What is going to happen when America finally doesn’t have any manufacturing jobs left at all? On Wednesday, we learned that Ford Motor Company is shifting all small car production to Mexico. Of course the primary goal for this move is to save a little bit of money. This hits me personally, because my grandfather once worked for Ford. He was loyal to Ford all his life, and he always criticized other members of the family when they bought a vehicle that was not American-made. When I was young I didn’t understand why making vehicles in America is so important, but I sure do now. By shipping jobs overseas, we are destroying jobs, we are destroying small businesses and we are destroying our tax base. If we want to be a wealthy nation, we have got to make things here, and hopefully we can get the American people to start to understand this. Continue reading »
Ford CEO, Mark Fields, sat down with Bloomberg to discuss plans to introduce a completely autonomous car by 2021. The only real problem we see with that plan is that it pretty much ensures their own demise. That said, they’re pretty much doomed anyway so might as well go for it.
The company said it plans to have a fully autonomous vehicle — no steering wheel, no gas or brake pedals — available by 2021 for ride-hailing services. Continue reading »
You can’t say we weren’t warned. As reported over a month ago, before the surprising rebound in April retail sales, the biggest drag on consumer spending was auto sales. One month later, this is finally starting to materialize when earlier today, both GM and Ford’s US vehicle sales fell more than analysts had estimated in May. According to Bloomberg this “raises questions about stalling consumer demand.” Not really: as we also warned a month ago when looking at stalling use car price changes, it was only a matter of time before the lack of demand for every low priced autos spilled over to new car sales, which it now has.
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Ford is among at least a half-dozen automakers that have either expanded production or built new plants in Mexico in recent years.
Ford sparked outrage from both the UAW and Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Tuesday, uniting two unlikely foes, after the automaker said it would invest $1.6 billion to build a new plant in Mexico and create 2,800 new jobs there. Continue reading »
– Chart Of The Day: The Unprecedented Implosion Of European Car Sales (ZeroHedge, Dec 4, 2012):
The graphic below, which presents an unvarnished picture of Europe’s true economic state, needs no explanation:
In the context of the above, no explanation is also needed that quietly, and without much fanfare, French car-maker, Peugeot, and Europe’s second largest after VW, was recently GMed, and received a government bailout.
Carmaker Peugeot gets $9.1B government bailout
The French government has agreed to underwrite up to €7 billion ($9.1 billion) of bonds issued by Banque PSA Finance SA, the financing unit of carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen SA, allowing the French automaker to offer low-cost credit to its dealerships and clients amid a slump in sales.
– Welcome to the Recovery (New York Times, by Timothy Geithner, August 2, 2010)
‘Recovery’ is the ‘Greatest Depression’.
– Will The Bottom Fall Out? 15 Signs That Layoffs And Job Losses Are Skyrocketing (Economic Collapse, Oct 25, 2012):
If you still have a good job, you might want to hold on to it very tightly because there are a whole bunch of signs that unemployment in the United States is about to start getting worse again. Over the past several weeks, a substantial number of large corporations have announced disappointing earnings for the third quarter. Many of those large corporations are also loaded up with huge amounts of debt. So what is the solution? Well, the favorite solution on Wall Street these days seems to be to lay off workers. In fact, it is almost turning into a feeding frenzy. Since September 1st, we have seen more job cuts announced than during any other two month period since the start of 2010. These announcements represent future layoffs and job losses which are not even showing up in the unemployment numbers yet. So needless to say, things don’t look very promising for the end of 2012 or for the beginning of 2013. If this race to eliminate jobs becomes a stampede, will we see the bottom fall out of the employment market?If you are concerned about whether or not you will still have a job 12 months from now, you might find the numbers posted below to be quite alarming. We have not seen layoff announcements come this fast and this furious since the gloomy days of the last recession.
According to Bloomberg, job cuts are well ahead of the pace set last year…
North American companies have announced plans to eliminate more than 62,600 positions at home and abroad since Sept. 1, the biggest two-month drop since the start of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Firings total 158,100 so far this year, more than the 129,000 job cuts in the same period in 2011.
So what happens if the economy really starts sliding rapidly and this loss of jobs becomes an avalanche?
Can the U.S. economy and the American people handle another major economic downturn?
Some of the biggest names in the business world have announced job cuts in recent weeks.
The following are 15 signs that layoffs and job losses are skyrocketing… Continue reading »
– Worse Than The Infamous Lehman September: France’s Private Sector Gets Kicked Off A Cliff (ZeroHedge, Oct 1, 2012):
This should have been an exciting moment: the Paris auto show, “Mondial de l’Automobil,” this weekend with over 100 new models from around the world, from econo-boxes with rounded corners to exotic prototypes that will never see production. Chicks next to some of them. Nausea-inducing colors, downsized motors. Something for everyone. But it had been preceded by two days of supplier events loaded with the dire verbiage of an industry that is on a death march. Particularly in France, whose private sector is veering into economic fiasco. And on Monday, it became official.
A barometer of the real economy in France, new car sales as measured by registrations, crashed in September—down 18.3% from September last year, and accelerating (year-to-date, sales were down “only” 13.9%). It was the worst September in years, worse even than the infamous Lehman September of 2008. And 2012 is shaping up to be the worst year since long before the financial crisis.
Of the French brands, market leader PSA Peugeot Citroen saw sales drop “only” 5%, helped by the introduction of its new sub-compact Peugeot 208. But year to date, sales were down 18.4%. Renault got killed. A stunning 33.4% plunge for the month and 19.8% YTD.
An equal-opportunity fiasco. Even the heroes from across the Rhine got their clocks cleaned in France. Volkswagen (VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda) fell 17.4%. BMW and Mercedes where hit as well. GM (Opel, Chevrolet) tumbled 20.8%, Ford 31.5%. And Fiat, well, it might as well hang up its hat: down 38.4%!
Congratulations Centrally Planned Garbage Motors: GM slides to below its IPO price, hitting $32.75. And now we get to see if GETCO has been swimming with no bathing suit on the entire time.
As a reminder, 112 hedge funds hold GM stock. Oops.
And time to remind the retarded market making robots of what we posted a week ago:
And some bad news for the world’s worst car maker (recently bankrupt), which has bet its entire “growth” platform as per the recent IPO on the one market that is so far unfamiliar with said carmaker’s “quality” reputation. In January, the Shanghai-based China Passenger Car Association reported that sales of passenger cars fell 10.3 percent in January from the month before to 965,238. Per Manufacturing.net: “Chinese bought 13.7 million passenger vehicles last year, up by a third from 2009. But that robust growth is forecast to cool this year due to the expiration of tax incentives for some vehicle purchases and a renewed effort by cities to bring traffic under control.”Is the recent collectivist action to cool off purchasing actually going to have an adverse impact not only on GM’s margins but its sales as well? Why yes. But the market will be stunned when this is publicly announced shortly.
Furthermore, the deterioration in car sales is accelerating:
Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) — U.S. auto sales in August probably were the slowest for the month in 28 years as model-year closeout deals failed to entice consumers concerned the economy is worsening and they may lose their jobs.
Industrywide deliveries, to be released tomorrow, may have reached an annualized rate of 11.6 million vehicles this month, the average of eight analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the slowest August since 1982, according to researcher Ward’s AutoInfoBank. The rate would be 18 percent below last year’s 14.2 million pace, when the U.S. government’s “cash for clunkers” incentive program boosted sales.
“Home sales are way down, the stock market is way down, the unemployment report is very disappointing and consumer confidence is sputtering,” Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at TrueCar.com, said in an interview. “People just don’t want to make big-ticket purchases because they’re uncertain about their jobs and the value of their homes.”
While automakers increased discounts by 1 percent from July to an average of $2,864 per vehicle, sales to individuals probably fell 7 percent from last month, according to Santa Monica, California-based TrueCar.
Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, whose Beverly Hills-based investment company confirmed Monday that it had dumped its remaining stock holdings in struggling Ford Motor Co., had had a long, if not always profitable, relationship with Detroit. Associated Press
The investor spent about $1 billion acquiring a 6.5% stake in the struggling automaker this year, then saw the value of its stock plummet.
Kirk Kerkorian wasn’t kidding when he said he was putting the brakes on his latest foray into the auto industry.
A spokeswoman for Tracinda Corp., the billionaire’s Beverly Hills-based investment company, confirmed Monday that it had dumped its remaining stock holdings in struggling Ford Motor Co. She declined to provide details of the stock sales.
Kerkorian owned 107.1 million Ford shares, or 4.9% of the company, in late October, when Tracinda reported in a regulatory filing that it had unloaded 7.3 million shares and planned to sell the rest of its holdings by the end of the year.
Because it owned less than 5% of the company — the regulatory threshold for reporting changes in stock ownership — Tracinda was not required to file information with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the more recent sales, such as when the shares were sold or at what price.
But Kerkorian, who began buying Ford shares in April and spent about $1 billion acquiring a 6.5% stake in the automaker, clearly took a bath on the investment. Ford was trading at about $7.75 a share when Kerkorian began acquiring his stake. The average price since his last SEC filing in late October: $2.33 a share.
Continue reading »
Companies eager to conserve cash are trimming their contributions to their workers’ 401(k) retirement plans, putting a new strain on America’s tattered safety net at the very moment when many workers are watching their accounts plummet along with the stock market.
When the FedEx Corporation slimmed down its pension plan last year, it softened the blow by offering workers enriched 401(k) contributions to make up for the pension benefits some would lose. But last week, with Americans sending fewer parcels and FedEx’s revenue growth at a standstill, the company said it would suspend all of its contributions for at least a year.
A future out of control, bankrupt financial institutions trying to hold on, limitation on credit severely limits ability of the economy to start up again, debt totally embraces our lives, handouts a state secret, soon cash infusions wont work for banks anymore, banks hold too much toxic garbage to even know if they are solvent. We are now 17 months into a credit crisis that continues to expose the corruption and incompetence of government, banking, Wall Street and transnational corporations. The situation has not stabilized and it won’t anytime soon. All we see are sweetheart deals for elitist corporations for which American taxpayers will pay for years to come. The future of our nation is totally out of control. For the last eight years our economy has been running on something for nothing, lies and deceit. The result will be hyperinflation and then the Second Great Depression. Continue reading »
Tags: AIG, Banking, Bear Stearns, Ben Bernanke, Bonds, Bubble, Chrysler, Citigroup, COMEX, Corruption, Credit Crisis, Credit Crunch, Debt, Depression, Derivatives, Derivatives market, Dollar, Economy, Fannie Mae, Fed, Federal Reserve, Ford, Fraud, Freddie Mac, GM, Gold, Goldman Sachs, Government, Great Depression, Henry Paulson, Hyperinflation, Inflation, JPMorgan, Mortgage crisis, Mortgages, Politics, Recession, Stock Market, Taxpayers, Treasury, U.S., Unemployment, Wall Street
If you oppose those disastrous bailouts people then you should have better voted for Ron Paul and not for Mr. ‘Change is Protectionism’ or Mr. ‘Bomb Them All’. Ron Paul would have listened to the people. He always did. Those elite puppets won’t.
Survey shows that Americans think federal aid for the Big Three is unfair and won’t help the economy.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — A majority of Americans oppose a bailout of the troubled U.S. auto industry, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, conducted by telephone on Dec. 1-2 with nearly 1,100 people, showed that 61% of those surveyed oppose government assistance for the major U.S. automakers.
The poll comes at a critical time for the American auto industry. Ford Motor, General Motors and Chrysler LLC are requesting up to $34 billion dollars in emergency loans from the government to amid the weakest auto sales in 25 years and persistently tight credit.
General Motors and Chrysler, burning through billions of dollars in cash, are the most imperiled. All three companies submitted plans to Congress on Tuesday making their case for funding, and industry executives are set to testify on Capitol Hill as lawmakers debate whether to take emergency action.
But Wednesday’s poll suggests that Americans believe bailing out the Big Three is a bad idea.
A full 70% of respondents indicated that a bailout is unfair to taxpayers.
General Motors and Ford Motor have approached Sweden’s government about financial aid for their lossmaking Saab and Volvo brands.
Related article: Ford Says It May Sell Volvo, Its Last European Brand
GM and Ford want to bolster the two marques’ finances in anticipation of selling them as the Detroit carmakers grapple with a cash crunch that threatens their survival.
Stephen Odell, Volvo’s chief executive, and Saab’s managing director Jan-Ake Jonsson have separately spoken to Maud Olofsson, Sweden’s industry minister, and other officials about securing funds, according to several people familiar with the discussions.
Ford and GM will both tell the US Congress they have long-term plans to dispose of the brands this week when they present detailed business and financial plans to support their request for $25bn of emergency funding.
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co. said it may sell its Volvo unit, the company’s sole remaining European brand, a day before the automaker is scheduled to present a survival plan to U.S. lawmakers.
The review of options for Volvo was spurred by the worldwide auto decline and probably will take several months, Ford said today in a statement. Shedding the Swedish unit would complete the unwinding of a two-decade strategy of diversifying by buying European luxury brands. Volvo, acquired in 1999 for $6.4 billion, was retained after a similar evaluation last year.
Related article: Volvo and Saab ask Sweden for aid
Ford, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC are to present plans tomorrow demonstrating why they should get $25 billion in U.S. financial aid and that they can be viable businesses. Volvo was once central to a failed strategy by Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford to reap a third of its profits from luxury autos in 2006.
“All of these businesses are being forced to reveal their hand,” said Maryann Keller, an independent auto analyst and consultant in Greenwich, Connecticut, in an interview. “Ford can put Volvo up for sale, but there aren’t going to be any buyers. It may come down to the Swedish government taking it.”
On Friday November 21, the world came within a hair’s breadth of the most colossal financial collapse in history according to bankers on the inside of events with whom we have contact. The trigger was the bank which only two years ago was America’s largest, Citigroup. The size of the US Government de facto nationalization of the $2 trillion banking institution is an indication of shocks yet to come in other major US and perhaps European banks thought to be ‘too big to fail.’
The clumsy way in which US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, himself not a banker but a Wall Street ‘investment banker’, whose experience has been in the quite different world of buying and selling stocks or bonds or underwriting and selling same, has handled the unfolding crisis has been worse than incompetent. It has made a grave situation into a globally alarming one.
‘Spitting into the wind’
A case in point is the secretive manner in which Paulson has used the $700 billion in taxpayer funds voted him by a labile Congress in September. Early on, Paulson put $125 billion in the nine largest banks, including $10 billion for his old firm, Goldman Sachs. However, if we compare the value of the equity share that $125 billion bought with the market price of those banks’ stock, US taxpayers have paid $125 billion for bank stock that a private investor could have bought for $62.5 billion, according to a detailed analysis from Ron W. Bloom, economist with the US United Steelworkers union, whose members as well as pension fund face devastating losses were GM to fail.
Tags: AIG, Bailout, Banking, Bush administration, Chrysler, Citigroup, Derivatives, Derivatives market, Dollar, Economy, FDIC, Financial Crisis, Ford, General Motors, GM, Government, Henry Paulson, Lehman Brothers, Politics, Stock Market, Taxpayers, Treasury, U.S., Wachovia, Wall Street, Washington Mutual
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama looks on before the start of a meeting with Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Republican presidential candidate, at Obama’s transition office in Chicago, Nov. 17, 2008. Photographer: Frank Polich/Bloomberg News
Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) — President-Elect Barack Obama‘s transition team is exploring a swift, prepackaged bankruptcy for automakers as a possible solution to the industry’s financial crisis, according to a person familiar with the matter.
A representative of Obama’s team has already contacted at least one bankruptcy-law firm to say that Daniel Tarullo, a professor at Georgetown University’s law school who heads Obama’s economic policy working group, would call to discuss the workings of a so-called prepack, according to this person.
U.S. lawmakers yesterday delayed until December a vote on whether to give General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC a $25 billion bailout. GM today said it would idle production at four plants an extra week and return some corporate jets to conserve cash. Automakers could use a judge-supervised bankruptcy to reduce debt and reject expensive contracts.
“It creates the environment to deal with GM’s problems but limits government financial commitment,” said bankruptcy lawyer Mark Bane of Ropes & Gray in New York.
Bankruptcy is just one option being examined. Obama told CBS News’s “60 Minutes” on Nov. 16 that government aid to automakers might come in the form of a “bridge loan,” advanced if the industry could draw up plan to make itself “sustainable.” The president-elect earlier urged Congress to approve as much as $50 billion to save automakers, using the model of Chrysler’s bailout in 1979.
Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — U.S. lawmakers deadlocked on a plan to bail out the Big Three automakers, leaving General Motors Corp. facing the prospect it could run out of cash before a new Congress can come to the rescue next year.
Democratic congressional leaders disagreed with Republicans and President George W. Bush‘s administration over how to provide $25 billion in aid to GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. Only two days remain in a lame-duck session for lawmakers to resurrect a compromise.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, suggested yesterday the situation was dire and refused to set aside time today to debate a compromise proposed by Senator Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican. Reid said Bond’s plan hasn’t been put in writing and the House of Representatives is about to adjourn.
“We have to face reality,” he said. “The reality is that we tried a number of different approaches.”
Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co., reeling from plunging U.S. car sales and a sinking share price, will raise about $540 million selling part of its stake in Japanese affiliate Mazda Motor Corp. to ease cash concerns.
The automaker will sell 20 percent of Mazda tomorrow, reducing its holdings to 13 percent, according to a statement today. Hiroshima-based Mazda said separately that it will buy back up to a 6.9 percent stake for as much as 17.9 billion yen ($186 million). The rest of the shares will be purchased by unidentified “strategic business partners.”
‘But, but, but … that money was only for my friends on Wall Street and not for the people.’
Henry Paulson, U.S. treasury secretary, left, and Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, right, listen during a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee in Washington, on Nov. 18, 2008. Photographer: Jim Lo Scalzo/Bloomberg News
Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson rejected using the government’s financial-rescue program as a “panacea” for economic difficulties, clashing with lawmakers who want the funds to help beleaguered homeowners.
“The rescue package was not intended to be an economic stimulus or an economic recovery package,” Paulson said in testimony to the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. The Troubled Asset Relief Program was designed to stabilize financial markets and the flow of credit and “is not a panacea for all our economic difficulties.”
Representative Barney Frank, who heads the House panel, cut off Paulson during the question-and-answer session, saying “the bill couldn’t have been clearer” in also being aimed at reducing foreclosures. Paulson told lawmakers he has no plans to use the second half of the $700 billion program, indicating it will be up to the incoming Obama administration to resolve the matter.
“We don’t have a lot of time and I don’t usually do this,” Frank said in interrupting Paulson during an exchange on how to deploy TARP cash. “I read sections of the bill that says — write it down — give them assistance,” Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, told the Treasury chief.
Should Congress bail out the Big Three? Here’s what lawmakers are considering and what’s at stake.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — For more than a century, the U.S. auto industry has been at the center of the American industrial economy. Events over the next month could determine if that remains the case.
This week, Congress will consider whether to cough up billions of dollars to bail out the troubled companies.
There are loud advocates with strong arguments on both sides.
Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) — U.S. automakers should not get $25 billion in proposed federal loans to save them from possible bankruptcy, Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Banking Committee, said.
“Companies fail every day and others take their place,” Shelby said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” today. “There’s not a bank in this country that would loan a dollar to these companies.”
Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp., burning through cash as sales slump, would cost the government as much as $200 billion should the biggest U.S. automaker be forced to liquidate, a forecasting firm estimated.
A GM collapse would mean “more aid to specific states like Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, and more money into unemployment and extended benefits,” Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts, said yesterday in an interview.
Behravesh’s projection of $100 billion to $200 billion in costs dwarfs the $25 billion industry bailout plan that will be debated in Congress next week to prop up Detroit-based GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. The drain on taxpayers from a rescue or a GM failure is a central issue for U.S. lawmakers.
Included in the Global Insight estimate, which Behravesh supplied to Bloomberg News, are the anticipated costs for existing programs, such as unemployment insurance, and new measures that the economist said would be needed to revive economic growth after millions of auto-related job losses.
A GM shutdown would wipe out jobs among suppliers as well as at the automaker itself, pushing the U.S. unemployment rate next year to 9.5 percent, compared with current projections of as high as 8.5 percent, Behravesh said.
A man exits the American International Building, home to the headquarters of American International Group (AIG), in New York, Nov. 10, 2008. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News
Nov. 11 (Bloomberg) — The revised bailout of American International Group Inc. marks a new phase in the government’s effort to shore up financial markets: It’s the first time cash from the rescue fund Congress created last month has been committed to a failing company.
The Federal Reserve, which saved the insurer from collapse two months ago with an $85 billion loan, yesterday reduced that loan and offered lower rates, while the Treasury chipped in $40 billion from its bank-rescue fund to buy preferred shares. The new terms represent a departure for Secretary Henry Paulson, who until now has said he only wants to invest Treasury funds in “healthy” firms.
Taxpayers are “keeping the zombie alive,” said Robert Eisenbeis, chief monetary economist at hedge fund Cumberland Advisors and former director of research at the Atlanta Fed. “We keep getting deeper and deeper into these holes.”
The shift is likely to vastly expand political demands for saving dying companies in the name of financial or economic stability. The administration of President-elect Barack Obama may soon have to consider credit or capital injections for other insurers, automakers, even retailers as the U.S. slides deeper into what could be the worst recession in a quarter-century.
“Are you going to do General Motors and Ford, and, if you do those, are going to go on and do retailers?” said William Isaac, former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and now chairman of the Secura Group LLC. “ Where does it stop? That is a very difficult decision we are going to face as a country.”
Sunny Yang, left, a masters degree student from Shanghai and employed banker in New York City, speaks with World Bank representative Roberto Amorosino about opportunities for unemployed friends of his during a career fair at Columbia Univeristy Friday, Nov. 7, 2008 in New York. The U.S. unemployment rate bolted to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent in October as another 240,000 jobs were cut, far worse than economists expected and stark proof the economy is deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid pace. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s jobless ranks zoomed past 10 million last month, the most in a quarter-century, as piles of pink slips shut factory gates and office doors to 240,000 more Americans with the holidays nearing. Politicians and economists agreed on a painful bottom line: It’s only going to get worse.
The unemployment rate soared to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent, the government said Friday, up from 6.1 percent just a month earlier. And there was more grim news from U.S. automakers: Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., American giants struggling to survive, each reported big losses and figured to be announcing even more job cuts before long.
Regulators, meanwhile, shut down Houston-based Franklin Bank and Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles on Friday, bringing the number of failures of federally insured banks this year to 19.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Franklin Bank, which had $5.1 billion in assets and $3.7 billion in deposits as of Sept. 30, and of Security Pacific Bank, with $561.1 million in assets and $450.1 million in deposits as of Oct. 17.
Tags: Bank Failure, Banking, Barack Obama, Credit Crisis, Credit Crunch, Economy, FDIC, Ford, Foreclosures, General Motors, George Bush, GM, Government, Housing market, Labor Department, Mortgage crisis, Mortgages, Politics, Recession, Stock Market, U.S., Unemployment, Wall Street
Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co., with U.S. sales shredded by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, posted a third-quarter operating loss of $2.98 billion and said it used up $7.7 billion in cash.
The per-share operating loss of $1.31 was wider than the 93-cent average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Ford said it would trim more salaried jobs by January, deepen its fourth-quarter production cuts and shrink capital spending by as much as 17 percent.
Revenue plunged 22 percent to $32.1 billion, forcing Ford to triple its consumption of cash compared with the second quarter. Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities for Ford’s automotive business plummeted 29 percent to $18.9 billion on Sept. 30, the Dearborn, Michigan-based company said today.
“Cash burn is the No. 1 issue,” Rebecca Lindland, an IHS Global Insight Inc. analyst, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “We associate cash burn with General Motors. It has not always been a problem with Ford. That is potentially a new problem.”
Such is the severity of the downturn in the global car industry that US manufacturers are now pushing for their own state bailout.
Why stop at the banks? Now governments around the world are pouring taxpayer money in to bail out loss-making financial institutions, it is getting harder to argue against subsidies, loans, guarantees and other forms of government assistance for other industries, too – particularly since the economic pain is now being felt far from Wall Street.
Which is why Rick Wagoner, chief executive of General Motors, the largest US carmaker, packed his suitcase for Washington and headed to the capital again this week. He is leading a lobbying push aimed at tapping taxpayers and staving off the bankruptcy of the loss-making company. GM’s coffers are being depleted at a rate of $1bn a month, and will run dry by the end of next summer. Little wonder its shares have touched levels not seen since it emerged from the Great Depression.
GM – owner of the Vauxhall brand and Chevrolet, amongst others – is in the throes of merger talks with its smaller rival Chrysler, which is also haemorrhaging cash. The hope is a merger will save money, allowing them to close more factories and cut more jobs. The trouble is, things are so desperate they don’t have the cash to write the redundancy cheques. They are asking for up to $10bn in low-cost loans to tide them over.
So here we are, on the brink of Bail-out II: Detroit.
Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. sold 7.3 million Ford shares yesterday for an average of $2.43 each and said it contacted an investment bank about unloading the rest. Tracinda’s remaining 133.5 million shares were valued at $311.1 million based on yesterday’s closing price.
Kerkorian, 91, acted five days after Ford’s collapsing stock price forced him to pledge another 50 million shares of his MGM Mirage casino company to support the $600 million credit line used to buy stock in the second-largest U.S. automaker. Tracinda paid as much as $8.50.
For years, Germany Inc.’s best promotional vehicles have been the world-class luxury cars the country produces. Shiny Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars are like mobile billboards for excellence, from New York to Moscow, Buenos Aires to Shanghai.
But as the global financial crisis begins to take its toll on the real economy, Germany’s export machine has hit a wall. German exports fell 2.5% in August, the sharpest fall since 2003, as consumers and companies around the world cancel orders for everything from high-end industrial equipment to chemicals.
The car industry, still Germany’s biggest employer, is the worst hit. High gas prices in key markets such as the U.S. have slowed sales for months. Some consumers have been waiting for more fuel-efficient models, while many more are now delaying new purchases because of uncertainty over their jobs. Thanks to the credit crunch, even people who want to buy are finding finance has dried up.
All that spells trouble for the likes of BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, Ford Europe and General Motors’ Europe arm, Opel. Ferdinand Dudenhoffer, a respected industry analyst, predicts that the number of new German cars delivered to customers in 2008 will fall by at least 100,000 units to around 3.1 million, and will likely slip below three million next year. As a result, he says, German car companies will have to cut up to 20,000 jobs over the coming year.
Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, the three biggest U.S. automakers, may be forced into bankruptcy as the global credit freeze damps U.S. sales, Standard & Poor’s analyst Robert Schulz said.
“Macro factors could overwhelm them at some point” even as GM, Ford and Chrysler vow to stick with their turnaround plans, Schulz, S&P’s lead automotive credit analyst, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview in New York. The companies said they have no plans to seek bankruptcy protection.
His assessment underscored the pressure on the industry as the worsening credit crisis makes it harder for buyers to get loans and dealers to finance their operations. S&P said yesterday it may further trim credit ratings for GM and Ford on forecasts for 2009 auto demand to fall to its lowest since 1992.
With all three companies working to boost cash, any bankruptcy filing would be a last resort, not a “strategic” decision, Schulz said.