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Inside this issue
GM Faces Union Demands Following Stock Buyback Plan
GM Ignition-Related Deaths Now at 64
Report On Tesla-Style Direct Sales Cites GM Brazil Program Ended In 2006
Audi 2014 Profitability Narrows on Spending for New Autos
Jeep CEO Remains 'Big Fan' of a Jeep Pickup
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Top Stories
GM Faces Union Demands Following Stock Buyback Plan

UAW will be looking for a slice of GM's cash pile

General Motors CEO Mary Barra started off her second year in the job with an activist investor at her door after her first year was largely consumed by a safety investigation over fatally defective ignition switches. Now she’ll need to contend with the UAW, another constituency looking for a slice of GM’s cash pile. The union heads into contract talks this summer with its veteran members having not had a raise -- or the ability to go on strike -- since at least 2007. Barra, after years of serving the biggest U.S. automaker with internally facing roles in manufacturing engineering, human resources and product development, finds herself again with public challenges.
Source: Bloomberg

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GM Ignition-Related Deaths Now at 64

The total is up seven from a week earlier.

The number of families ruled eligible for compensation from General Motors for loved ones' deaths in crashes caused by defective ignition switches increased to 64 last week, up seven from a week earlier. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the total Monday. An additional 108 injured people also are eligible for compensation.
Source: Detroit Free Press
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Report On Tesla-Style Direct Sales Cites GM Brazil Program Ended In 2006

The topic of Tesla Motors and its direct-sales model continues to roil state legislatures, with bills for and against the practice under debate in several states.In May 2009, the U.S. Justice Department issued a paper that looked at the economic effects of state bans on such direct sales. Now it turns out that one example of direct sales favorably cited by that paper--a GM program in Brazil--had ended three years before the paper was written. The error came to light courtesy of The Washington Post and its "Fact Checker" column, which dug into the claim in an article published last month.

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) immediately pounced on the Post article. Jonathan Collegio, its vice president of public affairs, e-mailed media outlets--including Green Car Reports--to alert them to the article. The newspaper "thoroughly debunked" the report, he wrote, giving the research "its strongest rebuke of 'four Pinocchios.' " Instead, he continued, the Post had shown that "GM actually discontinued its direct sales program--due to high costs--three years before the DoJ paper was written."
Source: Green Car Reports
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Audi 2014 Profitability Narrows on Spending for New Autos

Audi AG’s profitability slipped in 2014 as the luxury-car division of Volkswagen AG invested in adding manufacturing capacity and developing new models like the revamped Q7 sport-utility vehicle. Operating profit narrowed to 9.6 percent of sales last year from 10.1 percent in 2013, Audi said Tuesday in a statement. The margin this year will be within the manufacturer’s 8 percent to 10 percent target corridor. “In 2014, we delivered more than promised,” Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler said at a press conference at Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany. “After a very positive start into the current business year, we’re targeting a new sales record.”
Source: Bloomberg
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Jeep CEO Remains 'Big Fan' of a Jeep Pickup

The idea of a Jeep pickup has tantalized fans of the off-road brand since the Comanche pickup was discontinued more than two decades ago. Jeep in recent years has played with the idea of a Jeep pickup through concept models. The most well-known are the Jeep J-12 produced for the annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari off-roading event in 2012, and the Jeep Gladiator based on the Jeep Wrangler platform that debuted at the 2005 Detroit auto show. "I remain a big fan of a Jeep pickup," Jeep CEO and President Mike Manley told The Detroit News earlier this year. "I think we have history that says it belongs in our portfolio."
Source: The Detroit News
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Quotable

"After a very positive start into the current business year, we’re targeting a new sales record."

   
-- Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler, commenting on the automaker's expansion plans, Bloomberg, March 10

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