0331-biz-webhummer

O NYT tem uma matéria sobre o fim de um mito: a possível venda ou fechamento da linha de produção do Hummer.

Sales of Hummers over all have fallen so far – 51 percent last year, the worst drop in the industry – that General Motors is trying to find a buyer for the brand. Without one, the company might close Hummer. An announcement about Hummer’s fate may be made Tuesday.

“It’s a brand that represents a lot of what people want to get away from,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with the research firm I.H.S. Global Insight.

“Even if gas prices are lower, it still kind of radiates conspicuous consumption,” Ms. Lindland said. “Hummer was suddenly perceived as all that’s wrong with America’s dependence on foreign oil.”

A spokesman for Hummer, Nick Richards, said G.M. remained “in discussion with several parties” and had not determined what to do with the brand, though the company ruled out keeping Hummer in February. If Hummer is closed, it would be phased out “rather quickly,” G.M.’s president, Frederick A. Henderson, said last month.

O NYT também tem uma matéria sobre o crescente envolvimento do governo americano na indústria automobilística do país.   Essencialmente, as montadoras hoje quase representam o mesmo nível de “risco sistêmico” que o setor financeiro, incluindo aí a maldição do “too big to fail“:

In presenting the automobile plan on Monday, Mr. Obama suggested just how tricky it can be for Washington to wade into the marketplace: He declared that the government would back up warranties on Pontiacs and Buicks and the rest of the G.M. and Chrysler product lines, so that consumers would have no fear of buying those cars.

It may have been a necessary step, but it means that the government now is not only the ultimate guarantor of savings accounts and insurance policies – it will also cover that blown transmission.

When he stood in the White House to unveil his approach, Mr. Obama took pains to assure the country – twice – that “the United States government has no interest in running G.M.”

No interest, perhaps, but also no choice.”

E ligando isto ao meu post de ontem, o Financial Times lembra um “elo perdido” entre estas histórias, qual seja, a volta que a FIAT deu na GM:

GM was slow in accepting that the golden years of the SUV, around which it had based much of its strategy, were over. Barely three years ago, Mr Wagoner insisted that SUVs were what the market, especially North America, wanted. Since then, he has changed his tune and to his credit managed to wring important concessions from his unions. That was obviously not enough and in any case too late.

The irony is that Mr Wagoner could have had a privileged view of the gathering industry storm and what needed to be done to help GM weather it from Fiat, GM’s erstwhile Italian partner.

Instead, he chose to to dismantle the relationship four years ago when he thought the Italian carmaker was about to collapse.

Fiat was certainly in dire straights. The Agnelli family called an industry outsider, Sergio Marchionne, to the rescue. Against all GM’s expectations, Mr Marchionne managed to wring $2bn from GM in return for ending the partnership. He then set about restructuring Fiat, cutting jobs and management layers, retooling the company and launching a series of what have proved successful models.

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Enquanto na América ninguém sabe para onde vai a indústria automotiva, na Europa em breve ninguém vai poder dirigir para lugar nenhum sem que o governo saiba:

The government is backing a project to install a “communication box” in new cars to track the whereabouts of drivers anywhere in Europe, the Guardian can reveal.

Under the proposals, vehicles will emit a constant “heartbeat” revealing their location, speed and direction of travel. The EU officials behind the plan believe it will significantly reduce road accidents, congestion and carbon emissions. A consortium of manufacturers has indicated that the router device could be installed in all new cars as early as 2013.

However, privacy campaigners warned last night that a European-wide car tracking system would create a system of almost total road surveillance.

Já em São Paulo ninguém vai a lugar nenhum, ponto:

A pista sentido Centro da Radial Leste apresenta 4.7 km de tráfego carregado entre a Rua Wandenkolk e Viaduto Pires do Rio.