What great news. Car production rises for the first time in many months in August, up over 3%. Admittedly this comes from a very low base, but in view of the turmoil everywhere else, any growth has got to be welcomed. But, before you get too carried away, we are still 17% down ytd.
Growth is something that Aston Martin would certainly welcome over the coming 12 months. Especially, as it has been reported, as they have opted for what might be called “speculative” borrowing. This has come in the form of a bond issue which, as I read it, will pay out at 12% if they have a cracking year with the launch of new models, and revert to 15% if the news is not so good. Such levels of interest on corporate debt are unusually high and not surprising their credit rating is not exactly on the crest of a wave at this moment. For a company that has gone bust something like 7 times in the past 100 years, we all hope that history is not repeating itself.

Nissan are not exactly enjoying the best of times either. And news today that the chief executive of Suntory (some of us will remember them as the sponsors of the world Matchplay golf tournament at Wentworth many years ago) has turned down their approach to be their new chief executive. Apparently there are two other high-level Japanese candidates in the frame, but they were hoping to have tied it up by now.

BMW is also having issues, but they have said, apparently, that they have no interest in settling the cartel case the European Union has brought against them and four other manufacturers. This is around delaying the introduction of emissions technology, charges they will robustly defend. Though insiders suggest they are not completely confident as they have laid aside 1bn euros to pay any fines.

Good luck for September, we hear that some brands are struggling under the new RDE regulations to produce enough compliant vehicles. Others, it is rumoured, are producing plenty of vehicles, just not the ones people want to buy. Testing times, still only a couple of days to go.

Have a great weekend, and a great finish to September.

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