By Ben Klayman DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra said the No. 1 U.S. automaker was sorry for the recent recall of an ignition-switch linked to 13 deaths, and said the process would take time to play out but the company would work to ensure customer satisfaction. In a letter to employees on Tuesday, Barra, who took over in January as the automotive industry's first female chief executive, said the recall would "take time to play out" and GM would cooperate with all the parties involved. Those groups include U.S. safety regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which last week opened an investigation into whether the Detroit company reacted fast enough in its recall of more than 1.6 million cars. GM employees can expect "additional developments in the near term" related to the recall, Barra said in the letter posted on GM Fastlane, the company's electronic news magazine.
By Susan Taylor TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian auto sales chugged 2.4 percent higher in February as record-setting truck sales helped offset slumping demand for cars and severe winter weather, an independent auto industry analyst said on Monday. Auto sales in the country climbed to 105,693 vehicles, marking the third-best February since 2007 and signaling a "steady as she goes" sector recovery, said Dennis DesRosiers, of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. Truck sales accelerated to 64,579 vehicles in February, from 58,867 last year, while car sales fell to 41,114 vehicles, from 44,359, he wrote. …
By Soyoung Kim NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc is weighing a merger with rival TI Automotive, looking to combine the world’s two largest suppliers of fluid systems for cars and trucks, according to people familiar with the matter. Cooper-Standard is working with financial and legal advisers to evaluate a takeover bid for TI Automotive and recently approached its rival, which has been looking for a buyer in the past several months, the people said. A deal with TI Automotive, which is about the same size as Cooper-Standard with annual sales of about $3 billion, would be a big bite for Cooper-Standard, which has a market value of just over $750 million and an enterprise value of around $1.4 billion including debt. Privately-held TI Automotive, meanwhile, is estimated to have an enterprise value of more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter have previously said.
By Norihiko Shirouzu BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S.-based Fisker Automotive, which has been acquired by China's largest auto parts company, plans to restart production of its Karma plug-in hybrid luxury car "within a year" and will also complete the half-finished development of a second model, according to a senior executive. Pin Ni, head of the U.S. unit of the Wanxiang Group, which acquired Fisker's assets for $149.2 million in a U.S. bankruptcy auction, said Fisker plans to restart production of the Karma as early as this year at its plant in Finland and start selling Karma cars again in the United States and Europe. Ni said the Hangzhou-based Wanxiang is finalizing business plans for Fisker and doesn't have a forecast for how many Karmas it plans to sell. "Obviously we want to sell more than what Fisker sold before under its previous management," Ni said.
Daimler AG has toughened its performance standards by weeding out weaker rivals from a peer group used to calibrate profitability and senior managers' pay, the German carmaker's annual report showed. The maker of Mercedes-Benz limousines said it will only compare itself with companies that have an investment-grade credit rating, a major shift which means it can no longer measure performance against weaker firms like France's Renault SA and Italy's Fiat SpA . In the past Daimler often had it too easy," Metzler Bank automotive analyst Juegen Pieper said. Investors have criticized Daimler's performance, and the profitability of its cars division, for lagging behind rivals BMW and Audi in the past.