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Trump Rethinking NAFTA Plans

President-elect adviser examining agreement to make it more U.S. friendly.

by on Dec.07, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump is rethinking his plans for terminating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Apparently ripping up NAFTA is not Job One for the incoming Trump administration after all.

The Hill, a newsletter and website that follows policy developments in Washington, reported this week that members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team are telling corporate executives that the administration isn’t going to do anything that might prompt a trade war with Mexico or Canada, this country’s principal partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Journal of Record!

Trump announced he will scuttle the Trans Pacific Partnership. But unlike TPP, which was never signed or approved, NAFTA has been in place for more than 20 years and has created a broad web of interests on both sides of the border. It is considered essential by automakers. (more…)

GM Powering Texas Plant Using Wind Power

Company working toward 100 percent renewable energy goal.

by on Dec.06, 2016

GM signed a power purchase agreement with Renewable Energy Systems to source 50 megawatts of wind energy to power 16 sites with 100% renewable energy.

GM recently made what the company describes as its largest purchase of renewable energy to date by purchasing enough wind power to equal the electricity needs of 16 of its U.S. facilities, including the Arlington assembly and stamping, GM business offices in Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, and 13 parts warehouses east of the Mississippi River.

“GM’s commitment to renewable energy is helping transform the way electricity is produced, distributed and consumed around the world, and we’re doing it in a way that makes our company and communities stronger,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of Renewable Energy.

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“These renewable energy investments drive down greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on finite resources, and help keep our air and water clean.” (more…)

Fed Sends Warning About Subprime Auto Loans

The loans have been helping to fuel the current sales boom.

by on Dec.05, 2016

The Federal Reserve is concerned about the subprime loans that are helping fuel the current automotive boom.

While carmakers were celebrating strong sales in November that are expected to aim the industry towards its second consecutive sales record, the Federal Reserve sent a signal that the industry ought to be a little bit more cautious about the subprime loans that have helped fuel the boom during the past couple of years.

In a press release issued the same day that sales figure appeared, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which keeps an eye on consumer credit noted in its latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit that there has been a “small” increase in overall debt in the third quarter of 2016, bolstered by gains in non-housing debt.

The Journal of Record!

“Mortgage balances continue to grow at a sluggish pace since the recession while auto loan balances are growing steadily. The rise in auto loans has been fueled by high levels of originations across the spectrum of creditworthiness, including subprime loans, which are disproportionately originated by auto finance companies,” the New York Fed noted. (more…)

Volvo Cars Selling Second Bond Offering

Maker seeks $325 million in Swedish market.

by on Dec.02, 2016

Volvo CEO Lex Kerssemakers said the automaker is looking to continue its growth that it has enjoyed in 2016. The latest bond sale from the maker will help.

Volvo Cars raised SEK3bn, the equivalent of $325.4 million, from its first Swedish bond issue, which will be used to improve the company’s financial flexibility and diversify its funding sources.

The bond issue follows its successful introduction to the global corporate bond market earlier this year when it raised $560 million in euro bonds.

Financial News!

“As a global company with Sweden as its home market, this step into the Swedish market is a natural one for us to make and enables us to broaden the investor base and fund in our local currency,” said Hans Oscarsson, Chief Financial Officer. (more…)

OPEC Deal Likely to Push Gas Prices Higher

Saudis appear to be on board with new plan.

by on Dec.02, 2016

Gas prices are expected to rise in the weeks ahead if OPEC moves forward with plans to cut oil production.

While the price of gasoline remains low across the United States, according to AAA, prices could be headed upwards if an agreement by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as Russia holds together.

Experts surveyed after OPEC announced the agreement to curtail production voluntarily said the price of oil could top $60 per barrel, which will raise prices at the pump.

The Journal of Record!

However, analysts will await confirmation that the cartel can stick to an agreement to reduce production and the terms of each country’s participation before making any predictions about pricing. (more…)

US Auto Sales Rebound in November

VW may be biggest surprise with 24% increase over last year's results.

by on Dec.01, 2016

GM sales were up more than 10% in November, led, in part, by the Chevy Malibu, which enjoyed its best November since 1997.

With General Motors and Volkswagen AG leading the way, the U.S. auto industry busted out of a mini-slump in November, albeit with some help from major promotions.

GM’s total U.S. sales in November were up more than 10% over last year as Buick, Cadillac and GMC posted double-digit gains.

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“GM’s November performance reflects the continued strength of our U.S. business. We gained profitable retail share, commercial and small business deliveries were strong and we commanded the industry’s best average transaction prices,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. Sales Operations. (more…)

GM Closing Indiana Semi-Conductor Plant

Aging technology too cost prohibitive to replace, company says.

by on Nov.30, 2016

GM is closing its semi-conductor plant in Kokomo, Indiana, mid-year next year.

After six years of employment stability, the layoff notices are starting to pile up at General Motors.

GM has announced that by the middle of 2017 it will eliminate 160 jobs at a semiconductor plant in Kokomo, Indiana. The layoff notices in Kokomo followed GM’s announcement that it would drop the third shift, employing 2,000 workers at the big Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant in northeastern Ohio.

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GM Kokomo will begin winding down its semiconductor production operations shortly, leaving about 20% of the plant’s employees idled. An estimated 100 hourly and 60 salaried positions will be affected by the production changes (more…)

Samsung Backs Away from Deal for FCA’s Magneti Marelli

Japanese conglomerate buys Harman International for $8 billion.

by on Nov.29, 2016

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said he would be willing to wait for the right offer for Magneti Marelli. He'll be waiting a bit longer now.

Samsung’s proposal to purchase Magneti Marelli from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. apparently has been scrapped, according to reports circulating in the South Korean news media.

Samsung Electronics instead bid for Harman International, a major supplier of the electronics systems in cars and trucks, which superseded interest in Magneti Marelli. FCA was willing to sell the electronics unit to help raise cash and pay-down some the debt that is weighing on the company.

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Samsung, according to reports last summer, was willing to pay $3 billion for Magneti Marelli and its expertise in areas such as telematics and in-car entertainment. (more…)

FCA Expands Product Line at Poland Engine Plant

Maker plans to expand production in Italy as well.

by on Nov.28, 2016

FCA's Bielska Biala, Poland, plant will begin producing two new engines in the coming year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will build two new gasoline engines at its plant in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, in an investment it said was confirmation of its commitment to developing its operations in the country.

It is third time this fall Poland has been designated as the recipient of a major investment by a global automaker. Daimler AG said in October it will new engine plant in Jawor, Poland, signing the property purchase agreement for the site with its Polish partners. Toyota also has announced it plans to spend $165 million for a new factory to build gearboxes for hybrid vehicles.

Global Auto News!

Polish Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Polish news agency PAP that FCA could invest up to $265 million in the project and create several hundred new jobs. (more…)

Trump Commerce Secretary Ross Well-Versed in Mexico Auto Business

Ross holdings include auto supplier with plants in Mexico.

by on Nov.28, 2016

Wilbur Ross, left, is greeted by Donald Trump and Mike Pence. President-elect Trump named Ross the new Commerce Secretary.

Wilbur Ross, the New York financier and tycoon President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to become the Secretary of Commerce and the principal adviser on trade issues in a Trump administration, has a big a stake in a major automotive supplier holdings in Mexico.

As secretary of commerce, Ross, 78, who has stepped back from an active role in managing companies such as the International Automotive Components Group, one of his largest holdings, will have a major role in future trade deals under Trump.

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Throughout his career, Ross has made several fortunes with shrewd investments in distressed companies. Back in the early 2000s, he made a fortune out of the North American steel industry at a time when most investors, analysts and pundits said the steel business in the U.S. was dead. (more…)