Thursday, May 21, 2009

US Auto Industry Is Dead

Detroit, RIP. It was a good run, but it's over. There will be some auto industry in this country, but it's going to belong to foreign companies.

It looks like GM (GM) rescue plan is similar to Chrysler's: UAW gets the biggest share. When there is some hope for Chrysler, in case FIAT decides/forced to invest more money and thus gets controlling share, there is no such hope for GM. I am not against unions, but they are by definition against management, they can't be management. They can't control the management. And if they do, the company is dead. It's a pity, really. When I wrote GM Has To Die, I had some hope that GM can be reorganized into smaller, nimbler company or several companies. Ain't gonna happen.

Ford (F) might survive yet, but it has to fight an uphill battle. Battle against foreign competitors, against domestic competitors supported by government. Cash is the biggest problem for Ford. It has enough cash to survive by the end of the year. Maybe by mid-2010. There is no hope for profitability until the end of 2011, so by June of 2010 Ford needs to borrow some spare cash, about a dozen billion or so. If Ford's management pulls this trick, they deserve management of the century award.

Of course, new fuel economy standards introduced by President look like the stake through the heart for auto industry. It's a new tax, no matter how you look at it. And new taxes during depression or recession is not what any industry needs. Especially industry at the edge of the abyss.

I don't see any investment opportunities in autos, domestic or foreign, for the foreseeable future.

Full disclosure: at the time of publication author did not have any positions in GM or F. Positions can change any time.

Seeking Alpha Certified

No comments: