and Chrysler are in merger talks. This is not a typo. The world may soon become filled with Dodge Volts, Hemi Impalas and Chrysler Yukons according to a Wall Street Journal story.
Cerberus Capital Management owns 80.1 percent of Chrysler as well as 51 percent of GMAC Financial Services. The proposal would have a swap of GM’s remaining 49 percent of GMAC for Cerberus’ stake in Chrysler. The talks have stalled because of the recent turmoil in the financial markets, according to the Journal. Its sources said negotiations could resume if markets stabilize because both GM and Cerberus want to quickly divest the assets under discussion.
Besides solidifying General Motors as the world’s largest automaker and changing Detroit’s "Big Three" into the the "Big Two", if this merger does happen some interesting scenarios could take place. The two brands that AM General spawned (Jeep and Hummer) would now be back together. If rumored negotiations with the Fiat Group to build cars at surplus Chrysler plants continued, then GM and Fiat will be back working closely together again.
General Motors has had a very bad week. It announced at the beginning of the week that it was looking to get $500 million by mortgaging its swanky Renaissance Center headquarters in Detroit to help raise it’s cash. But that’s now a small concern compared to its new problem. Yesterday’s stock firesale on Wall Street sent GM’s share tumbling to $4.76, which is a 31 percent loss in one day. The stock is now at its lowest price since 1950.
All of this sent credit rater Standard & Poor’s to say on Thursday it could cut both GM and Ford’s credit ratings deeper into junk. It said that both automakers had enough liquidity through 2008, "but the accelerating deteriorating industry fundamentals will be a serious challenge to liquidity during 2009."
But the battle is not over. General Motors sees a tough road but won’t go to the extreme of filing for bankruptcy. "Clearly we face unprecedented challenges related to uncertainty in the financial markets globally and weakening economic fundamentals in many key markets," GM said. "But bankruptcy protection is not an option GM is considering. Bankruptcy would not be in the interests of our employees, stockholders, suppliers or customers."
Just remember the infamous saying: “As goes GM, so goes the country.” So let’s all keep fighting.
It was a simple idea, create a system that heats windshield washer fluid to speed up the process of melting snow and ice off windshields. In stepped Microheat with it’s HotShot system. In September though, General Motors was forced to recall about 944,000 vehicles equipped with the HotShot system because of concerns over electrical fires. GM has subsequently stopped using Microheat’s system, forcing Microheat to cease almost all production and close the company doors permanently. Now the fight is going to the lawyers, GM is suing Microheat for the cost of the recall, which is reported to be in the $20 million to $25 million range. But Microheat is pointing out the fact that GM still owes them 3.7 million for parts and tooling.
By November 1, dealers should have the parts to fix the problem, free of charge, by adding a wiring harness with an inline fuse. Vehicles affected are between 2006-2008 model years and include the Buick Lucerne and Enclave, the Cadillac DTS and Escalade, the GMC Yukon, Sierra and Acadia, the Saturn Outlook, the Hummer H2, and the Chevy Silverado, Avalanche, Tahoe, and Suburban.
1,100 GM factory workers in Moraine, Ohio will be out of a job on December 23 as plans are announced to close the Moraine Assembly plant early, instead of the original 2010 plan (Happy Holidays to the employees.) The accelerated shutdown plans are part of company wide cost-cutting move as customers move away from sport utility vehicles to smaller vehicles amid high gas prices.
The plant builds the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X. This will mark the end of all four models. With Isuzu pulling out of the U.S. market in January, the death of the Ascender is no surprise. As for Saab’s 9-7X, it is widely expected to be replaced by the superior 2010 9-4X.
General Motors turned down a $56 million tax credit and grant package from the Ohio Department of Development to keep the plant open.
Imagine roadsides piling up with Chevrolets, Buicks, Pontiacs, Saturns, Hummers, Saabs, Cadillacs, and practically all GM-made vehicles in need of repairs and/or maintenance. These cars need replacement parts, but there are none available. Doesn’t this sound like scene from apocalyptic movie? Unfortunately, this could become a sad reality unless General Motors acts swiftly. Serious financial trouble hounds up Delphi Corp, GM’s giant auto parts maker, as its officials scramble for some last-ditch efforts to save the company from imminent financial ruin.
Delphi used to be General Motors Corp in-house parts maker. It produced almost every auto part for GM’s vehicles— auto electronics, tires, hood, engine parts, safety equipment, steering systems, car frames—just to name a few.
In 1999, GM spun off the Delphi Corp and made it a separate entity. Brisk business had kept Delphi afloat, but labor costs and rising car materials gradually chewed up most of its assets until it declared bankruptcy in 2005. Its competitors had been put out of business for these same financial woes.
Now, Delphi accrues $3.4 billion in bankruptcy loans termed debtor-in-possession or DIP. It will expire this year. This means that, unless its officials implement some fast stopgap measures, Delphi will go down the drain. Delphi’s financial woes have put GM in a tight bind. As much as it wants to, the parent company could not liquidate Delphi’s liabilities since GM is saddled with serious financial difficulties of its own.
If liquidation occurs, GM would have to absorb Delphi’s 159,000 workers and accrued liabilities ---- hook, line, and sinker. Ray Young, the chief financial officer of General Motors, said GM could not bail out Delphi. On one hand, General Motors desperately needs Delphi to for its car production. On the other hand, it cannot keep the money-losing Delphi plants.
So, unless large cash infusion occurs soon, Delphi will continue stand out like a sore thumb for GM.
GM has announced plans to install solar panels on the roof of its White Marsh, Maryland, transmission assembly plant, making it the first North American factory to get them (GM has solar panels on top of its Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, California parts warehouses as well.) The plant produces six-speed and Two Mode hybrid transmissions for the company’s light-duty trucks. It will be equipped with over 8,700 solar panels covering 300,000 square feet, which will cut the plant’s electricity bill by 20 percent annually by 2009. The panels will generate about 1.4 million kWh of clean, renewable solar energy, which is equivalent to the demand of about 140 to 150 U.S. households with an average annual consumption of 10,000 kWh, GM said.
Best of all for GM, they are paying nothing for the energy-saving system. SunEdison will finance, install, operate and maintain the system, and will make money by keeping some of the electricity generated.
Technology can hurt a driver as much as it can help him. For example, those convenient automated toll systems (i.e. EZ Pass, FasTrak, SunPass, etc.) can also use their time/distance data to figure out if you were speeding. GM may be hitting even closer to home with a new OnStar feature. Right now General Motors will use OnStar to pass on information to their GMAC Insurance arm about your annual driving mileage for possible insurance discounts.
This is purely voluntary program, and GM assures that the data will go no further than annual mileage. But how soon before they want data on speed or acceleration, all disguised under the cloak of lower insurance premiums?
The same side of me who wants to build a bomb shelter in my tool shed is also having trouble with this new OnStar service. After all, Ford is developing cars that talk to each other, GM is putting money into cars that drive themselves , and now your car wants to tattle on your driving habits. Big Brother is no longer trying to get in the passenger seat; it’s trying to drive!
I think it’s too late for me; I’ve already given in to sat nav and climate control. At least for now GM is doing no evil, and instead letting you save some additional cash on car insurance if you drive less then 15k miles a year. Besides, Big Brother technology is nothing new in cars. For almost a decade GM and other manufactures have been installing a “black box” like device that records driver stats, but your car has kept the secret to itself …so far.
At General Motors, “going green” may be as much of a catch phrase for helping the environment as it means saving precious cash. For instance, earlier this month it announced plans to lease 2,000,000 square feet of rooftop space at a plant in Zaragoza, Spain, to a company that installs solar panels. “From a GM perspective, we get revenue for leasing the roof and adding solar to a rooftop instead of taking up valuable land,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM’s Green Initiative Manager, during a web conference on renewable energy today.
The result should generate twelve megawatts of power, which should be enough to run 4,575 Spanish households. This idea is not new to GM. Two facilities in the U.S. have already implemented similar projects, but their size is much smaller than the one at the Zaragoza plant. “As big as this facility is, I don’t see many roof top projects of this size being completed around the world,” Threlkeld added.
In a press conference GM revealed official images of some of their future model, including the 2010 Chevy Cruze, 2010 Cadillac SRX, 2010 Saab 9-4X, and the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox.
At the same event, GM also confirmed the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, 2010 Cadillac CTS Coupe and 2010 Cadillac CTS Wagon.
First to debut will be the 2010 Chevrolet Cruze at the Paris Auto Show. The Cruze will be based on GM’s Delta compact-car architecture and will be powered by a new 1.4-liter global engine that delivers between 120 to 140 hp. Sources say mileage could exceed 40 mpg.