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Cash-For-Clunkers Is a Big Hit
Jul28

Cash-For-Clunkers Is a Big Hit

By Brendan Moore

07.28.2009

united_states-one-dollar-bill-obverseThe NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) stated yesterday that over 16,000 dealers in the US have signed up to participate in the federal government’s “cash-for-clunkers” program and that public interest in the program seems to be much higher than forecast.

Since there were approximately 19,000 new-vehicle dealers in the US at the end of June, that means that around 80% of all dealers have signed up for the program.

Under the federal program, people that trade in eligible older trucks or cars when they buy a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle can receive as much as $4500 USD in credits.

The law took effect on July 1, but since the U.S. didn’t publish rules for the program until July 24, it was difficult to gauge just how much interest there was in the program. But in the last four days since the rules of the program were defined, it has become obvious that the program is a bona fide hit. Some dealerships wrote up deals weeks in advance and had the eligible trade-ins from customers sitting on their back lots, waiting for the rules to be published so that they could pull the trigger on the deal itself.

It looks as if some dealerships will have post some great sales numbers in July and August, at the very least.

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Jaguar Land Rover Report Loss for 2008
Jul27

Jaguar Land Rover Report Loss for 2008

By Brendan Moore

07.27.2009

tata-logo1Jaguar Land Rover’s core unit, the British operations of the company, has reported a loss in 2008.

The Financial Times reports that Tata Motors of India, Jaguar Land Rover’s owner, has been guaranteed a bridge loan from the British government. Government officials and Tata executives have been discussing short-term financing options for the struggling UK business unit.

The Financial Times article stated that the government was offering Tata a 175 million pound commercial bridge loan with a six-month term. The terms of the offered loan also call for the British government to be given a seat on the board of the company.

Tata is holding out for a twelve-month term, and no board representation.

Jaguar Land Rover dived to a 673.4 million pounds ($1.11 billion USD) loss for 2008, falling from a 2007 profit of 641.5 million pounds in 2007.

2009 figures look equally bleak for the company, with a posted 306 million pound loss so far in fiscal 2009. The global recession has hit Jaguar Land Rover particularly hard among luxury makes.

In other news, Tata Motors Ltd, the Indian truck maker and parent company of Jaguar Land Rover, posted an unexpected profit for last quarter through an accounting change. The results do not include Jaguar Land Rover’s financial results.

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GAZ Stumbles in Russia
Jul24

GAZ Stumbles in Russia

By Brendan Moore

07.24.2009

2009-volga-siberThe Russian automaker GAZ has been struggling lately, victim of an almost 50% drop in vehicle sales in its home market. The Russian market as a whole has dropped almost 60% in 2009.

GAZ is the auto manufacturer part of the consortium that Magna is leading regarding the bid for Opel. Russian business magnate Oleg Deripaska is the person that controls GAZ’s fortunes.

GAZ has received Russian government aid to the tune of almost 26 billion rubles (approximately $832 million USD) so far, and its fortunes are not looking up anytime soon. One of the biggest disappointments for GAZ has been their Volga Siber sedan, which can’t seem to get any traction in the Russian market.

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Ford Expected to Show Fifth Consecutive Quarterly Loss
Jul23

Ford Expected to Show Fifth Consecutive Quarterly Loss

Update as of 1 PM ET to this article at end

By Brendan Moore

07.23.2009

ford-corporate-logo-smallFord Motor Co. is expected to show another loss when it reports its quarterly figures today. The forecast loss would be the fifth quarterly loss in a row, but it is expected that Ford will also report a lower cash burn.

If Ford’s burn rate has lessened, and the company still sees a recovery in the near future, the news should cheer analysts enough to send the stock price up.

“I suspect they are going to have very good news for the quarter, and I could see in the short term the stock going up more than it has. Long term, I still think they have significant issues that investors need to be aware of. They are still burning cash and they still have a lot of debt on their balance sheet”, Morningstar analyst David Whiston said.

Ford shares closed at $6.47 at the close of business Wednesday. The share price has gone up over 600% since November of 2008 when it was at $1.02, and, it was announced that Chrysler and GM were lobbying for federal aid.

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Production Near, Acura Releases ZDX Photos
Jul21

Production Near, Acura Releases ZDX Photos

By Brendan Moore

07.21.2009

2010-acura-zdx-coupe-rear2

Over the last month, Acura has released details of its ZDX coupe which will be on sale later this year. The concept was shown at the New York Auto Show in April; I saw it during a press conference there and assumed at the time that the design would get tweaked considerably before production.

Considerable changes didn’t happen.

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