Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place at 9:00 AM every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: Marchionne Wants A “Mega Deal”
Marchionne has been looking for a tie up or a way to sell some operations for a long time, with some saying that he has effectively placed a large for sale sign on the front lawn at FCA and is just waiting for someone to bite.
He is particularly interested in a tie up with GM or Peugeot-Citroen to help build the business. Problem is that both automakers seem to be categorically disinterested. Many think that Marchionne is just talking in order to stir up interest in the brand.
But the fact is that perhaps a tie up with or purchase of FCA just isn’t that desirable. Their operating margin is 3.4 percent, two percent below the industry average. The debt-heavy automaker also has plans to spend $50 billion or more on new models for Jeep and Maserati, as well as making Alfa Romeo into a competitor.
They need an alliance to address shortcomings in Asia as well as to take their dependence off a saturated US market.
2nd Gear: The Piech Stands Alone
It seems that the man who was once the most powerful at the German automaker might see his power coming to an end. He’s never faced a backlash like this. Just a decade ago he was able to get Bernd Pischetstrieder ousted from his role as VW CEO by saying something bad about him in a newspaper interview.
He just did the same thing, and now he finds himself all alone on one side. How times have changed.
3rd Gear: No Discussion Of Jeep Tax Breaks
Kasich is refusing the discuss it for a good reason: He’s keeping his cards close to his chest. If he comes out and says exactly what Ohio is offering to Jeep, then another state could just jump in and offer a better deal.
Toledo doesn’t need that.
4th Gear: A Chinese Auto Parts Maker Might Be The Largest US Real Estate Investor
Apparently Wanxiang Group, China’s largest auto parts maker, might also be the largest foreign investor in US real estate.
In the last five years, the company has invested in at least 60 projects and may invest in even more, as they see the real estate recovery as a solid investment. They aren’t the only Chinese company forsaking their normal business to do real estate in the US, as many have seen great returns on their investment.
5th Gear: Skepticism Around A Solar Car...
Guess what? Analysts are now skeptical that this will happen. That’s another one that nobody saw coming. Since Hanergy’s announcement, there hasn’t really been any noticeable development on the car front. Right now, the company sells solar panels as supplemental power, which is smart. But powering an entire mass-market car seems nearly impossible.
On this day in 2005, the Pontiac Solstice Roadster, a new two-door sports car from General Motors retailing for approximately $20,000, is featured on the reality TV game show “The Apprentice,” starring the famously bombastic businessman Donald Trump.
Can Marchionne get an alliance or deal put together in the next five years?