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Recently, the finance arm of PSA/Peugeot-Citroën was in such debt trouble that it was pricing itself out of the car loan market. The rates it was paying to service its debt, which was rated one step above junk, were so high that it was forced to charge car-buying customers higher rates than they could find elsewhere. This was adding to Peugeot's already impressive woes by sending revenue out the door to competitors.
Two months ago a deal was worked out with the French government whereby the state would provide 7 billion euro ($9 billion USD) in bonds to guarantee the finance arm's loans. The French government could nominate someone to join the Peugeot board, Peugeot would guarantee more French jobs, and on top of that deal, other banks would provide non-guaranteed loans. The government would take no equity stake in the car company.
Although not yet finalized, the arrangement is meant to create some breathing room for Peugeot Finance to lower its interest rates for customers, and a government-nominated board member, Louis Gallois, was recently named to Peugeot's supervisory board. The arrangement was also openly questioned by at least three competitors: Ford, Renault - which is 15-percent owned by the French government after it received state aid - and the German state of Lower Saxony, itself a 15-percent shareholder in Volkswagen.
Dennis Williams, the newly elected president of the UAW, had some tough words for American automakers in his inauguration speech at the 2014 UAW Convention, striking down the possibility of any additional concessions from the 400,000-strong union.
"No more concessions. We are tired of it. Enough is enough," Williams said during his speech. UAW employees have not received a raise in nearly 10 years, according to Reuters.
Considering the recent strong results for Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, the union's demands are likely to carry a bit more weight in next year's negotiations. And considering Williams' tough stance, we could be in for some fireworks once negotiations commence.
Last August, Ford made a few waves by claiming that the Ford Focus was, at that point, the top-selling car in the world. The automaker failed to account for variations of the Toyota Corolla wearing a different name (such as the Auris and Matrix), however. With official data from Polk coming in now, Ford is able to say that the Focus was, in fact, the best-selling nameplate in the world last year.
Using new-car registrations (which doesn't factor in fleet sales), the Polk data shows that a total of more than one million Focus models around the world. Strong sales in the US and China have led to a 16 percent increase in year-over-year Focus sales from 2011 that helped to create even more of a gap between it and the second-best global seller, the Corolla.
Ford also had the Fiesta and F-Series listed in the top 10 for worldwide nameplates, but what's even more impressive is the fact that the F-Series is only sold in North America. Scroll down to see the list (compiled by Ford using Polk data) of the top global sellers last year and a press release from Ford.