Posted tagged ‘Auto Industry’

Ford Posts Profit of Nearly $1 Billion

November 2, 2009

Ford, the only automaker to dodge direct government aid and bankruptcy court, surprised investors this morning with a net income of nearly $1 billion in the third quarter.

Where did that come from???

From the Associated Press:

The automaker said Monday earnings were fueled by U.S. market share gains, cost cuts and the Cash for Clunkers program, which drew flocks of buyers to showrooms this summer. Ford’s shares rose 68 cents, or 9.8 percent, to $7.68 in morning trading.

The latest results signal that Ford’s turnaround is on more solid ground. The company lost more than $14.6 billion last year and hasn’t posted a full-year profit since 2005. While it made a profit in the second quarter, that was mainly due to debt reductions that cut its interest payments.

Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., reported third-quarter net income of $997 million, or 29 cents per share. Its profit forecast for 2011 was a step above previous guidance of break-even or better for the year.

Ford’s key North American car and truck division posted a pretax profit of $357 million, the division’s first quarter in the black since early 2005. Ford cited higher pricing, lower material costs and increased market share for the improvement.

Excluding one-time items, Ford earned 26 cents per share, blowing away analysts’ expectations of a loss of 12 cents.

The earnings came despite an $800 million revenue drop. But Ford said it cut costs by $1 billion during the quarter, accomplished through layoffs in North America and Europe, reduced pension and retiree health care costs and improvements in productivity and product development.

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GM to Sell Cars on eBay

August 10, 2009

It appears that more than 225 General Motors dealers in California will sell vehicles through the eBay online auction site in a four-week trial.

From CNN:

Under the program, which begins Tuesday, consumers will be able to bargain with the dealers for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Pontiac cars and trucks from model years 2008, 2009 and 2010. The program ends Sept. 8.

The new car shopping website, gm.ebay.com, will feature a “wide selection” of up to 20,000 new GM vehicles at “competitive prices,” the companies said in a press release.

Customers will be able to buy cars outright at the advertised price using the Web site’s “Buy It Now” option. Alternatively, customers can suggest a price under the “Best Offer” option, which may then be negotiated with the dealer.

“Together with eBay Motors, GM and our dealers are reinventing the car-buying experience for our California customers,” said Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of U.S. sales, in a statement.

GM emerged from bankruptcy protection on July 10, concluding a 40-day stay in Chapter 11 with the sale of its key operations to a new company majority-owned by the U.S. Treasury. The company pledged to win back American consumers and taxpayers.

The automaker has sold certain new and certified-used GM models on eBay Motors in the past. But the scale of the new program marks a significant shift for the online auction house, which is traditionally focused on used cars and auto parts.

GM To Cut More Than 1100 US Dealers

May 15, 2009

General Motors notified 1,100 of its 6,000 dealerships today that it is terminating their contracts with the struggling automaker.

From CNN:

GM spokeswoman Susan Garontakos said that the dealers receiving notice Friday are being told that their contracts will not be renewed in October 2010. Many of them are expected to close shop this year.

The company has told the Obama administration that it plans to cut its network down to 3,600 dealers by next year.

Much of the rest of the cuts will come from GM’s plans to sell or close four brands – Saturn, Hummer, Saab and Pontiac.

Those four brands have about 600 dealerships that do not include other GM brands. But most Pontiac and Hummer dealers will stay in the GM family because they have one of the four remaining GM brands as part of their operation.

Chrysler To Close 789 Dealerships

May 14, 2009

Chrysler hopes to eliminate roughly a quarter of its 3,200 U.S. dealerships by early next month, saying in a bankruptcy court filing this morning that there are too many stores competing with each other.

From the Associated Press:

The company, in a motion filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, said it wants to eliminate 789 dealerships by June 9. Many of the dealers’ sales are too low, the automaker said. Just over 50 percent of dealers account for about 90 percent of the company’s U.S. sales, the motion said.

Dealers were told Thursday morning via United Parcel Service letter if they would remain or be eliminated. The move, which the dealers can appeal, is likely to cause devastating affects in cities and towns across the country as thousands of jobs are lost and taxes are not paid.

General Motors to Cut Jobs, Discontinue Pontiac Brand

April 27, 2009

General Motors has announced this morning that it will cut 21,000 U.S. factory jobs by next year and phase out its storied Pontiac brand.

The company will also ask the government to take more than half its stock in exchange for half of GM’s government debt as part of a major restructuring plan.

From the Associated Press:

The struggling automaker said it will offer 225 shares of common stock for every $1,000 in notes held by bondholders as part of a debt-for-equity swap that aims to retire most of GM’s $27 billion in unsecured debt.

The announcements came in a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

GM is living on $15.4 billion in government loans and faces a June 1 deadline to restructure and get more government money. If the restructuring doesn’t satisfy the government, the company could go into bankruptcy protection.

GM said in a news release that it will ask the government to take 50 percent of its common stock in exchange for canceling half the government loans to the company as of June 1.

In addition, GM is offering the United Auto Workers stock for at least 50 percent of the $20 billion the company must pay into a union run trust that will take over retiree health care expenses starting next year.

General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner to Step Down

March 29, 2009

General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner will step down after more than eight years with the company.

From Bloomberg:

General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner will step down after more than eight years running the largest U.S. automaker, people familiar with the situation said.

The people, who asked not to be named because the announcement hasn’t been made, didn’t give a reason why Wagoner, 56, is leaving. Wagoner said as recently as March 19 that he didn’t plan to resign.

From the New York Times:

The chairman and chief executive of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, is resigning, just as President Obama prepares to unveil his rescue plans on Monday for G.M. and the ailing American auto industry, according to a person close to the decision.

The unexpected move by Mr. Wagoner, who has been at the helm of G.M. for eight years, was not confirmed by the company. But a statement about Mr. Wagoner’s future will be issued after the president’s address.

G.M. and Chrysler are on the verge of exhausting the $17.4 billion in federal loans given to them since December. G.M. has asked for up to $16.6 billion more, and Chrysler another $5 billion.

The president’s auto task force is expected to recommend more short-term assistance to the two Detroit companies, but with tight strings attached to the money and a new deadline to get concessions from union workers and creditors.

GM Cuts 10,000 Jobs

February 10, 2009

Will the job cuts ever end in the US?

General Motors  is planning to slash another 10,000 salaried jobs this year, saying the cuts are unavoidable with a government restructuring deadline looming and industrywide sales in one of the worst downturns in history.

From the Associated Press:

The Detroit-based automaker said Tuesday it will reduce its total number of white-collar workers by 14 percent to 63,000. About 3,400, or 12 percent, of GM’s 29,500 salaried U.S. jobs will be eliminated.

Most of the company’s remaining salaried employees will have their wages cut.

In its plan to Congress submitted late last year, GM said it would have to reduce both salaried and hourly positions so that the company could become viable long-term. The company plans to reduce its total U.S. work force from 96,537 people in 2008 to between 65,000 and 75,000 in 2012, but did not specify how many of the surviving jobs will be salaried or hourly.

GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, who was meeting with congressional leaders in Washington about global warming legislation, said Tuesday’s announcement is “indicative of the kind of things we need to do to get this viability plan in shape and respond to these tough market conditions.”

GM has dramatically downsized both its salaried and hourly work forces in recent years as the U.S. auto market has shrunk from an annual sales rate of around 16 million vehicles to 13.2 million last year.

Since 2000, GM’s salaried work force has shrunk by 33 percent from its 2000 high of 44,000 people. At the same time, the number of hourly workers has plunged by more than half — to about 63,700 people at the end of last year from 133,000 in 2000.

Most of the cuts announced Tuesday are expected to take place by May 1. GM said the cuts will vary by global regions depending on staffing levels and market conditions.

The company’s statement said there would be no buyout or early retirement packages as GM had offered in the past, but laid-off employees will get severance pay, benefit contributions and other assistance.