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More Lukewarm News Out Of GM And Toyota

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On: Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 12:26PM | By: John Welch

More Lukewarm News Out Of GM And Toyota

The Saab deal has crumbled, surprise surprise. Koenigsegg, unable to secure the loans necessary to acquire Saab's assets, pulled out of negotiations yesterday. The Swedish government has ruled out any chance of a state bail-out for the beleaguered automaker.

Slightly better news comes out of Germany. GM will be cutting capacity at all of its Opel manufacturing plants, however, none of the plants will be shut-down, as previously feared.

Which brings us to Toyota. In an effort to trim expenses throughout its North American operations, Toyota is planning on moving jobs from California to Michigan or Kentucky . . .

"Toyota's North American affiliate companies have no plans to change their multi-company structure, nor plans for any significant geographic relocations of personnel outside of normal operations," Toyota said in a statement released today.

"Emphasis has been placed on finding new efficiencies, shared services and enhanced collaboration to address the changing economic conditions and prepare Toyota for the future automotive market environment."

Toyota's U.S. product planning, accounting, travel, and data departments may move from the headquarters of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. in Torrance, California.

As far as GM and Koenigsegg are concerned, it appears Saab is not long for life. The Swedish supercar maker decided to abandon its talks with GM as it became clear that the Swedish government was not going to cough up the tax Euro's needed to keep Saab alive. GM is still searching for a buyer;

"I talked to GM last night and my impression is that they have not given up hope," Joran Hagglund, state secretary at Sweden's Industry Ministry, told reporters.

The skinny over in Deutchland is a tad more positive. GM has to cut costs at Opel, and it was speculated that plants in Eisenach and Bochum, as well as a factory in Antwerp, Belgium were going to be shut down. This is no longer the case. GM has to cut some jobs and pare down capacity, however, all four of Opel's factories will remain open and operational. Reluctant to invest public funds when Magna and Sperbank were gunning for Opel, the German government should be pleased with this sign of good faith.

Though between 9,000 and 9,500 jobs at Opel and British sister brand Vauxhall will be cut; the number was looming close to eighteen thousand workers towards the end of August. This is a significant improvement, but Opel/Vauxhall isn't out of the woods yet. The future of GM's European divisions is a shaky as its American arm, and strong sales are needed in the near future.

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