General Motors Faces Another Brand Image Hit

General Motors is still trying to complete its turnaround after filing for bankruptcy years ago, but it faces another brand image hit with its recent recall.

Mar 11, 2014 at 3:00PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was trading a 82 points lower today in midafternoon while investors keep a watchful eye on the tension between Ukraine and Russia.

"Market players remain cautious. There's a lack of enthusiasm in chasing stocks, and some are just thinking about moving to the sidelines after the roller-coaster ride we've had since the start of the year," said Guillaume Dumans, co-head of research firm 2Bremans, according to Reuters.

While volatility is certainly the name of the game in the markets recently, investors would be wise to keep a long-term viewpoint and take these ups and downs with a grain of salt. With that in mind, here are some companies making headlines today

Outside of the Dow, General Motors (NYSE:GM) is still in the middle innings of its turnaround after filing for bankruptcy in 2009, and a recent recall of roughly 1.6 million vehicles won't help the brand's image.The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee announced earlier this week it had launched an investigation into the response by GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into safety concerns regarding several vehicles. At least 13 deaths have been linked to the recall which revolves around ignition switches that reportedly have been a point of concern for more than 10 years.

"Here we are over a decade later, faced with accidents and tragedies, and significant questions need to be answered," panel Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in a statement. "Did the company or regulators miss something that could have flagged these problems sooner? Americans deserve to have the peace of mind that they are safe behind the wheel."

General Motors could be fined as much as $35 million, which would be the highest amount to date by the U.S., according to Automotive News, although it pales in comparison to the lives potentially at stake. Newly crowned CEO Mary Barra's, as well as GM's, reputation is now on the line to solve any potential problems before anyone else is hurt – and the company has so far taken quick action to address the situation.

In less dire automotive industry news, Volkswagen's (NASDAQOTH:VLKAY) Audi luxury brand has officially delivered more cars than BMW (NASDAQOTH:BAMXF) through the first two months of 2014 to become the world's best-selling luxury automaker. That title could change hands often as the race is neck and neck; consider that Audi sold 242,400 vehicles through February, which was only 383 more than BMW.

"Competition in the premium segment is more intense than ever," Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler said in an Automotive News report. "We're ahead of our two main rivals in the first two months, but this doesn't really interest me much. Our focus is on further growth."

Luxury lineups are critical for global automakers these days and are one reason Detroit automakers' resurgence remains incomplete. Ford faces a long uphill battle to revive its puttering Lincoln luxury brand, although the redesigned MKZ has sold well and the MKC is expected to do likewise when it hits showrooms soon. GM has had more success with its Cadillac lineup and is focusing on improving its brand image in the U.S., as well as expanding sales in the world's largest automotive market: China. Though the two largest Detroit automakers are far from catching Audi and BMW in luxury sales, it will be a critical point for investors to watch throughout the remainder of the decade.

2 automakers to buy for a surging Chinese market
U.S. automakers boomed after WWII, but the coming boom in the Chinese auto market will put that surge to shame! As Chinese consumers grow richer, savvy investors can take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the help from this brand-new Motley Fool report that identifies two automakers to buy for a surging Chinese market. It's completely free -- just click here to gain access.

Daniel Miller owns shares of General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends BMW and General Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information

Compare Brokers