Consumer Business Recap: Car Stereo WARS, GM CEO Speaks

General Motors (NYSE:GM) CEO Dan Akerson says that he is hopeful that his company will soon attain an agreement with German unions over cost reductions, as it explores ways to turn around its loss-creating Opel Vauxhall European operations. GM’s annual meeting begins Tuesday, and ahead of that event Akerson comments that the company might move pensions for union retirees to a private annuity, just as it is already doing with salaried retirees.

Don’t Miss: Apple Wants to Be Ford’s Back Seat Driver.

It’s Car Stereo Wars, as shares of audio hardware producer Harman (NYSE:HAR) move down on Tuesday faster than they did on Monday. Investors are said to be worried about the effects of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) just-announced partnering with several top automakers, so as to integrate its Siri with their in-vehicle electronics. The competition gets serious as Siri’s feature “Eyes Free” will enable drivers to activate it by pressing a steering wheel button, which could trump Harman’s audio systems’ options.

Safeway (NYSE:SWY), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR), and Kroger (NYSE:KR) square off, as the former announces that it will introduce five types of filtered coffee pods, under its own store brand name, that are compatible with Keurig brewers. Kroger made a similar move on Monday, which only heightens the danger to GMCR, which derives most of its margins from the K-cups that accompany the Keurig brewers.

Investing Insights: The Kroger Co. First Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek.

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