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Toyota Chooses Microsoft to Power Upcoming In-Car Telematics Systems

toyotaThe world’s largest carmaker, Japan-based Toyota Motor Corp (TMC), announced a new non-exclusive $12-million partnership with the world’s largest software vendor, Microsoft Corp, that will see telematics systems in upcoming Toyota hybrid vehicles powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform.

From 2008 to 2009, global production of vehicles declined by 13.50-percent to almost 70-million cars manufactured in 2009, the biggest decline in over a decade, as demand fell amid the global financial crisis.

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Canada says GM, Chrysler plans are inadequate but still awards loans, Obama says GM, Chrysler could use short-term bankruptcy

The Canadian government announced plans today to offer GM, Chrysler up to $4 billion in bridge loans to continue operations.

Under the announced plan today, the Canadian government will earmark $1 billion for Chrysler, $250 million of witch will become available immediately, and an additional $500 million by sometime in April. Part of the deal, Chrysler must interest notes equal to 6.67% of the aggregate loan.

GM would receive the remaining $3 billion. 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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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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Bush approves $17.4B automaker bailout

gm-ceoThe Bush Administration today has approved an emergency bail out for the Big 3 US Automakers to the tune of $17.4 billion. Bush said “it would worsen a weak job market and exacerbate the financial crisis,” if a bailout was not implemented. President-elect Barack Obama also praised the bailout. $13.4 billion will become available within the next two weeks or ago, while the remainder will become available in Jan. There are reports an additional $4 billion could become available in Feb 09. GM will get the most out of the plan with $9.4 billion; the rest will be split evenly between Ford and Chrysler, who will get $4 billion each. The Big 3 need to particularly reduce labour costs and build better vehicles to sustain their companies in the future, otherwise, we run the risk of more bailouts, and ultimately the insolvency if these fundamental problems are not addressed. I personally believe we all needed this bailout as the collapse of the automakers would have caused significant and irreversible harm to everyone particularly in the US and Canada. Please see this report that highlights possible job losses if the automakers went under, and my article that highlights my thoughts on a GM bailout.

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Fed to Help The Big 3 Automakers, Likely Bailout GM

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced today that the big three Detroit automakers will be getting part of the $700 billion government bail out. Pelosi did not confirm how much money the companies will get but they are asking a combined $25 billion in loans. The amount of money that will be given to GM should be sufficient to bailout GM, which desperately needs a cash infusion or it will run out of money entirely by early March 2009. Pelosi said that the big three would need to develop better, more fuel efficient vehicles and restructure “to ensure their long-term economic viability” as a condition part of the deal.

United Auto Workers President Gettelfinger told reporters that automakers are struggling because of problems beyond their control, including the credit crisis. He also said that union labor costs are not the main problem and they only account for up to 10% of any vehicles cost made by the big three (GM, Chrysler, Ford). I personally believe the union is cutting into their bottom and line and making them less competitive because the other foreign automakers don’t pay nearly as much in total labor cost per vehicle.

I said it before that GM will be bailed and that we should bail GM out because if it fails, a catastrpohic chain reaction will hit the economy hard that could eliminate 1 million jobs alone. The Center for Automotive Research has also warned that the collapse of the Big Three could eliminate up to 3 million jobs and more than $150 billion in tax revenue for the US Fed over the next three years. However, all 3 wouldn’t fail, but even GM alone would hit everyone hard, especially the people of Detriot, which could result in more foreclosures. Scary stuff.

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