Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Transport News

A few big stories in transportation today. . . 
Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor from Omaha, is buying the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad for $44 billion. Buffett - who obviously isn't satisfied with just model railroading - wants his Berkshire Hathaway company to invest in a build up freight railroads to provide a sound transportation infrastructure for the U.S. economy. Buffett is bullish on the economy;'s future, and he certainly demonstrated so with this move. A skillful investor by nature, Buffett's purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe gives us hope for a strong economic recovery - Buffett only bets on a sure thing. I just hope he gives Amtrak a break on whatever BNSF lines the passenger rail service rents for its routes.
BNSF trains may soon be carrying more cars from the domestic automakers to market. On the heels of Ford's unexpected profits, General Motors announced a 4.1 percent increase in October sales, its first year-over-year gain since January 2008. GM has wiped out its debt in bankruptcy court and now seeks to build on its four remaining brands - Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC Truck. Don't count out the General out - the current Chevrolet Malibu is a solid product, and Cadillac's renaissance continues with its excellent updates of cars like the CTS.
GM is doing well enough, it's decided not to sell a majority interest in Opel and Vauxhall in Europe to a Russo-Canadian consortium after all. By getting financial support at home and getting rid of debt in bankruptcy court, GM has decided not to do what it never wanted to do in the first place - sell any part of its most prestigious overseas assets. While this decision was welcomed in Britain, where Vauxhalls are produced, by the local autoworkers union, the German government is displeased that GM would withdraw from the sale of the Russelsheim-based Opel because the sale was handled by a trust that also included representatives from the government and an independent panelist. GM is now instead seeking aid from Berlin and other European capitals.
This story isn't over yet . . ..

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