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Canada Forcing Rail Workers Back on Job

Strike threatening shutdown of much of North American auto industry.

by on May.29, 2012

An idled CP Rail locomotive.

Canadian government officials are hoping to have the trains running again by as early as Thursday now that legislation has been put before parliament to order a halt in a strike by thousands of Canadian Pacific Railway workers.

CP operates nearly 15,000 miles of track in the U.S. and Canada, much of it serving the industrial portions of Ontario, as well as much of the American Midwest.  So, the walkout has already begun to have a severe impact on Detroit’s Big Three and a number of foreign-owned makers, including Honda, which heavily depend on the railroad to supply plants with parts and then ship finished vehicles to dealers across North America.

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“The strike can’t go on,” Labor Minister Lisa Raitt told Parliament during a heated session in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. “We need to get the trains running again.”

The railroad and workers have not completely broken off talks but appear stalled on a variety of issues, including pensions, work rules and fatigue management.  Complicating matters, Canadian Pacific has been locked in a bitter battle with an activist investor that led to the forced departure of its CEO Fred Green earlier this month.


Fisker Facing Investor Lawsuit

Could complicate bid to raise cash.

by on Feb.21, 2012

Fisker founder Henrik Fisker with the Karma.

With the fate of its $528 million Department of Energy loan in limbo, Fisker Automotive has been rushing to sign up new investors, reportedly already lining up $260 million during recent months. But the California start-up could be facing new problems in the form of a lawsuit by an investor accusing it of bait-and-switch tactics.

Though it’s unlikely the suit itself could bring a major new financial burden on Fisker, several observers cautioned it could create another management diversion and throw up a red flag that might scare off other potential investors.

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The timing, meanwhile, couldn’t be worse.  Fisker is finally getting to market with the much-delayed Karma plug-in hybrid sports car, but it needs additional funding to ensure that the company’s more mainstream second project, codenamed Project Nina, gets into production in 2013 – also about a year behind schedule.


Another Toyota Hybrid Due at NAIAS

Expanding the lineup with a post Prius offering?

by on Dec.15, 2009

No details, just a teaser shot of another dedicated hybrid?

No details yet, just a teaser shot of another dedicated hybrid?

Toyota Motor Sales, USA will stage the world debut of a new “dedicated” hybrid concept vehicle during the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The vehicle will be revealed during a news conference held on Monday, January 11.

No other details were released, leading to speculation that Toyota’s phenomenal success with hybrids in general and with the third generation Prius makes room for a second freestanding hybrid, one not built off an existing platform and model series.