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The auto industry joins to fight Trump's proposed car tariffs

Art: Jason Torchinsky
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Automobile manufacturers defy President Donald Trump's import duties, drop in new car sales in March, get a glimpse of Nissan under Carlos Ghosn, and much more for The Morning Shift of March 29, 2019.

First Gear: The Auto industry fights Trump's proposed import tariffs on cars

Trump has been campaigning for a heavy, possibly 25 percent, import duty on foreign automobiles for at least a year Bloomberg reports in a recent story that many in the auto industry consider this a bad idea and some executives say they may "paralyze a sector that is already facing a slowdown".

Up to this point, there has been a lot of pushback from automakers, but now they are stepping up their game. From History:

Groups representing many parts of the industry – automakers, dealers, parts suppliers, and aftermarket companies – are opposed to new levies that are being considered by the White House, a rarity for an industry that often fails agrees on important policy areas.

The news station spoke to Subaru, US President and CEO Tom Doll, a representative from the automotive industry who flew to Washington DC to campaign against a potential duty on imported cars and car parts. From Bloomberg:

"I came up here to talk specifically with our congress members about these tariffs and the impact they might have on our entire distribution chain, and how this ultimately affects ours through the distribution chain will be pricing, "said Doll in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. "This is something we get a lot of sympathy from the congress participants, and we hope it will resolve itself."

The story describes what impact the proposed tariffs may have on vehicle prices, and not just on import prices from other countries:

A 25 percent tariff for all cars and parts could average new vehicle prices According to a study by the Center for Automotive Research from 2018, the price of imported vehicles could rise by $ 6,875 per vehicle, and US cars should rise by $ 2,270, according to the report 700,000 jobs in the US could be lost.

Trump will review the Ministry of Commerce's recommendations on this matter, and while technically having time to reply by May 18, a decision may take longer. Who knows how or when this whole thing will be shaken with the car import tariff.

. 2 Gang: Trade Volumes May Also Impact Car Sales

Every month, industry analysts report sales of automobiles and as March comes to an end It looks like numbers may have gone down for the third month in a row, reports Automotive News. The news side says that four forecasters predicted a decline of between 1.5 and 7 percent compared to March last year.

According to an analyst from Cox Automotive, the uncertainty in trade policy can contribute to sales losses. From automotive news:

Analysts say the decline is due to an unresolved regulatory environment and concerns that vehicles are less affordable to consumers.

Cox said stock market volatility, uncertainty over President Donald Trump's trade policy and his concern over the potential for a slowdown could put some potential buyers off. It noted that sustained price increases for new vehicles coupled with lukewarm incentives could also affect sales.

Another interesting factor could be the lower tax return that people have been complaining about this year:

Another factor that may hamper sales is: tax reform. Cox noted that the tax law that came into effect last year had a positive impact in 2018, but led to lower reimbursements for some consumers in this tax season. Gosh, I've heard a lot of complaints about this year's tax returns.

Third Gear: Ghosn's Nissan Seems Like a Shitshow

Meanwhile, everyone knows about Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Renault boss, who is on trial in Japan for alleged financial misconduct.

However, if you would like to read about how the corporate culture and the tensions between Renault and Nissan were under his rule, the New York Times describes the show in detail and writes:

Mr. Ghosn was, as a critical governance report revealed this week, "passed away in Nissan," a leader whose decisions and activities were considered "an impenetrable area within the company." He was known to drive out managers who did not agree with him. He shared the authority – and his plans – with just a few loyal leaders.

The story continues:

Some of the department were maintained by Mr. Ghosn himself, former Nissan executives said in interviews. The result was a toothless board, internal guard dogs with no authority to investigate top executives, and an imperial business leader, according to Nissan's new leaders and former employees.

Ghosn said that's exactly what happened to him.

An important part of the article is the description of the tensions between Nissan and Renault – two companies, some of which thought they had merged at a time-sailing business partnership. This is made even more complicated by the partial takeover of Renault by the French Government.

Under the tensions, the story describes how some people at Nissan were worried that the brand would lose its identity by sharing so many parts with Renault:

"The drivetrain," said Tetsuji Isozaki, a former union leader who worked at Nissan Engine Development Team and is now a member of the Japanese Parliament. He describes how the blur began. "Then the transfer. Then it was the next, then the next, until it reached a place where the identity of the car was at stake. Some people began to ask, "Is not that going too far?"

It continues by describing the role of Ghosn at Renault and Nissan:

"He made sure all parts of the organization were safe It depended on it working", said Takeshi Yamagiwa, a Tokyo-based business consultant who spent three decades at Nissan where he led vehicle development. "It had come to a point where only one clone of Mr. Ghosn would be able to succeed him."

But Ghosn's "strong" leadership has been the key to the cohesion of the Renault-Nissan partnership and now the Times calls this partnership a "broken alliance" that both companies actively seek to return from the abyss.

But now merger talks are back and maybe with Fiat Chrysler at the table. Color us skeptical.

. 4 Gang: Lyft valued at $ 24 billion in initial public offering, but the company's outlook is unclear

Lyft had filed for an IPO earlier this month and plans to sell for $ 72 on Friday This raises the company's rating to around $ 24 billion.

But should investors get off and get shares in droves? Maybe not. The Wall Street Journal outlines some of the company's challenges:

Lyft, which was launched in 2012, says its service is now available to over 95% of the US population, but only 1% of that in the US miles covered happen in carpools. This discrepancy could mean a huge market opportunity for Lyft outside urban areas. However, the fact that the on-demand concept of rideshare has been available for almost a decade with so few kilometers driven is not a particularly encouraging sign of its value proposition throughout the market.

When a company loses an onerous amount of money, investors need to hope that revenue growth will either become more sustainable and marketing spending lower, or grow enough to make up for the bleeding. Both seem unlikely in the short term.

The story goes on, stating that Lyft and Uber both spend a lot of money on marketing to compete with each other, and it concludes with "the payoff is uncertain".

More about that later from us.

. 5 Gear: giant automotive supplier ZF gets even bigger

ZF Friedrichshafen – the German auto parts supplier, which employs about 146,000 people worldwide and produces various powertrains and chassis parts, including transmissions not only for cars, but also for boats, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, helicopters and even wind turbines – recently announced the acquisition of WABCO, headquartered in Switzerland and headquartered in Switzerland with a $ 7 billion head office.

Short for WABCO, Westinghouse Air Brake Company, founded in the US in 1869, is known for its active safety systems in commercial vehicles such as automatic emergency braking, as well as air suspension systems and automation systems for transmission. ZF says in its press release that the acquisition of WABCO would bring commercial brake know-how into ZF's portfolio for the first time – a key area for ZF as it wants to turn up its automated driving experience.

By ZF:

ZF expects automated driving functions to be implemented primarily for commercial vehicles and in areas of low complexity and low traffic (eg factory sites, airports, agriculture). It is expected that the combination of the two companies will further accelerate the development of new technologies to enable autonomous commercial vehicle functions, making ZF less dependent on the passenger car business cycle.

WABCO's planned strategic acquisition is in line with ZF's mission to develop and deliver technology solutions that enable cars and commercial vehicles to see, think and act to reduce emissions and increase traffic safety. While ZF already has sensor systems and computer technology to leverage its "vision" and "thinking" capabilities, ZF and WABCO will in the future complete the commercial vehicle portfolio to provide solutions for "trading" vehicles.

Reverse Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors, was asked to resign in the midst of Carpocalypse

By Michigan MLive News Site:

The Chairman and CEO of General Motors Corp. Rick Wagoner will resign immediately at the request of the White House, said the government official on Sunday. The news comes as President Obama prepares to bring forward further restructuring efforts to save the domestic auto industry. The officials asked not to be identified because details of the restructuring plan have not yet been published. Obama announces Monday measures to restructure GM and Chrysler LLC in exchange for additional government bonds.

Neutral: Are you on board the fares?

When would a car fare make sense in your eyes?

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