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.
European car sales dropped for the sixth year in a row in 2013, slipping 1.7% to 11.9M vehicles, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association says. That's the worst performance since ACEA began tracking the data in 2003.
However, the moderate recovery in sales that began in H2 accelerated in December, with new-car registrations climbing 13% to 906,294 vehicles.
Despite the pick-up, industry executives remain cautious. "The European car market is starting the year in its best condition for two or three years," said Yann Delabrière, the CEO of components supplier Faurecia. "But it is too early to say we have a clear vision of the turnaround." (PR)
BMW (BAMXY -1.2%) has had orders for nearly 10K of its i3 electric cars, global sales chief Ian Robertson said at the LA Auto Show. First deliveries were made in Germany last week, and the vehicle will go on sale in America during Q2 of 2014.
The i8 plug-in hybrid sports model, which will be introduced in mid-2014, has already sold out for its first year of availability.
European new-car sales increased at the fastest rate in over two years in September, climbing 5.5% on year to 1.19M vehicles after dropping 4.9% in August.
In January-September, sales fell 3.9% to 9.34M cars.
Last month's figures were boosted by the end of the eurozone recession, price cutting, and a Spanish government-incentive scheme that helped demand jump 29%.
"Car sales in the EU are showing signs of improvement, indicating that the worst is behind us," says Ernst & Young's Peter Fuss. "The sales, however, continue to be artificially boosted by huge discounts and self-registrations by dealers.
Registrations in the U.K. rose 12% and 3.4% in France, but dropped 1.2% in Germany and 2.9% in Italy.
BMW's (BAMXY.PK) China venture, BMW Brilliance Automotive, is recalling 75.8K 5 Series vehicles to fix faulty socket adapters for tail lights. 2 months ago, the company recalled 143K 5 Series models due to problems with the electric power steering system.
Hyundai (HYMLF.PK) is recalling 65K Hyundai and Kia cars due to problems with the brake pedals. And Kia's separate China JV is recalling 41K vehicles for the same reason. Previously, Hyundai and Kia recalled 660K cars in South Korea to repair a faulty brake switch.
European car sales dropped 4.9% on year in August to 686,957 units after rising 4.9% in July as new registrations fell in France, Italy and Germany last month. However, the U.K. again continued to enjoy growth, with volumes increasing 10%.
In January-August, European sales dropped 5.2%.
Peugeot (PEUGF.PK) had a particularly bad August as sales slumped 18%, with Honda (HMC) -19.6%, Fiat (FIATY.PK) -4.9%, Toyota (TM) -4%, Volkswagen (VLKAF.PK) -11%, Audi -6.4% and Ford (F) -0.9%,
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.
The EU new-car market showed no signs of bottoming out in May as registrations dropped 5.9% to 1.04M units, the lowest level for the month since 1993. The fall followed a 1.7% gain in April. In January-May, registrations slid 6.8% to 5.07M vehicles. GM (GM) was among those to suffer the most in May with an 11.3% decline. Toyota registrations dropped 4.9% but those of Ford fell just 0.3%. (PR)
European new-car registrations slumped 16.3% Y/Y to 799,407 vehicles in December, the sharpest decline since October 2010, as high unemployment and an unwillingness by banks to finance consumer purchases took their toll. For 2012, EU sales -8.2% to 12.05M, the steepest annual drop since 1993. GM (GM) and Ford (F) sales in Europe cratered 27% each in December, although Korean brands Hyundai and Kia, with their affordable cars and long warranties, climbed 10.5% and 6.8% respectively.
RBS (RBS) will be given permission this week to leave the Asset Protection Scheme, a state-backed insurance program covering the bank's old "toxic assets," the FT reports. Exiting the scheme, which has cost RBS £2.5B in premiums, is seen as a first step towards the government selling its 82% stake in the bank. Meanwhile, RBS has suspended Jezri Mohideen, its head of rates trading in Europe and Asia Pacific, over the Libor scandal. Mohideen is the most senior employee to be put on leave so far.
EU new-car registrations for September highlight the the sector's troubles in the region, slumping 10.8% to 1.1M, the fastest drop in a year. VW -13.8%, Ford (F) -15%, Opel (GM) -16%, Renault -33% but BMW +11%. In Jan-Sep, sales -7.6% to 9.15M. (PR)
Fed up with banks not interested in making loans, European companies are turning more to bond issuance, and - drum roll - overhauling finance units to take advantage of the candy handed out by the ECB. BMW (BAMXY.PK), Daimler (DDAIY.PK), and Siemens (SI) are among the firms that may participate in next week's LTRO.