Wednesday Snippets

News from ctm in comments:

Saab sales worldwide for the first 6 months is 70,846 vehicles, up 11% from 2005.

I don’t have enough historical data to look into 1st half v 2nd half sales, but 150,000 has got to be within reach, hasn’t it?

C’mon Saab USA, lift! The key to attaining that 150,000 goal or beyond is in your hands.

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The Detroit News has the goods on the whole GM/Kerkorian/Ghosn/Renault/Nissan thing. As it turns out, it looks like it’s been in the works for some time prior to Tracinda’s filing last week. The Detnews article certainly starts with a bang:

After an intense week of clandestine meetings and secret phone calls, Kirk Kerkorian finally got what he wanted from Rick Wagoner on June 22.

On that day, Wagoner, the chairman of General Motors Corp., called Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault SA of France and Nissan Motor Co. of Japan. Together, they agreed to meet face to face in mid-July to discuss a blockbuster deal — a global alliance of GM, Renault and Nissan.

And on it goes. It seems there’s other GM directors, besides just Jerry York, that are in favor of the move. At this point, both Renault and Nissan have issued positive statements about exploring the alliance further. There’s been no statement from GM just yet, but this is looking more and more like a fait accompli.

Whether it gets past the investigation stage is another matter, but the way I’m reading this is that GM will announce it’s intention to explore the idea around mid July.

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Old and crusty automotive columnist Jerry Flint is having his say on the whole alliance thing too.

He, like many others, is putting the whole thing into Carlos Ghosn’s “too hard” basket, citing GM’s brand problems, legacy and health care issues. But there’s also the issues of diminishing returns (i.e. can you screw a supplier’s price even more just because you’re bigger?) and Ghosn’s need to worry about the fact that Europe’s his backyard and it’s the one place Toyota hasn’t conquered yet. Will an alliance with GM help or hurt in the fight against the automotive Godzilla.

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It’s interesting that everyone, to a man, is assuming that Ghosn will take the reins of any merged/allied entity that emerges from this.

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What if Wagoner and Ghosn get together for their lunch meeting on July 14 and Wagoner says

“Carlos. Look, we’re not really ‘in’ for this big alliance thing. I’m only here to humour the old man and, well, because I like the fish here. But it’s true we could use a bit of extra cash and we do have this little European brand that we can offload to you…..”

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Photo Galleries will be coming soon…..

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Happy 4th to all you ‘mericans

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Commiserations to all you Germans. As my country lost to Italy as well in The Cup, I share your pain.

My enduring wish – the Azzuri lose to France in a penalty shootout.

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7 Comments

  1. Tiago – good luck! I haven’t seen much of Portugal this World Cup, but the 3 French games I’ve watched they’ve looked very good.

    I don’t mind who wins. Just kick plenty of goals….

  2. It was in the local paper here in Thn today that Saab feels that 140k cars is within reach and that that would give a completely different economical result that what’s usually the case with Saab. If it would turn red numbers to black was something they didn’t want to speculate in….

  3. I just landed back from the US last Wednesday after spending 2 weeks there. The pressence and overall visibility of the Saab branding from what I saw was even less than what we have here. On the road is almost unnoticeable, a lot less Saab vehicles around than what you will see in OZ. Aside from some minor adverts in the tennis circles there is no promotion to be seen in any type of media. If we are depending on the Yanks to come up with the numbers, I think the targets at hand won’t be met !!! Sorry guys but I was appalled by what I saw.

  4. Per my previous comments on this topic, I think that GM’s financial problems are too great for any alliance to fix.

    Nissan has a great deal of manufacturing capacity that’s not organized by UAW. They also have some efficiencies that GM can’t touch.

    On the other hand, GM has a great US distribution network and a Nissan-built Chevy pickup would sell like crazy here.

    Who knows what will happen? However I doubt that Saab is of any great consequence in this conversation.

  5. More sale snippets for the first half of 2006:

    USA – down 17%
    (Saab still think they can sell 40.000 in US this year)
    Europe – up 23%
    Sweden – up 54%
    Italy – up 38%
    Belgium – up 38%
    Nederlands – up 58%
    Great Britain – up 8%

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