Rivals agree Toyota recall is not a good sign for the industry

Global carmakers said that they are not going to take advantage from the crisis faced by Japanese auto giant Toyota, which is recalling over eight million vehicles worldwide but agreed that it is not a good sign for the industry

Global carmakers, including General Motors Co (GM), Ford Motor Co (Ford) and Honda Motor Co Ltd, on Thursday said that they are not going to take advantage from the crisis faced by Japanese auto giant Toyota, which is recalling over eight million vehicles worldwide but agreed it is not a good sign for the industry, reports PTI.

Toyota is recalling the vehicles worldwide to fix faulty accelerator pedals and brakes.

"Toyota's problems are not good for the industry. The industry perspective on the Toyota recall is that no one likes to see another competitor being put through that," GM's North American president Mark Reuss told reporters on the sidelines of the Chicago Auto Show. "We like to have a healthy industry and we would like to be able to compete on a level playing field," he added.

Echoing GM's thoughts, Ford's president of the Americas Mark Fields said the company does not see Toyota's troubles as an opportunity to steal customers. "We have a lot of compassion for what Toyota is going through. We do not take a lot of joy in it," Mr Fields said.

Honda, which is also facing vehicle troubles as it recalls some of its Accords and Civics due to faulty airbags, said companies have to deal with such situations in the best possible way they can.

"We are not taking advantage of Toyota's situation at all. We have our own business to do, our own vehicles to sell. Toyota is a tough competitor and we will continue to compete with them in the marketplace," Honda's assistant vice president for public relations for America, Kurt Antonius said.

A Suzuki official also said the company was 'sympathetic' with what is happening with Toyota.
General Motors' Mr Reuss however admitted Toyota's vehicle recall "may be an opportunity for us to get some consideration from folks that we did not get before. (But) our products stand for themselves and may the best car win," he added.

Mr Ruess said sales gains made by GM in January were not due to Toyota's recalls but the company had earned it on its merit.
 

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ONGC, IOC, OIL consortium wins oil block in Venezuela

These state-run Indian companies will develop the Carabobo-1 block in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt with Spain's Repsol and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and its partners Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) have won a bid to develop a major crude oil block in Venezuela, ONGC’s first major overseas success since the Imperial Energy Plc acquisition in 2008, reports PTI.

The state-run Indian companies will develop the Carabobo-1 block in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt with Spain's Repsol YPF SA and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bdh, ONGC said in a statement.

An official said the group will pay $1.05 billion to Venezuela as signing amount and will initially invest another $9 billion in developing the block that can produce 400,000 barrels of heavy oil per day (20 million tonnes per annum). Total spending on the block over 25 years would be $9 billion. Besides, the consortium would also extend some credit to Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA), which would hold 60% interest in the project.

Venezuela yesterday announced the winners of two of the three Carabobo blocks it had auctioned last month.

The Latin American nation gave out 40% stake to international firms, the largest oil investment in President Hugo Chavez's 11-year rule.

Chevron Corp will develop the Carabobo-3 block along with Mitsubishi Corp, Inpex Corp and Suelopetrol CA of Venezuela after paying a signing amount of $500 million.

A third oil block in the Carabobo area of the Orinoco will be assigned at a later date.
 

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India's business confidence level rises 7% to 153.8 points, says survey

The NCAER-MasterCard Worldwide Index of Business Confidence survey was conducted amid growing consensus that India had emerged rather quickly from the effects of the global crisis

Business confidence levels in India have exceeded the October 2009 levels by 7%, according to the latest National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER)-MasterCard Worldwide Index of Business Confidence. The current Business Confidence Index (BCI) rating of 153.8 points, compared to the October 2009 rating of 143.7 points and July 2009 rating of 118.6 points, is also the highest rating recorded since January 2008 (154 points), it said in a release.

“The latest NCAER-MasterCard Worldwide Index of Business Confidence study has captured the upbeat economic climate in India, which is now almost close to the positive ratings during early 2008," said TV Seshadri, vice president and country general manager, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide.

He said that the survey was conducted amid growing consensus that India had emerged rather quickly from the effects of the global crisis. Being a quarterly study, the BCI provides stakeholders with valuable insights on business expectation, political confidence and trends across the four regions in India.

The Index is based on a survey which measures business confidence on four indicators relating to ‘Overall economic conditions six months from now’, ‘Financial position of the firm six months from now’, ‘Investment climate’ and ‘Level of capacity utilisation’. All four indicators carry equal weight.

The improvement in business sentiment based on the four components has been observed across all regions in India except in the East, where it fell by a relatively small 2.9 points or 1.82%, compared to the previous quarter.

Amongst all four regions, the West had a maximum proportion of respondents providing positive feedback for the ‘Overall economic conditions’ indicator, revealing an optimism about an improvement in the overall economic conditions and investment climate over the next six months. The West showed the highest increase (13.84%), followed by the North (7.4%) and the South (6.65%).

The Political Confidence Index (PCI) in the current round witnessed a 16.5% decline compared to a 4% decline in October 2009. This could indicate a weak correlation between the BCI and the PCI. There was a significant drop in PCI from 144.4 points in October 2009 to 120.6 points in the current round, the survey said.

The current survey reflected a declining trend in the ratings of all eight components of the PCI over the last quarter. Four components that showed steep decline include, managing of government finance (52.1 to 43.1 points), managing of inflation (41.4 to 28.4 points), managing of unemployment (37.9 to 29.7 points), and managing a conducive political climate (46.6 to 37.7 points).

The remaining four components that continue to decrease are trade negotiations (both bilateral/ multilateral) (42.0 to 35.9 points), pushing the economic reforms forward (46.6 to 42.8), managing overall economic growth (63.8 to 56.3 points) and managing exchange rate (35.4 to 31.2 points), the NACER-MasterCard survey said.  

 

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