Categories: Cars and Politics

GM to pay off government debt. Will it be Ed's Lido moment?

Posted by: David Welch on April 20

GM CEO Ed Whitacre is scheduled to be at the company’s Fairfax, Kan., plant tomorrow to announce that his company has paid the debt portion of the government’s assistance...

Degrees of Losing: Toyota's Trouble in Washington

Posted by: David Welch on February 24

In the black comedy “The War of the Roses,” the divorce attorney played by Danny DeVito advises his client, played by Michael Douglas, that, “There is no winning! Only degrees...

Akio Toyoda heads to Washington

Posted by: David Welch on February 19

I take it back. Or, more accurately, Toyota took it back. Company President Akio Toyoda is going to testify in Washington after all. Toyoda, the 53-year-old grandson of the...

Mr. Toyoda avoids Washington. Wouldn't you?

Posted by: David Welch on February 18

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda has snubbed Congress. He politely declined to come and testify at the Feb. 24 hearings during which the House Oversight and Government Reform...

Whitacre names two new GM lobbyists, builds his team

Posted by: David Welch on December 30

General Motors Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre is putting his stamp all over the company. It hasn’t been a month since the board fired CEO Fritz Henderson and already...

Former Task Force Chief Rattner Slams Wagoner

Posted by: David Welch on October 22

Former Treasury Department auto task force chief Steve Rattner took off the gloves in his assessment of fired General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. In a speech at...

Opel sale hits a snag. German government could be in a bind.

Posted by: David Welch on October 19

If the European Union sticks to its guns, General Motors may be able to sell its German Adam Opel AG unit in a more competitive auction or keep the...

Ford Backs Texting While Driving Ban

Posted by: David Kiley on September 10

Ford Motor Co. on Thursday became the first automaker to formally support a bill that would ban cellphone texting while driving. It seems like a no-brainer endorsement, though car companies...

Cash for Clunkers success pales next to its hype

Posted by: David Welch on August 26

The government’s Cash for Clunkers program is over and still the spiff is getting more post-event coverage than any Super Bowl I can remember. The Transportation Department, not surprisingly,...

GM's high-stakes standoff over Opel

Posted by: David Welch on August 25

At a media event on Aug. 11, I asked General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson if there was a chance that GM would keep Opel. “Not likely,” he said. “The...

Cash for Clunker Interest Slows

Posted by: David Welch on August 14

What started with a bang could end with a fizzle. The government’s cash for clunkers program was a smash out of the gate. People stampeded showrooms after its late-July...

Senate approves more clunker cash

Posted by: David Welch on August 07

The Senate approved another $2 billion for the “cash for clunkers” program by a vote of 60 to 37, but don’t expect the same mad rush of sales that...

Cash for Clunkers has been an equal opportunity incentive

Posted by: David Welch on August 05

When the government’s cash for clunkers program kicked off in late July, the early word was that it was helping foreign carmakers more than giving a sales boost to...

Obama's $2.4 billion electric car bet

Posted by: David Welch on August 05

At a time when the public is growing increasingly tired of government handouts, bailouts and rescues, the Obama Administration goes and hands out $2.4 billion for electric car and...

White House: GM IPO Likely for 2010, But Not Chrysler.

Posted by: David Kiley on August 05

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.--The White House’s senior advisor to the Task Force on the Auto Industry said Wednesday that he believed it was likely that General Motors would have an initial...

Key Senators Back Off Cash for Clunkers Objections

Posted by: David Kiley on August 04

Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Olympia Snow (R-Me) have backed off objections they had over the Cash for Clunkers bill. The two Senators had pushed for a rewrite of...

Cash for Clunkers Surprises its Critics

Posted by: David Welch on July 31

Okay, I have to admit that the government’s Cash for Clunkers program worked better than I expected. With the program running low on cash right out of the gate—and...

Cash For Clunkers Faces Funding Speed Bump

Posted by: David Kiley on July 31

The White House and Congressional leadership on Friday are reviewing the popular Cash for Clunkers program that gives consumers thousands of dollars for trading in old cars so the program...

Cash For Clunkers Faces Possible Suspension

Posted by: David Kiley on July 30

There may need to be a new award for short-sightedness in Washington DC: The Clunker Award. The U.S. Transportation Dept. is expected on Friday to announce a suspension of the...

Rattner quits the task force, Bloom takes over

Posted by: David Welch on July 13

Auto Industry Task Force chief Steve Rattner quit his post at the Treasury Department after just five months on the job. But what he lacks in tenure in the...

Government ownership gets thorny, already

Posted by: David Welch on June 04

It’s obvious that government ownership of General Motors and Chrysler is going to bring up all kinds of thorny issues and unwanted pressure on how the companies will be...

Obama wants 35 mpg by 2016, Greens score a huge win

Posted by: David Welch on May 18

Environmental lobbyists scored a big victory on fuel economy rules. President Obama announced Tuesday that he will boost the nation’s average fuel economy for new models just north of...

GM looks to China, the UAW looks to the Feds

Posted by: David Welch on May 14

General Motors said this week that the company has plans to build more cars in China and other low-cost countries for sale in the U.S. And out came the...

Obama Says He Will Speak On Auto Bailout Future

Posted by: David Kiley on March 26

President Obama said Thursday that he will have a statement regarding how much more financial support the U.S. government will extend to the auto industry—chiefly General Motors, Chrysler and the...

Congressional Scrappage Bills Invite Protectionism Criticism

Posted by: David Kiley on March 18

On March 17, Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) and Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) introduced a bill that would give car buyers thousands of dollars in vouchers for replacing vehicles at least...

GM's bondholders say they want to deal

Posted by: David Welch on March 16

General Motors is inching toward a few deals that it needs to restructure the company and stay out of bankruptcy. A committee representing its bondholders said on Monday night...

Toyota wants a government loan. Let the outrage begin.

Posted by: David Welch on March 03

In yet another sign that Toyota Motor Corp. is run by human beings, the company’s finance unit is asking the Japanese government for a $2 billion loan, writes my...

Obama to Detroit: Government won't walk away

Posted by: David Welch on February 25

In President Obama’s address to Congress last night, he said he’s behind the auto industry and wants to save it. At least, that’s my interpretation. The new President said...

Auto Loan Debate: Will The Real Bond Holders Please Stand Up

Posted by: David Kiley on February 18

Will the real bondholders please stand up? There are two players at the negotiating table with General Motors, Chrysler and the White House who have a lot of chips to...

Protectionism or "Think Local" in the Stimulus Package

Posted by: David Kiley on February 17

Members of Congress were a bit ham-handed in their attempts to get "Buy American" provisions into the stimulus package such as requiring state governments completing infrastructure projects to buy American...

A few things for Obama's auto task force

Posted by: David Welch on February 16

It appears now that there may not be a car czar after all. Instead the Obama Administration may set up a task force which reports to both Treasury Secretary...

Stimulus? What Stimulus?

Posted by: David Welch on February 13

Comedian Lewis Black once joked that the Republicans always come up with lousy ideas to bring to a vote. Not to be outdone, he went on, the Democrats will...

Uncle Sam, are you helping GM or not?

Posted by: David Welch on February 02

As if the government’s bailout efforts haven’t been silly enough, now General Motors has something else to worry about. If GM can get its bondholders to swap debt for...

Ford wants government money, too.

Posted by: David Welch on January 15

To hear Ford tell the story, the Dearborn (Mich.) company is the smart one that is getting its house in order and doesn’t need government loans like more troubled...

Obama Gets New Caddy

Posted by: David Kiley on January 15

President-elect Obama traded his Chrysler 300C for a Ford Escape Hybrid during the campaign as his personal ride, though he was most often seen in a protective Secret Service...

GMAC gets a government boost

Posted by: David Welch on December 31

Now here’s a government bailout that could achieve some results pretty quickly. The Federal Reserve bought a $5 billion stake in the lender GMAC Financial Services, the lending arm...

Orderly bankruptcy? For carmakers, that's an oxymoron.

Posted by: David Welch on December 18

Ronald Reagan once said that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Detroit’s CEOs and UAW President...

Gettelfinger scores a first-round win for labor

Posted by: David Welch on December 13

Note to Senate Republicans: Don’t underestimate United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger. The wily union president’s game of brinksmanship this week paid off. Last Thursday, he refused to give...

The Senate standoff: When brinksmanship is bullheadedness

Posted by: David Welch on December 12

Is this brinksmanship or just plain bullheadedness? The Senate’s efforts to pass a $14 billion assistance bill for Detroit’s carmakers collapsed yesterday as the union and Republicans froze in...

Dodd speaks: Wagoner should move on

Posted by: David Welch on December 07

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” today, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said that General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner should “move on.” That could mean that Dodd and other...

Finally, a deal to help Detroit

Posted by: David Welch on December 06

Finally, the politics has (very temporarily) been put aside and Washington appears poised to help Detroit. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave in to strike a deal that will pave...

GM serves up some red meat for Congress

Posted by: David Welch on December 02

Having looked over the plans from Detroit’s three carmakers that will—they hope—get them financing from the federal government, I have to say that General Motors by far had the...

Messrs. Wagoner and Mulally drive to Washington

Posted by: David Welch on December 01

After being pilloried for flying corporate jets to Washington to beg for public funds to keep their companies afloat, Detroit executives are making the second trip to the capitol...

Ford Tops All Automakers For Safety Ratings

Posted by: David Kiley on November 25

Ford Motor Co. got another shot in the arm from Tuesday when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported the automaker had more vehicles than any other manufacturer on...

Planes, pain and auto executives

Posted by: David Welch on November 21

With all of the hoo-hah over corporate aircraft flying about, let’s take a look at the cost. It does add up to some big bucks. Big companies have to...

Where's Lee Iacocca when you need him?

Posted by: David Welch on November 20

Anyone who watched the Congressional hearings for a Detroit bailout will understand why Congress is waiting to vote and demanding a business plan before they approve a bridge loan....

Congress and the disingenuous blame game

Posted by: David Welch on November 19

Defending Detroit on anything these days is about as popular as justifying the big post-bailout party at AIG. But let me take a stab at some of the disingenuous...

Obama to Detroit: No cash for business as usual

Posted by: David Welch on November 16

The drumbeat is getting louder for bigger change in the U.S. auto industry if the government steps in with a bailout plan this week. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich...

Govt. Bailout Won't Make The Chrysler Issue Go Away

Posted by: David Kiley on November 12

Politics over the proposed bailout of the auto industry may cost the tax-payers billion of extra money they need not spend. Next week, Congress will convene in a lame-duck session...

Bush: I'll Trade You Detroit for Colombia?

Posted by: David Kiley on November 11

If news reports this morning are correct, the Bush Administration is willing to trade a loan bailout for Detroit, which it has opposed, for a Congressional cave-in on a trade...

GM shelves Chrysler talks in a play for government cash

Posted by: David Welch on November 07

When General Motors announced its $4.3 billion third-quarter loss—and the conflagration of almost $7 billion in cash that went with it--the company also said that talks to acquire Chrysler...

A few more questions for that bailout hearing

Posted by: David Welch on November 05

My colleague David Kiley raises some very good questions for Detroit’s heads of state and some veteran industry watchers. While I think a bailout for the industry is needed...

Detroit: To bail, or not to bail.

Posted by: David Welch on October 31

Without some kind of help from the government, General Motors may not be able to acquire Chrysler from its owner, Cerberus Capital Management. In fact, GM probably needs government...

UAW hits the campaign trail. Will it matter?

Posted by: David Welch on October 07

Here’s one of those preach-to-the-choir moves that won’t amount to much. The United Auto Workers union plans to launch a multi-state ad campaign hitting television, radio and the Internet...

McCain Conceding Michigan

Posted by: David Kiley on October 02

GOP Presidential candidate John McCain has pretty much conceded Michigan to Democrat Barack Obama, reports www.politico.com. The candidate, who beat George Bush in the 2000 GOP primary in Michigan, is...

Detroit wants its loan money, fast

Posted by: David Welch on October 01

Detroit may have approval for its funds, but as David Kiley points out, it could be a while before the struggling car companies can actually get any cash in...

Bush Approves Automaker Loan Program: But Will It Arrive in Time?

Posted by: David Kiley on October 01

President Bush on Sept. 30 signed a broad spending bill that keeps government operating in the new fiscal year, and includes $7.5 billion to pay for a $25 billion loan...

100 MPG for Volt: Now That's An Ad Headline!!

Posted by: David Kiley on September 26

The Chevrolet Volt may get a fuel economy rating of 100 MPG or more from the U.S. government. With companies pushing just highway mileage in ads to boost their...

Big Three Back Off Bigger Loan Program

Posted by: David Kiley on September 10

Officials of Ford and General Motors confirmed a report in The Detroit News that industry lobbyists have backed off the $50 billion in loans it sought over three years to...

GM Oil Ad A Non-Controversy Run Amok

Posted by: David Kiley on June 18

Talk about a non story. Both Automotive News [see story below in the extended blog space] and some of the auto blogs have reported that General Motors was “breaking” with...

Chrysler's Jim Press And Toyota Differ on Prius Narrative

Posted by: David Kiley on April 02

Did former Toyota executive James Press rat out his old company? Or was he just pointing out how smart the Japanese were to back gas-electric hybrid technology, which has...

Take 2: Car Country Looms Large Against Obama and For Clinton

Posted by: David Kiley on February 11

If you want to see just how incompetent politicians can be, come to Michigan. Sen. Carl Levin, Debbie Dingell (wife of powerful Democratic Congressman John Dingell)and Governor Jennifer Granholm all...

Auto Country Looms Large in Presidential Election

Posted by: David Kiley on January 29

Depending on what happens Feb 5, Michigan could really matter in this year’s Presidential election. So far, Michigan is known as one of two states—the other is Florida—which attempted...

New Eco Cars Get Comparisons to..."Private Jets?

Posted by: David Kiley on January 09

Chrysler Eco-Voyager concept car to be shown next week at the North American International Auto Show is an electric car with a range of 300 miles. It emits only...

Stalled Energy Bill May Be A Good Thing

Posted by: David Kiley on December 07

The U.S. Senate did not get enough “yes” votes to send the wide ranging energy bill that will raise fuel economy standards by 40% to the White House. While it...

The Politics of Fuel Economy

Posted by: David Welch on November 30

With Congress getting ready to head off for an unearned break, it looks like a compromise on fuel economy regs is near. Sure, all the car companies will have...

New CAFE Rules Need Social Pressure Behind Them

Posted by: David Kiley on November 28

The Congress is close to getting together on legislation to bring the fuel economy standards for cars and trucks to 35 mpg by 2020. We are still waiting for the...

Toyota's Jekyll and Hyde routine

Posted by: David Welch on October 05

Toyota’s green image took another shot today when the Union of Concerned Scientists blasted the company in a press release for opposing a Senate energy bill that would boost...

No Blind Ambition for Hybrids.

Posted by: David Kiley on October 03

This from the AP today: BALTIMORE - Gas-electric hybrid vehicles, the status symbol for the environmentally conscientious, are coming under attack from a constituency that doesn't drive: the blind....

VW Headed for Nation's Capitol

Posted by: David Kiley on September 04

Since last I blogged, it has come to be known that Volkswagen of America on Thursday is expected to announce a move of its American headquarters from Auburn Hills, MI...

Chinese Copy BMW and Mercedes

Posted by: Gail Edmondson on August 31

Chinese automaker Shuanghuan is already selling cars that look uncannily like the BMW X5 SUV and the Mercedes Smart in China. But dare they unveil the two knockoffs at...

Jaguars By Tata Has a Nice Ring

Posted by: David Kiley on August 01

The suitors are cued up kicking the tires on Jaguar and Land Rover, which Ford is trying to sell. The most intriguing candidates mentioned by insiders are India’s leading...

A New Lowe

Posted by: David Welch on July 12

Every so often I get a press release in my inbox that makes me wonder why the P.R. people even bothered. Here’s one that’s just laughable. Actor Rob Lowe...

Diesel gets a witness

Posted by: David Welch on July 05

Finally, someone is stepping forward to make the case for diesel. I was watching MSNBC last week and saw a Mercedes ad boasting that its new Blue Tec diesel...

SUV Tax Break For Accountants and Realtors Going South--Hopefully

Posted by: David Kiley on July 02

I recall a few years ago getting a phone call from a Realtor friend of mine. She said she was going to buy an SUV to take advantage of the...

The Irony of Fuel Economy Legislation

Posted by: David Welch on June 23

To the American car buyer, I say prepare to downsize your vehicles or pay more for them. Late Thursday, the Senate approved a bill that would require auto makers...

Auto Industry's word of the year: "Transformational"

Posted by: David Kiley on June 22

Detroit's Big Three have been saying for months that this year's contract talks with the UAW have to be "transformational." They can't afford to have mere incremental cost reductions in...

The Fuel Economy Debate Will Get Silly Before Its Over

Posted by: David Kiley on June 14

I know the debate over fuel economy, especially as it relates to the legislation currently being jawboned in Congress, is complicated. But consider a few facts that will illuminate some...

The Anti-Detroit Bias

Posted by: David Welch on June 12

The hecklers are out. Last week, I gave General Motors a well-deserves lashing for its lame response to the company’s own mediocre (and that’s being generous) performance in the...

More Argument For Permanently Higher Gas Prices in the U.S.

Posted by: David Kiley on June 01

As comments on this blog attest, I have been taking a beating for pointing out that gas prices need to go higher yet in order to get American consumers to...

Gas Prices High. But Not High Enough.

Posted by: David Kiley on May 17

The average price of a gallon of gas is now above $3.00 per gallon. That’s affecting some car-buyers’ choices, as it has done in the past two years when gas...

With Friends Like Bill O'Reilly, Detroit Doesn't Need Enemies

Posted by: David Kiley on March 15

In his March 14th broadcast, Fox News bloviator Bill O'Reilly aptly criticized UAW President Ron Gettelfinger for testifying before Congress that higher fuel economy regulations for automobiles would result...

GM Turns To Insanity Hannity And Chrysler Goes To Church. Maybe Detroit Really Is Dying.

Posted by: David Kiley on October 02

Sean Hannity is not just a loud-mouthed blow-hard. He's evil. And I don't say that lightly. I don't think he's evil because I disagree with him about almost everything....

New U.S. plant for Honda?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 15

At at time when U.S. auto makers are trimming back production, Honda looks set to build another North American plant. According to today's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's leading business daily,...

Good news for China's auto industry last month..

Posted by: Dexter Roberts on February 19

Some impressive numbers out for January auto production and sales in China, good news for an industry that has been and still faces challenges, including overcapacity and falling prices....

GM execs: No pay cuts for me

Posted by: David Welch on January 13

When Jerome York--whose boss, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, owns 7.8% of General Motors--made his heavily-anticipated speech on Jan. 10 suggesting how GM could turn things around, he made a few...

Can Saab survive?

Posted by: David Welch on January 11

There is little doubt that the future of Swedish carmaker Saab AB is in question. In addition to the fact that its sales are a paltry 130,000 or so a...

"Buy American Is The Last Reason To Buy GM"

Posted by: David Kiley on January 10

General Motors sales and marketing chief Mark LaNeve says he has considered an ad that would say "Buy American" is the last reason you should buy a GM car. LaNeve,...

General Motors' China success

Posted by: Dexter Roberts on January 08

Given how grim things are looking for General Motors at home, it's no surprise that the company is touting what was a very successful last year here in China....

Ford's Swipe At Toyota Sounds "Desperate"

Posted by: David Kiley on January 05

Ford Motor Co. President of the Americas Mark Fields (pictured above)gave a speech at The Greater Los Angeles Auto Show on Jan 4 in which he laid out some...

About

Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Our man in Detroit David Welch, brings keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!