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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Allen Stanford Found Guilty; Interview with Alan Mulally; Interview with Carlos Ghosn; Interview with Karl-Friedrich Stracke; Managing Millennials; Dow Falls 200 Points to Four-Week Low; European Markets See Heavy Losses; Oil Price Drops; Gold Falls; Economist Says Problems With Greek Creditors May Be Cause; Super Tuesday in the US; The Millennials
Aired March 6, 2012 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, HOST: It's a 200-point drop. From the Dow to the DAX, a brutal day for stocks.
Allen Stanford guilty of a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
And tonight, the Millennials arising. Meet the under 30s we'll be following in our new series.
I'm Richard Quest. I mean business.
Good evening. You can call it a consolidation, you can call it a correction, you could call it a bout of indigestion. It doesn't matter what you call it, today stocks on Wall Street are sinking.
QUEST: As you can see, the Dow Jones now off more than 200 points, and it's concerns over Europe's debt crisis and fears of a slowdown in China. Investors in the US are facing an assault on two fronts. Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange.
Alison, I look at these numbers and I look at what happened today, and I can see no common sense for a 1.5 percent fall in the market on a given Tuesday in March.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you said "no common sense," is that what you said, Richard?
QUEST: Yes, that's exactly what I said.
KOSIK: And you know what's interesting is I thought the exact same thing. Because after getting word about the contraction in the eurozone, not such a huge surprise, right? But you're seeing the market tank.
But you have to think about what -- what caused stocks to run up in the first place? There was the expectation that Europe's debt crisis would be contained, that China would weather the economic downturn.
Well, now, what the market's getting, Richard, is a whole bunch of different news that's sort of undercutting the rally that we've seen in the markets about where the global economy is headed.
Sure, the eurozone -- the eurozone's economy contracted at the end of last year. Analysts are coming out saying, you know what? Europe may be in a mild recession at this point. And there are big worries, now, and they're building, that Europe's situation will wind up dragging on the world economy. And it's not helping that China is also dialing back its growth forecast.
Traders that I've talked to say at this point, the US economy, in fact, is conflicted. We're seeing improvement in the jobs market, we're seeing a little bit of an improvement in the housing market.
But then you think about yesterday's factory orders reported showed a decline, so that's kind of adding more conflicting data to the mix.
Also, seeing stocks fall back like this, not such a huge surprise, Richard. You have to remember, it's healthy to see these pull back after such a run up in the market. Richard?
QUEST: Sounds to me like the old -- the correction argument being used in New York. Alison Kosik is in New York.
But consolidation or a correction, whatever you want to call it, it doesn't matter. The sell-off followed some terrible numbers here in Europe, as you'll see if you join me in the library.
Look at this. In London, the FTSE off 1.8 percent, but it was really the banking and the mining sectors were worse. Barclays knocked 5 percent off the FTSE. In Frankfurt, down 3.5. Paris down 3.5, Tyson (ph) Group and SocGen off more than 6 and 7 percent.
And if you think the major big three was bad, look and see what happened elsewhere. Spain, Italy, Portugal -- it was all a pretty similar scenario. In Milan, banks were down. Cajas de Ahorros (ph) was down in 6 percent in Spain. Wherever you looked, there was grim news.
Now, in this maelstrom of market misery, there was one bit of, perhaps, good cheer. Depends how you interpret it. Brent Crude was down $1.84 at $122.
Now, that could be reasons because the EU is starting questions of negotiations with Iran, representing the six world powers, including US, Russia, and China. Or it could be worries about economic growth in China so that demand won't be so good. Either way, when you do get a number coming down of oil, that's a little bit better.
Now, gold was also down, walking great, $31 an ounce, $1673, which slightly confuses the issue. If things are slowing down, you might have expected to see, perhaps, a little bit of a premium there.
Evariste Lefeuvre is the chief economist for Natixis in North America and joins me now. It is a very, very odd scenario that we are looking at tonight, isn't it? We thought Europe was put to bed. Now, it seems it might be bubbling. The markets have turned turtle, gold is down. What do you make of it?
EVARISTE LEFEUVRE, CHIEF ECONOMIST, NATIXIS NORTH AMERICA: What I do make of it is that I do agree with you, it's mostly a correction. It's deep, but the market is weird. Investors are just discovering that the eurozone is into recession.
Actually, there is one big risk today, and it's not the fact that stock prices are going down by 2 percent or even 3 percent, because it's a correction. After 25 percent increases in stock prices, some pull back is required.
What is important today is Greek private sector involvement, the so- called debt exchange.
LEFEUVRE: This is the only major risk. At first, yes --
QUEST: Well, you say --
LEFEUVRE: If I can through, it just --
QUEST: Yes, but you see, you mention the Greek thing. The rumor tonight is that they're not going to get the necessary amount to get the PSI through. CACs may have to be used, and the whole fiasco starts again.
LEFEUVRE: The thing is, it's even worse than that. At first, you were expecting 90 percent participation rate. Now, after that, you were thinking about 75. And you're right, if you don't reach the two-third threshold, the risk is that you cannot even use the collective cause action.
So, what you're going to have after that is a disorderly default, and I think that this was the main trigger. After that, you can speak about Chinese growth, about bad debt in Europe, about oil prices. This is not the big deal.
The big deal, back today, and what made the markets so nervous about everything is the failure of the debt swap, and the fact that even the both order of English low bonds could face a very, very strong hatchet.
QUEST: OK, now, if you're right and we've get a couple more days before we get these numbers on what the take-up call on the PSI is, it's going to be close, isn't it, in terms of the timings and the dates right down to the wire?
LEFEUVRE: It's going to be a big mess, because after that, you don't even know how the Greek authorities will get the money to finance a reduction of their big bonds. It's almost 15 million euros in March.
And I think that on the other way around, the reason why the market's panicking is because a lot of information is coming from Greece, so you don't even know if all the rumors about the low level of participation so far comes from Greece as well to exert and to put some more pressure on investors so that they go for the debt exchange. That's why the situation is so blurry to us, and that's why it's a good time to sell your stocks.
QUEST: A correction. Sounds like we're going back to the old correction idea, but we'll talk more about this in the future. Evariste, many thanks for joining us from New York and making good common sense on what's happening in the markets.
Coming up next, away from the markets but just as crucial, you'll be following closely. It is Super Tuesday in the US.
QUEST: The Republican presidential hopefuls are jostling for pole position and that -- what happens today could help decide who gets the nomination. In a moment.
QUEST: Super Tuesday in the US, and by this time tomorrow, you and I could be talking and there could be a clear front-runner in the race to challenge Barack Obama for the presidency, at least on the Republican side.
Ten states are going to the polls, voters are, and that will need 1,114 delegates, it says here, to win the nomination. Romney has over 200, so there's 400 up to stake today. David Mattingly is in Marietta, Georgia and joins me.
We really are in the realms of mathematics, here. Of the 400 up for grabs -- here's a hard question, an impossible one -- any idea, roughly, how it's going to divide out?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, thank you very much for that question, Richard. I'll tell you quickly. No. No. I have no idea.
MATTINGLY: But what we're looking at right now -- I'm very strategically placed right now in Marietta, Georgia. This is a Republican stronghold in the state of Georgia. It's part of the former congressional district of Newt Gingrich. And this is where he is trying to relaunch his campaign.
He has had some difficulties ever since the primary in South Carolina, where he won that primary, but his fortunes have not gone that way since then. He's hoping to revive his campaign with a strong showing here in his home state, so that he has the opportunity to continue to go on to challenge Mitt Romney, the front-runner right now, for the nomination for the Republican Party.
Newt Gingrich himself is campaigning today. He was in the state of Alabama, and here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ronald Reagan was a visionary. He had a vision that the Soviet Union could be defeated. When everybody in the elite had been demoralized, was desperately seeking to accommodate the Russians, a reporter went to Reagan in the late 70s and said, "What's your vision of the Cold War."
He said four words that changed history. "We win, they lose."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And that's something you see a lot of Republicans doing in this election season, Richard, invoking the name of Ronald Reagan, a very, very popular Republican figure from the past.
And right now, you were talking about the delegate count. It takes over a thousand to win the nomination. Today is typically called "Super Tuesday" here in the United States --
MATTINGLY: -- with so many states holding their primaries. It's not so super this year because it's not likely to pick the winner as it has in the past. Granted, there's a lot of states, a lot of delegates at state today. But at the same time, this race has been -- there's been no clearly-defined front-runner --
QUEST: All right.
MATTINGLY: -- for any great length of time in any particular part of the country. So, we're likely to come out of this Super Tuesday with a less than super idea of who has the inside track to the Republican nomination.
QUEST: David Mattingly in Marietta in Georgia for us tonight. And we thank you, David. A dose of honesty in terms of the question. As you can see, we have the Election Express on the desk, which means Ali Velshi -- Ali's riding his own Election Express to America's heartland. He's in Guthrie, which is Oklahoma's first state capital. He joins me now.
Ali, all right. So, we'll get to your lunch in a moment. That farrago of fiction that you have in front of you. First of all, how is Oklahoma looking on this Super Tuesday?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Oklahoma is a particularly conservative state, so when it comes to the general election, it's likely to vote Republican.
But in this particular case, polling of the Republicans in general in the state around this primary suggest that more Republicans in Oklahoma support Mitt Romney than Rick Santorum. It's really between those two guys there. But when you poll the people who are actually voting today, more of them seem to be favoring Rick Santorum.
This is a state where, as you know, there's a great deal of oil, it's the pipeline crossroads of America --
VELSHI: -- Cushing, Oklahoma, which is where the oil is here. People do quite well around here. The unemployment rate is lower than the national average, so they want somebody with a strong energy policy. And there's some social conservatism at play in Oklahoma, as well, Richard.
QUEST: All right, but if you bury right down to the bedrock from Oklahomans --
QUEST: -- and for that midwest and that sort of oil community, what don't they like about front-runner Romney?
VELSHI: Well, there's -- a number of people today said they hadn't decided yet who they were voting for, even though they were going to vote, and when we asked them why, they said they like Rick Santorum, they said he seems more down to earth. In many cases, he's more connected to them on social issues. As you know, he's very socially conservative.
On the other hand, many people here employ a strategy called "ABO," Anybody but Obama, and there's a sense that Mitt Romney may be more electable among the general public, not just among conservatives.
So, a lot of people may be going into those voting booths and, according to what they've told me, sort of holding their nose a little bit and saying, "Let me vote for Romney."
QUEST: All right. Ali, before you go, I really have to let -- we cannot deceive the dear QUEST MEANS BUSINESS viewer with your nonsense of lunch. This is the picture he sent us earlier, claiming this was the lunch.
QUEST: And this is the picture he actually has at the moment. But this is what he really had for lunch today. What was it, Ali? What was it?
VELSHI: It was liver and onions.
QUEST: Liver and onions, and that corn looks like it's in cream.
QUEST: And the potato looks like it --
VELSHI: Yes. Some beans, yes.
QUEST: He -- keep going, Ali. Keep going. You've only got another few days to go.
VELSHI: I have yoghurt and bananas for later.
QUEST: Yes. In your dreams. Ali Velshi on the Election Express for us tonight. We'll be following -- we have his best interests at heart.
Coming up, the future of Millennials and this is what it looks like. You'll find out in just a moment.
QUEST: A new generation is shaking up the business world as we know it. They're armed with SmartPhones, tablets, and that insatiable, burning desire to succeed. They are the Millennials and, starting tonight, we're going to bring you their stories, their themes, and their goals.
These are the Millennials we'll be following initially. They are, in Santiago, we will be following David Lloyd, who is aged 27. He's already a managing director of his own company.
In London, we will be following Joe Braidwood, who is 26, the chief marketing officer for SwiftKey, an award-winning app maker, whatever app people do.
But tonight, let us introduce you to the two that we will be meeting. There is in Johannesburg, Milli Bongela, who is age 26, and we will be meeting her tonight. And also in New York, Michael Burbach, who is age 22. They are our Millennials.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are young and confident, educated and ambitious. Born in the 1980s, they are the new generation entering the workforce, and their thirst for success knows no bounds. Meet the Millennials.
MICHAEL BURBACH, ASPIRING ACTOR: Taxi!
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: In New York, 22-year-old Michael Burbach, up and coming actor and assistant to celebrity photographer Patrick McMullan.
Dazzling lights, oversized billboards, a whirl of activity. This is New York, home of our first Millennial.
BURBACH: I'm Michael Burbach. I'm 22 years old. I was born in 1989, and I'm an aspiring actor. I haven't spent a lot of time working on the physicality of that, as well.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Michael's drive to be on stage dominates everything he does.
BURBACH: I eat theater, I breathe theater, it's what I think about all the time. There will be times where I'll be on stage, and I'll be like, "I don't know my lines." But once the time comes, it's there. It's in you.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: So, he's putting all his energy to achieving this dream and making it on Broadway. Right now, he's studying theater at Manhattan's Marymount College.
BURBACH: I did a show my first semester and I just got cast in our Shakespeare production for the spring, so I'm really excited that I'm going out with a bang and all my hard work has seemed to really pay off.
The curtains go away, and I'm just in the moment, living it.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Michael has rehearsed this moment time and time again. As a teenager growing up in the midwest, YouTube was his stage of choice, first posting songs from the comfort of his bedroom.
BURBACH (singing): Some people who don't know they're alive!
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Then, uploading his theatrical work.
BURBACH: I'd sit in my room in Iowa and I would sing along with these cast albums, these Broadway cast albums, and I would be so excited about finding a new show or a new performer that I was obsessed with.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Today, his dream has brought him to New York.
BURBACH: Of course, the famous thing to say is that if you made it in New York, you can make it anywhere. So, it's very important for me to come here and prove my worth.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: It's his millennial spirit that will keep him here.
BURBACH: If you need it and you want it badly enough, you can do it. That's the craziest thing. Because sometimes it seems like an impossible dream, but it's not.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The real world may be his biggest audition yet. Can this Millennial make it?
MILISUTHANDO BONGELA, BLOGGER AND BOUTIQUE OWNER: What time do you want to come?
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: From Johannesburg, 26-year-old Milli Bongela, journalist, fashion blogger, and boutique owner.
If Cape Town is the pretty, Johannesburg is the gritty. This commercial capital is where you come to make it in South Africa. Looking to leave her mark on this metropolitan city and on her generation is this opinionated Millennial.
BONGELA: My name is Milisuthando Bongela. I'm 26 years old, and I'm a fashion blogger and boutique owner.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Milli has been fashion blogging for two years. It all started at New York Fashion Week, where she found inspiration and her millennial voice. At first, she wanted --
BONGELA: To capture my dream for my family and my friends. And little did I know that it would grow to become what it is now. It's become part of my digital identity, or like an extension of me.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: She's now courted and sought after in her industry. Her talent has also propelled her to open a boutique. Now, both jobs feed off each other.
BONGELA: This one can go here.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: They've also earned her a reputation for a woman who speaks her mind, a confident and outspoken Millennial.
BONGELA: Because I'm very, very vocal on my blog. I do say things that get me in trouble sometimes. But sometimes it's things that a lot of people are thinking, but they don't want to say. So I -- that's how I've positioned myself, as the person who will say what needs to be said.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Her frankness has helped Milli bag another two jobs, this time as journalist and as a consultant for South Africa retailer, Woolworth's.
Being typically millennial, Milli has a unique work ethic.
BONGELA: I don't work for them, I work with them.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Looking ahead, Milli is aiming to take on more work. Nothing, it seems, scares her.
BONGELA: I applied for a business management scholarship, because as much as I do what I do, I don't necessarily have the training in business to be running a business and to grow a business. So, I want to go to school for that.
So, I applied for a scholarship that they're offering to 10,000 women around the world, women in business, and this morning, they called me to say that I've been short-listed.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Potential student, blogger, fashion consultant, journalist, and boutique owner, Milli is a million things.
BONGELA: There's a term called "slashy," and I'm exactly that. I'm a writer-slash-blogger-slash-boutique owner-slash -- I'm a consultant-slash- commentator-slash-cocktail seller. So, they call us slashies, and I'd say I'm the archetypal Millennial person.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The question remains, can this Millennial do it all?
BONGELA: I do feel like I can achieve anything, but I don't have to achieve everything. I don't -- it's not on my shoulders. I don't have to have the most lucrative company, I don't have to have the biggest house or the biggest car. I don't have to have a lot. I don't want it all. I just want enough, that's all.
QUEST: And we will meet our other Millennials later this week. They've been tweeting during tonight's program, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, and you can join the conversation. It's the hash tag #cnnmills, #cnnmills, with the hash tag that you can see, and you can read some of the tweets that you can see later in the program.
Now, next week on The Millennials, we introduce you to two more young and driven. They are from London, 26-year-old Joe Braidwood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BRAIDWOOD, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, SWIFTKEY: I'm thinking ambitiously, I don't think is a bad thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And in Santiago in Chile, 27-year-old David Lloyd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LLOYD, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF HIS OWN COMPANY: I've got no interest in kind of doing nothing, being lazy, achieving nothing. It'd be very disappointing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And if you want to know how to harness this millennial talent, later, we'll hear from a consultant who tells you the world's biggest companies know exactly how you harness it.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest.
More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.
This is CNN. And here, on this network, it is the news that always comes first.
Barack Obama has insisted the window of opportunity is still open to address Iran's nuclear program with diplomacy. The president gave his first full news conference of the year and accused his critics of beating the drums of war without considering the cost. on Syria, Mr. Obama says unilateral at -- unilateral action by the U.S. would be a mistake.
Video posted online today appears to show a tank expected in the Syrian city of Homs. An opposition group says at least 23 people were killed there today. Twelve others died elsewhere in the country. Meanwhile, activists say troops bombed a bridge used to bring wounded civilians from Homs into Lebanon.
Six U.N. Security Council nations say they accept Iran's offer to resume nuclear talks. Iran also has agreed to allow international inspectors to visit a controversial military base. It all follows declarations by Israel and the United States that a military attack against Iran's nuclear program is not off the table.
From Alaska to Ohio to Massachusetts and Georgia, Republicans in the United States are going to the polls in 10 states to vote for their presidential candidate Super Tuesday. More than one third of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination are up for grabs. The outcome is far from certain.
A short time ago, the billionaire, Allen Stanford, was found guilty of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. His court case was in Texas.
We join Felicia Taylor in New York.
This was a case that's run on for some months. Stanford didn't give evidence.
What do you know of what happened in court?
FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Employees testified against him on what was, effectively, a Ponzi scheme where they were funneling literally billions of dollars of investors' money into certificates of deposit, or CDs into a bank that he controlled in the Caribbean island of Antigua. And that's where he based himself out of, although the headquarters for the company itself was in Houston.
Thirteen out of 14 counts he was found guilty on. The only one count that he was found not guilty on was of wire fraud. So thanks to the testimony and records that were seized from the offices in Houston and Antigua, these -- he was, obviously, found guilty on these 13 counts.
He could serve up to 20 years in prison. And it depends on whether he serves it consecutively or not. It could end up being longer than that.
There's also a civil trial that's expected to take place. He himself has already been incarcerated for the last few years, since 2009, as this investigation was underway. He will stay incarcerated until the judge makes the sentencing a -- apparent.
So it's, frankly, a mini Madoff, is what they they are calling it, effectively. But it's his former employees that turned him in.
Felicia Taylor in New York.
We will follow that more in the days ahead, as we get to the ramifications of exactly what it means, because there are, of course, as you'll be aware, many thousands of investors who are seriously out of pocket from what now -- we now know is a convicted Ponzi scheme.
When we return, whether it's the back seat or the front of the vehicle, we'll speak to the men who are driving the car companies about Europe's place in the car making market.
QUEST: The Geneva Motor Show is running in Switzerland at the moment. And car makers from across the world are showing their new devices, their new cars and also talking about their plans for the future.
Tonight, we hear from three CEOs. We will hear from Renault-Nissan's Carlos Ghosn, who announced 2,000 new jobs in Europe today. On a different streak, Karl-Friedrich Stracke of Vauxhall-Opel -- two major parts of GM's struggling European arm that will have to be re-engineered.
We begin with Ford's Alan Mulally. His company is showing off a couple of new, smaller models, including this B-MAX, which will be sold in the European market.
With cars like this, I asked Alan Mulally what message he was sending at this year's show.
ALAN MULALLY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: I think the message is that you can get the -- the choice of vehicles that you want and really value from Ford. And no matter what size, whether it's a Fiesta, a Focus, a Mondeo, all the way up to cross-overs and utilities, all the way up to small trucks, the entire family, you can get best in class vehicles from the Ford Motor Company.
QUEST: And what about the -- the B-MAX?
Where is -- where does it fit into it, into this strategy?
MULALLY: Well, the B-MAX is just a fantastic innovation, Richard, because it has, of course, hinged doors in the front, sliding doors in the rear, but it's on a B size, a relatively smaller sized platform. So you get all the utility of a small SUV or a wagon but you get it with the convenience of being able to get in and out of -- out of the vehicle so conveniently. Plus, great fuel mileage, quality, and, of course, the safety features.
QUEST: A lot of people say that these are cars that are being designed for Europe with the mood, the -- the economic environment of Europe at the moment.
Is that true, to an extent?
MULALLY: Well, it is to a -- a large extent, Richard, because, as you know, Europe really was driving a lot of the requirements on fuel efficiency and lower CO2.
What's interesting today, though, it's a reason to buy. Low CO2 and higher fuel mileage is a reason to buy throughout the Americas now, Europe, of course, and Russia, and also Asia-Pacific.
So, in a way, the requirements for the vehicle design have all come together and we're so proud now that we have this full family of best in class vehicles when it comes to lower CO2.
QUEST: You sell 14, 14.5, or the -- the number of cars in Europe, million a year, roughly the same as the United States.
But what is going to -- what is it going to take for car makers to make money in Europe, good money?
MULALLY: Well, I think, you know, clearly, in Ford's case, we have dealt with the lower market with our restructuring to date. And I think the most important thing is that we get the capacity, the overcapacity in Europe out, because with that overcapacity there, a lot of people are going to continue to lose a lot of money.
So I think that's the most important thing.
QUEST: We've talked before, Alan, and you've pointed out the 30-30-30 split, give or take, in -- in the model of the world.
Is that a model that still works, as Europe and -- and with its economic problems?
Is that a sustainable model for the future, 30-30-30, roughly?
MULALLY: Well, I think it is. And it's very interesting, Richard, because, as you pointed out, the U.S. is a tremendous market. This year, probably between 14 and 15 million vehicles. Europe is still a very important market, at 14 to 15, 16 million range. Russia, very important, a growth market for us. It's going to be the largest in all of Europe over the next couple of years. And, of course, Asia-Pacific, even though it's a relatively smaller market today, it is the fastest growing market, which is why you see us growing with our One Ford Plan to support India and China and Indonesia and Thailand, because these are tremendous growth markets.
And the fact that we can serve them now with our global platforms, with a full family of best in class vehicles, allows us to bring these vehicles most affordably to the consumer.
QUEST: A final question, Alan, are you having fun?
MULALLY: Richard, I miss you at -- at air -- with airplanes and showing you new airplanes. But I absolutely love serving at Ford. It's such an important industry. It's manufacturing. It's the soul of the countries in which we operate worldwide. And it's about safe and efficient and fun transportation.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
QUEST: Alan Mulally of Ford, where it has clearly got a green light for the way the company is proceeding.
Nissan has announced it will invest $200 million in its U.K. plant that will create 400 jobs directly and 1,600 more in the U.K. supply chain.
At Geneva, the chief exec, Carlos Ghosn, told me that Europe remains a competitive production ground. Nissan will maintain its workforce.
Nissan will maintain its workforce.
CARLOS GHOSN, CEO, NISSAN: A lot of people are asking, can we continue to build cars in Europe or everything is going to be moving into low -- the low cost countries?
This is a clear answer, yes, we can produce cars in Europe. Yes, we can be competitive on Europe.
There are some conditions for this. Obviously, you cannot build any car. You have to build cars with high added value. You have to build cars with plans which are extremely productive and particularly in countries where the currency is a little bit competitive.
In the case of Sunderland, where we're creating 400 jobs and bringing a new platform in the plant is a good illustration on the fact that a European country can be very competitive today.
QUEST: Where are you going to cut jobs, because Ford are looking at restructuring. We know GM's got a deal to look with Peugeot and Opel and Vauxhall.
So you're not unique in the -- in the market.
GHOSN: No, we're not unique in the market, but, you know, in our case, because of the tremendous growth we are seeing outside Europe, even though the market in Europe is shrinking, well, you know, we are capable to maintain our capacity and to maintain the head count in Europe. And at the same time, increasing the production out of Europe in order to avoid a very painful and costful restructuring.
QUEST: What does your gut feeling tell you about what today's car byer really wants?
Is it value?
Is it fuel efficiency?
Do they want sporty?
We all say one thing, but do something else.
GHOSN: Yes, no, you're -- you're right. But, you know, unfortunately for us, in a certain way, but it's exciting, too, a car buyer wants everything. He wants -- he wants value. He wants environmentally-friendly products. He wants technologies. And he wants excitement. He wants everything.
So the one who is capable of, and in every segment of the market brings something like this, is going to be prevailing.
We're seeing it not only at high end of the market, but we're seeing it even at the more affordable -- more affordable cars.
A car maker who can bring excitement, you know, environmentally- friendly car at an affordable price is going to be surfing on -- on the crisis.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
QUEST: Carlos Ghosn of Renault-Nissan.
Now, the Opel Ampera, known as the Chevy Volt in the United States, scooped The Car of the Year award at the Geneva Motor Show. So congratulations all around there.
And Barack Obama says he'll be buying one of the plugin hybrids once he leaves office.
Despite the endorsement, GM is suspending production of the model for five weeks to cut inventories. It says U.S. sales have come in around 25 percent lower than expected.
On Monday, the chief exec of GM's European unit told me that sales numbers for Europe look promising and will only get better.
KARL-FRIEDRICH STRACKE, CEO, OPEL: We are really leading, basically, the electric cars. And we are world leaders now in e-mobility, as such. And we are very pleased with the jury awarding us this very prestigious award.
So we are -- we are very happy and it's a good start for us here at the Geneva show.
QUEST: And when we look at where the Ampera or the Volt will be manufactured, and we know that there is going to be a production suspension at one of the plants, what is the reason for this?
What is happening that cause you to want to suspend production for a few weeks?
STRACKE: Actually, we, in Europe, we have excellent orders right now. What I can tell you, Richard, that we have already over 7,000 orders on hand for the Ampera. We are basically -- we sold -- outsold preorders in the -- in the months of January already for this year. And I can tell you that we have a lot of other interests of customers.
We will, for sure, make more than 10,000 cars this year, potentially way much more. And so we are very happy about customers' interest in this product. And we are very proud of it.
And I can tell you, this Car of the Year award will further boost sales for us.
QUEST: And what about the reports that the U.K. business secretary, Dr. Vince Cable, is coming to Geneva to talk to people like yourself, to protect Vauxhall jobs in the U.K.?
STRACKE: Actually, I do not mend -- meet Vince Cable here on the show. But I met him in the past, obviously. And we are very -- in very close contact to -- to Vince Cable and also the prime minister.
We have almost an -- on a regular basis, we have contact to each other.
And I can tell you that we are now in talks to the union, as well as to -- to key -- the key governmental leaders in order to -- to finalize our negotiations.
QUEST: We know that Vauxhall-Opel, there has to be restructuring. And you rightly said that there is -- the talks are ongoing.
How much further will it be before you're able to get the picture of the restructuring of Vauxhall-Opel?
STRACKE: Honestly, it's too early to say. We will generate at least a couple of months out until we have basically more to say on this.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
QUEST: The head of GM-Opel in Europe.
In a moment, we'll meet another millennial, as we consider millennials' report. And whilst we've been talking about it, you and I have been using the hash tag, hash tag cnnmills. Find out what you've been saying, after the break.
QUEST: Tonight, we've met the millennials. Now, you need to know how to work with them when they're in the office, they're next door to you in the -- in the overhead and the desks.
The next generation of workers has a very different idea of how to fit into a company. It's Jason Dorsey's job to explain it, as the chief strategy offer at the Center for Generational Kinetics.
He's in Austin, Texas.
What on Earth are you talking about?
JASON DORSEY, CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER, CENTER FOR GENERATIONAL KINETICS: Well, we're talking about the generational differences which lead to the disconnect that drives a lot of people crazy.
DORSEY: Our managers, the bosses, as well as millennials...
QUEST: All right.
DORSEY: -- who feel like people don't actually get us. And certainly we're right, because we have less experience, but yet we know more than you.
QUEST: Well, hey, hey, hey. I'm going to be 50 this week. I'm not taking any -- I'm not taking any nonsense from a young whippersnapper, even if you are the future (INAUDIBLE).
A quick answer -- do you think companies pay too much lip service to millennials?
Do we give in to you too often, when, actually, we should stay -- say learn a trade and go and stand in the corner?
DORSEY: Well, I think those are two extremes and the answer is somewhere in the middle. The idea that you cater or pander to us in all the companies we have worked with, that concept or idea has absolutely backfired. It basically brings out the worst that millennials have to offer and none of the best characters.
On the flip side, the idea that we should just show up, shut up, you know, get there early, stay late, wash your car...
DORSEY: -- while we're in the process, doesn't work either. And what we've realized does work is for the people who are not millennials to invest a small amount of time to understand -- not necessarily agree with our mind set. And at the same time -- and this is the key point -- show millennials things like what does a good job look like?
Why is it important to dress a certain way?
Why should I learn to interact in a meeting in the way you do?
QUEST: Hang on. Hang on. Hang on. Spoon feeding, it's the sort of thing your parents should have taught you. And it's the sort of thing you should have learned at school.
DORSEY: I don't disagree with that. And your parents probably taught you that and you probably learned it at school.
The difference is that millennials were not taught this in school...
DORSEY: -- and our parents didn't teach it, either. No, they were both working, trying to make it. And so what you have, when we study millennials, is what we do, is you have a generation entering in mass with less work experience at this age than any recent generation, having not been taught, whether it's in university or anywhere else, what a good job looks like...
QUEST: All right.
DORSEY: And then we have high expectations.
DORSEY: It's a -- it's a recipe for disaster unless it's addressed correctly.
QUEST: OK, so what's the -- the -- the fundamental piece of advice that you give to clients who are swamped with an infestation of millennials?
DORSEY: I like how you make it sound like bugs.
DORSEY: There's a few key pieces. The number one easiest one for most companies to do...
DORSEY: -- and they really get this, is that when we show up, make it very simple for us to see what does a good job look like.
QUEST: All right...
DORSEY: And I know that sounds like spoon-feeding, but here -- hold on. Hear me out before you jump to conclusions.
Let me give you a simple example. Customer service general in our millennials gets picked on all the time.
Well, when we interviewed millennials, they think they're doing a good job.
DORSEY: And the reality is they're not doing it the other way.
So all you need to solve the problem is a -- an iPhone or some video camcorder and 30 seconds. You show us one time and then you can hold us accountable.
QUEST: All right...
DORSEY: Done. Problem's over.
QUEST: Thank you.
DORSEY: No more infestation.
DORSEY: Either we get on the boat your you get rid of us.
QUEST: All right...
DORSEY: It's simple things like these that have a big impact.
QUEST: Jason, we'll talk to you again in the future...
DORSEY: I look forward to it.
QUEST: -- as we work our way through the Millennial -- the Millennial series.
Remember, millennials are Tweeting everywhere. And you can join the conversation at the hash tag, cnnmills.
Here's some of what you have been saying.
Basil Parker writes: "Congrats to @missmillib (ph). What a great attitude and making South Africa proud."
Joseph Ree (ph) Tweeted one of Milli's comments: "I feel I can achieve everything, but I don't need to achieve everything. I just need enough."
And Graham Tweeted: "Watching millennials on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. Brilliant new feature on CNN International."
Nothing like a bit of self-promotion here.
Talking of that, Jenny Harrison is at the World Weather Center -- Jenny, no, there's no way you can convince you or me that we are millennial.
JENNY HARRISON, ATS METEOROLOGIST: I wasn't even going to try, Richard, particularly you, for goodness sakes. You're -- yes...
HARRISON: But we'll -- we'll get to that.
QUEST: Yes, yes, yes.
HARRISON: We'll get to that later in the week.
But -- but I need to start talking about weather conditions in Australia. It has been a dreadful couple of weeks for most of the people, particularly in New South Wales.
Now, on the plus side, just like last week, and I was saying it every time I showed this, but it didn't look too bad. But it really has been particularly heavy rainfall in certain areas.
The last few hours, it's been around coastal areas of New South Wales, but also pushing up into Queensland. And, in fact, that's where we've seen some of the heaviest totals in the last 24 hours, over 200 millimeters of rain.
When you look at this as a whole, across pretty much the eastern half of the country, we're getting on for a year's total rain in literally just a couple of weeks. Some areas have seen getting on for half a meter of rain in just those seven days.
Now, New South Wales in particular has been really hard-hit.
You see all these little triangles?
These are the river gauges. So as soon as you see the orange, or, in this case, the red, you know that it's a severe situation with major flooding.
So that means the rivers really are absolutely at their peak, could even have burst their banks in some areas.
The Murrumbidgee River is one in particular. And this is where we find this town I'm going to take you to now. This is the town of Wara -- Waga Waga. About 50,000 people live here. And so far, 9,000 people have been forced to evacuate from their homes. I mean just look at the amount of water that is just sitting there.
Remember, this water -- filthy, filthy water, but, also full of dangers, hidden dangers. A lot of the wildfire there, of course, the snakes and the crocodiles. And then the damage to the roads alone so far adding up to half a billion dollars.
But it really is an ongoing situation.
Come back to me and I'll just show you what's been happening. Because, in fact, this Tuesday, the river has finally peaked. And it's peaked, as you can see, above major flooding stage, not quite as high as the floods back in 1974, but 10.56 meters. That is the level the river reached. It's already, as you can see there, beginning to go down.
But this situation is likely to persist for the next three to four weeks.
Now, we are going to see some drier conditions. But coastal areas will continue to see more rain. That high is working its way eastward. Then, of course, it's just feeding in all the moisture from the ocean.
Now, the Australian Met Office, they are actually saying that it's not, of course, an el nina year, where we have the coolest sea surface temperatures. Right now, we are in a phase of la nina. And this is when we have the warmer sea surface temperatures. And this generally produces much more rain across Australia, above average rainfall. And you can see here that that is what it actually results in, certainly through the months of March through -- all the way to February -- Richard.
QUEST: Thank you.
Thank you, Jenny Harrison, at the World Weather Center.
We'll talk more tomorrow.
We'll have a Profitable Moment after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's Profitable Moment.
There are few industries that better show the global recovery than the auto industry. Asia racing ahead, the U.S. recovery getting a kick start and Europe stalled, in need of a retune.
Companies like GM have roared back in the US. They're struggling here in Europe. Car companies have enjoyed tough times through the crisis.
And yet there is cause for optimism. Renault-Nissan announced jobs in the thousands in the UK. And GM is doing a deal with Peugeot.
The companies in Geneva are bringing out new products. It shows good old-fashioned entrepreneurship is exactly what we need sitting in the driver's seat right now.
And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.
I'm Richard Quest in London.
Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I do hope it's profitable.
Tomorrow night, the program comes from ITB, the tourism show in Berlin.
I'll see you in Germany.