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GM to announce $250mn plant investment in St. Catharines, Ontario


A source today confirmed to us General Motors tomorrow is scheduled to announce a massive investment of $500-million in the city of St. Catharines, Ontario, in Canada, as part of a plan to produce a new vehicle transmission system.

The source provided the information on condition of anonymity, as they were not permitted to disclose the information.

The capital will be used to design and manufacture a new efficient transmission that would be used in select new GM models.

The announcement will be made tomorrow by GM at the plant, with a ceremony that will include GM Canada president Kevin Williams, and Industry Minister Tony Clement, among other officials.

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GM posts Q1 profit, on the road for an IPO


The top U.S. automaker, General Motors Inc., today published earnings for the first quarter of 2010.

The company said revenue in the quarter was $31.48-billion, up materially from $22.4-billion (an increase of 40.54-percent) in the same period last year.

GM had an operating profit of $1.2-billion in the period, and earned $865-million in net earnings in the period. Net earnings compare to a $5.98-billion loss YoY.

The current increase in net earnings is attributable to many factors, primarily the increase in demand for GM vehicles, and lower fixed costs as production rose. Additionally, the company said it transferred retiree health expenses to an independent less costly trust.

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Nissan now recalls 540,000 cars


The auto sector continues to struggle with new recalls from Nissan

A new batch of vehicle recalls were announced early today by Japanese carmaker Nissan, as the industry struggles with record recalls due to component failures.

Nissan said it is recalling more than 540,000 vehicles mainly for two problems. First, on select models, the fuel gauge displays inaccurate fuel levels, indicating the car is plenty of fuel when it is almost empty.

The second problem, and potentially a more serious problem, that Nissan has identified is related to braking pedal pins that come lose in turn not allowing the drive to slow the car down. The affected models with the brake issue include the 2008-2010 Nissan Titan, Infiniti QX56 (also affected with the fuel gauge issue), Nissan Armada, and the Nissan Quest.

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GM CEO says taxpayers will profit, as China becomes world’s largest auto market


GM CEO tells reports government investment will turn out good, China becomes the biggest auto market in the world with 13.6 million vehicles sold

GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre made a bold statement today, telling reporters at the Detroit auto show that he expected American taxpayers to profit from the $6.7 billion emergency Treasury loans.

He went on to say that it wouldn’t be “too long,” and that it would be a good investment for the American government and people.

GM is forecasting a full-year profit in 2010, where the last full-year fiscal profit was five years ago.

The comments were made just as China became the world’s largest auto market in the world, edging out the U.S., as its sales increased significantly by 46-percent (to 13.6 million vehicles) year over year. U.S. sales decreased by 21-percent (10.4 million vehicles sold) in the same period.

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Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell named as new GM CFO


Current Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell to take the top finance job at GM in January
Chris Liddell, named new GM CFO, to start this January

Chris Liddell, named new GM CFO, to start this January

General Motors today just announced that Chris Liddell (Wikipedia profile), 51, would become the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at GM starting in January.

The announcement comes as GM makes yet another important change to its top management following changes pushed by the Obama administration.

Chris Liddell is currently the CFO at Microsoft, but will be stepping down by the end of this year as he makes on the top finance job at GM in January.

Liddell has been credited with cutting about $3 billion in total costs at Microsoft to better position the company in the global economic downturn mainly by developing a massive cost cutting plan that saw up to 5,000 job cuts at the tech giant. The job cuts alone was expected to saved the company $1.5 billion.

Most recently, Microsoft announced better than expected Q3 earnings ($3.6 billion in profits) thanks to Liddell implementing new cost structure changes.

Liddell now faces the difficult task of revaluing balance sheet items post restructuring and the massive U.S. bailout with emergency loans.

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GM starts repaying government loans


GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre

GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre (left)

Breaking now: General Motors just said that it has made payments to both the U.S. Treasury and Canadian federal and Ontario provincial governments to start paying down the emergency government loans made by the respective countries.

GM confirmed today the company returned $192 million to Canada, and $1 billion the U.S. Treasury. Aggregately, GM still owes both nations $5.77 billion.

The Canadian government firstly committed $2.8 billion in emergency loans to the Canadian auto sector, a proportional amount based on Canada’s 20-percent North American auto sector market share.

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GM says it lost $1.2B post-bankruptcy exit


GM said today the company is turning the business around after posting only a $1.2B loss after emerging from bankruptcy

General Motors announced today that it has lost $1.2 billion since emerging from bankruptcy protection through September 30, 2009.

The company says the number is far better than expected and that it is making progress towards change.

GM chief executive Fritz Henderson said today in a statement, “today’s results provide evidence of the solid foundation we are building for the new GM,”

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Magna sends final offer to GM for Opel


Canadian car parts-maker Magna International Corp. has sent a revised offer with a contract to GM today hoping for a deal to finally go through for GM’s Opel division.

Magna spokesperson Daniel Witzani said today that all term issues were resolved between Magna and its Russian-based partner Sberbank, and said that the next step is for GM to make a decision.

Magna is offering GM about EUR $500 million for a 55-percent stake in Opel, with 35% retained to GM and with the remaining 10-percent to remain with Opel employees.

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GM exec says Opel Magna acquisition likely by July


Update: Reports indicate Beijing Automotive Industry Corp. has made a non-binding bid of $992 million CND for Opel. Magna remains the favorite company to acquire Opel.

A deal to sell Opel is inching closer after GM European President Carl-Peter Forester said in an interview that high-level talks between GM and Canadian auto-part supplier Magna Corp. have reached “broad consent”.

He went on to say that he expects a deal to be reached by July 2009.

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GM sells Saturn to Penske for up to $200M


GM has announced it will sell its almost 20-year old Saturn brand (4 million Saturn cars have been sold aggregately since its inception) to Penske Automotive Group as part of the bankruptcy-restructuring plan.

GM said today that the sale would ultimately save up to 13,000 jobs and save 350 U.S. dealers from closing (Canadian Saturn dealers are not part of the deal).

Reports indicate Penske could pay up to $200 million for Saturn.

Very little information about the deal has been disclosed. What we do know is under the deal Penske would acquire all Saturn assets, and GM will continue to manufacture three of the top selling Saturn vehicles that include the Vue, Aura, and Outlook, in the U.S. The deal is expected to close by the end of Q3 2009.

Saturn general manager Jill Lajdziak said, “GM had the vision to create Saturn and has the desire to see it succeed,”

Saturn is the second GM brand to go, after GM announced it would sell its Hummer brand to Chinese firm Sichuan Tengzhong on June 2, 2009.

GM has confirmed it would also sell three other non-core brands that include the Saab and Pontiac brands. It is unclear when this will occur or who will possibly buy the brands.

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