Australia’s General Motors Holden, which is the division of General Motors Co., informed that it would begin job cuts which would touch as many as 500 employees. The carmaker put blame for job cuts on the strong Australian dollar and weak sales as it became less competitive. The adversaries of government subsidies for car manufacturers will have, without a doubt, new arguments that the money was thrown down the drain as the financial help did not prevent from further reductions at General Motors Holden’s operations.
On the 20th of March, Volkswagen AG informed that it would recall nearly 385,000 in China, its biggest market, to fix gearbox problems. Everything indicates that the recall will start in April. Certainly, the recall will be a harsh blow for the company as the whole operation may cost it over $600 million.
While most of carmakers are experiencing difficulties, Volkswagen AG is ready to invest hefty sums to expand and build plants outside its European market. According to its latest statements, Volkswagen AG aims to double (sic!) its output capacity in the world’s second economy in the next five years. The Europe’s biggest carmaker just wants to take advantage of upcoming opportunities and grab a bigger market share in emerging markets to offset weak results recorded in the Old Continent.
Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover informed that it would scale up investments at its UK engine plant by more than 40 percent as demand for the SUVs increased in China and other emerging markets as well. In addition, Jaguar Land Rover plans to double the head count by creating additional 700 jobs and invest £500 million at its i54 business park.
Peugeot Citroen posted a net loss of €5.01 billion for 2012 after sales in the European markets slumped which resulted in a write-down of €3.9 billion worth assets of the carmaker. Also, the increase in the price of steel pushed up the operating costs of the company.
Renault witnessed an increase in the sale of its Sports Utility Vehicle, Duster, in India as middle class families lifted sales by approximately 60 percent. The company may glory in its Duster SUV which bagged the Indian Car of the Year award.
On the 8th of February, Nissan Motor Co. reported its third quarter profit which disappointed as it missed analysts’ estimates. The weaker-than-expected results were mainly driven by a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands that led to the Chinese boycott of Japanese products, including cars. The company, however, has decided not to change its annual profit forecast due to a weakening yen.
After optimistic results noted in 2012, the beginning of 2013 is also comforting for automakers as new car sales in the US increased sharply in January. The increase in new car sales suggests that the industry’s recovery has not suffered from a harsh winter, weak job growth and uncertain economic conditions.
After few years, finally Toyota Motor Corp. got it. According to data released on the 28th of January, the Japan’s company has discrowned US General Motors Co. and has become the world’s top carmaker after 4 years. Toyota Motor Corp. has again demonstrated that it has the power to get back on its feet after experiencing unsetting conditions as it got back the title despite the 2011 natural disasters, record recalls and the territorial dispute between Japan and China.
Jaguar Land Rover, the luxury car company owned by Tata Motors Ltd., informed that its global sales climbed approximately 30 percent in 2012. According to data, China became the largest market for the luxury car company exceeding the UK market. As the carmaker saw high demand for its high-end models, it decided to add 800 UK jobs at Solihull plant.
Honda Motor Company Ltd. is to downsize 800 jobs at its Swindon car plant due to a sharp decrease in demand in the EU. The biggest slumps in car sales were seen in crisis-hit eurozone countries such as Spain, Italy, and Greece.
In a statement released on the 11th of January, Ford Motor Co. informed that it would create 2,200 salaried jobs in 2013. The largest increase in white-collar workers in over a one decade was driven by growing demand for new vehicles in the US. The US carmaker wants its new workers to support the operations of the company as it expands and redesigns its vehicles. Certainly, the plan to hire as many as 2,200 white-collar workers shows the strength of the latest upward trend in the US market.
2012 December will be long remembered by luxury carmakers, including BMW AG, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and others, as they saw record luxury car sales in the U.S. market. BMW AG indeed preformed so good in the last month of the year as it saw an increase of approximately 39 percent for the period in the U.S., topping Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz in luxury car sales for 2012.
On the 2nd of January, Avis Budget Group Inc. informed that it would acquire Zipcar Inc. for nearly $500 million. The acquisition of Zipcar Inc. will help Avis enter the U.S. car-sharing market which is dominated by two companies, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and Enterprise Holdings Inc.
Toyota Motor Corp., the Japan’s biggest carmaker, is to pay as much as $1.1 billion to settle a U.S. class action lawsuit based on alleged acceleration issues in its cars. In addition, the company informed that it would reclaim the world’s No. 1 carmaker title in 2012.
On the 20th of December, General Motors Co. and PSA Peugeot Citroen informed that they sacrificed a joint large car project, yet they were to focus on three other vehicles projects. Therefore their young alliance is going to be expanded and deepened despite rumors that the two carmakers had some issues concerning their cooperation. According to the statement, the first models are expected to be available in 2016. The alliance will not only be based on the development of the three new vehicles as General Motors Co. and PSA Peugeot Citroen plan to expand also in emerging markets including Latin America.
As General Motors Co. has more and more ambitious goals and it simply wants to have it all, it has decided to boost the number of Cadillac dealerships in China by approximately 25 percent. The announced plans are aimed at boosting GM’s popularity in the China’s luxury car market which is dominated by Germany’s luxury carmakers, including Volkswagen AG and its Audi brand.Volkswagen AG and its Audi brand.
Europe saw demand for new cars drop for the fourteenth consecutive month in November. On the 14th of December, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association released its survey which showed that European Union car sales decreased as much as 10 percent to almost 926,500 vehicles. PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault SA and Fiat SpA noted the biggest slumps among other carmakers.
On the 12th of December, Germany’s Daimler AG informed that it appointed Hubertus Troska as a new member of the board. Hubertus Troska as the new member will be responsible for reviving sales of the Mercedes-Benz brand in China The world’s third-largest maker of luxury cars decided to take this step as it saw a slump in it sales in the world’s biggest auto market. As it was underlined by Daimler AG, China is strategically important for the group, therefore the company chose to create a new position on its management board.
On the 12th of December, Nissan Motor Co., the Japan’s second-largest car manufacturer by sales, announced that the range of its hybrid models would be extended with 15 new ones by 2017. The car manufacturer’s plans are aimed at making its line of green hybrid models more attractive as the company tries to beat its arch rivals in low- and zero-emission vehicles.