News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

April 6, 2009

Survey: Auto Industry Woes Affecting Consumers’ Purchasing Decisions

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 8:15 pm

The research firm AutoPacific Inc. has announced the results of a new survey about the American public’s views of the automobile industry’s woes. The Internet survey, which was conducted between March 31 and April 1, concluded that the American public is well aware of the challenges facing the American automobile industry as well as the Obama administration’s actions to confront them. In addition, a majority of those surveyed have concerns about buying a vehicle made by General Motors or Chrysler.

Only three percent of respondents said they were not aware of the billions of dollars in government loan guarantees made to GM and Chrysler; 94 percent knew both car makers were required to submit viability plans in hopes of receiving additional government aid; and 89 percent were aware the White House had declared neither plan represented “a credible path to viability.” Survey findings were based on more than 700 responses.

In addition, 52 percent of respondents expressed concern about buying a GM vehicle, while 63 percent were concerned about buying a Chrysler vehicle. When those previously considering buying a GM product were asked whether the White House’s rejection of GM’s restructuring plan would now make them more or less inclined to buy from that company, the response was 3:1 against purchase, which was virtually identical to the response regarding Chrysler vehicles.

The survey results indicate that 72 percent of respondents indicated they were more likely to consider a Ford Motor vehicle because the auto maker has not asked for government loan guarantees. Only 15 percent expressed concern about buying a Ford vehicle. Finally, 72% of respondents indicated that it would be more than a year before they would be in the market for a new car.

Goodyear’s Antitrust Suit Against SR Producers Can Proceed

Filed under: General, Tires — Notch @ 7:17 pm

Rubber & Plastics News (subscription required) reports that Goodyear’s antitrust suit against a group of synthetic rubber suppliers will proceed after a federal judge rejected the defendants’ motion for dismissal.

On March 2, 2009, Judge David D. Dowd Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio that the defendants’ arguments for dismissal were insufficient. However, the judge suggested that the issue of whether the charges had passed their statute of limitations might be taken up at a later date.

In the suit, which was filed in May 2008, Goodyear alleges that the defendants overcharged it for polybutadiene and sytrene-butadiene rubber in an international price-fixing cartel. Goodyear seeks treble damages, attorneys’ fees and injunctive relief.

According to R&P News, the defendants in the original case were Bayer A.G.; its subsidiaries Bayer Corp. and Bayer MaterialScience L.L.C.; Dow Chemical Co., with its subsidiaries Dow Deutschland Inc., Dow Deutschland GmbH & Co. OHG and Dow Europe GmbH; Eni S.p.A.; Syndial S.p.A.; and Polimeri Europa S.p.A., with its subsidiary Polimeri Europe Americas Inc.

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