31st December 2009

Maserati, Ferrari to share Chrysler spot at auto show

Ferrari and Maserati are moving into a new neighborhood at the North American International Auto Show — the Chrysler Group LLC stand, where they'll be nestled between the Dodge and Jeep brands.

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31st December 2009

Penalty, caution

Bobby Hillin Jr.’s #81 car was given a drive-through penalty for exiting the pit lane too fast.

We’re in a caution on lap 62 for debris in Turn 1.

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31st December 2009

News & Rants: Recall Alert: 447,000 Infant-Safety Seats

Safety 1st
Model number/production description 
22-057 DBY/Safety 1st Sojourn Travel System
22-085 DWA/Safety 1st Sojourn Travel System
22-057 CLN/Safety 1st Sojourn Travel System
22-057 HRT/Safety 1st Sojourn Travel System
22-322 HRR/Safety 1st Sojourn Travel System
22-322 PTK/Safety 1st Sojourn Travel System
22-057 LPH/Safety 1st Sojourn Travel System
22-085 LYN/Safety 1st Sojourn Travel System
22-322 KDL/Safety 1st Eurostar Travel System
22-322 LXI/Safety 1st Eurostar Travel System
22-322OLY/Safety 1st Eurostar Travel System
22-322PRS/Safety 1st Eurostar Travel System
22-322 MAI/Safety 1st Eurostar Travel System
22-325 COB/Safety 1st Eurostar Travel System
22-095 RBK/Safety 1st Explorer Travel System
22-380 LGA/Safety 1st Lite Wave Travel System
22-380 MSA/Safety 1st Lite Wave Travel System
22-627 WAV/Safety 1st Vector Travel System
22-325 PAC/Safety 1st Vector Travel System

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31st December 2009

GM Launching Dead Brand Fire Sale

According to Reuters, GM has sent a letter to its dealers offering $7,000 for every new Saturn or Pontiac they can move to a rental or service fleet between now and January 4. The plan would essentially make dealers the first buyer of the remaining Pontiacs and Saturns, which would then be operated as fleet vehicles or be sold as low-mileage used cars. In any case, the single objective is clear: get those dead brands off the books at all costs. With 7,900 vehicles left at Pontiac as of the 14th of December and upward of 5,000 left at Saturn as of the beginning of the month, the cost to GM could easily approach $100m. But as they say in the advertisements, their loss is your gain…. as long as you’re interested in one of the G6s or Auras that dominate the dead-brand straggler inventory. Where’s Oprah when you need her?

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30th December 2009

Ain’t the Interweb wonderful?

Terrible weather here. Cold and dark with constant heavy rain. Hard to summon up the enthusiasm to go out and get some fresh air. I’ve been sucked into doing a little work on the Saab story. There is still some hope over there in Trollhattan. Good luck to them. If a deal of some sort can be done to save Saab, it certainly won’t be plain sailing to keep it viable, but there are some good ideas around.

It is still holiday time here. We’re officially off work and we’re in that limbo period between Chistmas and New Year. What to do? See friends and family. Check. A little PS3 with the offspring? Check, but I don’t really do that COD (that’s Call of Duty – a military shoot ‘em up game) sort of stuff.

There have at least been some welcome online distractions today. Here’s a very small selection of YouTube clips that have lightened my mood. What a marvellous thing YouTube is. I’ll try and get on to something more cerebral shortly - I do have a pile of chunky books to read. On second thoughts, maybe I’ll crack open another can of Guinness and just see where I go with the surfing thing for a little while longer…

    







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30th December 2009

Manufacturing Troubles Remain a Drag on Recovery, Trade & Jobs


via The Seattle Times

by Jon Talton

Top of the News: The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index seems consistent with recovery, coming in at 53.6 for November; any number above 50 signifies expansion in the sector. Unfortunately, the reading sagged from 55.7 the month before, tripping up what economists had hoped would be a steady climb out of recession.

A deeper look shows that the index provides no relief for the biggest immediate problem facing Americans, unemployment. Only six of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in employment. Only 11.7 million Americans worked manufacturing as of October. That compares with 17.3 million in October 1999.

Not only do manufacturing jobs pay better than their counterparts in service industries, they tend to add real value to economic activity (as opposed to selling mortgage swindles). They are also twined with our trade issues. Even fewer manufacturing jobs are now in industries that export, a key part of our huge manufacturing trade deficit.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon was happening even before the Great Recession. A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that manufacturing employment between 1965 and 2000 never dipped below 16.5 million. This even as manufacturing shrank as a share of the economy (take out Boeing and it would be much smaller). This changed as imports surged after China joined the WTO and other Asian factory centers upped their game. By 2004, the number was lower than any time since 1950.

“It is often claimed that declines in manufacturing employment stem entirely from productivity growth,” according to EPI economist L. Josh Bivens. “However, rapid productivity growth is the norm, not the exception, in manufacturing. What is new about the manufacturing job crisis of the last four years is the sharp downturn in the ratio of domestic production to demand.”

Indeed, American steelmakers are shrinking yet again.

The Back Story: The official unemployment rate including discouraged workers and part-timers seeking full-time work is 17.5 percent. But Shadow Government Statistics, a provocative and reliable site, argues even this underestimates the problem. Try…22 percent.

Complete Article



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