Posts tagged ‘General Motors’


Nissan Revs Up Connected Car Plans in India – India Real Time – WSJ

Nissan Motor Co. said Tuesday that it planned to accelerate the penetration of internet-connected vehicles by offering a connection device to existing customers in Japan and India starting next year.

Nissan has been among the most aggressive car makers in putting connection technology in lower-priced vehicles. Now, it is expanding the offering to owners of older models.

The device will allow car owners to get live updates on maintenance needs, make service appointments and order parts ahead of time. Nissan said it planned to bring the device to other countries eventually and install it in 30% of the 40 million Nissan vehicles on the road globally today.

The device contains a Global Positioning System tracker and can transmit information about the vehicle’s health to Nissan through mobile networks. The goal is to give customers a taste of connected-car services that will become available on new cars, Nissan said.

“In the coming years, customers will see sophisticated applications of software and hardware that will keep them connected with work, with friends and family. It will allow them to control their vehicles from their phones in their pockets,” said Kent O’Hara, who runs Nissan’s after-sales division.

Source: Nissan Revs Up Connected Car Plans in India – India Real Time – WSJ


5 Sectors That Will Benefit From India’s Proposed Tax Overhaul – WSJ

5 Sectors That Will Benefit From India’s Proposed Tax OverhaulIndia’s upper house of Parliament on Wednesday approved an overhaul of the country’s tax system that, if passed in the lower house, will lead to the implementation of a nationwide goods-and-services tax, or GST.

Here are five sectors that stand to gain.

1 Automobiles

The GST will make cars more affordable in India as it will reduce the taxes levied on the vehicles.India currently has four factory-gate tax rates of 12%, 24%, 27% and 30%, depending on the vehicle’s specifications. On top of that, there are value-added taxes, which range from 12.5% to 14.5%.

The GST will subsume all theses levies into one and passenger vehicles will likely fall into one of  two tax bands: 18% to 20% for regular cars, and up to 40% for luxury autos.

2 Logistics

Haulage and logistics companies will be able to reduce transit hours because the simplified system will mean that their drivers won’t have to wait for so long at borders to pay levies.

Currently, some companies use smaller transporters that charge lower fees because they are able to avoid paying taxes due to the inefficient system. But a more transparent tax system will mean the smaller companies are more likely to pay, leveling the field for larger players.

India’s leading 10 listed logistics companies command less than 5% of the overall market, according to a KPMG report. Stocks of some companies such as AllCargo Logistics Ltd. and Transport Corp of India Ltd. have gained more than 15% in the past month in anticipation of the passage of the GST legislation.

3 Media and entertainment

Cinema multiplex operators now pay entertainment taxes as well as several other levies to federal and state governments. The entertainment tax can be as high as 27% and operators must pay that as well as a service tax of about 15% on advertising revenue.

GST is expected to cut that tax bill, lowering operational costs and boosting margins.

Motilal Oswal Securities says that a GST rate of 18% may improve operating profit of PVR, the largest listed multiplex operator, by as much as 26%.

4 Retail

Consumers’ disposable income is expected to rise in the medium term if the GST rate turns out to be lower than current levies, boosting demand.

A more efficient tax system will also mean that market-stall owners and roadside vendors are more likely to pay tax, analysts say. That will create a more level playing field for larger shops and retailers who already pay.

The retail sector will likely also benefit from lower logistics costs as well as a fall in rental costs. Retailers currently shell out about 10%-15% of their operating expenditure on rent and infrastructure services, on which service tax is levied. But that levy would be reduced post-GST, benefiting retail companies like Future Enterprises Ltd. and Shoppers Stop Ltd.

5 Cement

Overall tax for the cement sector will likely to come down if the GST rate is set at 18%, Kotak Securities says.

After the implementation of the uniform tax, cement companies would likely pay about 920 rupees ($13.78) in tax per ton, down from about 1,320 rupees currently, the broker says. It also expects cement firms to benefit from a more efficient logistics system. This will cut costs for consumers and also help the government achieve its aim to provide housing for all by 2022.

Source: 5 Sectors That Will Benefit From India’s Proposed Tax Overhaul – WSJ


China Road Rage Cases Top 17 Million So Far in 2015 – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Chinese police attributed 80,200 traffic accidents in 2013 to road rage, and the number rose by 2.4% in 2014. Men account for 97% of road rage incidents, official data show.

No Caption Available.

China is a notoriously dangerous place for driving in general. The World Health Organization has estimated that 261,000 people died on China’s roads in 2013. Chinese government data show that last year 1,895 people died in traffic accidents when crossing roads, and 4,180 people died between 2011 and 2014 on public buses that were speeding or overloaded.

Yet when it comes to the surge in road rage, experts point to a range of possible explanations. One is that the rapid development of China’s car market has led the country’s roads to become increasingly crowded, creating frustration and anger on the streets. Sociologists also link road rage to general anxiety and fickleness, one of the side products of China’s rapid economic growth — and its accompanying social pressure — over the past three decades.

In China, the total number of vehicles has increased by more than 18 million cars for each of the past five years. As of the end of October, China had 169 million autos, according to Ministry of Public Security statistics, next only to the U.S.’s 240 million. The number of license-holders has risen even more quickly; since 2010, China has added more than 20 million new drivers each year. Now one in five Chinese has a license.

The country’s infrastructure has struggled to keep up. Data from the Ministry of Public Security show that 35 Chinese cities now have more than one million automobiles. Ten of those cities — including Beijing, Chengdu and Shenzhen – each have more than two million cars on the road. But while the number of China’s motor vehicles and drivers has each risen more than 20-fold since 1987, the country’s road capacity has increased only 3.4 times over the same period.

The rash of new drivers is also posing safety hazards. The official Xinhua News Agency cited a spokesman from the Ministry of Public Security as saying that drivers with less than one year of experience play a large role in traffic accidents. To be sure, China has some safety regulations in place. For example, drivers and front-seat passengers are required to wear seatbelts, and the use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited. But these laws are often ignored in practice. Distracted driving – operating a vehicle while texting, talking on the phone, watching videos, eating or reading – contributed to more than a third of fatal traffic accidents in 2014, causing 21,570 deaths, the Ministry of Public Security said.

Chinese authorities are working to counter the trend. In the past month, the Ministry of Public Security launched a public education campaign on road etiquette after several high-profile cases of road rage violence this year. It advocated against dangerous driving behaviors including street racing, drunk driving, aggressive driving and blocking emergency lanes.

Source: China Road Rage Cases Top 17 Million So Far in 2015 – China Real Time Report – WSJ


In ‘Milestone’ Move, GM to Sell Chinese-Made Cars in U.S. – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Yale Zhang, the head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight, called the export of the Buick Envision SUV from China to the U.S. a “landmark.”

“It means that China’s manufacturing quality has met the requirements of the world’s strictest market,” he said.

GM introduced the Buick Envision SUV in China last October. Since then, it has been one of the best-selling cars sold by GM in the country. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, a government-backed industry group, the Envision ranked seventh in China’s fast-growing SUV market in October, with monthly sales of 17,300 vehicles. Data from Automotive Foresight show that sales of Buick Envision SUVs totaled 100,826 cars in the period from January to September.

Despite the progress, experts say that Chinese home-grown car manufacturers will continue struggling to compete with foreign brands, even in China.

China is already the world’s largest market for cars in terms of sales and production. But global auto makers have been slow to ship Chinese vehicles to the U.S. and Europe on worries that Western buyers would shun them over quality concerns. European car maker Volvo Car Corp., which is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., was the first to challenge that assumption when it started shipping sedans from a plant in China to the U.S. this spring. A Volvo China spokesman declined to disclose how many Chinese-made Volvos have been shipped to the U.S., saying only that it is a “small volume.”

A study released by automotive industry consultants J.D. Power in October shows that although Chinese car makers have been improving in quality in recent years, they still lag behind international brands in producing reliable vehicles. According to the study, Chinese brands had 120 problems for every 100 vehicles this year, compared with 131 in 2014 and 155 in 2013. International brands had 98 problems for every 100 vehicles in 2015.

“Buick is a household brand in the U.S.,” said Ms. Li from Deren Electronic. “American consumers are probably not aware that the car is made in China. But Chinese local  auto brands, like Chery and Geely, are little known outside of China.” Victor Yang, a spokesman for Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., said that as a global player, it’s normal for GM to sell its China-made cars at home in the U.S. “All the cars made by foreign companies in China should be produced in line with their global standards,” Mr. Yang said.

“Geely aims to sell its cars to developed markets including the U.S. By doing so, our quality and technology will be well recognized,” he said, without specifying a time frame. Jin Yibo, a vice president for Chery Automobile, said that Chinese home-grown auto makers “will absolutely go to the U.S. and other developed markets to sell their cars.”

But he cautioned: “It will take time.”

Source: In ‘Milestone’ Move, GM to Sell Chinese-Made Cars in U.S. – China Real Time Report – WSJ


Indian and Chinese Car Makers Out-Earn U.S. Rivals – India Real Time – WSJ

U.S. auto makers’ ability to finance costly technology and emissions requirements from earnings will be tested by a broader group of strong competitors that for the first time include more profitable Indian and Chinese car makers.

Top auto makers in China and India earned 37.5% more profit excluding preferred dividends in fiscal 2014 than their U.S. counterparts, joining European and Japanese auto companies in out-earning the Detroit Three, said AlixPartners LLP, a New York-based consulting firm with a global automotive practice. Its 2015 automotive outlook, released on Tuesday, shows emerging Asian auto makers last year generated margins that were about double those of General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s Chrysler unit.

The emergence of Asian powerhouses—notably India’s Tata Motors Ltd. and China’s SAIC Motor Corp. and Great Wall Motor Co.—represents the latest dent in Detroit’s once-global dominance. Over the past 15 years, U.S. auto makers went from delivering more than 60% of world-wide car-company profit to delivering about 17%, the consulting firm said.

The trend raises questions about the global competitiveness of GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler on the eve of labor negotiations with the United Auto Workers union and amid an aggressive push by Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne for industry consolidation. The U.S. market is on pace for 17 million light-vehicle sales in 2015, the best year in more than a decade, but Detroit needs better returns to develop self-driving cars and electric powertrains and to combat new entrants like Google Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc.

via Indian and Chinese Car Makers Out-Earn U.S. Rivals – India Real Time – WSJ.


Foreign automakers double down on China bets despite slowing growth | Reuters

Foreign automakers continue to plough money into factories in China, the world’s largest car market, even as the biggest economic slowdown in a quarter of a century crimps sales growth.

Employees work at the third factory of Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile company, after its inauguration ceremony, in Wuhan, in this July 2, 2013 file photo.  REUTERS/China Daily/Files

Market leaders Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and General Motors (GM.N) show no sign of letting up on their planned investments, while Toyota Motor (7203.T) and Ford Motor (F.N) are also pursuing new China expansion plans.

That’s in spite of the economic slowdown further depressing the car market in January-March, when sales grew only 3.9 percent, compared to 9.2 percent a year ago and way below the 7 percent growth that the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) predicts for this year.

via Foreign automakers double down on China bets despite slowing growth | Reuters.


Toyota to end expansion freeze, invest $1.3 billion in two new Mexico, China plants: sources | Reuters

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will spend about 150 billion yen ($1.3 billion) to build two new car plants in Mexico and China, two people familiar with plans said, ending a three-year freeze imposed after unchecked growth lumbered the world’s biggest auto maker with too many idle production lines.

A visitor walks under a logo of Toyota Motor Corp at the company's showroom in Tokyo February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Reuters reported in January that plans were in place for new plants in the two countries, awaiting a green light from top management that has now been given. President Akio Toyoda had been cautious about expanding after Toyota was hit by a capacity glut following the global financial crisis.

The new plants will raise Toyota’s annual production capacity by nearly 300,000 cars, the two people said – 200,000 in Mexico and up to 100,000 in China. They declined to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media, and said the expansion may be announced formally as early as this month.

The renewed expansion drive by Toyota will put more pressure on rivals such as General Motors Co (GM.N) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), in a global automotive industry still burdened by being able to make more cars than it can sell. The increase in global production capacity of up to 300,000 compares with sales of just over 10 million in 2014.

Immediately after the financial crisis, big carmakers were cautious about adding production capacity. Now, with demand in the United States back at pre-crisis levels and China’s auto market growing, albeit more slowly, expansion is back on the agenda.

via Toyota to end expansion freeze, invest $1.3 billion in two new Mexico, China plants: sources | Reuters.


China surpasses affordable houses targets – Xinhua |

China completed the building of 5.11 million affordable houses in urban areas in 2014, with 2.29 million such projects under way, surpassing the goals set at the beginning of the year, the State Council announced at a press briefing on Friday.

The central government granted 198 billion yuan (32.35 billion U.S. dollars) to fund urban affordable housing projects in 2014, an increase of 25.1 billion yuan from the previous year, according to Qi Ji, deputy head of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development.

Throughout the past four years, more than 20 million affordable houses were completed, with 12 million under construction, and the assistance fund for building the houses has reached 710 billion yuan, according to Qi.

China has set goals to construct 36 million affordable houses, also called state-subsidized housing, public housing, or social housing, between the start of 2011 and the end of 2015.

“This year is the final year of the Twelfth Five-Year plan (2011-2015), and the government will accelerate the affordable housing project with a focus on transforming the shanty towns,” Qi said.

The Chinese government has been rolling out an affordable housing scheme since 2007, in an effort to provide homes to people unable to buy them at market prices. The efforts are also aimed at helping counter the slowdown in the property market in recent years.

via China surpasses affordable houses targets – Xinhua |


* U.S., European Auto Makers Find Slow Going in India

WSJ: “Sleek new compact cars sporting the Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai brands stand out on the streets of India’s business capital against the mishmash of aging buses and black taxicabs.


The view is similar across India, a country where consumers have an affinity for smaller and fuel-efficient cars and, increasingly, for Asian auto brands. Much harder to spot are the logos of top Western mass-market car makers such as Volkswagen AG, VOW3.XE -0.88% General Motors Co. GM -0.73% and Ford Motor Co. F -0.63%

Profit margins are thin in India, where hatchbacks sell for as low as $5,000. Maruti and Hyundai together hold 54% of the nation’s new-car sales.

While major players in China, Asia’s other big and growing car market, the three are struggling to expand sales here. Each reported Indian sales fell between 16% and 20% year-over-year in the 12 months ended March, sharply underperforming the 2.2% rise among all passenger vehicle sales in the nation, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Their combined share of the car market stands at just 9%.

Some industry executives say these companies lack the compact models that consumers prefer in India, and have too few sales and repair outlets in the country.

Others say razor-thin profit margins on small cars make India a highly competitive and unprofitable market, and may explain the Western companies’ small shares. India’s compact hatchbacks usually sell for between $5,000 and $10,000 each.

“It isn’t that the international companies are incompetent, it is just that there is not much of a prize [in India] yet. It is a much, much smaller profit pool,” compared with markets like China, said Max Warburton, European and Asian autos analyst at investment research firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

Maruti, the Indian unit of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Co., 7269.TO +7.53% and Hyundai Motor Co 005380.SE -2.33% . together hold 54% of the nation’s new-car sales, thanks to a broad sales and service networks and a loyal following for their cars and hatchbacks, which last year took seven spots out of the 10 best-selling models in India.

Japan-based Honda Motor Co. 7267.TO +3.18% and Toyota Motor Corp. 7203.TO +5.03% also are gaining here despite the overall market’s stagnant sales following several boom years. Asian-brand cars account for around 64% of the nation’s market.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen hasn’t launched a new compact model in India since 2010, save for refreshed versions of existing cars, while Ford launched just one, the new Fiesta, in 2011. GM launched its Sail U-VA last November.”

via U.S., European Auto Makers Find Slow Going in India –


* Saab sold to Chinese-Swedish investment group

BBC News: “Bankrupt carmaker Saab has been sold to a Chinese-Swedish investment group which aims to turn the company into a maker of electric vehicles. Saab’s administrator said the buyer was National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs). No sale price was given. Saab went bankrupt in December, two years after former owner General Motors sold it to Dutch group Spyker.

Saab “will start a new operation” to develop and produce electric cars, the administrator said in a statement.

The administrator said in April that Saab had assets to cover about a third of its debts of 13bn kronor (£1.2bn).

The chief executive and main owner of Nevs is a Chinese businessman with Swedish citizenship, Kai Johan Jiang. The chairman of Nevs is Karl-Erling Trogen, a former head of the truck division of truck and construction equipment maker Volvo.

“Nevs and the receivers of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estate today signed a purchase agreement which covers the main assets of Saab Automobile AB, Saab Automobile Powertrain AB and Saab Automobile Tools AB,” Nevs and the administrators said in a joint statement.

Saab employs about 3,000 people, with its main base at Trollhattan, west Sweden, where investment in new electric car manufacturing will be made.”

via BBC News – Saab sold to Chinese-Swedish investment group.

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