Note-worthy Updates for the Industry Assessments

In an effort to keep the Road Ahead and the U.S. Automotive Parts Industry Assessment current, below are some notable news releases. This page will be updated periodically.

General Motors

Ford

Chrysler

Suppliers

General Motors

For further information on the latest GM news, please visit their corporate web-site’s listing of press releases: http://www.gm.com/corporate/about/news/index.jsp?deep=press

December 18, 2009

GM announced it will begin winding down its Saab operations. The Koenigsegg Group AB withdrew its offer to purchase the brand in November, and then purchase terms could not be resolved between GM and Spyker Cars.

December 14, 2009

GM’s Saab brand announced it sold the platforms of Saab 9-3 and 9-5 models and powertrain technology and tooling to Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd. (BAIC). The technology will be integrated into future BAIC vehicles.

December 7, 2009

GM announced it will invest $336 million in its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant for production of the Chevrolet Volt in 2010.

December 1, 2009

GM’s Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Fritz Henderson as GM’s Director, President and CEO. GM’s Chairman Ed Whittacre became Chairman and CEO while an international search for a new president and CEO takes place.

November 16, 2009

GM announced it has lost $1.15 billion since emerging from bankruptcy on July 10. The automaker also announced plans to repay the U.S., Canadian and Ontario government loans in quarterly installments, beginning in December 2009.

November 3, 2009

GM announced its Board of Directors decided to keep Opel and begin a restructuring of its European operations.

October 27, 2009

On October 26, GM R&D received a $2.7 million award from the Department of Energy to help build a prototype using Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) that would generate electricity from the heat in automotive exhaust. During the next two years, GM will work with HRL Laboratories, Dynalloy, Inc., and the Smart Materials Collaborative Research Lab at the University of Michigan.

October 13, 2009

GM announced it will invest more than $230 million in four Flint-area GM plants that will help to produce the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt. The plants’ activities include development of automated equipment and tooling for the vehicles’ assembly plants, die development and stamping of body panels and other components, and the manufacturing and assembly of key powertrain components. The projects’ total employment will be 500.

October 9, 2009

GM and Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd. announced they entered into a definitive agreement that allows Tengzhong to acquire GM’s HUMMER brand. Under the agreement, HUMMER would contract vehicle manufacturing, key components and business services from GM during a defined transitional time period. The deal is expected to secure more than 3,000 sales and manufacturing related-jobs in the United States.

October 7, 2009

Since launching the new GM on July 10 on July 10, GM stopped production at its Pontiac Assembly and Wilmington Assembly plants, as part of the previously announced plan to reduce U.S. operating plants. By the end of 2009, GM plans to reduce the number of its U.S. operating plants to 41, down from 47 in 2008, excluding component plants acquired from Delphi.
GM also has reduced its workforce from approximately 29,700 salaried at the end of 2008 to approximately 24,300 salaried as of October 7, 2009. Hourly employment has declined from 62,000 to 49,200 people in the same time period.

October 6, 2009

As part of Delphi’s exit from bankruptcy, GM acquired Delphi’s global steering business and four U.S. plants. GM will also provide benefits to a limited group of Delphi hourly employees and retirees.

September 30, 2009

Penske Automotive Group announced it cancelled plans to acquire GM’s Saturn unit. As a result, GM will wind down the brand and its approximately 350 dealers nationwide.

September 21, 2009

GM announced it will invest more than $21 million to produce the 2011 Chevrolet light-duty crew cab at the GM Flint Assembly plant in Flint, Michigan, beginning in mid-2010. Production is scheduled to begin in July 2010. The plant, which already produces heavy-duty cab trucks, will be able to produce both heavy-duty and light duty trucks on the same assembly line.

September 10, 2009

GM announced it will offer a Satisfaction Guarantee to eligible buyers of new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles bought during September 14 - November 30. The guarantee allows customers to return their vehicle to their dealer between 31 and 60 days of purchase with less than 4,000 miles and receive a refund of the purchase price for the vehicle.
GM announced that it will sell a 55 percent stake in New Opel to Magna/Sberbank. GM will hold a 35 percent stake and employees will be provided a 10 percent stake.

August 13, 2009

GM announced it will invest $43 million in Brownstown Township, Michigan to manufacture lithium-ion battery packs for the Chevrolet Volt and other extended-range electric vehicles. It is the first lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in the United States operated by a major automaker. The plant will provide more than 100 advanced technology jobs. Production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2010 to support the launch of the Chevrolet Volt.

July 23, 2009

GM announced that on June 20, five new members were elected to its new board of directors. The U.S. Treasury nominated Daniel Akerson, managing director, The Carlyle Group; David Bonderman, co-founding partner, TPG; Robert Krebs, retired chairman and CEO, Burlington Northern Santa Fe; and, Patricia Russo, former CEO, Alcatel-Lucent. Carol Stephenson, dean of Ivey School of Business at University of Western Ontario was nominated by the governments of Canada and Ontario to serve on the new board. Veteran analyst, Stephen Girsky was previously nominated by the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. GM’s 13-member board also includes GM Chairman Edward Whitacre and GM President & CEO Fritz Henderson. Five members of GM’s old board will serve on the new board: Erroll Davis Jr., chancellor of University Systems of Georgia; Nevill Isdell, a retired Coca Cola CEO; Kent Kresa, former Northrop Grumman Corp chairman; Philip Laskawy, retired Ernst & Young LLP CEO; and, Kathryn Marinello, chairman and CEO of Ceridian Corporation. The new board’s first meeting will be in Detroit in early August 2009.

July 10, 2009

GM exited bankruptcy and the new General Motors began operations. President and CEO Fritz Henderson said the company will be public again as soon as practical, starting in 2010. GM won permission on July 5 from a bankruptcy judge to sell substantially all of GM’s assets to an entity funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury, NGMCO, Inc. Following the sales transaction, NGMCO changed its name to General Motors Company.

June 29, 2009

GM decided to end its ownership stake in the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) joint venture with Toyota, and NUMMI will not be part of the “New GM” that emerges from bankruptcy. NUMMI will end production of vehicles for GM in August 2009.

June 26, 2009

GM’s assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan and its stamping facility in Pontiac, Michigan were selected by GM to build its future small car. Approximately 1,400 jobs will be restored. The assembly plant will be retooled and production is scheduled to begin in 2011.

June 23, 2009

After announcing earlier in the year that it would cut 3,400 salaried positions, GM announced it will cut an additional 4,000 salaried workers by October 1, 2009, as part of its restructuring while in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. GM began 2009 with 29,650 white-collar workers and aims to have 23,500 by the end of the year. Many of the employees being cut are linked to plants scheduled to close or to the Saab, Saturn, Hummer, or Pontiac brands.

June 16, 2009

GM entered a memorandum of understanding to sell Saab to a consortium led by Koenigsegg Automotive AB, a small, luxury automaker in Sweden. The sale, which would include a $600 million funding commitment from the European Investment Bank, is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2009.

June 9, 2009

GM announced Edward Whitacre, Jr., former chairman and CEO of AT&T, will become chairman of the new GM. The new GM directors will be comprised of Mr. Whitacre, GM’s interim Chairman Kent Chairman, and 4 current board members (Philip Laskawy, Kathryn Marinello, Erroll Davis, Jr., E. Neville Isdell), and GM President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Henderson. In addition, four directors are currently being selected, and the UAW Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA) and the Canadian government will each nominate a director, bringing the total to thirteen.

June 6, 2009

GM opened its Global Battery Systems Lab on its Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan. The lab will accelerate the development of advanced battery technology for GM’s hybrid, plug-in and extended-range electric vehicles. GM has more than 1,000 engineers working on advanced batteries and electrically driven vehicles.

Unable to find a buyer after a four year search, GM also announced on June 6 that it will wind-down its medium truck operations by July 31, 2009.

June 2, 2009

GM announced Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd (Tengzhong), a major industrial machinery group, is planning to acquire the rights to GM’s Hummer brand, along with a senior management and operational team, and assume existing dealer agreements. The transaction, which is expected to be finalized in the third quarter of 2009, will secure more than 3,000 U.S. jobs.

June 1, 2009

GM filed for bankruptcy protection, and announced it will reduce the total number of U.S.-based assembly, powertrain and stamping facilities from 47 in 2008 to 34 by the end of 2010 and 33 by 2012. U.S. Treasury will own 60.8 percent of the new GM, the Canadian and Ontario governments will own 11.7 percent, the new Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) will own 17.5 percent, and the company’s current bondholders will own 10 percent. The U.S. Government will invest another $30 billion during and after the GM bankruptcy process. GM’s lower structural costs will give the automaker a new North American break-even point of approximately 10 million vehicles, which is substantially lower than the 15-17 million annual U.S. vehicle sales levels of 1995-2007. The new GM plans to reduce the number of its dealers from 5,969 will have approximately 3,600 dealers by the end of.

May 30, 2009

GM Europe secured a memorandum of understanding with Canadian firm Magna International regarding taking over Opel. Magna will have a 20 percent stake and Russian lender Sberbank will have a 35 percent stake, giving their consortium a majority. GM will retain a 35 percent holding, and Opel employees will have a 10 percent stake. The deal is expected to be approved and completed by September. GM Europe received a bridge financing package of $2.1 billion from the German government.

May 29, 2009

GM’s UAW employees approved modifications to the GM-UAW 2007 labor agreement, including eliminating cost of living increases and performance bonuses, losing a paid holiday in 2010 and 2011, eliminating dental and vision coverage and some prescription drugs for hourly retirees, suspending tuition assistance for at least a year, ending pay for unused vacation, and ending the possibility of a strike until September 2015, when the next contract expires. New incentives were offered for workers to retire. The VEBA trust will have a 17.5% stake in the new GM and warrants for another 2.5% stake. The UAW will also receive $6.5 billion in preferred stock and a $2.5 billion note, as well as one seat on GM’s board. In addition, GM agreed to produce a compact/small car in the United States at an idled assembly plant, to be determined.

May 7, 2009

For the first three months of 2009, GM lost $6 billion. GM’s first quarter revenues worldwide were down 47 percent compared to the same period in 2008, primarily due to GM’s decision to produce 903,000 fewer vehicles globally. By the end of March, the automaker had $11.6 billion in cash. In the United States, GM’s first quarter sales were almost 50 percent lower compared to 2008.

May 4, 2009

GM announced it is reviewing “expressions of interest” from a number of potential buyers of the Saturn brand and retailer network. The automaker would like to secure an agreement with a buyer by the end of 2009.

April 27, 2009

GM announced an updated Viability Plan, which accelerates its timeline for actions and makes deeper cuts relative to its February 17, 2009 Plan. Major actions in the updated Viability Plan include: phasing out Pontiac by 2010; reducing the number of nameplates from 48 in 2008 to 34 in 2010; accelerating the resolution of Saab, Hummer, and Saturn by the end of 2009; completing a reduction of dealers (from 6,246 to 3,605) by 2010, which is four years earlier and includes eliminating 500 more dealers than previously announced; accelerating plant closures (from 47 in 2008 to 34 in 2010, and to 31 by 2012) and idling one additional plant; reducing U.S. hourly employment from approximately 61,000 in 2008 to 40,000 in 2010, and to 38,000 in 2011, which is a reduction of 7,000 to 8,000 additional employees from the February 17 Plan; reducing U.S. hourly labor costs from $7.6 billion in 2008 to $5 billion in 2010; launching a bond exchange offer (on April 27) for approximately $27 billion of its unsecured public debt; continuing discussions with the UAW to modify the terms of the Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA); and, continuing discussions with the U.S. Treasury regarding possible conversion of its debt to equity. In addition, GM lowered its market share projection to 19.5 percent in 2009, and to 18.4 to 18.9 percent in subsequent years, and lowered its breakeven point to 10 million vehicles (U.S. annual industry volume). GM expects its structural costs to decline from $30.8 billion in 2008 to $23.2 billion in 2010, which is a further reduction of $1.8 billion.

April 24, 2009

GM confirmed it is receiving an additional $2 billion in U.S. Treasury loans, bringing total U.S. Treasury funding received to date by GM to $15.4 billion.

April 23, 2009

GM announced it is idling thirteen assembly operations in North America for various weeks beginning on May 4, which will remove 190,000 units from its second and third quarter production schedule. The reduction in GM’s vehicle production is due to high dealer inventories, the need to align production with current demand, and the unsuccessful resolution of Delphi emerging from Chapter 11, which could force GM into an uncontrolled shutdown.

Ford

July 24:

Ford customer satisfaction (J.D. Power) shows its Ford and Mercury models in the top 10 of the survey. A survey paid by Ford puts Ford at the top.

July 23:

Market share increased in North America, South America, EU, and Asia-Pacific when compared to second quarter of 2008. The increase was 2 percent in the United States, 1 percent in Mexico, and 2.8 percent in Canada. (In June, it was the first time in 50 years Ford was number one in Canada.) In South America it was up 1 point, 0.5 percent in the EU (18 out of 19 EU markets posted increased Ford market share), and 0.10 percent in Asia-Pacific region.

July 23:

Ford releases 2nd quarter 2009 financial results. In summary:

$424 million pretax operating loss in 2nd quarter 2009 compared to $609 million net operating gain in comparable 2008 2nd quarter. However, net income for the 2nd quarter of 2009 was $2.3 billion due to special gains of $2.8 billion, including a $3.4 billion gain to debt-reduction actions.

Ford reduced structural costs by $1.8 billion.

Ended June 30, 2009 with $21 billion in cash on hand. Cash outflow for second quarter 2009 $1.0 billion; an improvement of $2.7 billion from 1st quarter of 2009.

Ford Credit reported a pre-tax profit of $646 million compared with pre-tax loss of $294 during same period in 2008.

July 21:

Ford said it will reach breakeven or maybe make a profit by 2011, assuming the vehicle market recovers to a reasonable rate.

July 14:

Ford announces as of the end of June it has $25.8 billion in debt.

July 3:

Ford U.S. market share increased from 14.9 percent in the second quarter of 2008 to 15.5 percent in same quarter 2009.

June 23:

Ford to receive DOE loan of $5.9 billion for developing more fuel-efficient vehicles.

June 22:

U.S. production of a new cargo van designed in Europe has begun.

June 18, 2009

During the National Summit held in Detroit, Ford’s president stated Ford expected to be profitable or at least break even by 2011, assuming auto sales recover by a “reasonable amount”.

June 17, 2009

Ford announced it is seeking similar concessions from the UAW as GM and Chrysler have received. Although Ford has already received some concessions in 2009, it now wants the “no strike until 2015” provision in its agreement with the UAW.

June 3, 2009

Ford posted its largest share of the U.S. auto market in May since July 2006. Sales were up 20 percent over the previous month, and Ford also posted the lowest sales loss of the six major auto companies compared with May 2008. Company executives said the introduction of two new models helped, and auto experts stated the Chrysler bankruptcy filing also helped Ford gain share from some former Chrysler owners

May 12, 2009

Ford sold 300 million additional shares, in part to help fund its employee retiree’s health plan. Ford’s share price dropped from $6.08 the previous day to $5.01 after the sale. This was the first new stock offering since Ford went public in 1956.

May12, 2009

Ford Motor announced it would sell up to 300 million new common shares and use part of the money received from the sales to help fund its VEBA obligation to the UAW medical plan. After selling for as low as $1.01 per share, Ford’s common stock closed at $5.29 after the announcement.

May 6, 2009

Ford announced it will invest $550 million in the now vacant Wayne, MI SUV plant into a plant that will build the new fuel-efficient small worldwide platform, the Focus, at that plant by late 2010. The plant will also build the electric-powered Focus within the next year. An estimated 3,200 new jobs will be created at the Wayne plant. The plant assembled the large Ford Expedition and Lincoln SUV’s there until late 2008.

May 5, 2009

Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford Motor Company and great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, stressed the need for a higher federal tax on gasoline. Basically he said you can’t have $2.00 a gallon gasoline and expect auto companies to produce and sell fuel-efficient cars. Agreeing with him were Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, Mike Jackson, CEO of the nation’s largest used car megadealer, and Tom Walsh from the Detroit Free Press.

April 27, 2009

Ford posted its fourth straight quarterly loss April 27. Ford reported it lost of $1.4 billion for the first quarter of 2009, compared to a net profit of $70 million in the comparable quarter of 2008. Revenue for the first quarter of 2009 was $24.8 billion, while the first quarter of 2008 revenue was $39.2 billion.

April 7, 2009

Chief Executive Mulally announced Ford cut its debt by $9.9 billion by paying $2.4 billion in cash and issuing 468 million shares of Ford common stock. This will reduce Ford’s 2009 interest payments by approximately $500 million.

March 30, 2009

In order to conserve cash, Ford has decided to divert some of that planned money to its planned research and development resources from its fuel cell program to a more short term powertrain projects such as hybrid and increased-efficiency gasoline powered engines.

Chrysler

September 16th

Sergio Marchionne announced that he would present a restructuring plan for Chrysler in November.

June 10

The Supreme Court denied a request from Indiana pension funds to delay the sale. This cleared the way for the Chrysler-Fiat alliance to be completed. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne became CEO of the renamed Chrysler Group LLC. Chrysler's former president, Jim Press, became Marchionne's deputy CEO, and Fiat's chief financial officer, Richard Palmer, will be CFO of the new company.

June 8

The sale of bankrupt Chrysler LLC to Fiat S.p.A. was temporarily blocked by a U.S. Supreme Court.

June 2

A federal appeals court agreed to hear an appeal from a group of lenders seeking to block the sale of Chrysler's assets, a move that could delay the automaker's exit from bankruptcy proceedings. A hearing is scheduled for June 5. The appeal throws an element of uncertainty into the Administration's carefully orchestrated plan to speed the ailing automaker through bankruptcy court.

May 31

Chrysler won approval for its reorganization, when a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge set aside the objections of lenders and dealers and ruled in favor of the government plan, just 31 days after the company filed for Chapter 11 protection.

May 14

Chrysler LLC announced that it will eliminate 789 dealers, or 25 percent of its U.S. network, by June 9, according to a memo sent today to retailers in one sales region.

April 30

Chrysler files for bankruptcy.

March 30, 2009

President Obama laid out a framework for Chrysler to achieve viability by partnering with the international car company Fiat. The alliance will retain Chrysler's existing factory footprint and continue producing Chrysler cars in U.S. factories. The alliance will create the sixth-largest global automaker, spreading R&D and design development costs over higher volumes.

Suppliers

August 27, 2009

FormTech files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, becoming Automotive News’ 19th major U.S. auto supplier to file for bankruptcy protection in 2009.

August 10, 2009

Meridian Automotive Systems Inc. filed Chapter 7 liquidation petition on August 7, becoming Automotive News’ 18th major U.S. supplier to file for bankruptcy protection.

August 3, 2009

Cooper –Standard files for bankruptcy protection. Automotive News reported this is the 17th major U.S. supplier to file in 2009.

June 1, 2009

Automotive News released its listing of Top 100 Global OEM Suppliers.
Census Bureau released 2007 Census of Manufacturers Data, found at http://www.census.gov/econ/census07/

May 28, 2009
Visteon and Metaldyne file Chapter 11 protection.

May 12, 2009

Census Trade Data for Jan-March 2009 released.

May 12, 2009

Hayes Lemmerz files for Chapter 11 protection. It is the sixth significant auto supplier to file bankruptcy in the U.S. so far in 2009, compared with nine during all of 2008. Other major suppliers to seek protection in 2009 include Checker Motors Corp., Foamax International Inc., Fluid Routing Solutions Inc., Contech LLC, and Noble International Ltd.

May 4, 2009

Automotive News released its annual Top 150 North American Suppliers list.

March 2009

A $5 billion federal bailout program for parts suppliers unveiled. It was designed to improve suppliers’ cash flow amid credit freeze and to protect suppliers and their creditors in case of an automaker bankruptcy.