Thursday Snippets

It was interesting, after writing my own GMRN update yesterday, to see GM actually issue a press release about the talks:

General Motors, Renault and Nissan today said that a meeting was held between Carlos Ghosn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Renault, SAS and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Rick Wagoner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, Corp., regarding ongoing discussions concerning the possibility of creating an industrial alliance among these three companies.

Through the work of the three study teams, our companies continue to explore the potential opportunities of an industrial alliance. The teams are conducting a thorough and objective analysis of potential synergies between all three companies with a focus on how an alliance could generate significant shareholder value for each company. Following today’s meeting, it has been confirmed that the teams will continue the studies through to the planned mid-October completion date.

No further information will be provided at this time.

Many automotive news services have been speculating about the Paris meeting, how it’ll go, what’s in it for GM, what’s in it for R-N, exactly how tall is Carlos Bonaparte?

GM’s response to this speculation, reading between the lines of this press release seems to be “Stop speculating. We’re going to do what we said we were going to do and that is talk until mid-October. Now shut the hell up”


Autoblog Green are doing an overview of all the alternative fuel sources out there in the US.

Part 1 (today) includes a look at E85 and Conpressed Natural Gas. It’s a good piece that gives some background on each of the fuels as well as a fair look at the arguments for and against. Future editions will look at Biodiesel, Electricity and Straight Vegetable Oil.

There’s some fairly good coverage of the Biopower 9-5 in the article, illustrating how turbocharging is a better use of E85 – a benefit that Saab USA will need to be all over when they finally get the Biopower car to the US market.

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  1. Well, obviously, they’ve selected a poster child for prescription abuse, however, I can’t fault the lady or her husband for trying to maintain health. I can fault the physicians that keep her on this regimen of chemicals. That’s for starters.

    As far as the union contracts go, no, I don’t think that this is fair. I’ve said all along the the UAW is killing the golden goose. I’m appalled at the blase attitude that these workers take in the face of serious corporate problems — many of the union people still insist that the Delphi (and Visteon) spin off / bankruptcy is just a ploy to keep wages low and ‘rob’ them of what they ‘deserve’. Some even go so far as to say that the management should suffer for ‘all they’ve done’. It’s as if they don’t understand that these events directly relate to them!

    Contracts written years ago for lifetime benefits were a risky thing that didn’t seem risky at the time. Blue collar workers didn’t typically live very long after retirement, and those that did were generally pretty healthy. Along comes medical technology (something unforeseen) and suddenly the unhealthy people are living a long time but requiring drugs, doctors and hospital visits to do it! Do you think that GM planned on two $20,000 knee replacements for every machinist that ruined his on the factory floor? I think not!

    I believe that the solution will come in a huge government deal to buy out the GM healthcare contract for their retirees. The pensioners won’t like it, but they won’t have a lot of choice.

    The solution should come from UAW in the form of concessions — real ones. They may as well, because they’re going to be furloughed right and left in the future anyway. Better to keep an $18/hour job than lose all of the $25/hour jobs.

  2. One other issue that’s going to hit the fan in the coming weeks: DaimlerChrysler has a real inventory problem that’s going to bring about a mini price war.

    Apparently, while GM and Ford were wrestling with the beast of bankruptcy, DaimlerChrysler kept cranking out cars rather than furlough workers. They’ve gambled, and it seems that they’ve lost. The glut of cars is so great that they’ve got cars parked in overflow lots all over Michigan — vacant office lots, old dealership locations, etc. Those 2006’s have to go somewhere, and I’ll bet that incentives will be in force soon!

  3. Eggs,

    Didn’t they go solo and have an employee pricing scheme over the recent summer months there?

    Sounds like it didn’t make a dent. I remember Pete De Lorenzo talking about this recently too.

    They can talk about GM’s vulnerabilities all they like, but the other two (or 1.5) look as, or more, shaky IMHO.

  4. If they did, I didn’t hear about it. However, certain models have had incentives since they were new (Pacifica) and frequently (Jeep Liberty), so perhaps I’m tuning out the message?

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