Tag Archives: General Motors

Tata Motors’ Karl Slym probably killed himself – Thai police

Thai police suspect Tata Motors’ Managing Director Karl Slym killed himself when he fell from the 22nd floor of a Bangkok hotel on Sunday. Mr Slym was hired from GM to revive Tata Motors’ fortunes The British executive was in Thailand to attend a board meeting of the company’s local affiliate. Investigators believe Mr Slym may have taken his own life because of a note left in his room referring to domestic problems. Police said it was being analysed to confirm Mr Slym wrote it. Thai police said they were called to the Shangri-La hotel around 07:45 (00:45 GMT) on Sunday, after staff found Mr Slym’s body on the fourth floor, which juts out above lower storeys of the luxury complex. They then woke up Mr Slym’s wife, who seemed shocked, they said. The couple had been married for about 30 years and did not have any children. In a statement, Company Chairman Cyrus P Mistry paid tribute to Mr Slym, describing him as “a valued colleague who was providing strong leadership at a challenging time for the Indian auto industry”. “In this hour of grief, our thoughts are with Karl’s wife and family,” he said. Aged 51, Mr Slym led the carmaker’s operations in India and international markets including South Korea, Thailand and South Africa. He was not responsible for the Jaguar and Land Rover luxury unit that Tata Motors acquired in 2008. Mr Slym, who was from Derby, England, had worked for Toyota in the UK, and then General Motors in India and China. He had been managing director of Tata Motors, part of the giant Tata Group, since being hired in October 2012 to revive Tata’s flagging sales in India. Tata Motors recently introduced a new petrol engine for its passenger vehicles and was planning to launch a hatchback and compact sedan this year, the first all-new Tata-branded passenger vehicles since 2010. Following news of Mr Slym’s death, Tata Motors stock closed down 6% at 347.8 rupees. ‘Not possible’ he slipped Police official Somyot Boonyakaew said investigators “didn’t find any sign of a struggle” in the room Mr Slym was sharing with his wife in the Shangri-La Hotel. “We found a window open. The window was very small so it was not possible that he would have slipped,” he told Reuters news agency. “He would have had to climb through the window to fall out because he was a big man. From my initial investigation, we believe he jumped.” Tata Motors has declined to comment on the possible cause of Mr Slym’s death. Friends have described Slym as a jovial man who loved cricket and Indian films. Agencies

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Saab to restart production 2 years after bankruptcy

Saab will restart production on Monday as the firm’s new owners look to get the carmaker back on track. Saab is set to restart production two years after it filed for bankruptcy Saab went bankrupt in December 2011 and was bought by a Chinese-Swedish investment group, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs), last year. The carmaker will restart production of its 9-3 sedan model at its Trollhattan factory in western Sweden. The firm will initially make a petrol-powered version of the car with the aim of launching an electric version later. “It’s very similar, you can’t change or develop very much in a year. We acquired the assets in August last year,” Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for Nevs was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. “Our focus has been to get the co-operation up and running with 400 suppliers and ensure the facilities were working.” Slow and steady Saab has seen mixed fortunes over the past few years. US carmaker General Motors (GM) bought a 50% stake and management control of the firm in 1989, and gained full ownership in 2000. The Swedish company’s car sales peaked at 133,000 cars in 2006. But then it saw its fortunes dwindle with sales falling to 93,000 cars in 2008 and just 27,000 in 2009. To make matters worse, GM itself sought bankruptcy protection as the global financial crisis unfolded, forcing the US company to dispose of assets. GM sold Saab to Dutch group Spyker, which in turn eventually sold the firm to Nevs in June last year. The new owners have said they want to focus on electric cars as they look to revive the brand. However, Mr Oestlund said that initial production would be modest. “We don’t want to make promises or forecasts we don’t know we can fulfil,” he said. “We are humble and say we’ll start the production volume with low figures and be able to increase over time according to the market’s demand.” BBC

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Kenya to ban goods from matatu roofs

The government will outlaw mounting of carriers on the rooftops of passenger services vehicles. A picture of a matatu carrying goods Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau last week said banning PSVs from carrying goods on their rooftops would enhance safety in the public transport sector and reduce the number of accidents. “This is important to avoid instances where buses with load carriers tip over when overloaded, as happened in the case of the Ntulele crash,” said Kamau. The August Ntulele accident left 41 people dead. Compliance with the regulation, Kamau said, would  enhance survival rates in the event of an accident. Further, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) will ensure vehicle body builders adhere to the use of specified materials. “We will not hesitate to deregister vehicle body building companies that fail to comply with the set standards,” he added, saying the lack of safety on the roads is partly a result of sub-standard vehicle bodies. “One of the causes of the loss of many lives in the Ntulele bus crash was the poor build of the bus, as evidenced by the tearing off of the entire roof and sides of the bus during the accident,” Kamau added. He made the remarks last week during the commissioning of a Sh100 million General Motors bus body building technology centre. Vehicle bodies The vehicle body building industry in Kenya is not properly regulated, and only a handful of firms are registered. David Percival, of the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers in Thika, said the vehicle body building market is dominated by 30 semi-formal builders and over 300 informal ones. “There is need for the government to develop standards with a view to ensuring quality production of vehicle bodies,” he said. The GM assembly centre will also serve as a training ground for local body builders on best practices to improve skills and technology transfer for the local industry. “As a market leader in this industry, GMEA is committed to investing in the growth of the bus segment and the centre will work as a benchmark for safety, quality and technology,” GMEA Managing Director Rita Kavashe said, as the first bus — an Isuzu Cruiser — rolled off the new assembly Centre. The new Isuzu Cruiser is a key component of the company’s strategy to grow its market share, currently at 25.4 per cent, in its traditional markets within East Africa, and penetrate new markets in sub-Saharan Africa. “The bus, targeted at hotels, tour operators, schools, institutions and the public service vehicle sector, has enhanced safety features and improved fuel efficiency demonstrating GMEA’s commitment to innovation,” Kavashe added. Egyptian bus manufacturing company GB Polo is partnering with the firm on provision of materials and technological expertise for assembly of bus bodies. “We are currently importing partially knocked down kits, but in the near future, we plan to import completely knocked down kits as we apply the transferred technical expertise to build the full bus body,” Kavashe said. By NICHOLAS WAITATHU, The Standard

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Dow Jones and S&P climb to new highs

New York’s Dow Jones and S&P 500 share indexes have set new all-time highs. Investors have seen a dramatic rally in the market in recent months The rallies mean the stock markets are returning to levels not seen since before the global financial crisis. The Dow rose 89 points, to close at 14,662, after an earlier intraday high of about 14,684, The previous record high of 14,285 was set in March. And the broader S&P 500 closed at a record high of 1,570, suggesting investors are regaining confidence in the US economy. The Dow has more than doubled in value since it plummeted to less than 6,550 points in the depth of the crisis in March 2009. Tuesday’s rally came after a US Department of Commerce report that showed new orders for manufactured goods rose 3% in February, topping predictions. And carmakers General Motors, Ford and Chrysler reported strong US monthly sales performances. GM said “a strengthening economy and new products” were factors behind the result. Agencies

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