Daimler Takes srakes on Tesla Motors.<!--:-->

NOTICIAS DE LA INDUSTRIA AUTOMOTRIZ! Daimler Takes srakes on Tesla Motors.

“Tesla brings expertise on the battery electric side, and Daimler brings expertise on achieving high quality, large production, safety - and these things are very important. It will be a very productive partnership.” -- Elon Musk, chief executive, Tesla

Daimler, Tesla Motors collaboration deepening as Daimler acquires 10% stake in Roadster electric sports car maker Investment equals “double-digit million-dollar sum”

Collaboration began earlier w/ Tesla battery packs placed in Daimler’s Smart cars Partnership based on Tesla’s electric battery expertise, Daimler’s high quality, large production, safety Daimler VP Herbert Kohler to take seat on Tesla board of directors

Significant Points

Tesla’s battery packs going into 1K Smart Fortwo electric vehicles for test programs around world Production electric Smarts to begin in Hambach, France, later this year; volume production starts in 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class-based fuel-cell car production begins this year; battery-powered Mercedes shown next year By 2012 Smart and Mercedes-Benz electrics will have company’s own lithium-ion batteries produced w/ Tesla

GM to Sell Hummer to China’s Tengzhong, Helping Shed Brands

General Motors Corp., seeking to shed assets to emerge from bankruptcy, agreed to sell the Hummer sport-utility vehicle brand to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co.

Tengzhong will assume Hummer’s dealer agreements and a senior management team, the companies said in a joint statement yesterday. GM and Tengzhong also plan to form a long-term contract assembly and supply agreement. Hummer is worth an estimated $500 million, GM said in bankruptcy court documents.

Selling Hummer will secure more than 3,000 U.S. jobs and help GM move toward a goal of offloading four U.S. brands to exit bankruptcy as a leaner, more profitable company. The deal may also help Tengzhong grow in China’s SUV market, which surged 25 percent last year on rising affluence.

“There are a lot of new rich in China who like niche brands such as Hummer,” said Ricon Xia, a Daiwa Institute of Research (H.K.) Ltd. analyst in Shanghai. “A lot of private companies like Tengzhong have emerged because of the economic boom and they will strike more surprising deals like this one.”

Detroit-based GM has won court approval to sell assets as soon as next month after collapsing under $172.8 billion in debt and failing to adapt to consumer demands for cars that use less fuel. GM also plans to sell Saturn and Saab and wind down the Pontiac line. Sixteen potential buyers have expressed interest in Saturn, Chief Financial Officer Ray Young said on a conference call yesterday.

Tengzhong’s Expansion

For Tengzhong, a privately owned maker of special-use vehicles, structural components for highways and bridges, and construction machinery, buying Hummer will add a brand with cachet it can use to expand in emerging markets, said Desmond Wong, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Sino Strategies Group.

Germany Seeks to Wean Opel From GM After 80 Years

The German government aims to wean General Motors Corp.’s Opel unit from its U.S. parent after an 80-year association, insulating the European carmaker from a GM bankruptcy while buying time for negotiations with investors.

Talks on securing Opel’s future hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later today won’t “decide everything” and may not result in a preferred bidder, government spokesman Thomas Steg said in Berlin. Efforts will focus on forging an agreement with U.S. and GM officials to place Opel in a trust that would receive 1.5 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in loans, Steg said.

“Naturally it’s attractive for the investors if Opel is kept alive,” Peter Bosch, an auto analyst at Oliver Wyman Consulting in Munich, said by phone today. “And it’s attractive for the government because it allows time for negotiations that can be conducted in peace to get the best result for Opel.”

GM is selling Opel as part of a global reorganization that the Detroit-based carmaker must complete by a U.S.-imposed June 1 deadline to qualify for rescue funding. Italian carmaker Fiat SpA, Canadian auto-parts maker Magna International Inc. and buyout firm RHJ International SA submitted offers. A fourth investor, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., has expressed interest in Opel, Steg said.

‘Opel, founded in 1862 by Adam Opel, started out making sewing machines and bicycles before going on to produce cars, including its “Laubfrosch,” or tree frog, model. GM purchased 80 percent of Opel in 1929 during the last economic crisis, after asset prices plunged worldwide. Two years later, GM bought the rest of Opel, establishing itself as the biggest carmaker in Europe through the 1930s.

GM, the world’s largest automaker until its 77-year reign ended last year, is staring bankruptcy in the face after it failed to persuade enough bondholders to take equity in a streamlined company in exchange for $27 billion of debt.

That makes German workers keen to see a government trust. About 25,000 of GM Europe’s 55,000 jobs are based in Germany, and workers have a say in Opel’s sale because GM’s business plan calls for $1.2 billion in concessions from European employees.


“It’s about making Opel weather-proof and preventing it from being dragged into the mud of a GM bankruptcy,” Klaus Franz told reporters at a press conference at Opel headquarters yesterday. Negotiations with bidders on reaching a final deal could take three to five months, he said, adding that Magna’s proposal was “in the pole position.”

GM said today that its European assets such as plants, sales organizations and technology have been transferred to Adam Opel GmbH, based in Ruesselsheim near Frankfurt, signaling a further separation of the European operations from its U.S. parent.

The move allows for the possible formation of a “trustee agreement” to secure bridge financing from the German government, GM Europe spokeswoman Karin Kirchner said in an e- mail. “A trustee structure would legally ring-fence the European Opel/Vauxhall operations from any potential U.S. business developments and will allow for time to negotiate a new partner for Adam Opel.”

Chapter 11 Filing

Transferring European assets to Opel “will help make sure that the process of finding an investor isn’t going to be complicated by a GM bankruptcy,” said Tim Urquhart, an automotive analyst with research firm IHS Global Insight in London. “All the indications are that everyone’s preparing for a GM Chapter 11 filing.”

Germany will continue negotiations with prospective investors in the coming weeks, including pursuing the “declaration of interest” that falls short of an official bid made by Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Steg said.

“GM will retain a 35 percent stake in Opel after the German government places the division in a trust, Armin Schild, an Opel supervisory board member, said in an e-mail.

“Germany’s desperately keen to get the U.S. on board to approve legal protection for Opel in a trust,” said Reinhard Schultz, a lawmaker with the ruling Social Democratic Party who sits on parliament’s economic affairs committee. “If it works, the government can breathe a deep sigh of relief.”