SEMA Show 2013 Las Vegas

SEMA 2013

 

Specialty Equipment Market Association

SEMA Show takes place November 5 – November 8, 2013 at the Las Vegas Convention Center

The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more.

SEMA Show 2012 drew more than 60,000 domestic and international buyers. The displays are segmented into 12 sections, and a New Products Showcase featured nearly 2,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more…

The SEMA Show is not open to the general public. The SEMA Show is a trade-only event and only qualified individuals employed within the automotive aftermarket industry are permitted to enter the convention center.

 

Senators raise alarm over another possible sale of taxpayer-backed firm to Chinese

Fisker 660

A solar roof is seen on a Fisker Karma hybrid electric car during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. (Reuters)

Republican senators complained Wednesday that U.S. taxpayer dollars could end up boosting the Chinese economy, following reports that a Chinese firm is leading the pack of companies bidding for a majority stake in government-backed Fisker Automotive.

The troubled California-based electric car maker, which was backed by U.S. taxpayers to the tune of nearly $530 million, for months has been looking for a financial partner. Reuters reported earlier this week that China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is favored to take over, though Fisker is also reportedly weighing a bid from another Chinese auto maker.

The development comes after Fisker’s main battery supplier — U.S. government-backed A123 Systems — was recently purchased by a separate Chinese firm.

Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, voiced concern Wednesday that Chinese companies are benefiting from U.S. taxpayers’ investment.

“Obama’s green energy investments appear to be nothing more than venture capital for eventual Chinese acquisitions,” Thune said in a statement. “After stimulus-funded A123 was just acquired by a Chinese-based company, it’s troubling to see that yet another struggling taxpayer-backed company might be purchased under duress by a Chinese company.”

Grassley added: “Like A123, this looks like another example of taxpayer dollars going to a failed experiment. Technology developed with American taxpayer subsidies should not be sold off to China.”

Despite the Reuters report, Fisker stressed that the bidding process is still very much open.

“The company has received detailed proposals from multiple parties in different continents which are now being evaluated by the company and its advisors,” Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher said in a statement.

The Obama administration also defended the Energy Department’s overall loan program, which originally extended the nearly $530 million loan to Fisker in 2010.

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Chinese bid for A123 may raise security risks: Senators

A123

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Chinese company’s attempt to take over government-backed battery maker A123 raises serious national security concerns, a bipartisan group of lawmakers said this week, adding to growing congressional opposition to the deal.

China’s Wanxiang Group Corp is currently competing with U.S.-based Johnson Controls Inc to buy bankrupt A123, which makes lithium ion batteries for electric cars.

The government must ensure that any sale of A123’s technology, which has also been used by the military and to support the U.S. electrical grid, does not threaten domestic security, the senators said in letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and other top cabinet officials.

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A123 Systems gets $465 million rescue from Chinese auto parts maker

Struggling battery maker A123 Systems (AONE.O), which got a quarter-billion dollar green technology grant from the Obama administration, has won a $465 million rescue by Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp.

A123 Systems said the planned investment includes an initial credit extension of $25 million that it expects to receive this week. The rest coming through a mix of convertible notes and bridge finance with warrants, as certain conditions are met.

The line of credit would help A123 keep making batteries for electric and hybrid cars. Last month, the company said it was left with only 5 months of cash.

If all the warrants and notes are later converted to shares, Wanxiang will own 80 percent of the firm, A123 said in a statement.

The agreement follows the non-binding memorandum of understanding that A123 signed last week.

A123 shares were trading up 2 percent at $0.48 on Thursday morning on the Nasdaq.

A foreign rescue of A123 has the potential to ignite a political firestorm in this election year, as President Barack Obama could face criticism for bankrolling technology that ends up in Chinese hands.

The advanced car battery industry has been hurt in part by too much capacity and weak U.S. demand for electric cars.

Leg-Baring Auto Mechanics Chose Made-in-America Kilts

Image credit: KOTV – CBS affiliate

If you wander into a certain auto shop in Oklahoma, you may be a little taken aback by the view: two men working on cars in kilts.

“It was mainly that we were looking for an alternative for the heat,” said David O’Brien, the owner of O’Brien Auto Performance in Tulsa, Okla. “And since I have Irish and Scottish heritage, it was just a fun thing to do.”

With no air conditioning in the shop, O’Brien decided to invest in an airier alternative — and he wanted it to be Made in America.

So he turned to Kommando Kilts.

“We chose a company that’s right here in Oklahoma City,” O’Brien said. “Their whole pattern and the fact that they’re an Oklahoma company just worked perfectly for us.”

But they’re not cheap — the kilts come in at $130 a pop.

“That’s actually inexpensive for kilts,” O’Brien said. “But, you know, for work clothes, that’s really expensive.”

O’Brien and technician David Denney, who goes by Dinkums, are the only two who wear the kilts. The other technician, Ryan Henry, isn’t quite as comfortable showing a little leg around the office.

“He doesn’t even wear shorts, so he’s definitely not going to wear a kilt,” O’Brien said.

But he also pointed out you can’t get too comfortable.

“You have to be really careful when you’re laying on the ground — knees down, legs crossed,” O’Brien said. “Plus you can really burn your bum on the seat of a hot car.”

But for these leg-baring men, it’s about more than just the breeze.

“You know, it’s a hard business,” O’Brien said. “You’ve got to have a little fun with it.”

Source http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/08/leg-baring-auto-mechanics-chose-made-in-america-kilts/

China moves in on U.S. manufacturer of high-tech car batteries

A123 Systems, a maker of advanced batteries for electric vehicles, has been struggling financially of late.  However, it may soon be rescued.  Unfortunately, the bailout could come from a Chinese auto-parts company.

Wanxiang Group Corp., one of China’s biggest auto parts makers, has offered a $450 million bid for A123 Systems Inc.

If a Chinese firm were to buy A123, it would put the firm’s lithium-ion technology and its U.S.-funded manufacturing plant, in the hands of a company that has been slowly acquiring U.S. auto parts firms throughout the Midwest.

According to Michael Wessel of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), the deal has worrying implications.  As Wessel explained to Reuters:

“This is a very troubling transaction that should be strictly scrutinized by the U.S. government.  This is a critical sector and one that American policy makers have focused on in terms of future economic opportunity and job creation.”

China’s auto parts industry already enjoys massive subsidies that give Chinese firms a leg up on their U.S. competition.  According to a study conducted for the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) by Usha C.V. Haley, government subsidies to the Chinese auto-parts industry have reached $27.5 billion.  Haley says that China’s central government has committed to disbursing an additional $10.9 billion in subsidies for industrial restructuring and technological development of the industry.

U.S. firms like A123 face the double whammy of subsidized competition from China, and then the potential for buyout by the same competitors.

According to David Vieau, A123’s chief executive, the firm would seek approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) in order to move forward on the sale to Wanxiang.  However, the deal already faces concerns from Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s panel on oversight and investigations, and is worried about the deal’s transfer of intellectual property.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Stearns as saying: “We need to make sure the federal government isn’t an unwitting accomplice to the theft of our own national secrets by providing [foreign-controlled companies] with multimillion-dollar government grants and loans.”

 

A company that two years ago was one of the most promising U.S. innovators in the clean-fuel auto industry was rescued from collapse Wednesday. Its buyer: A Chinese auto-parts company.

Wanxiang Group Corp., one of China’s biggest parts makers, offered a $450 million lifeline to A123 Systems Inc., a maker of advanced batteries for electric vehicles that received U.S.-government backing. The deal would put the firm’s lithium-ion technology and its U.S.-funded manufacturing plant into the hands of a company that has slowly acquired a passel of auto assets across the Midwest.

Wanxiang’s investment, part of a move into clean energy …

 

General Motors is becoming China Motors

General Motors is becoming China Motors. Watch and Listen to the candid comments of GM’s CEO.

CHINA: DON’T LET US AUTO CASE IN WTO HURT TIES

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government said Friday it will “properly handle” a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization about its anti-dumping duties on auto imports and doesn’t want the latest in a string of trade disputes to harm relations.

“It is normal for frictions to occur,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Weimin, at a regular briefing. “What is important is to properly handle it and not to let it impede friendly relations.”

The U.S. complaint Thursday adds to a series of disputes with Beijing over market access for goods ranging from poultry to steel. Political tensions over trade are mounting as governments try to boost exports at a time of slumping global demand.

Washington accused Beijing of improperly imposing anti-dumping duties on American-made autos worth $3 billion. The Chinese duties of 2 to 21.5 percent affect cars and SUVs with engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger.

A Commerce Ministry statement said Beijing will “properly handle the request for consultations under the WTO dispute settlement procedures” — the first step in resolving a complaint.

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Counterfeit Chinese Parts Slipping Into U.S. Military Aircraft: Report

Counterfeit Chinese Parts Slipping Into U.S. Military Aircraft: Report (ABC News)

Counterfeit electronic parts from China are “flooding” into critical U.S. military systems, including special operations helicopters andsurveillance planes, and are putting the nation’s troops at risk, according to a new U.S. Senate committee report.

A year-long investigation conducted by the Senate Armed Services Committee found more than one million suspected counterfeit parts made their way into the Department of Defense’s supply chainand were bound for use by “critical” military systems, according to the 70-plus-page document released Monday. In addition to Navy helicopters and surveillance planes, the parts were slated to be put into the Air Force’s newest cargo planes.

“The failure of a single electronic part can leave a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine vulnerable at the worst possible time,” the report says. “Unfortunately, a flood of counterfeit electronic parts has made it a lot harder to prevent that from happening.”

Chinese companies were identified as the “primary source” of the counterfeit goods and the Chinese government was criticized for its alleged disinterest in cracking down on counterfeiting there. The report said that Chinese companies take discarded electronic parts from all over the world, remove any identifying marks, wash and refurbish them, and then resell them as brand-new – a practice that poses a “significant risk” to the performance of U.S. military systems.

But the committee also pointed a finger at the Pentagon and U.S.-based defense contractors that rely on “hundreds of unvetted independent distributors.”

According to the document, the investigation “revealed failures by defense contractors and [the Department of Defense] to report counterfeit parts and gaps in DoD’s knowledge of the scope and impact of such parts on defense systems.”

“Our committee’s report makes it abundantly clear that vulnerabilities throughout the defense supply chain allow counterfeit electronic parts to infiltrate critical U.S. military systems, risking our security and the lives of the men and women who protect it,” said Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. John McCain (R.-Arizona). “As directed by last year’s Defense Authorization bill, the Department of Defense and its contractors must attack this problem more aggressively, particularly since counterfeiters are becoming better at shielding their dangerous fakes from detection.”

DOWNLOAD: Inquiry Into Counterfeit Electronic Parts in the DoD Supply Chain (WARNING: Large PDF)

A spokesperson for the Department of Defense did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this report, but another spokesperson told CNN the Pentagon was aware of the report and officials “looked forward to reviewing it.”

“The Department takes very seriously the issue about counterfeit parts,” Col. Melinda Morgan said. “We are working aggressively to address this issue…”

Months after the Senate committee launched its investigation, the Pentagon said in November it was moving to protect against counterfeit parts by modifying policies and improving its internal process as well as working more closely with private companies in the industry.

Then, Defense spokesperson George Little noted that “there has been no loss of life or catastrophic mission failure as a result of these parts entering the supply chain.”

Representatives for the Chinese government at its embassy in Washington, D.C., and consulate in New York, New York did not immediately respond to request for comment on this report.

U.S. Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties On Chinese Solar Imports

Employees assemble photovoltaic panels at Suntech Power Holdings Co.’s factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China, in 2011.

The U.S. Commerce Department imposed tariffs of 31 percent to 250 percent on Chinese solar-product imports, siding with companies including SolarWorld AG (SWV) in the U.S. that said the items were sold below the cost of production.

The fees, announced today in an e-mailed statement, add to duties as high as 4.73 percent imposed earlier for getting unfair subsidies from China’s government. SolarWorld had asked for levies of more than 100 percent. Aaron Chew, a New York- based analyst at Maxim Group LLC, said before the decision that tariffs higher than 10 percent would be considered a victory for the U.S. companies.

“Commerce today put importers and purchasers on notice about the consequences of importing illegally subsidized and dumped products from China,” Gordon Brinser, the SolarWorld unit’s president, said in a statement.

The Commerce Department said a final determination on the tariffs would be made in early October. U.S. customs agents will collect a deposit or bond on solar cells made in China in the 90 days before today’s decision.

SolarWorld said its Hillsboro, Oregon-based U.S. unit can’t compete with Chinese exporters, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP), the world’s largest solar-panel maker, and Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) unless tariffs are imposed. Suntech was told to pay 31.22 percent, Trina’s levies were set at 31.14 percent and others were told to pay duties ranging from 31.18 percent to 249.96 percent.

Shares Rise

U.S.-based solar-product companies rose in New York trading after the announcement. First Solar Inc. (FSLR) climbed 94 cents, or 6.7 percent, to $14.92, and SunPower Corp. (SPWR)added 51 cents, or 10 percent, to $5.59.

Opponents of the punitive tariffs, such as the Washington- based Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, which includes Westinghouse Solar Inc. (WEST) and more than 100 other companies, claim the levies would cost U.S. jobs.

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