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Storm Clouds Gather over Hummer Acquisition
Feb23

Storm Clouds Gather over Hummer Acquisition

Time is not an ally in this situation

By Brendan Moore

02.23.2010

2010 Hummer H3TTengzhong of China, the would-be next owner of Hummer, GM’s faded child star, is experiencing more and more difficulties convincing the Chinese government that buying Hummer is a good idea.

China’s central government has to give their approval for deals involving acquisition of distressed auto companies from abroad, and that seems more and more unlikely as Beijing tries to move their own auto industry towards greener and more fuel-efficient vehicles. The caricature of Hummer as a gas-swilling monster has not helped further the cause.

Add to that the uncontested fact that Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co, a virtually unknown manufacturer of decidedly average construction machinery, is the buyer, and that they have no experience in the auto industry, and this has given Beijing pause. Perhaps even heartburn. Tengzhong did not even exist until 2005, when it was formed as the result of several small entities merging together – the company today is believed to have around 4900 employees.

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Geneva Will See 25 Debuts This Year
Feb22

Geneva Will See 25 Debuts This Year

By Brendan Moore

02.22.2010

80th Geneva International Motor Show posterPress days of the 80th Geneva International Motor Show are March 2 and 3rd, and from the looks of the premieres scheduled, it seems as if the show will focus more on practicality than exotic performance cars or luxury statements.

There are 21 production vehicle debuts scheduled and 4 concept debuts on tap for the show, and there is usually a surprise or two in terms of debuts or announcements as well.

Last year’s show saw 32 debuts, with many of those shown qualifying as high-profile vehicles. This year’s crop of vehicles is overwhelmingly tilted towards small and frugal, with particular emphasis on EV and hybrid powertrains, things Europe was dismissing as irrelevant to the Continent not so very long ago.

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Some Closed Dealerships Will Become Sears Auto Center Franchises
Feb19

Some Closed Dealerships Will Become Sears Auto Center Franchises

By Brendan Moore

02.19.2010

Sears Auto Center logoYou’ve probably seen at least a few closed auto dealerships around where you live; sprawling, empty lots with a big building on it, looking forlorn and abandoned.

You think to yourself, “What are they going to do with that retail space? It doesn’t really fit any other kind of business. Guess they’ll have to scrape the building off and start with an unimproved lot.”

At least that’s what I think.

I mean, occasionally, some ambitious used car dealer will take on the space, but other than that, it usually requires a tear-down for the next new tenant.

So, a lot of these former auto dealerships just sit empty. It’s a lot of square footage to take on, and the rent is usually high, since dealerships are generally located in high traffic and/or easy access locations. It is also, as mentioned, a very specific type of retail layout. It’s a shame in one other regard, that is, many of these former dealership buildings are of very recent construction as a result of most manufacturers’ push to get dealers to upgrade their facilities in recent years, and therefore represent a considerable capital investment. It’s a tough scenario to consider a complete tear-down of what is many times a new building.

According to various articles published today, Sears has launched a franchise unit of its well-know Sears Auto Center business, and that new franchise distributor is offering some former GM and Chrysler dealers a Sears Auto Center franchise, which is to be located on the former dealership site.

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Hyundai Increases Production of Tucson to Meet High Demand
Feb18

Hyundai Increases Production of Tucson to Meet High Demand

New crossover is a big hit right from the start

By Brendan Moore

02.18.2010

Hyundai logoHyundai introduced the all-new Tucson crossover in December of last year, showing off a sleeker design and improved powertrain in an effort to bring in new buyers and that effort seems to be paying off.

Sales in the US have jumped, and the Korean automaker now is cranking up production volume in the Ulsan, South Korea factory that produces the Tucson.

Hyundai dealers nationwide have been reporting shortages of the new Tucson since deliveries first started and Hyundai now believes they have a solid hit on their hands.

John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai North America, when talking about the Tucson, predicted a huge jump in unit sales for the model. He commented that that the Ulsan factory would start pushing up production in March, and said, “We’ll ramp it up as long as necessary to satisfy market demand.”

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GM Wants More Ethanol Stations in US
Feb17

GM Wants More Ethanol Stations in US

But, is this the answer to a question that no one is asking anymore?

By Brendan Moore

02.17.2010

E85 logoFor most of you, the excitement over ethanol is probably sort of a hazy memory; you remember when all the fuss was being made over ethanol fuel, but you also remember that it was rather quickly shown that making ethanol from corn was not a good deal from an environmental and energy standpoint.

So, it just sort of went away, right? Didn’t we move on to hybrids and electric vehicles?

The public moved on, but not the federal government. In those heady days (2007) of optimism about ethanol, the brave talk about the American Midwest being the new energy capitol of the world, and our sturdy corn farmers saving America from the clutches of Middle Eastern oil despots, Congress passed energy legislation that actually set mandatory targets for fuel blending each year.

That’s right. Is this all coming back to you now?

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