Dec. 31, 2013, 2:52 PM
- IHS Automotive is out with a forecast on self-driving cars which could prove to be provocative.
- The research firm thinks by the year 2035 close to 9% of all cars sold will be able to function without a human driver. The estimate is more aggressive than most covering the nascent technology.
- The anticipated benefits of autonomous cars include fewer accidents, less traffic congestion, and an easier way for the industry to keep emission pollution under control. Detractors say insurance liability and software concerns will plague growth rates
- What to watch: The engineers at Google X may have something to say about the direction of the self-driving car initiative. The company's purchase of Boston Dynamics, the advent of Google glasses, and the spins the company's early prototype has taken around Silicon Valley all point to more than a passing interest by the tech giant.
- Related stocks: GM, F, TM, FIATY, HMC, NSANY, TSLA, VLKAY, DDAIF, HYMLF, BAMXY, PEUGF, RNSDF, FUJHY.
Dec. 27, 2013, 10:04 AM
- The reaction to Japan PM Shinzo Abe's visit to a war memorial is intensifying as the issue appears more likely to stay on the front burner in Asia.
- China Daily on the development: "The abrupt move — widely viewed as rewriting public memory on Japan's militaristic past — enraged Japan's victimized neighbors."
- Politicians in China and South Korea have ratcheted up their rhetoric on their concerns that Japan wants to revitalize an expansionary mindset.
- Though it's too early to make a call on how the serious the issue will become, Japanese automakers (NSANY, TM, HMC, MZDAY, SZKMY, FUJHY) are likely to feel at least a short-term demand impact in the region. General (GM -1.2%), Ford (F -0.5%), and Volkswagen (VLKAY +1.6%) stand to gain.
- Previous on Japan-China tension.
Dec. 27, 2013, 8:02 AM| Dec. 27, 2013, 8:02 AM | 1 Comment
Dec. 27, 2013, 5:04 AM
- General Motors' (GM) joint venture in China with SAIC Motor, Shanghai General Motors, will recall 1.46M vehicles in order to replace a bracket that secures a fuel pump.
- The bracket is at risk of cracking, which, in extreme cases, could cause a fuel leak.
- Around 1.22M Buick cars and 243,000 Chevrolets are affected.
- The recall is the second for GM in China this year; in May, it recalled 2.65M imported Cadillacs.
Dec. 26, 2013, 4:20 PM
- Despite some recent concerns on the U.S. automobile industry - including high inventory at General Motors (GM) and pricing pressures at Ford (F) - the industry is in the best shape that it's been in years, say some analysts.
- On demand: The average age of vehicles in the U.S. has never been higher at 11.3 years. Some pent-up demand from the fall when government shutdown worries stalled sales is also still being unleashed.
- On profits: Though a high level of promotional activity in December helped to juice sales figures at the expense of profits, some underlying positive trends remain in place. The increased use of domestic production in supply chains and the early success of 2014 models at premium pricing bodes well for bottom lines in the sector.
- On leased cars: Analysts think the lease cycle sets up well for the industry in 2014.Toyota (TM) has aggressive leasing plans in place.
- On gas mileage: Consumers will be tempted to trade into new vehicles with vastly improved gas mileage ratings. Honda (HMC) tops the list while Ford's betting truck owners will go for a lighter F-150 in the future. In the luxury segment, Tesla (TSLA) and Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) want to carve out more EV market share by reeling in middle-class buyers trading up while cutting down on gas costs.
- On brand reputation: Automakers such as Subaru (FUJHY) and Chrysler (FIATY) have seen consumer sentiment scores turn around as new models impress.
Dec. 26, 2013, 8:13 AM
- IHS Automotive forecasts light-vehicle sales in North America will top 16M in 2014.
- Though the sales prediction from the research firm looks strong, the outlook on pricing in the auto industry could be even more important.
- IHS thinks manufacturers will take their foot off the promotional pedal as sales gains become more closely associated with a strengthening U.S. economy - instead of incentives and deals.
- The level of promotional activity in the industry has been a growing concern, highlighted recently by a frank assessment from Ford execs,
- Related stocks: F, GM, HMC, TM, VLKAY, NSANY, FIATY.
Dec. 26, 2013, 6:54 AM
- Brazil's government indicates it plans to slowly roll back tax breaks on automobiles next year instead of a sudden shift back to the original tax rate of 7%.
- Automobile industry officials in Brazil are worried about the impact on demand in the nation of the tax hike.
- Related stocks: Fiat (FIATY), Volkswagen (VLKAY), General Motors (GM), and Ford (F).
Dec. 26, 2013, 5:15 AM
- Car makers in Japan are preparing for a backlash in China after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a pilgrimage to a shrine for his country's war-dead on Mao Zedong’s birthday.
- Abe's visit to the memorial, which, among others, honors war criminals from World War II - when Japan invaded China - drew a sharp rebuke from the latter and comes amid rising tensions over sovereignty of islands in the East China Sea. A flare-up in that dispute last year led to a sharp fall in sales of Japanese cars in the Middle Kingdom.
- Rivals such as Volkswagen (VLKAF) and GM (GM) could benefit from any drop in sales of Japanese vehicles, with the German company set to regain its crown as the largest foreign carmaker in China. VW and GM have sold over 3M cars each in the country.
- Japanese car makers: TM, HMC, NSANY, MZDAY, SZKMY.
Dec. 24, 2013, 8:18 AM
- Reports of extended holiday shutdowns at auto manufacturers were unplanned and likely the result of rising inventory at dealers, says Buckingham Research, which cautions over "near-term pressure" in GM and Ford (F). The team also notes the deceleration in used car sales reported at CarMax (KMX) late last week.
Dec. 23, 2013, 4:38 AM
- General Motors' (GM) European unit Opel expects a difficult 2014 but believes it will be able to grow enough that it won't need to cut more costs, the head of the business, Thomas Neumann, has told newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Opel is on course to become profitable in 2016, Neumann also said.
- Opel will continue to co-operate with Peugeot (PEUGF), he said, even though GM plans to sell its 7% stake in the troubled French carmaker.
- Neumann believes that as a member of key GM committees in Detroit, he has enough influence to "stand for Opel" and "fight for the brand."
Dec. 19, 2013, 3:24 PM
- The Ford (F -2.4%) hangover is building today as shares continue to fail to find traction following the automaker's blunt assessment of its North American business.
- General Motors (GM -2.4%), Toyota (TM -1.9%), Honda (HMC -1.6%), and Nissan (NSANY) are all lower on the day as investors conclude Ford's reality check could be contagious.
- The issue isnt' that demand for 2014 doesn't look strong (forecasts), but centers on worries that the pricing environment and capacity ramp up could seriously crimp profits.
- Morgan Stanley on the auto predicament: "The market is clearly moving from a 'need to replace' to a 'can’t afford to pass up a great deal' consumer mindset."
Dec. 18, 2013, 10:46 AM
- Ford's (F -7.2%) business update could prompt a rotation of investor funds out of the blue oval to General Motors (GM -3.4%), advises Buckingham Research.
- Despite the automaker's many improvements amid a booming U.S. auto sector, it's clear analysts got ahead of themselves with their rosy projections on Ford and will now have to reset.
- There's nothing official from Detroit, but the chatter flowing out of the Ford event is that CEO Mulally will stay on.
- Sector watch: Though GM is down on the day, Japanese automaker are holding up just fine: Toyota (TM) +1.0%, Honda (HMC) +2.6%, and Nissan (NSANY) +2.6% in OTC trading.
Dec. 17, 2013, 1:29 PM
- The UAW would like to see the two-tier system in which new hires are paid just half of what veteran workers earn reworked.
- Detroit automakers (GM, F, FIATY) prefer having the entry-level wage scale because it allows them to compete with Japanese, South Korean, and German counterparts. Time is on the group's side with the UAW labor contract not set to expire until 2015.
Dec. 17, 2013, 7:15 AM
- European car registrations rose 1.2% Y/Y in November to put together a third consecutive month of gains on the continent.
- By regions, the U.K. and Greece were strong while registrations in Germany slipped 2% during the month.
- Monthly growth by manufacturer: General Motors (GM) -3.8%; Volkswagen (VLKAY) +3.2%; Daimler (DDAIF) -1.6%; BMW (BAMXY) -6.8%; Fiat (FIATY) -5.8%; Renault (RNSDF) +8.9%; Peugeot (PEUGY) -1.2%; Ford (F) -1.8%; Honda (HMC) -4.0%; Hyundai (HYMLF) -7.3%; Toyota (TM) +7.3%; Jaguar Land Rover (TTM) +1.3%; Suzuki (SZKMY) +15.8%; Nissan (NSANY) flat.
Dec. 17, 2013, 6:58 AM
- IHS forecasts the global automobile industry will produce 85M sales in 2014, up 3.7% from this year's level.
- Based on the same trend of strong growth in China and the U.S., Deutsche Bank has an even higher estimate for 2014 sales of 87.4M to rep 4% growth.
- Related stocks: GM, F, VLKAY, NSANY, HMC, TM, FIATY, HYMLF, DDAIF, BAMXY.
Dec. 17, 2013, 3:47 AM
- GM (GM) intends to launch a "voluntary retirement" scheme to its 6,000 salaried workers in South Korea next year as it prepares to significantly scale back Chevrolet sales in Europe, a major market for cars that the company manufactures in Korea.
- The headcount reduction would be the fourth round of job cuts in the country since 2009.
- The news follows GM's decision to end production in Australia but to invest $1.3B in U.S. plants.
- Meanwhile, outgoing CEO Dan Ackerson said the carmaker could consider paying a dividend next year.
General Motors Co. engages in the business of design, manufacturing and sale of cars, trucks and automobile parts worldwide. It operates through four segments: GM North America, GM Europe, GM International Operations and GM South America. The GM North America segment sells vehicles under the... More
Sector: Consumer Goods
Industry: Auto Manufacturers - Major
Country: United States
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