Jan 21

Hmmh.


Audi, BMW and VW ranked in the bottom 10 of a study into engine reliability



- German cars ‘among worst for engine failures’ (Auto Express, Jan 18, 2013):

German-made cars are not as reliable as many believe, according to new research. Warranty Direct has studied its claims data to compile a list of the manufacturers with the most reliable engines – and Audi, BMW and Volkswagen all finished in the bottom 10 out of a total 36 makers.

In fact, the only firm whose cars had a worse engine failure rate than Audi was MG Rover. MINI wasn’t much better, finishing third from bottom, while its parent company BMW came seventh from bottom. And, despite its reputation for rock-solid reliability, Volkswagen came ninth from bottom.

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Dec 30


The Car Coach Lauren Fix on why ‘E15’ gas could damage drivers’ vehicles older than 2012 models.

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Sep 17

- Postcards From A Furious China (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2012)

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Feb 25

Japan’s big three carmakers today reported a dramatic fall in production as the auto industry counts the cost of plummeting global demand.

Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, said global production dropped 39.1% in January from a year earlier to 487,984 vehicles. Honda reported a fall of 33.5% worldwide to 226,551 vehicles and Nissan 54% to 145,286.

The global economic crisis has ravaged demand in major markets, forcing Japan’s carmakers to slash production and lay off thousands of workers.

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Jan 30

Honda Jazz
Honda has stressed its commitment to retaining its Swindon workforce until the autumn when a new Jazz model is due to go into production. Photograph: Garry Weaser/Guardian

Japanese carmaker Honda will shut its British factory for four months this evening, after a slump in sales.

Production at the plant in Swindon, Wiltshire, will be halted at the end of today’s shift until 1 June.

The 4,200 workers will receive full basic pay for the first two months, falling to 60% for the rest of the shutdown.

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Jan 05

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp.’s U.S. sales plunged to a 49-year low in 2008, dragged down by a 31 percent slide in December as demand was ravaged by the recession and concern that the biggest domestic automaker might collapse.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. deliveries plummeted 37 percent last month, while Honda Motor Co. slipped 35 percent, Ford Motor Co. fell 32 percent and Nissan Motor Co. was down 31 percent, pointing toward the industry’s worst annual volume since 1992. Chrysler LLC dived 53 percent.

Related articles:
- Auto sales plunge again in December (CNN)
- Bleak US sales in December cap a grim year for automaker (
IHT)
- US Auto Sales Plunge Whopping 36 Percent in Dec. (AP)

The federal rescue of GM and Chrysler couldn’t overcome buyer pessimism and tight credit in the world’s biggest auto market. Ford’s 2008 U.S. sales sagged to a 47-year low, while GM’s total of 2.95 million light vehicles was the least since 1959, according to trade publication Automotive News.

“It’s one of the worst years ever, and this year will be worse,” said Stephanie Brinley, an analyst at consulting firm AutoPacific Inc. in Southfield, Michigan. “It’s not a gas problem. It’s not a credit problem. It’s a consumer confidence problem, and it’s worldwide.”

GM and Chrysler received commitments last month for as much as $17.4 billion in U.S. loans, saying they would have run short of operating cash by this month.

GM’s results last month beat the average estimate of a 41 percent drop among six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Tempering the decline was a 43 percent surge in deliveries of the Chevrolet Malibu sedan. Sales of GM’s Saab brand, which the Detroit-based automaker says it may sell, fell 57 percent.

U.S. Market Share

Thanks to bigger declines throughout 2008, the U.S. automakers will likely mark the first calendar year where their combined market share was less than 50 percent, based on results through November, when they held 47 percent.

The drop in full-year U.S. sales for Toyota and Honda were the first for the Japanese automakers since 1995 and 1993, respectively.

Toyota failed to get a boost from no-interest loans offered on most of its models since Oct. 2. Sales of its Prius hybrid, the best-selling gasoline-electric car in the U.S., declined 45 percent. The Tundra full-size pickup dropped 52 percent, while Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand finished the month down 32 percent.

Industrywide Decline

Industrywide U.S. sales extended a streak of declines of at least 25 percent dating to September. Vehicle sales for the year likely will total slightly more than 13 million, based on estimates from a Bloomberg News survey of 22 analysts and economists.

While that annual total would be the lowest in 16 years, it doesn’t reflect the steepening slide in U.S. auto demand.

Last month’s seasonally adjusted annual sales rate probably was 10 million, a 39 percent decline, based on the Bloomberg survey. The November rate was 10.2 million, and annual sales for all of 2007 were 16.1 million.

“We are at the bottom now,” said Tom Libby, an automotive analyst at consumer-research firm J.D. Power & Associates in Troy, Michigan. “People have just stopped buying and I don’t blame them. When you have such a decline in savings and net worth, it just doesn’t surprise me sales have fallen so much.”

Sales of Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Smart minicar fell 24 percent in December. Volkswagen AG was down 14 percent, while its Audi unit was off 9.3 percent. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s sales of BMW- and Mini-brand autos fell 36 percent.

Weak Economy

U.S. jobless rolls reached a 26-year high in the week ended Dec. 20, signaling a worsening labor market as the economy heads into the second year of a recession. That weakness adds to the strain on automakers after record fuel prices in 2008′s first half damped demand for full-size pickups and sport-utility vehicles.

President-elect Barack Obama has made an economic stimulus package his top priority, and he told reporters today in Washington that the nation faces an “extraordinary challenge” in reviving growth.

“The sooner stimulus efforts find their way to where they’ll do the most good — into the hands of consumers — the sooner we’ll see a turnaround in confidence levels and a return of buyers to the marketplace,” Jim Lentz, president of Toyota’s U.S. sales unit, said in a statement today.

December’s plunge may have been eased by the resumption of low-cost financing from GM last week, auto-research firm Edmunds.com said, citing a surge in vehicle inquiries on its site and dealer surveys.

Ford’s U.S. sales were “strong” in the last two weeks of December, Executive Vice President Mark Fields told reporters today in Dearborn, Michigan, where the automaker is based. Ford discounted its remaining F-150 pickups from the 2008 model year after a redesigned version debuted in October.

GM, Chrysler Rescue

Consumer concern that Detroit-based GM and Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler would fail to get government aid and be forced into bankruptcy may have contributed to December’s slump, Patrick Archambault, a Goldman, Sachs & Co. analyst based in New York, said in a Dec. 28 research note.

President George W. Bush announced Dec. 19 that GM and Chrysler would get the emergency loans in exchange for restructuring their businesses. GM had said it might run out of operating funds by the end of 2008, while Chrysler had said it might fall short by the middle of this month.

GM had resisted demands by some U.S. lawmakers that it file for bankruptcy instead of pursuing federal loans, saying buyers wouldn’t trust a car company under court protection.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mike Ramsey in Southfield, Michigan, at mramsey6@bloomberg.net; Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: January 5, 2009 15:22 EST
By Mike Ramsey and Alan Ohnsman

Source: Bloomberg

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Dec 25


Nissan Motor Co. employees assemble vehicles at the company’s Kyushu Plant in Kanda Town, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, on Nov. 23, 2007. Photographer: Robert Gilhooly/Bloomberg News

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) — Japan’s industrial production fell the most in at least five years in November after exports dropped by a record.

Factory output tumbled 8.1 percent from October, when it dropped 3.1 percent, the Trade Ministry said today in Tokyo. The median estimate of 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 6.8 percent decline.

Plunging demand for cars and electronics is prompting companies to pare output, jobs and investment. Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s three largest carmakers, cut global production in November and chipmaker Renesas Technology Corp. yesterday said it would eliminate all of its 1,000 temporary workers.

“The recession is showing signs of growing longer and more severe,” said Tetsufumi Yamakawa, chief Japan economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in London. “Production is showing stronger signs of a correction in conjunction with a slump in demand in Japan and abroad.”

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Dec 25

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s production of cars, trucks and buses marked its steepest drop in at least four decades in November, an industry group said Thursday, as the fallout from the U.S. slowdown crimped auto demand.

Vehicle production in Japan, home to Toyota Motor Corp. and other major automakers, plunged 20.4 percent in November compared to the same month a year ago to 854,171 vehicles, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said.

That marked the second straight month of on-year declines and the percentage slide was the biggest since the group began compiling such data in 1967, it said.

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Dec 18


Takeo Fukui, president of Honda Motor Co., speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Nov. 17, 2008. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg News

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) — Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second- largest automaker, fell 3.5 percent after cutting its profit goal as the yen rose to a 13-year high against the dollar and sales in North America and Europe dropped.

Honda declined 66 yen to 1,825 yen at the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Toyota Motor Corp., the country’s largest automaker, fell 2.3 percent, while Nissan Motor Co., the No. 3 carmaker in Japan, added 0.7 percent.

Honda cut its full-year forecast 62 percent yesterday as the global recession cripples sales in the U.S., Japan and Europe. The yen’s 28 percent gain against the dollar and 31 percent rise against the euro this year has hammered Honda’s profit, forcing it to cut jobs, lower management pay and withdraw from Formula One motor racing.

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Dec 04
The trade body warns that car production will have to be cut

The downturn in the German car market is “at a pace and magnitude that has never happened before”, the country’s main auto trade body has warned.

As a result, the German Association of the Automotive Industry said new car sales in 2009 are expected to be the worst since reunification in 1990.

It added that Volkswagen, Daimler and Porsche will all have to cut output, which will “impact” on workers.

Last week Porsche delayed its takeover of Volkswagen, blaming falling sales.

Porsche said there were signs of a “serious slump” in global demand.

Challenging

Volkswagen itself has warned that the current sales environment is “difficult”, while Daimler, owner of Mercedes-Benz, said the situation is “very challenging indeed”.

German car sales are expected to slip to 2.9 million next year, down from the expected 3.1 million for 2008, says the trade body.

Car sales are also lower across Europe, with Italy’s Fiat warning that its 2009 profits could fall by 65%.

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Nov 21

The plant’s 4,800 employees will be laid off for the duration of the closure, although they will still receive basic pay


Honda Jazz. Photograph: Garry Weaser/Guardian

Japanese car giant Honda added to the economic gloom today, announcing it is to shut its UK factory in Swindon for two months in February and March next year in response to falling sales.

The plant’s 4,800 employees will be laid off for the duration of the closure, although they will still receive basic pay, the company said. Some will be employed in training and on maintenance.

But the plan alarmed the unions, which believe Honda had considered plans to make 1,300 people redundant but opted to close the plant for two months to avert job losses.

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Oct 30

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.

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