Euro crisis: ‘Ford boss draws comparison’

BBC Radio 4’s Money Box Live Wednesday, 27 July 2010 at 1502 BST On Radio 4 and Online

Listen to the programme Programme transcript (18 pages)

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said he “deeply regrets” hitting his head after becoming separated from his golfing party at Pinero Hill Golf Club near Helsinki.

Two people were taken to hospital but it was later learned that Mr Vanhanen had only suffered a facial injury.

Mr Vanhanen’s outburst has shocked even his conservative FPG Party, the main opposition to the centre-right centre-left National Coalition, which he leads.

Golfers told of horror as vehicle explodes

Inappropriate behaviour in the golfing world led to a dramatic and bizarre end to a closing hole at an opening golf tournament in Spain.

Golfers had reported hearing a loud explosion as a second vehicle ploughed through a marshal’s buggy on the 18th hole of the claret jug professional event at the Valderrama Norge course near Madrid.

Solomon Lewuk had won the Volvo Challenge by a shot from Kurt Barnes – which included a brilliant chip from the rough – but on the final hole he found himself one shot behind with two to play.

With more than a minute remaining and a 70 yard par putt on the 18th, he would have to scramble his way home from a difficult stance.

“I’m totally in the bunker. The ball is up in the air and I’m left with nothing. I don’t know what to do.

“I’m trying to mark my ball. That’s all. I’ve got four – and that’s what I do, line the ball, make a mark, and mark. So I’m not doing much else. I’m looking at the back of the bunker and I can see the marshal’s buggy but it’s covered.

“So I’m not really sure what to do here. I’ve got to settle for four, obviously. I’m thinking about playing the ball to the right. I think that’s where I’ll make the putt. But… when that putt drops, I’m straight into the bunker. That’s what we think happens. We know it’s a good putt but it’s all sort of sent straight back.”

Read our report here

Car industry in trouble, warns Ford

Ford has warned the new global financial crisis is causing severe problems in the car industry.

Ford’s Europe boss Joerg Piech told the BBC that parts suppliers in Europe are now cutting production at a faster rate than has been typical since 2008.

“If we think of 2008 when the markets were collapsing and parts makers’ inventories rose and they had to cut production to a very fast rate, they had a 40% fall in the new European production.

“But in 2011, when markets are falling again, parts makers are chopping production at 40% faster than they did in 2008.”

Ford says the US is not immune to the problems.

In the UK its Ford-owned British Vauxhall and Opel brands are jointly operating at a loss of around £120m a month.

Mr Piech said that Ford has to wait until it has settled the planned closure of its Aalborg plant in Denmark for two reasons.

The plant has a final assembly line which supplies its Dutch and Belgian plants. The contract is valid until March 2014, after which the closure can take place.

And more recently, Ford has to negotiate a generous steel deal to keep Aalborg going.

Ford also has a European car plant near Valencia. It is aimed at building E-class, B-class and Mondeo saloons. It is profitable but does not meet its European production target.

Read part two here

More about facts and figures

Gillian Reynolds, tax partner, PwC and Alan Higgins, editor in chief of Itnetwork, discussed the financing of the bangers of the road and the factors behind the temptation of drivers to overtake.

Gillian Reynolds, tax partner, PwC also explained the misconception that paid breaks are a penalty tax relief.

Alan Higgins, editor in chief of Itnetwork, also explained how to track down paid breaks on Twitter .

Questions and answers

Gillian Reynolds and Alan Higgins answered questions posed by Money Box listeners.

They covered household bills, local authority debt and financial news of the day.

Producer: Sue Croft

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