Ford, GM have discussed merger, alliance

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9/18/06
(Reuters) Senior executives at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have discussed a merger or alliance, industry newspaper Automotive News reported on Monday.
Citing several sources familiar with the talks, the paper said it was not clear whether the negotiations will bear fruit.
As of now, the two companies, both struggling with shrinking market shares while restructuring operations, are not holding talks, and one source said there is a slim chance that anything will come of the situation, Automotive News said.
GM and Ford declined to confirm any talks.
"As we've often said, GM officials routinely discuss issues of mutual interest with other automakers," GM spokesman Brian Akre said. "As a policy, we do not confirm or comment publicly on those private discussions, which in many cases never lead anywhere."
Ford spokesman Tom Hoyt said the automaker does not comment on speculation.
On Friday, Ford said it would slash $5 billion in costs and one-third of its work force as it warned its auto business would not make a profit in North America for another three years. It also suspended its dividend and pledged to revamp a vehicle line-up seen as weak by analysts.
However, the No. 2 U.S. automaker ruled out an immediate sale of its Jaguar brand, disappointing investors who wanted Ford to press ahead with asset sales to raise cash, sending shares to their biggest single-day percentage decline in almost four years.
Earlier this month, Ford named Alan Mulally, a former Boeing Co. executive, as chief executive, ending the troubled five-year stint of Bill Ford Jr. as the company's operational head.
GM is in the midst of its own restructuring as it tries to recover from a $10.6 billion loss in 2005.
Turnaround efforts at the world's largest automaker have gained traction this year as 34,400 workers -- about a third of its work force -- have accepted early retirement and buyout offers. GM is also closing 12 plants.
Still, CEO Rick Wagoner is under pressure to show further improvement as GM studies a possible tie-up with Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Renault SA in which Nissan and Renault could buy up to a 20 percent stake in GM.
That deal, urged by GM's largest individual shareholder, billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, has been widely viewed as a means of prodding Wagoner to speed up the company's turnaround efforts.
Last year, GM and Ford agreed to jointly develop a new 6-speed transmission, which is in production in plants at both companies.
Yet another $.02 worth from a proud owner of a 1970 Mach 1 @ http://community.webshots.com/album/18644819fHAehGJAjt
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Grover.. long time, no see.
But you should know better than post in HTML... or did you forget to set your OE 6 params to text only for Newsgroups?
I can see an alliance between GM and Ford, but I have to look and raise an eyebrow over doing so with a company that would partner with Renault/Peugeot as the result of that is two companies with quality-image problems. Same to some extent with Nissan... for two decades we been hearing that Nissan is NOW building better cars.. but after ten years, the image still doesnt hold.
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i agree. I just cannot see this merger resulting in a better quality product anytime soon. maybe it would be good at helping the 2 entities shave payroll and benefits obligations. that could help them in the long term. regardless, both companies are 10 years away from producing a product that can compete with Toyota's cars. dont get me wrong, i like the mustang and the F150, but when you compare fleets... IMO there isnt much to compare. i wish them both luck. Harry in Montreal
had 93 5.0 LX 96 GT 98 Z28 01 GT conv.
now 03 rav, wife and dog.
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Montreal wrote:

A Ford and GM merger may actually create a black hole of suckage that no car model can escape.
I don't think any good product could get out the door with two sets of executives and management preventing it.
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Brent P wrote:

Brent - does this mean we agree on something? after many minutes of trying to defend CR, i gave up. i am just glad that we both agree these companies are screwed. Harry in montreal
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Brent P wrote:

Oh Goodie, two companies who rely almost completely on half tons... that'll be great. Now don't get me wrong, i will forever own a halfton, but the majority of people are switching away from larger vehicles, and finding ways to get by without halftons.
I mean when you think about it, a lot of people with half tons, would savew enough fuel and repairs in a year owning a small 4 banger foreign car to rent a pickup truck for weeks of hunting, or weekends of fourwheeling, etc. I've considered it, but for work I need a half ton.
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Picasso wrote:

What I'd really like to see is a Ranger with a small diesel. Something with 200-250 ft-lbs of torque. The V-6 doesn't get significantly different gas mileage than the F-150.
Mark
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Nemisis wrote:

I agree. Problem is diesels don't sell well in the US. They run a little different, smell a little different, feel a little different, need a little different care, YAAHH I can't handle change, I'll stay with what I'm familiar with!! I don't wanna change...! I'll just stay in my comfort zone and pay for gas. We, as a whole in the US, are so used to gasoline powered engines that we are afraid of anything new (different). I had the chance to drive the prototype of the GM EV-1 (Battery Powered) back in the late 80s, called the Impact. It was amazing!! As a Prototype it lacked creature comforts like AC, power accessories, stereo, etc. It would gate a Corvette of that vintage and keep up respectably in a 1/4 mile race, had a range of ~200 miles, handled great, and looked pretty cool. GM morphed it into the EV-1. With styling changes and the addition of creature comforts, the range was lowered to about 80 miles per charge. IMHO, it was still viable as a commuter vehicle, as the average commute to work and back is ~28 miles last I read. The EV-1 died a quick death once the CARB "0" Emissions mandate was overturned. I would have bought an EV-1 if it had been available in Northern Ohio back then. I would now buy a diesel powered car\truck if available in my "need" range from the domestic auto makers, like the Ranger you mention. Sadly, none are available.
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Tom Adkins wrote:

Interesting, because having just visited Ford of Germany's website, the only available engine in the Ranger is a 2.5 L turbo-diesel. How tough would it be to bring that truck here?
Jeep offers a diesel in their Liberty, but with automatic tranny only. Being a die-hard clutch & stick fan, I did not even consider the Liberty as a viable option.

That's the kicker. Where did all these cars go? This would be perfect for the wife, who travels maybe 15 miles a dat tops. Put in a PV based charging system and you could run the car for next to free.
Mark
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Nemisis wrote:

Not tough at all, I would imagine. They would likely not sell very well.

Hmmm, I wasn't aware of that.

That was the question in the back of my mind for many years. All of the EV-1s were leased. When the lease was up, GM pulled them and eventually crushed them. The EV-1 was only available in California. Many folks outside of that state didn't even know they existed. Other car makers got into the electric car game at that time also. Ford produced some electric Rangers for California. Not long ago I happened across a documentary called Who Killed the Electric Car. It told the story of the EV-1 and the processes that brought it into existance along with opinions about why it was discontinued. Although rather slanted (anti Big Business, anti Republican) it was really interesting. They gave the website www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com . I haven't had time to check it out.
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< snip >
Most manufacturers (Jeep included) have pulled most (if not all) diesels off the market because of the ULSD issue, with them being re-introduced sometime next year. ULSD is "ultralow sulfur diesel". Basically, 2007 and beyond model year diesels have much more stringent emission controls (catalitic converters, etc.) and the "current" (up until September 06) diesel fuel (even a small amount) will ruin the emission controls. So, the new diesel is now at the pumps, but the manufacturers are being cautious, wanting to make sure ALL the old diesel fuel (LSD = low sulfur diesel) is out of the gas station tanks before they start selling "2007 models", so the real "2007 models" are really going to be "2007 1/2 models".
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They've already canceled it.
Getting back to the thread, I agree that a small truck with a deisel would be a good thing to market in the states. Right now that would sell. They don't really make small trucks at all any more. I get autoweek, and they had a long-term Nissan Frontier (not a Titan) and that was getting 14 mpg, about half what Nissan pickups used to get 15 years ago.
Obviously there's an opportunity there.
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had
about
The big problem is diesel perceptions, some of which are true, One their noisy, no doubt about that at all. The duramax is a lot quieter than the power stroke and the cummins, but its still noisy, especially' when its cold and first started. The mercedes were noisy, the little Isuzu diesel used in the pup trucks, I-Mark, Chevette was a clattering beast, which a lousy valve train. VW was noisy, and if the timing belt broke trashed the engine(The Isuzu trashed the cylinder head) They are expensive to repair. again true, however given proper maintenance they don't need repairs often. They smell, cant argue that one at all, diesels stink. On the repair front, they hard to get fixed, in that not every garage is going to be able to work on one that wont start. That's true only in the shade tree arena
while the general public has gotten better about oil changes, things like air filters and with a diesel, fuel filters have not gotten better. We all know the fastest way to shut a diesel down is feed it some dirty or water contaminated fuel.
Whitelightning
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Joe wrote:

I had an 83 Nissan King Cab with the 2.4 L 4-cyl that was a blast to drive. The bolt pattern was the same as a Chevy 6-lug, so I went out and got a set of 4 and put 205/60R15 tires on it. It cornered like it was on rails, and gave me 24 mpg back and forth to work, semi-city type driving. I wish I could find another small pickup like that. I had 2 Toyota Tacomas and they were junk.
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wrote:

Very. The oil companies do not produce diesel fuel in the US clean enough (low enough in sulfur) to run them. That is slowly changing.
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Actually, that will change in 2007 when new regulations go into effect.
Jeff
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Brent P wrote:

OK, explain what the sulfer content of the fuel has to do with these Euro diesels. Just curious to know as most of the old diesels would run on almost anything.
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wrote:

catalyst survival as I recall. Here: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/ulsd/chapter2.htm
"The new ULSD standards finalized by the EPA are crucial to the successful development of emission control equipment for heavy-duty diesel engines. The catalysts to be used in meeting the emission standards can be severely damaged by sulfur contamination. For example, catalyst-based particulate filters for diesel engines have shown significant losses of conversion efficiency with fuel containing 30 ppm sulfur, particularly in colder climates. With respect to NOx adsorbers, researchers have found that at fuel sulfur levels above 10 ppm, the heavy truck emission standard may not be attainable."
Happy now?
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Diesels were selling pretty well until GM came out with the 350 diesel. Peugeot, GM, VW, Audi and DiamlerBenz all sold diesels in the 80s.

You mean like the scores of thousands of hybrids that have sold in the US?

VW still sells a diesel. Mercedes is bring them back. And Honda plans on selling them in the 2009 model year, if not sooner.
Jeff
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I'm disappointed with the current hybrids they have out. You don't get that much mileage improvement for the significant increase in price. And the VW Jetta TDI gets better mileage thatn the Honda and Toyota hybrids.
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