Volume Dips 0.5% as Cars Sputter, But 17M Year Within Sight

First Up 12/04/18

Volume Dips 0.5% as Cars Sputter, But 17M Year Within Sight
U.S. light-vehicle sales slipped 0.5 percent in November as robust fleet shipments by some automakers failed to offset slumping demand for passenger cars, reports Automotive News. But the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate totaled 17.55 million – well above forecasts for a 17.3 million sales rate and the second-highest pace of the year. It was the fourth decline in industrywide volume over the past five months, signalling the second-half slowdown is continuing but moderating. As the year closes out, the industry is struggling to stay ahead of its 2017 sales pace while automakers back off profit-draining incentives. It is also the first year-over-year November decline since 2009 and another sign of a weakening market, even amid a wave of year-end deals and sales promotions. Through October, U.S. light-vehicle sales were up 0.5 percent and are now up 0.4 percent through November. They remain on track for a fourth-straight year above 17 million, extending a record streak above that mark. Read more here. 

White House Seeks More German Auto Production in U.S., Ross Says
The White House is looking to whittle down a $30 billion automotive trade deficit with Germany with increased production in the U.S., Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said ahead of a meeting with automakers in Washington Tuesday. Bloomberg reports that of the $65 billion trade deficit the U.S. has with Europe, about $30 billion is from trade with Germany for autos and auto parts. The goal is to reduce that deficit, “hopefully with increased production in the U.S.,” Ross said on CNBC. Top executives of Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG, and BMW AG have a balancing act to pull off when they meet with Trump administration officials about potential tariffs on U.S. imports from Germany. The carmakers don’t want the U.S. to enact possible levies of as much as 25 percent on billions of dollars worth of cars they ship in from Germany every year. But they will be careful not to become entangled in negotiations that rest squarely in the hands of European Union trade officials, according to people familiar with the matter. Read more here.  

Ghosn Could Be Detained Longer on New Allegations
New details of Carlos Ghosn's alleged financial misconduct are coming to light amid mounting speculation that the ousted Nissan chairman could be re-arrested by Japanese prosecutors and possibly detained through almost year-end as investigators probe new allegations. According to Automotive News, among the fresh accusations is that Ghosn’s total compensation in the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years pushed total director pay at the company above a cap set by shareholders. That allegation came on top of earlier reports from Japan’s Asahi and Nikkei newspapers that Ghosn may have passed on personal losses of more than a billion yen ($8.8 million) from derivative trading to the Japanese automaker in 2008 during the global financial crisis. Meanwhile, Japanese media say Ghosn could be re-arrested and have his detention extended yet again. Read more here.  

UAW Challenges GM Plan to Idle 4 U.S. Plants
The United Auto Workers is formally challenging General Motors Co.'s plans to idle four U.S. plants next year, reports The Detroit News. A week ago, GM said it would stagger production-stops at Detroit-Hamtramck, Lordstown, Ohio, Warren Transmission, and Baltimore Operations — leaving the facilities "unallocated" at the height of the latest renegotiation of the national GM-UAW contract. In its restructuring announcement last week, GM was careful to address the affected plants, using the term "unallocated" to indicate that the products currently built at these plants would stop production without anything to immediately replace them. The use of the word "unallocated" deliberately avoids the words "idle or "close," which are explicitly addressed in the 2015 agreement between GM and the UAW. "Characterizing these plants as 'unallocated' — rather than closed or idled — does nothing to relieve the company of its obligation to comply with the Plant Closing Moratorium," the head of the UAW's GM department, Terry Dittes, wrote in a letter sent to GM's vice president of labor relations, Scott Sandefur, that was obtained by The Detroit News. "We expect the company to honor its commitments and we will use all of our resources to enforce our agreements." Read more here. 

21 Cars That Never Disappoint and Are Worth Splurging On
With the holiday season upon us, now is the time to go car shopping. Deals will be abundant as the year comes to a close and dealers look to move old inventory to make room for the new model year, reports Business Insider. Now is also the time to think about splurging on something special. Sure, you can do the responsible thing and live within your means, or opt for versatile basic transportation. But that's, well, kind of boring. If you have the dough, or the stupendous credit score, and just want to fulfill a childhood fantasy, why not? You only live once, and you owe it to yourself to experience an exciting set of wheels. Click here to check out Business Insider’s 21 of favorite cars to splurge on.  

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