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ChiefOfficers.Net

Don't be under any illusions: GM didn't start dying within the last two years. It has been suffering from a terminal illness for thirty years. It is doubtful if the latest operation will bring anything but respite.

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Two days ago, the British government told TATA that it would not underwrite loan guarantees without conditions (story). TATA didn't like that - and said the UK Government was putting jobs at risk. Today, TATA owned CORUS, the rump of what was British Steel, says it is mothballing its Teesside plant at a cost of 2,000 jobs.

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Having failed in its initial bid to gain support from the British government via Peter Mandelson, TATA is now playing hard-ball with the UK's Labour Party in its bid to get its purchase of Jaguar Land Rover underwritten by the UK taxpayer. It's getting dangerously close to a foreign company playing power broker in UK politics.

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Ah, LDV. Time was when Leyland Bus and Truck was the global leader in - well, buses and trucks. The Leyland Atlantean and its close sibling the Daimer Fleetline are still the iconic vehicles that underpin (in spirit, at least) the world's public bus transport system even today. Now a mere shadow of its former glory, LDV makes light vans - and does it very well. But it's a highly competitive market.

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It might sound ridiculous but when Ford announced today that it had lost "only" USD 1,400 million people were happy. For they had expected it to lose more.

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Whilst Obama lords it over a meeting of his new best friends - the bankers - Rick Waggoner of GM becomes the scapegoat - someone had to go to prove Obama's got steel under that smile.

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It is difficult to understand the failure of Ssangyong. They make great cars, build them well and sell them at keen prices. Yet for the third time in just over a decade, it stands on the brink of disappearing.

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It may say "Daimler" on the doors, but it says "Mercedes-Benz" on the cars, and that's what has attracted almost euro2 milliard of Abu Dhabi money into the company.

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India's TATA, which has had all manner of problems in getting factories set up due to local opposition, yesterday brought the Nano to the market. The eagerly anticipated "one-step-up-from-a-motorbike" car will sell in India only. It's price a jaw-dropping low of under GBP2,000 (equivalent). And everyone wants to know more.

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Maybe the surprise popularity of the Peugeot RCZ has inspired more manufacturers to be daring, moving what would once have been concept cars into production - and at an affordable price. At the Geneva Motor Show, Alfa Romeo, the nicer end of the Fiat range, has announced the 4C and it's creating stirrings in places that usually only upmarket sports cars reach.

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