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Europe: Where's the Downturn?

January 1st 2007 was meant to be the day in which it all went wrong in Europe – at least as far as truck sales were concerned.But it seems that reports of the death of EU truck sales have been somewhat overstated. January’s figures are filtering through, and, in Germany, VDA figures point to an eight per cent increase in sales of vehicles over six tones, with 7,400 vehicles sold during the month.EU newcomer Bulgaria is also seeing robust sales, despite predictions that accession and the subsequent adoption of Euro 4 would precipitate a marked decline.

More Scania-MAN-VW Nonsense.

This report suggests that VW is looking to establish a head office in the Netherlands, should the mooted and – in our admittedly jaundiced opinion – utterly derisible attempt at forming a three way alliance from MAN, Scania and VW’s heavy truck operation.

More Sanctions Sabre-Shaking from Bush.

The Bush administration is stepping up its efforts to isolate the Ahmadinejad regime in Iran. Adding fuel to the long-running hostilities between Washington and Tehran, this week a US House of Representatives panel approved a bill to expand sanctions against US companies and non-US oil and gas companies that invest in Iran.

No Volvo-Ashok Leyland. Whither DC or Paccar?

We’ve already discussed the fate of Iveco’s previously-held 15 per cent piece of Ashok Leyland.Volvo had been viewed as a front runner in this race, with Scania a close second.

The Great Chrysler Conspiracy. Part 17.

Another thought on the Chrysler business.This is a master class in PR and spin. The first mention of a Chrysler divestment came around four months ago, when DC released its Q3/06 results. We return to our views as blogged then.Here is an analogy. If you surrender to an anaesthetic in the honest-held belief that your arm is going to be amputated, and then awake to find that you’re only missing a finger, then how good are you going to feel?

DaimlerChrysler and Iran.

Here is an interesting little snippet of news from the ISNA agency in Tehran, which suggests that, far from exiting the Islamic Republic, DC is staying firm in the Iranian CV business, and is looking to develop a new truck product with its Iranian partner, Iran Khodro Diesel.With all the loose talk concerning and end to the Chrysler relationship – which, after all, is the primary reason the company has a NYSE listing and is therefore concerned about doing business with countries that upset GW Bush – does this point to

Iveco and Tata: No Decisions as Yet.

The seemingly on-off relationship between Tata Commercial Vehicles and Iveco – a potentially arranged marriage that could come about as a result of the alliance struck between Tata and Fiat - the respective owners of the two marques – is examined here.At one level, the much-trailed possibility of a Fiat-Tata LCV JV has now been confirmed. Fiat will build a Tata pick-up truck at its Cordoba, Argentina plant.

DC Mulls Sale of Chrysler to GM.

Is DaimlerChrysler considering the sale of Chrysler to GM? According to reports from Reuters, which, in turn refer to German press reports, conversations between the two are now ongoing.This is somewhat bizarre. Although GM has pulled itself back from a very real chance of bankruptcy, the fact remains that it is still in a parlous state.

Winterkorn Preaches Peace, Love and Mergers.

Interesting piece here about new VW boss Martin Winterkorn’s view of the MAN-Scania-VW fiasco. He suggests that the only way to bring the three together is within a framework of mutual respect and so on. We question how this might be achieved. Hey Hakkan, you just tried to burn my house down, but what the hell, come in, have a cup of tea and take a load off. Just keep away from the matches. Cojones we say.

Options for DaimlerChrysler

More talk of DaimlerChrysler dropping its last two syllables here. In truth, we rather like the idea of DC spinning off its truck business into a separate company. It makes money – even with Fuso – and could probably do a better job by itself than in its current position - which necessitates having to pony up to support the other ailing bits of the DC empire.Such a move has been spoken of in the past – and at some length – but we wonder if the time isn’t now right to turn words into actions.