By Gunnar Heinrich
PRESIDENTObama is said to be set to announce a task panel rather than a simple “car czar” to oversee the restructuring efforts of General Motors and Chrysler, the AP reported today. And the same people who brought you last week’s market crash, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner along with Lawrence girls-can’t-do-math Summers will oversee said task panel. So, for now we’ve got two car czars, really.
By Christopher Paul Davis
FOR better or for worse, General Motors and Chrysler have received a series of government loans. For now, Ford seems to be in better shape.
But considering how each of these embattled carmakers have casted themselves as all-American in their bid for bailout bucks, it’s worth noting that the Detroit 3 are not the only players in the US of A these days.
Here’s a list of some of the other companies that have set up shop Stateside:
Mercedes-Benz. The ML, GL, and the R Class are all produced in Mercedes’ Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant. Originally opened in 1997, the plant has contributed over $8.6 Billion (€6.2 Billion) to Alabama’s economy and employs 4,000 workers.
Toyota. The Toyota Motor Company has five plants in the United States. They’re located in Huntsville, Alabama; Georgetown, Kentucky; Princeton, Indiana; San Antonio, Texas; and Buffalo, West Virginia. The construction of two more facilities is underway.
Honda. The Honda Motor Company has three American assemblies. They’re located in East Liberty, Ohio; Lincoln, Alabama; and Marysville, Ohio. Together, these three plants produce almost every Honda and Acura model sold in the North American marketplace.
Nissan. Nissan Motors also has three plants Stateside. They’re in Smyrna and Decherd Tennessee; and Canton, Mississippi.
BMW. The Bavarians have had a plant in Greer, South Carolina since 1994. In this plant, BMW produces the X3, X5, and X6 for global distribution.
VW. Volkwagen has announced plans to set up shop in Chattanooga, Tennessee opening in 2011. VW plans to invest $1 Billion in the facility and has said that Audis and Porsches may also be produced there.
Hyundai. Hyundai builds the Sonata and the Santa Fe at it’s new $1.4 Billion facility in Montgomery, Alabama.
Subaru. Subaru-Isuzu Automotive, Inc. manufactures some of its cars for sale in the States from its plant in Lafayette, Indiana.
It seems to me that considering each of these foreign operators industrial presence and economic investment in the American job market, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, VW, Hyundai, and Subaru are just as “American” as GM, Chrysler, or Ford.
[Readers: If I've forgotten any manufacturers or plants in the U.S., leave a comment and I'll update the Google Map and the article]
Plug in the earphones, click play, wait a beat, then read. Or you might be left out…
By Gunnar Heinrich
WOW! This party’s really loud! Whew! Is that Southern Comfort?
Anyway…Anyway… listen…no,no,no I hate that $#!&…anyway… listen up!
Did you hear?! Detroit got its pay out! Thirteen Point Four Billion! Yeah, everyone’s talking about it! The President just signed off…
So, someone needs to tell the D.J. to stay, cuz this party’s gonna keep on rollin’! Through the New Year at least…
And you know what!? If we go a li’l crazy – Oh, yeah! That’s right! Ha Ha – and the tank runs a li’l dry, there’ll be Four Billion more where that came from! YEAAAH! Show me some love!!
Ha Ha, You know what we need?
WE need to buy a BOATLOAD of blow and invite the rest of Detroit! And we gotta send some to those guys @ the Freep.
They could really use the lift!
Because you know why?
No, no, put it down – I told you I hate that $#!&.
Because, because, one good stimulant deserves another. And President Bush really wants his free trade deal with Colombia.
What needs doing seems clear enough.
By Gunnar Heinrich
COLUMNIST for The New York Times Nicholas D. Kristof seems like a pretty smart guy.
That Mr. Kristof writes a regular opinion piece in America’s newspaper of record stands as reasonably solid evidence to base the assumption. NYT folk are notoriously picky in their hiring practices, though, when I read the work of some of Mr. Kristof’s opinionated colleagues, I sometimes think that they’re not picky enough.
Add the fact that Mr. Kristof is a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard alum and I think we get the idea that the man’s up to snuff on reading, writing, and arithmetic.
With that info, I ask you to read and consider Mr. Kristof’s well intentioned piece in support of the ongoing Dollar$ For Detroit campaign.
In the article, A Finger In The Dike, the columnist goes to some lengths in answering a few of the talking points that the pundit world’s doubting Thomases have cast on bailing out America’s automakers.
” [Pundit:] The solution isn’t a bailout, it’s bankruptcy. If the car companies enter Chapter 11, they’ll be able to rework burdensome contracts and actually make themselves competitive again. That’s how the airlines recovered, and auto companies shouldn’t be favored.’
[Kristof:] Bankruptcy would be a gamble because we just don’t know whether cars from bankrupt companies will still sell. I’ll buy a $400 air ticket to fly on a bankrupt airline, because it’ll still be honored in a month’s time, but that doesn’t mean I’ll spend $30,000 on a car from a bankrupt company when I’m counting on its resale value in 10 years’ time.”
I highlight this point because as much as I support Mr. Kristof’s sentiment, in this specific instance his logic falls flat.
It’s Ottawa’s turn.
By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG: MGM
CHRYSLER warned the Canadian government Friday that if CAD $1.6 Billion ($1.25 Billion) wasn’t forthcoming in three weeks, Chrysler Canada, Inc. would implode before the New Year; taking the Chrysler 300 and 9,800 Ontarian jobs with it.
Unfortunately, Chrysler had to leave the message on Ottawa’s voicemail.
Canadian politicians left the capital earlier this week in a fury after Prime Minister Stephen Harper saved his own bacon by shutting down parliament to avoid a certain no confidence vote over – you guessed it – the economy, stupid.
As such, parliament won’t return to session until l’année prochaine.
For their part, GM of Canada Ltd. asked for CAD $800 million ($626 million) deliverable before year’s end and FoMoCo said that they’d like up to CAD $2 Billion ($1.56 Billion) just in case markets get frostier in 2009.
ChryCo has had a manufacturing presence in Ontario for more than 83 years and has been touting its seniority to Canadian officials. More to the point of their defense, Chrysler’s Windsor, ON assembly lines produced roughly 14% of all cars sold to the Canadian market last year.
Combined requests from the Detroit Three are now topping CAD $7 Billion ($5.4 Billion); Chrysler’s appeal alone has risen some CAD $600 million ($469 million) since the carmaker’s first appeal last month.
Considering the facts, Canadian tax payers can be forgiven their skepticism if some are to wonder if Chrysler’s ultimatum request puts too many loonies on the line for too few jobs.
Plus, Washington’s already promised the Detroit Three $15 Billion.
[Linked: Globe and Mail]
The End Is Nigh!
By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG via BBC
SIR JEREMYis being an ass.
Adding his popular voice to the chorus of navel gazing doomsayers, Mr. Clarkson pontificated on Detroit and the world economy in an interview with BBC Radio.
“I believe we’re sort of heading for an end of days, economically speaking,” he said.
Mr. Clarkson didn’t have facts ‘n figures to back up his assertions except to suggest that he was in the know from having spoken with several (mysterious) bankers. One wonders if these were the same financiers who scolded the Top Gear presenter for publishing his Barclay’s account details in his Sunday Times column.
Adding some premium unleaded to the market’s inferno, Mr. Clarkson acknowledged that more than 850,000 Britons held gainful employment in the auto industry – and that Ford and GM were components “too big to fail.”
But let them, said he.
Channeling Mrs. Thatcher and doubtless remembering that socialism didn’t work for British Leyland when “Communists” made Jaguars, Sir Jeremy shrugged that Detroit shouldn’t get a bail out.
“I don’t believe that governments can endlessly bail out, because where does it end?”
Who’s talking about endless? It’s ok to keep funding hundreds of billions to banks that aren’t releasing Federal capital to credit markets but not when MoTown wants $34 Billion to get them through next year?
While he was at it, he called Chrysler, the third largest American car company employing 129,000 workers, “Two bit.”
Thanks, Mr. Clarkson. I guess we can say from his casual matter-of-fact manner that this Jeremy is NOT for turning.
Until the economy rebounds, that is.
Watch Clarkson’s interview excerpt by tapping the link.