Hong Kong (CNN) - For Renault-Nissan, relativity may help manage expectations for a 2013 already predicted to end in the red.
“The (automobile) market in Europe continues to decline and the contraction is even bigger than what we have foreseen,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn to CNN’s Richard Quest.
“Even with this very bad start to the year… we’re going to go from a very bad market to a bad market. Instead of having an 8% decline, we’re going to probably see something like (a) 3% to 5% decline for the year.”
The Brazilian-born auto chief made the forecast at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show. The annual event opens to the public Thursday.
European governments can help automakers, Ghosn added, by bringing predictability to the economy and “eliminating uncertainty”.
“One of the reasons consumers are not buying cars or other goods is because they are uncertain about the future.”
As head of Japan’s Nissan Motor Company since 1999, Ghosn said he hopes the country’s new government of Shinzo Abe will bring the currency to a “historic level” of 110 to the dollar.
Since October 1, the yen has already risen nearly 20% and currently hovers near 93 yen to the dollar thanks to Abe's promises for a weaker yen, looser monetary policy and pledges of fiscal stimulus.
“Finally we have a government which has a vision and trying to do something about deflation (in) Japan.”
Hong Kong (CNN) – Figures last month out of China for Japanese auto companies paint a pretty stark picture of the impact on sales of anti-Japanese sentiment over a group of disputed islands.
Sales for Toyota vehicles in the world’s largest car market fell 40% year-on-year in September, mimicking similar declines for Mazda and Nissan. Meanwhile, General Motors had record car sales in China last month, as did South Korean carmaker Hyundai.
All of which suggest calls by Chinese nationalists to stop buying Japanese products are taking a bite out of Tokyo profits. But do economic boycotts really work?
(CNN) – Just days after Facebook took the plunge with a multi-billion dollar shares sale in the U.S., another high-profile brand, Formula One, appears to have accelerated its own plans for a public listing in Singapore.
The Asian city-state is also one of the more unique stops on the 20-race Grand Prix calendar, as the race is staged at night under floodlights. FULL POST
Toyota says profits for the last year stalled due to a strong yen and the effects of the devastating earthquake and tsunami on its supply chain.
(CNN) – Given a choice between internet access or keys to a car, which would you choose?
According to new research, it’s more of a toss-up for young adults. That not only marks a generational divide between lifestyle choices for Generation X and Gen-Y, but could have a knock-on effect for how future cars are developed, the study author says.
It also speaks to a new study on why more traffic deaths in the U.S. are a result of using phones or portable electronic devices while driving.
When posed with the dilemma of choosing between access to your car and access to the Internet, 46% of all 18-to-24-year-old drivers in the U.S. surveyed said they would choose the Internet and give up their cars.
While Thailand’s floods offer a golden opportunity for automakers to diversify their investment across the region – hunting down cheaper suppliers in nearby Vietnam or Indonesia – the kingpin of the Thai market, Toyota, has no plans to go anywhere.
“Toyota is so comfortable in Thailand, I don’t see any major move away any time soon,” said auto industry analyst Michael Dunne. FULL POST
Tokyo (CNN) - Imagine your paycheck gets slashed by 99.4%.
That would make me, and pretty much everyone I know, weep with sadness.
Well, that’s essentially what Toyota says has happened to its net income for the period between April and June this year - the first full quarter after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11.
On a recent visit to a London showroom my mother – a Saab driver since the mid-90s – traded in her SE900 Turbo for a new Mercedes CLK 250.
At first glance the two cars seemed to offer the same attributes: Both were black, both convertible, with leather seats and walnut dash, and both appealed to the luxury market.
Had her car not been a bit on the ‘mature’ side, half of me would have wondered why she was keen to swap.
Singapore (CNN) – The airline industry is tough. No doubt about it. Between 2000-2010 the group of 230 airlines that make up the International Air Transport Association (IATA) managed to post just three profitable years as a group. In 2006, 2007 and 2010 they collectively earned $39 billion dollars. In the other seven years they racked up losses of $68 billion dollars, according to IATA figures. Yes, billion.
Yet during that time only a handful of well-known carriers - Swissair, Varig, Ansett, Sabena, Mexicana and Aloha among others - disappeared. How did the others manage to survive?
There are still about 1000 carriers worldwide, says IATA. The question is why.
Shanghai, China (CNN) – At the Shanghai Auto Show, car exec after car exec is talking about big investment plans - finding Chinese partners, setting up factories, possibly building cars here for other parts of the world.
It's hard to imagine Detroit – home to the American auto giants – maintaining its prominent role in the industry. However, there are rumblings in China that perhaps Detroit could be a good launch pad for Chinese companies looking to break into the U.S. market.
Detroit already has great talent - a solid pool of Chinese engineers, I was told. Execs say the technology is top notch and customers close by. Michigan officials have also been welcoming.
Pacific Century Motors is the latest Chinese company to inject money into Detroit. PCM is partly owned by the Beijing city government. For $450 million, PCM bought Nexteer, a storied unit of General Motors that makes steering equipment. Nexteer employs thousands of people in Michigan. (The sale was coordinated by Chinese auto parts maker Tempo. Tempo was also an investor in a $100 million deal to buy a brakes division of former GM parts maker Delphi.)
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