Automotive Purchasing Weekly 15 December 2014 - page 7

Japanesecarmakers
facing theheat
Dec 11, 2014 | General
After Japanese supplier Takata refused to
comply with safety regulators’ directive to
undertake a recall, Japanese carmakers
have followed Toyota’s lead in voluntarily
recalling cars with defective airbags.
Japanese carmakers Honda, Nissan and
Mitsubishi will be jointly recalling more than
half a million cars globally to replace airbag
inflators supplied by Takata.
These recalls followed hard on the heels
of a similar recall campaign initiated by
Toyota last week after a recent “unusual
deployment” of a passenger-side airbag at
a scrap yard in Japan.
Earlier today, Takata Corp’s biggest
customer, Honda, said that it would recall an
estimated 400,000 vehicles globally, including
about 177,000 in Japan across 11 models such
as the Stream minivan, Fit/Jazz subcompact
and Civic hybrid produced in 2003.
The rest include about 100,000 in Europe
and 70,000 in Asia-Pacific, and none in the
United States, Honda said.
A Honda spokeswoman said that the
carmaker needs to set aside more reserves
to pay for the latest recalls, as well as the
voluntary expansion to the rest of the world
of a region-specific recall that had been
limited to certain hot and humid areas in the
United States.
She said she could not disclose a specific
figure.
The total number of vehicles recalled by
Honda as a result of the Takata airbag fiasco
has crossed the 13 million mark, with some
recalls dating back to 2008. Scarily enough,
the root cause of the airbags exploding has
not been verified yet.
US regulators last month ordered
Takata to move forward with a nationwide
expansion of the regional recall, but Takata
has refused, effectively putting the onus for
voluntary recalls on the car makers.
Honda said that if the cause is identified
and Takata is at fault, it would negotiate a
return of some or all of the recall costs from
the Japanese supplier.
Nissan estimated its global recall would
cover 152,000 cars, including 82,000 in
Japan, 49,000 in Europe and 6,000 in China
for 2003 and 2004 model-year vehicles.
Mitsubishi will recall 304 Lancer sedans in
Japan only.
A total of about 3.05 million vehicles have
now been recalled in Japan by a dozen
automakers.
Nissan separately recalled 250,000 Note,
March and Latio cars in Japan to fix faulty
side-view mirrors.
Exor continues
ownershipof FCA
Dec 11, 2014 | General
Exor has announced that it has bought
$886 million of Fiat Chrysler convertible
bond.
Agnelli family-owned Exor has invested
$886 million in a Fiat Chrysler Mandatory
convertible bond.
The announcement was made earlier
today by the holding company run by John
Elkann, a scion of the Agnelli family.
A statement released by the holding
company said that the investment will allow
Exor to preserve its approximately 30% fully-
diluted ownership interest in the car maker.
Fiat Chrysler priced on Friday an offering
of 87 million common shares at $11.00 each
as the carmaker seeks funds to cut debt
and pay for an ambitious investment plan.
M&Mto invest inSaab
Dec 11, 2014 | General
M&M is perfecting the art of picking up
distressed companies and bridging its
technology gap.
India’s largest maker of utility vehicles
and tractors, Mahindra & Mahindra, is close
to acquiring a stake in Swedish auto maker
Saab’s holding company, according to court
documents.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden
(NEVS) is owned by National Modern
Energy Holdings, a Chinese-Japanese
energy company having its headquarters
in Hong Kong. When Saab went bankrupt,
NEVS took control over the assets of Saab
Automobile, Saab Automobile Powertrain,
and Saab Automobile Tools.
Since 2012, Mahindra has show keen
interest in Saab. While NEVS bought out
the business at that time, it ran into financial
troubles of its own, which led to the company
filing for bankruptcy on August 28.
In a petition filed before a court by one
of the creditors of NEVS, Mahindra was
named as the auto maker about to take a
stake in the Swedish company, Chinese
car maker Dongfeng was also in the race,
according to previous reports.
As
Automotive
Purchasing
had
previously reported, in a recent court filing,
NEVS said that it is in negotiations with an
Asian carmaker, which plans to step in as
majority owner in the company.
A Mahindra spokesperson said the
company wouldn’t offer any comments on
the report. Previously, the company had
informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that it
examines or pursues “various opportunities
in different areas, from time to time on a
continuing basis and (one) can’t comment
upon every opportunity at every stage.”
VWtostartNigeriaoperations
Dec 11, 2014 | General
VW has has said that it plans to start
assembling cars in Nigeria by next year
with Stallion Group.
According to sources, the German car
making giant and the world’s second-
largest automaker approved the project for
small-scale final assembly because of tax
rules that encourage local manufacturing.
Official confirmation on the news is still
awaited as both companies declined to
comment.
If VW does go ahead with its plans, it will
be the second time that the carmaker has
attempted to set a foothold in the country.
In the 1970s, the company’s Nigerian
subsidiary, Volkswagen of Nigeria Limited
(VON), set up a multi billion Naria plant in
Ojo, Lagos State, along with the federal
government as equity partner.
It later pulled out when new car sales
fell and Nigerian consumers turned to
cheaper second-hand cars from Europe
and the US in the 1990s, leaving the
assembly plant closed for years until the
federal government sold its shares to
Stallion Group under the privatisation
programme a few years ago.
Since the plant’s acquisition, Stallion
has focused on assembling buses and
trucks from the VON facility.
VW’s other African manufacturing
facilities comprise a car factory in
Uitenhage, outside Port Elizabeth, where
it produces the Polo small car, while
the MAN commercial-vehicle unit has
production locations in Olifantsfontain,
near Johannesburg, and Pinetown, outside
Durban. VW operates 107 factories globally.
Closely held Stallion has inaugurated
a vehicle-assembly plant in Lagos
and acts as distributor in the country
for carmakers including VW, Nissan,
Hyundai and Porsche.
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15 December 2014
automotive purchasing weekly
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