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GM sells record cars in China for March 2009


GM reported this morning that GM auto sales in China for March 2009 are up 24.6% from March 2008 to 137,004 cars. The number is the most GM has ever sold in China in one month. China remains a strong emerging market for GM as the company tries to maximize sales and re-establish itself as a viable automaker.

GM faces bankruptcy as the U.S. government June 1 reorganization deadline approaches. It is also believed GM could spinoff into two companies, one with higher performing divisions, and the other with the weaker divisions.

GM most recently unveiled the PUMA Segway style car yesterday.

China is set to announce full auto sales figures for March tomorrow.

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GM unveils PUMA Segway car in NY


GM has just unveiled the PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) vehicle today in NY. The car seats up to two people and can travel up to 35 miles per hour and can operate for up to 35 miles per hour before a charge is needed. The unveiling comes today as part of a plan to demonstrate to the Obama camp that GM is a viable company and is developing greener more eco-friendly vehicles, something that people want. Will it take off? You decide.

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Porsche makes EUR 6.8B from VW options, VW opens India plant


German sports carmaker Porsche has made EUR 6.8 billion by buying long Volkswagen options. The money was made in only six months ended Jan 31, 2009.

Porsche went long in VW while others shorted the company, including German billionaire Adolf Merckle, 74, who lost $400 million by shorting the VW shares, who later apparently committed suicide by stepping into the path of a train in his home town of Blaubeurennear in southwestern Germany. Read the full story

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GM CEO Rick Wagoner quits from White House pressure


GM CEO Rick Wagoner, 56, has just announced he will be stepping down from his post because of pressure from the Obama administration. Wagoner has worked at GM during his entire career, joining GM’s treasury department in 1977 immediately following earning his MBA from Harvard.

GM and Chrysler have already received $17.4 billion in loans since December 2008. GM and Chrysler collectively say they need an additional $21.6 billion in loans just to survive. Ford says it will not require any more government help to wither out the financial crisis.

The news comes as Obama is set to unveil his new round of emergency government bailout loans for the auto sector Monday 11AM EST. Obama says the big three have not yet done enough to restructure.

It is currently unclear as to who will replace Wagoner.

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India’s Tata Motors unveils Nano, world’s cheapest car


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Tata Motors has just launched the Tata Nano 5-door car in Mumbai that costs only $2,000.

Tata Motors says the car will not be profitable for at least 6 years, and hopes to have a European ready model by 2011.

The Tata Nano currently does not comply with US emissions or safety standards.

It has drum all-round breaks instead of front discs, and only has basic panels such as the speedometer, fuel, and odometer gauges. The wheels measure at only 12-inches. The vehicle can impressively travel up to 90km per hour.

The Tata Nano comes in three variants as outlined below

* Tata Nano Standard (BSII* and BSIII*): The standard version, in three colour options, single-tone seats, and fold-down rear seat.

* Tata Nano CX (BSII* and BSIII*): In five colour options, with heating and air-conditioning (HVAC), two-tone seats, parcel shelf, booster-assisted brakes, fold-down rear seat with nap rest. Read the full story

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Honda Sells Formula One Team to Brawn


Honda has just announced it has sold the Honda Formula One team to former owner Ross Brawn as Honda continues to cut costs during the tuff economic times. Honda initially announced in December 2008 it would sell the team to cut costs. The team is now called Brawn GP Formula One.

All of the shares were sold, the valuation was not disclosed, but Honda did say, “As a result of this sale, the team ownership has transferred to Mr Brawn, who plans to have the new team compete for this year’s FIA Formula One World Championship,”

As a result of the sale, Brawn has dropped driver Bruno Senna, and kept Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. Brawn said, “The vast experience and knowledge that both drivers bring to our team will prove invaluable,”

Senna told autosport.com, “Ross [Brawn] was happy with my testing at the end of last year, but it just wasn’t enough for him to have the proof that I’m ready for Formula One. I respect his opinion.”

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February Car Sales Down 41%, Worst in 25 Years


According to newly released data by Autodata, US car sales pumped once again in February by 41% to 688,909 cars, the lowest monthly sales figures since 1981. Deliveries for the month were up 4.9% over January.  GM had the fewest vehicle sales, down 53% to 127,296 vehicles in February. GM’s market share fell to 18.2% from 22.7% as a result of the poor sales. GM says the figures are the worst in over 40 years. GM is now seeking about $16.6 billion in new loans from the U.S. fed, on top of the $13.4 billion already approved. Ford sales fell by 48% to 96,044 cars in February, but the company says it will not seek additional federal aid.

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GM Posts Massive $9.6B Q4 Loss As it prepares to ask for More US Aid. Nissan to Cut 1,400 Barcelona Jobs


GM has just posted a massive $9.6 billion Q4 loss right as GM CEO Rick Wagoner prepares to meet with Obama’s economic team this Thursday to seek more help. Q4 sales were down to $30.8 billion, down 52% YoY. For all of 2008, GM posted a $30.9 billion loss. GM also posted a massive $38.7 billion loss in 2007. Reports indicate Wagoner may ask the Obama camp for an additional $2 billion for March just to continue operating. GM may need up to $17 billion by the end of 2009 to stay alive. The question remains with gloomy sales figures if GM can change, or if the bailouts will continue to mount for the taxpayer without any improvement.

In related news, Japanese carmaker Nissan reached a deal with its union to cut 1,400 jobs in Barcelona as part of a cost cutting restructuring plan outlined in October 2008. Nissan now forecasts a net loss of $2.8 billion by the end of March 2009.

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GM Seeks More Aid, GM Says No More Jobs/Plant Closures in Canada


The Canadian government says from the Sheridan Hotel it looks forward to working with GM, and it is glad that no more GM layoffs, or plant closures will be made in Canada. GM says it is committed to keeping 17%-20% of its total production in Canada. GM is still seeking billions more in bailout loans from the U.S. and Canada. The company says the Canadian bailout loans should be proportional to the U.S. loans in terms of cars produced. GM is also seeking lower labor costs and will require capital to pay off legacy costs including pension plans, as the current pension reserve is bankrupt.

In related news, automaker Saab has went into bankruptcy credit protection, as the company continues to struggle. Saab had a $340 million 2008 annual loss. The court order has given the company three months to reorganization as the company struggles to raise capital. The Swedish government said it will not provide additional aid. GM says it intends to sell off the Saab brand soon. Saab employees about 4,500 people mainly in Sweden.

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GM, Chrysler Seek $20B in New Aid, Announce Layoffs


Update: GM will terminate various brands over time including Saab and Saturn. GM also announced it will reduce dealers to 4,000 from 6,000 over the next 5 years. There are also concerns GM may leave Canada, but Canadian PM Stephan Harper said he’s confident that will not happen as his government has had close talks with GM. GM is also seeking help from Sweden and Germany.

GM and Chrysler are now asking the U.S. Fed for an additional $21.6 billion. GM says the company needs as much as $30 billion in new aid by 2011, and needs $9.1 billion right now. Chrysler said it needs $9 billion right now as well. Both companies have announced new cost cutting measures that include new massive job cuts. GM says it will cut 20,000-30,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2011, bringing the total job cots to about 30,000 with Chrysler over the next couple of years. GM says the new aid is required due to very weak sales. Read the full story

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