Trump Signs Mini Trade Deal with Japan with No Change in Auto Tariffs

First Up 10/08/19

Trump Signs Mini Trade Deal with Japan with No Change in Auto Tariffs
President Donald Trump signed a limited U.S.-Japan trade agreement, which returns benefits American farmers lost when Trump pulled out of a broader Asia-Pacific pact his first week in office, reports Fortune. While rewarding American farmers, the negotiated deal does not resolve differences over trade in autos, but it does include market-opening commitments on $40 billion worth of digital trade between the two countries. Trump has said the two countries will continue to work on a more comprehensive agreement. Under the agreement, Japan—which imports U.S. farm products worth $14 billion—will open new markets to approximately $7 billion in U.S. agriculture products, with lower or no tariffs on American beef, pork, wheat, cheese, corn, wine, and more. Regarding autos, Trump made no mention of his current stance on lowering U.S. tariffs on Japanese imports. Read more here. 

Nissan Appoints Uchida as Next CEO
Nissan Motor Co. has tapped Makoto Uchida, head of its important China division, to be its next president and CEO, helping the scandal-tainted automaker open a new chapter after the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn and last month’s resignation of former CEO Hiroto Saikawa.  A Nissan executive with experience in joint purchasing with partner Renault, the 55-year-old Uchida ushers in a younger generation of leaders many insiders hope pave a new path. According to Automotive News, the appointment will take place no later than Jan. 1, 2020, the company said in a statement. His selection was announced by Chairman Yasushi Kimura and Masakazu Toyoda, director in charge of Nissan’s nomination committee, at a press press conference Tuesday evening in Tokyo. Read more here. 

Subaru's Streak Ends, But It's Come a Long Way
Subaru of America's growth has been rapid but also consistent: It reported year-over-year sales gains every month since late 2011. But, reports Automotive News, that streak, which Subaru had cultivated for 93 months, was snapped last week when the automaker posted a sales decline of 9.4 percent in September. There's a stark contrast between the Subaru of eight years ago and the Subaru of today. In its last monthly decline, November 2011, Subaru sold 17,657 vehicles, a drop of 15 percent from November 2010. For perspective, Subaru sold 18,428 Outbacks in July 2019 alone. And while Subaru did have a three-row crossover in the lineup in 2011, the Tribeca, it was a low-volume model, selling just 2,791 units that year. Production ended in 2014. Read more here. 

Volvo and Geely to Merge Combusion Engine Units in Electric Car Push
Volvo Cars and China’s Geely plan to merge their engine operations into a standalone company, a step the Swedish automaker says will cut costs as it shifts to a fully electrified lineup, reports The Detroit News. The combined unit would supply two million diesel and gasoline-powered engines, compared with the 600,000 Volvo produces today, giving the two companies more scale to reduce material costs. It could also supply other car manufacturers, though none have expressed interest yet, Volvo Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson said. Read more here. 

GM Furloughs More Workers as Union Strike Enters Fourth Week
The United Auto Workers’ strike against General Motors, now in its fourth week, is continuing to hit the automaker’s operations outside of the U.S., reports CNBC. The company halted production of a V-8 engine and transmission at its engine plant in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico, and told about 415 of the factory’s 2,100 employees not to come to work on Monday, a company spokesman told CNBC on Monday. The temporary layoffs add to roughly 10,000 non-UAW workers in North America who have been furloughed because of the strike. GM last week idled a plant in Mexico that produces its highly profitable Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, temporarily laying off 6,000 workers. Prior to that, the company cut several operations in Canada and its jointly operated DMax engine facility in Ohio. Read more here. 

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