THIS WEEK

Well you can’t say it’s been the best 7 days for the motor industry. Jaguar Land Rover posting a £3.6 billion loss for the year and announcing over 6,000 redundancies. A dramatic collapse in their market in China, falling 38%, has certainly not helped. Combine that with a general slowing of the motor industry in pretty well every other market in the world, and you have a recipe for a tough year.
Ford hardly brightened the tone. With managing director, Jim Hackett, announcing that 10% of its global workforce was to be cut. Which means about 7000, jobs going. It is difficult to see where Ford has lost its way, but I remember at the end of the 80s the company having market shares in excess of 20%. They were the standout performer by almost every benchmark, certainly the European market is much more challenging for them these days.

And talking about a halo slipping a little, Tesla’s previously buoyant investors are predicting that it could slump from its current share price of $196 to about $10 a share. It was only a few months ago that it was as high as $375 or so. The rumours are that pundits and institutional investors like Morgan Stanley, are beginning to back against the company’s shares, feeling that despite their technological edge, the company has at best an uncertain future.

Cheery stuff as we approach the end of May. Interpret that how you will.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Seeing ourselves as others would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.
Franklin P. Jones
Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings.
Evan Esar (1899 – 1995), Esar’s Comic Dictionary
Those who agree with us may not be right, but we admire their astuteness.
Cullen Hightower
Adventure is just bad planning.
Roald Amundsen (1872 – 1928)
THIS WEEK

Let me pick up on a few stories from last week. I know Tesla had a bad week last week, while this week it is had to go cap in hand to investors to raise a further sizeable chunk of capital. In fact the Wall Street Journal this afternoon reports that it could be seeking as much as $2.7 billion to fund the next round of its expansion. Much of which would not be necessary had it already been expanding at the rate it had predicted it would be.
Ford started off last week pretty positively, but finished with a headline that said it was being investigated with regards to an emissions problem. In fact this was as a result of a self appointed probe into its testing methods. It was responding to concerns from some employees about the methods it used. If proven, however, it could prove very costly both in fines and penalties, and in damages paid to customers if it has misrepresented its fuel economy and emissions figures. The emissions scandal is the “gift that just keeps giving” to automotive journalists.
Finally, we talked about Renault and Daimler acknowledging a major down turn in automotive. Volkswagen’s results this week have further reflected that. Not only have they been hit by diesel sales and indeed further probes into their own diesel emission problems, but slowing growth in China has severely hit turnover. Nevertheless, though results were bad they were not quite as bad as analysts had expected and shares rose as a result.
There was some pretty ominous news on UK production figures this week. With sales continuing to slide in March, car production correspondingly fell 14%. If that was not bad enough, Land Rover announced that it would be producing its revived Defender model not in the UK, but in Slovakia. A decision that the company claims is unrelated to Brexit, it nevertheless does not fill you with confidence about the future of manufacturing in this country. Hopefully the news can only get better from now on.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the Bank Holiday.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

When you are in any contest you should work as if there were – to the very last minute – a chance to lose it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.
Joseph Addison (1672 – 1719), ‘The Spectator’
Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels of aspiration and expectation.
Jack Nicklaus (1940 – ), ‘My Story’
Happiness depends upon ourselves.
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)
THIS WEEK

I always like to take a look through the week’s headlines to see if any of the manufacturers appear more than once. And how their news changes during the week. This week there are three manufacturers that are worth looking at, Ford, Tesla and Nissan. It is fair to say that each have had mixed weeks.
Let’s take Tesla for example, on Tuesday Elon Musk announced that the electric car maker would turn very, very cash positive as soon as a self driving network of “Robotaxis” launches. By Wednesday John Gapper in the Financial Times, was accusing the company of going too fast as they sought to dominate the world of self driving cars. By Thursday the company had announced enormous losses in the first quarter of this year, $702m, and was already indicating that it needed a further cash call. By today analysts were worrying about the company’s ability to continue to raise cash. Just a normal week in the life of Tesla’s Chairman I reckon.
There was good news for Ford on Wednesday, as they announced that they had managed to beat GM in securing a partnership with Rivian, the auto technology company. By Thursday the company was predicting confidently a much stronger 2019. Their concentration on pickups and trucks were yielding dividends, especially in the US. However, today the Wall Street Journal announced that US regulators are to probe the manufacturer over vehicles emissions tests.
Finally Nissan opened the week with their second profit warning in two months. Analysts were blaming both the fallout from the Carlos Ghosn saga and poor performance in the United States. By yesterday their former CEO had been released from jail, subject to a number of very strict conditions. Not unnaturally Nissan was mentioned at regular intervals. By today it was announced that relations between Nissan and their previous sister company Renault had sunk to pretty low levels. Nissan had report reportedly rejected calls for a merger, something that Mr Ghosn himself has suggested has been at the heart of their attacks on him.
And to add to everyone’s woes this Friday, it seems that many manufacturers have recognised that there is a global stall in output. Trade relations with China, withdrawing from Iran, squeezed margins and the need to tool up rapidly in the change to electric vehicles have put pressure on almost every manufacturer. Daimler and the aforementioned Renault were amongst those who hit a gloomy note in the news today. Still, I am sure your April registrations are far better?
Have a great weekend – time to get the kite out again.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.
Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962)
Two paradoxes are better than one; they may even suggest a solution.
Edward Teller (1908 – 2003)
Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 – 1915)
When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
THIS WEEK

Plenty of stories have tried to crowded out of the headlines, but the omission scandal is one that just will not go away. News this week that Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive of the VW group, is facing charges in Germany alongside four other, unnamed directors. The charges allege that he knew nearly 18 months before the story broke about the illegal software that the manufacturer had fitted. And that he authorised a software update a few months later that, it is alleged, tried to cover up the fraud.
VW has already paid €29 million in fines, so the company has not escaped unscathed. Though the cynic would say that, despite recent falling sales, their global market share is going up and that it has done them no harm. This is much less likely for any of the directors, as a guilty verdict could open them up to as much is 10 years in jail. Not a great way to end your career, especially as the US is also seeking to indict him.
And talking of ending careers, Carlos Ghosn is suffering a pretty torrid time in Japan. Having gone on the offensive last month, he has since been rearrested and his wife has flown to Japan to testify in court. Reports say that he will remain in jail for some time to come, something that is consistent with Japanese justice. Things do not appear to be improving for him.
Many of my clients have reported a pretty good first quarter, despite the gloom and doom in the economy and the wider global picture. A bit like last year, however, they have noted that April has been at best sluggish. It seems like someone has locked the showroom doors. Maybe it is time that manufacturers started re-calendarising their budgets, as the fall off in the second quarter seems to be a pattern that repeats itself regularly. It is looking like quite a long haul to December already.
Have a great weekend, good luck with the Easter egg hunt on Sunday.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.

Tallulah Bankhead (1903 – 1968)

It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.

Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), ‘Nicomachean Ethics,’ 325 B.C.
Life is like getting dropped off in the middle of the woods, and then year by year, gradually walking home.
April Foiles
THIS WEEK

With a massive push by the EU, manufacturers are looking to reduce their environmental footprint,. By 2021 they are expected to have reduced emissions by 40% compared to 2007. Different companies approach the problem in different ways. Some are re-aligning their models, some are rapidly developing electronic vehicles and some, like FCA, are paying a substantial sum to another manufacturer so they can pool their resources and reduce their average. That manufacturer is Tesla, who clearly have a zero emissions. So that should help, providing they can produce enough vehicles to make a meaningful dent on Fiat and its sister company Chrysler and their output.
And Fiat Chrysler has been in the courts quite a lot recently, especially over in the US. First of all, it settled a lawsuit brought by an Illinois dealer group who had accused it of putting undue pressure to manipulate monthly sales reports. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but FCA was accused of encouraging dealers to falsify reports and making their performance look rather better than it was. And the bad legal news did not end there. As they have also agreed to pay $110 million to settle a long standing lawsuit around safety issues and excess diesel emissions. (Where have we heard that before). While it continues to deny the charges, the company also paid nearly $800 million in fines and costs in January regarding emissions software. It’s been quite an expensive year so far.
Lest we wonder whether there is just simply too much hype around electronic vehicles and their current preeminence, at least in the press, the Financial Times carries a series of articles today regarding Formula E, and the challenge it presents to Formula One. Something that originally looked a little quirky and more like dodgems at the fairground than a serious racing formula, Formula E has continued to develop and is now very much part of the racing scene. No one is suggesting that it will take over from Formula One, though a number have manufacturers, including Mercedes, have joined the stable. At the very least it is a useful testing ground for future technology. And no one wants to miss out.
Have a great weekend, it will be great to watch the Masters rather than listen to reports about our current non-exit from the EU.
THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life.
Adele Brookman
A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.
Phyllis Mcginley
The advice of friends must be received with a judicious reserve; we must not give ourselves up to it and follow it blindly, whether right or wrong.
Pierre Charron
What you cannot enforce, do not command.
Sophocles (496 BC – 406 BC)
THIS WEEK

I was not looking forward to writing my newsletter next week. I might have had to wait up until midnight to check whether we are still in the European union or not. Sadly, it has continued to dominate headlines this week, but at least now we have 2 more to enjoy the pantomime.

Which is perhaps just as well for VW, as it would appear that last week’s row over the unfortunate gaffe by Herbert Diess has not gone away. And a publication as august as the Financial Times has suggested it may well ultimately cost him his job. A word of advice, as a number of dealer conferences are coming up, check your speeches for ill judged jokes.

A piece of good news for UK manufacturing whether we leave or stay. Toyota has announced that it is teaming up with Suzuki to produce one of their models in Derby. Quite a coup for both manufacturers, for Suzuki to have a UK manufactured car is great news, for Toyota to take up some of the slack in the factory is equally attractive.

In case you were wondering whether the pace of car retailing going online was slowing, a new report suggests that increasing numbers of customers are sourcing their car finance online, something which more than half of them are able to arrange in less than 30 minutes. Recent figures show that it has leapt from 15% last year to 21% of UK car buyers in 2019. No doubt, as with other online shopping, we will reach a critical point, a tipping point where online becomes more and more relevant and eventually takes over. It is crucial that we all understand when that might be, and what might finally drive it.

Have a great weekend, no rugby but plenty of scuffles at Westminster to keep you amused.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.
Epictetus (55 AD – 135 AD)
Laughing is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one spot.
Josh Billings
Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life’s currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose.
Thomas Szasz(1818 – 1885)
So you see, imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.
Brenda Ueland
THIS WEEK

In amongst all the Brexit news, you may have noticed that this has been an interesting week for VW. At the start of the week things were very buoyant, 12bn euros annual profit and with the company setting bold new targets for electric vehicle production. While it concedes that the future for the traditional motor industry will not be quite as rosy after the electric revolution, there will be some job losses, but there will be some winners too. And VW is being seen as a leading light in the revolution itself. Commentators agree and are confident that the group will do extremely well in electric.
Half way through the week, however, it had to pull a stock market listing of its truck unit, Traton. It cited global market conditions is just not being conducive to maximising value at the moment. Something that will be a severe blow to the company’s MAN and Scania Brands.,  which form part of this curiously named subsidiary. Amongst the problems highlighted were sales in China and tighter emission controls in Europe.

However it got a lot worse by Friday. First of all the SEC announced that they were going to sue VW and their former chief executive as a result of the emissions scandal. And when somebody in the US like the Securities and Exchange Commission sues you, then you probably sit up and take notice. Because they do not deal in small penalties if they find against you. It cites the company’s hiding of its decade-long emission scheme while attracting inward investment as the problem.

Still, it could not get any worse, could it? Well tell that Herbert Diess, the current VW boss. He used a rather unfortunate line at a company event on Tuesday, which was only reported yesterday and seems to have gone global today. In English, the phrase “Earnings before interest and taxes sets you free” would not really provoke much of a response. But sadly in German it echoed a Nazi phrase from the concentration camps that was more than very unfortunate. On what level did he, or his script writer, reckon that would play well? With the group’s history intertwined with the Nazis way back when you just do not go there. And however much good publicity the brand has had this week, not least the 12 billion of profit, the way it finished the week was pretty poor.

Have a great weekend – hold onto your hats, it’s going to be windy.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

I read part of it all the way through.
Samuel Goldwyn (1882 – 1974)
Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival.
W. Edwards Deming (1900 – 1993)
Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.
Sir Wilfred Grenfell (1865 – 1940)
He who undervalues himself is justly undervalued by others.
William Hazlitt (1778 – 1830)
THIS WEEK

I would rather not try to predict what is going to happen to the market in Europe, because until we get next week’s Brexit votes out of the way nothing is going to happen over here that is predictable. So I thought I would concentrate on what was happening as far as the US market was concerned, as many of you may not get the chance to read that publications like the Wall Street Journal.
They are reporting today that Tesla has reached a deal with lenders in China. And it is quite a deal, a bit of a snub to Pres. Trump and one that signals how much they going to put into the Chinese market. $521 million. It is called the Giga Factory and for good reason. Now we know that the company have been ambitious before, but they are targeting 10,000 vehicles a week, or half a million vehicles a year, out of this operation. Not for the faint-hearted.
If the Americans thought they had enough choice, one major manufacturer does not think so and they are heading back into the market. The PSA group this week announced that after three decades away they are returning stateside. One of the most improved manufacturers in the world over the past 10 years, they are seeing this as crucial to their future development. They have spent the past three years remodeling and reengineering their vehicles to suit the US and Canadian markets.

Rounding up the big US stories of the week, something that we would give our right arm for over here – Fiat Chrysler is just about to invest $4.5 billion in a new plant in Michigan. This will create 6,500 jobs and will provide them with a new facility to produce Jeep’s sport utility vehicle.

So the rest of the world is getting on with it. Investment is not in short supply, and although the world may not be growing quite as fast as it has been, the industry is changing so fast there is investment being made. As pretty well the largest manufacturing sector out there, and certainly the most high-profile, it seems a shame that the UK is seeing its manufacturing base head off in the wrong direction at speed.

Have a great weekend – better brush up on your Brexit jargon, it might be needed by Wednesday to understand what’s going on.

THIS WEEK’S JOBS
Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page

Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Invention is the mother of necessity.
Thorstein Veblen (1857 – 1929)
He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)
Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.
Gene Fowler

If at first you don’t succeed, find out if the loser gets anything.
Bill Lyon

THIS WEEK

Inchcape showed this week the value of being a global company. While its performance in the UK fell substantially [by about 72% actually], its operations globally showed only a marginal reduction in profit. This was partly down to stunning figures in Russia, where sales have responded very positively to government incentives. Other markets are apparently under more pressure than us, and it is interesting that they are not the first retailer to put into question manufacturers supply issues last year, especially with regard to WLTP.

And indeed the swing in their fortunes was nothing compared to announcements from Aston Martin this week. Losing the previous year’s profits of £68 million might seem unfortunate, turning it into a similar loss is surely just careless. Much of this was linked to the flotation of the company and fees paid to advisers as well as incentives paid to senior management. Not a great advertisement for investor return. On the other hand, the underlying trading performance of the company looks fairly solid with expanding sales in several markets around the world.

Let us not forget it is March 1 today. A day when everybody should be rushed off their feet, though some of my clients tell me they were busier last week than they are this. Having said that, the start of the year has been better than many have predicted. Especially when Auto Trader reported that a study showed that a third of potential car purchasers in the UK have been put off making that decision because of the uncertainty around Brexit. It has certainly hit car manufacturing which is 20% down again.

Have a great weekend, some people tell me it is just 29 days until “we take back control”

THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

In the end, everything is a gag.
Charlie Chaplin (1889 – 1977)
Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address.
Lane Olinghouse
Vote early and vote often.
Al Capone (1899 – 1947)

The best measure of a man’s honesty isn’t his income tax return. It’s the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.
Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – )

THIS WEEK

It has been a pretty sobering week for the car industry as the country takes back control as we approach Brexit. Honda’s decision to close its Swindon plant after 30 years came as something of a shock. And Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, said that the effect of this would be nothing compared to the effects of a no-deal Brexit. Following up on that story, if you read the Wall Street Journal you will see that Honda has announced that some of that  production will travel across the pond. No doubt in order to beat Pres Trump’s tariffs for foreign produced vehicles into the US.

Just when we thought there was so much news around about Brexit that nothing else could get through, there was an another announcement in the States yesterday that Ford is under investigation for problems with emissions. The same Wall Street Journal, amongst others, carried the story yesterday, apparently the result of whistle blowers within the organisation questioning the manufacturers analysis of test results to arrive at their emissions figures. Thank goodness we will all be turning electric, we won’t have to worry about emissions at all then.

The issue for the UK post Brexit is fairly clear. We are highly unlikely to be seen as the landing point for car production because the country does not give access to Europe and all other markets are simply too far away. The world is becoming much more protectionist, and in those circumstances everyone will put up blocks. Which does not necessarily leave us in an encouraging place.

But interestingly, speaking to senior executives, the first quarter of this year has so far proved pretty encouraging. Not least because sales teams love a narrative, and customers generally love an excuse to leap into action. What better excuse than “If you want a new car make sure you buy it before the end of March in case the price goes through the roof”. We went through this two years ago, however, and it would be good to remember just how disappointing April was after a fine start to the year. At that time it was because of the change in vehicle excise duty.

Anyway have a good weekend, there’s plenty of rugby on, take back control (of the remote perhaps).

THIS WEEK’S JOBS

Here are some jobs from the past ten days. Check these out and see if there is anything tempting. Click on the link to apply immediately through our site. The situation is changing the whole time and if any link refuses to work, it is probably because it has already been filled and removed. Check out all our jobs at on our Jobs Page
Latest Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

One’s first step in wisdom is to question everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 – 1799)

To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)

Beware of the man who won’t be bothered with details.
William Feather (1908 – 1976)

The world is not yet exhausted; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw before.
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

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