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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

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RUSSIA: Stiffer Sanctions Will Impact Global Economies

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

While none of the sanctions imposed last week by the U.S. and the European Union were aimed directly at Russian auto manufacturers, economists in both the U.S. and Europe are forecasting a major economic impact, not only in Russia but around the world.  Indeed, the Russian economy was in trouble before the sanctions were imposed.

Last week, following the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet, the EU for the first time  opted go beyond sanctions targeting individual political leaders in Moscow, adding prohibitions against doing business with specific Russian companies that contribute to the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine.  A complete list of those …

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EMISSIONS: BASF Opens Catalyst Site for Automotive Emissions

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany, has opened a new emissions catalyst plant at Sroda Slaska, Poland, where it will produce catalysts for light-duty gasoline engines and light and heavy-duty diesel engines.  BASF said it invested 150 million euro in the 400,000-sq-ft. plant that will employ about 100 people producing catalysts that help diesel engine manufacturers to meet the stringent Euro 6/VI regulations.  BASF said the plant is its largest emissions facility in Europe and is expected to employ as many as 400 people by 2016.

“The launch of this new production plant provides a vital addition to our global manufacturing network for innovative automotive emission…

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VENEZUELA: Another Market Bites the Dust

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

As global auto manufacturers watch the Russian market for vehicles dry up, they are also watching politically-troubled Venezuela, once South America's thrid largest auto market.

According to the Wall Street Journal, auto manufacturers such as Ford Motor, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Toyota Motor, have reduced production by as much as 80% in Venezuela, primarily because of lack of funds to pay suppliers. 

Exacerbating the situation are stringent labor laws that prevent automakers and suppliers from laying off workers.  Again, according to the WSJ, Ford has 2,500 workers at its Valencia plant that …

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RUSSIA: Trouble in Red Land for Automakers

Monday, July 21st, 2014

In September 2000 we reported here that "Russia represents a huge untapped market for many marketers, in particular automotive companies. Doing business there over the last decade, however, has been a real lesson in Caveat Emptor."  Since then the Russian market for cars has been a roller coaster with economic ups and downs.  But that hasn't deterred many auto manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, Toyota or Hyundai from expanding production and sales in the Russian market.

Now what?  The U.S. along with several European countries have established sanctions against Russia and the role it plays in the annexation of the breakaway …

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UH OH: G.M. Issues Order to Stop Sales of Certain Cadillac Models

Monday, July 21st, 2014

What's going on here?  Bloomberg news service reports that General Motors has sent an "urgent order" to its Cadillac dealers to halt sales of 2014 Cadillac CTS models that use a standard ignition.  The problem: the ignition switch that could be defective.  The order is said to have included 2003-2013 models of the CTS and 2004-2006 models of the Cadillac SRX.

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SWABIAN: Your Next Porsche Could Speak a New Language

Monday, July 21st, 2014

The Swabian dialect ranges from a 'standard' Swabian, spoken in Stuttgart, to a variety of stronger, thicker forms found in the German countryside.  It's said that older people can often tell the town a person comes from merely by hearing their accent.

That's the accent new Porsche vehicles could speak as the famed sports car maker has opened a new 150 million euro design studio at Baden-Wurttemberg.  In addition to design facilities, the new center includes a wind tunnel, an Electronics Integration Center and concept car facilities.

"Weissach now stands more than ever for top German engineering expertise and pure Swabian inventive spirit," said Matthia…

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