A win would have marked the first time the UAW had been able to organize a foreign-owned auto plant in the U.S., as well as a turnaround in sentiment in the traditionally anti-union South.
The UAW’s loss likely will hurt plans to organize other auto plants in the South; two other German-owned plants, Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) in Alabama and BMW (BAMXY, BAMXF) in South Carolina, as well as a Nissan (NSANY, NSANF) plant in Mississippi, have been among its top targets.
The new chairman of Nissan (NSANY -0.7%) in North America, Jose Munoz, is wasting no time shaking things up, with ex-Chrysler exec Fred Diaz promoted to head of U.S. sales and marketing, along with 12 other executive changes.
The shuffle may have come more because of changes at the very top at Nissan than because of performance issues, with Nissan's U.S. sales up 9.1% on the year (vs. the overall industry's 8.4% gain) and up 14.2% Y/Y in Oct.
The auto market in Europe is stabilizing after five years of steep declines, car executives have said, but they expect the recovery to be long and slow due to high unemployment and soft bank lending in the region.
Europe should "see the end of the tunnel next year," said Renault (RNSDF.PK) chief Carlos Ghosn, who was speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen (VLKAF.PK) aims to increase car sales to 9.5M this year from 9.3M in 2012, helping to boost shares 2.1% in Frankfurt. Brand sales dropped 1% in August to 461,600 cars, giving a year-to-date figure of 3.84M. That up 3.1% from last year.
Cummins (CMI) intends to disclose today a deal to supply diesel engines to Nissan (NSANF.PK) for its Titan pickup trucks. Cummins, which already provides Chrysler with engines, earlier said it would announce a project that would create jobs.
Last year, Nissan sold 21,576 Titans in the U.S. and a handful in Canada and the Middle East; that compares with 1.5M full-size pickups that the Detroit automakers sold in the U.S.
Nissan (NSANY.OB): FQ4 net profit and revenue of ¥110.06 and ¥2.874T respectively. FY13 net profit of ¥342.45B beats by ¥12.5B. North American FY13 operating profit ¥177.3B (-15.6 Y/Y). Forecast : FY14 net profit, operating profit, and revenue of ¥420B, ¥610B, and ¥10.37T.
Japanese auto sales jump 26% to 3.39M vehicles in 2012, boosted by government subsidies for purchases of fuel-efficient cars. However, the ending of the incentives in September helped sales fall 3.4% Y/Y in December to 214,429. Toyota's (TM) monthly sales -3.4%, although the Lexus was +32%, Honda (HMC) -39% amid a lack of new models, and Nissan (NSANF.PK) -8.9%.
Ford (F), GM (GM) and Chrysler are in a bit of a bind. Their inventories have piled up as output at their Japanese rivals recovers from the earthquake last year. To regain lost market share, Toyota (TM), Honda (HMC) and co have been offering buyers deep incentives, an approach that has caused the Detroit Three big trouble in the past and which they're trying to avoid now.
Japanese car makers intend to continue expanding in China as sales appear to recover from a sharp slump this autumn due to the islands dispute between Japan and China. Toyota (TM), for example, intends to introduce 20 new models in China in the next three years. Meanwhile, Volkswagen (VLKAF.PK) plans to invest €14B in the country over the next four years.
Toyota's (TM) sales in China are rebounding after plunging in September and October because of the East China Sea islands dispute between Japan and China. Sales "will return to normal in the not-too-distant future," says Toyota's Kunihiko Ogura. The company's improving performance adds to that of Nissan. Meanwhile, Toyota plans to introduce two China-only brands in 2013.
The Senkaku-Diaoyu islands dispute between Japan and China hit Japanese car makers hard in September, with Mitsubishi's Chinese sales plunging 63% Y/Y and those of Mazda by 35%. Toyota's (TM) sales skidded 40%, the FT reports, adding that the company will cut production in China by over half and suspend Lexus exports. Non-Japanese car makers have been benefiting from the spat.
The anti-Japan demonstrations in China over the disputed Diayou islands have cost Japanese car-makers an estimated $250M after the companies temporarily halted production, IHS Automotive estimates. However, execs and analysts believe that the automakers will be able to make up for the lost output, while one consultant reckons the Chinese will still buy Japanese cars.
Chinese official Jin Baisong invokes the specter of a trade war as the best way to "impose sanctions" on Japan. The already-weak Japanese economy would be crippled without Chinese demand, he argues, while China would barely miss a cutoff of exports to Japan. Fitch, meanwhile, threatens ratings downgrades across a range of Japanese exporters if the dispute between the two nations drags on.