Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for April, 2018

Carmakers Likely to Report April Sales Declines

Month has two fewer selling days, adding to the slide.

by on Apr.27, 2018

Sluggish sales in the U.S. are expected in April, which has two fewer selling days..

Analysts anticipate a drop in new vehicle sales when carmakers report their total deliveries for April next week.

U.S. new-vehicle sales in April are expected to fall 3.6% compared to April 2017, according to a forecast from Cox Automotive.

News You Can Trust!

Despite the expected volume decline, the sales pace in the U.S. remains strong, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.3 million units, above year-ago levels. In April 2017, the SAAR was 17.0 million, Cox analysts noted. (more…)

Jeep Grand Commander: Bigger is Better, at Least in Beijing

Three-row SUV borrows heavily from Grand Cherokee.

by on Apr.27, 2018

The new Jeep Grand Commander made its debut at the Beijing Motor Show.

We’ve been hearing rumors for as long as we can remember that Jeep will finally catch up to the competition by adding a third-row SUV to its growing line-up.

It’s finally happened – sort of – with the debut of the Jeep Grand Commander at this week’s Beijing Motor Show. The question is whether that seven-seater is what we can expect in the U.S. or if there is another model under development for the States that would revive the old Wagoneer nameplate.

Auto Show News!

That could certainly hit a welcome target for Jeep considering the strong U.S. demand for three-row SUVs and crossover-utility vehicles. The Fiat Chrysler brand is one of the few key players in the ute market that doesn’t offer a three-row model these days. Even Lexus has gotten into the game with the recent unveiling of a stretched version of its long-popular RX model. (more…)

BMW’s iX3 Reveals a More Normal-Looking Approach to All-Electric Driving

New battery-electric SUV ushers in a dramatic shift in direction for BMW’s i brand.

by on Apr.26, 2018

The BMW iX3 Concept debuted in Beijing and revealed the automaker's shift in its electric vehicle strategy.

The BMW i3 is one of the market’s more technologically advanced vehicles – and also one of the weirdest looking. Introduced in 2014 and updated for the 2018 model-year, it helped introduce the Bavarian automaker’s distinctive i brand of electrified vehicles.

But with BMW getting ready to roll out a new wave of battery cars, and shift away from its original strategy of using unique platforms for products like the i3 and i8, the iX3 concept making its debut in Beijing this week gives us a good hint of what’s to come.

News Now!

The concept debuting at the Beijing Motor Show “offers a look ahead to the expansion of the model line-up in this area,” the automaker announced ahead of the formal unveiling. “The first model from the BMW brand to be driven purely by electric power will be a fully-fledged Sports Activity Vehicle – and without compromises when it comes to functionality and comfort.” (more…)

Volvo Aims for Half of its Sales to Be Pure EV by 2025

All of Swedish maker’s models will use some form of electrification.

by on Apr.26, 2018

Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said that 50% of the company's sales will come from EVs.

Expect to see a flood of pure battery-electric vehicles hit showrooms over the next few years – by one analyst’s count, as many as 101 will be in U.S. showrooms in 2021, with plenty more to follow.

That’s expected to include a number of offerings from Volvo which now says it expects all-electric, or BEV, models to account for fully half of its global sales by 2025. And that doesn’t include the mild, conventional or plug-in hybrid products that will flesh out the rest of the Swedish automaker’s line-up.

News Now!

“Last year we made a commitment to electrification in preparation for an era beyond the internal combustion engine,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. “Today we reinforce and expand that commitment in the world’s leading market for electrified cars.” (more…)

Ford Earns $1.7 Billion in First Quarter

Automaker accelerating efforts to cut costs.

by on Apr.26, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett said the company is accelerating is cost-cutting measure and expanding their scope.

Ford reported first-quarter revenue of $42 billion and net income of $1.7 billion, or 43 cents a share, beating analysts estimates by 2 cents a share. The revenue result was a 7% increase while net income reflects a 9% increase over year-ago results.

However, the company’s pre-tax profits were $2.2 billion, a 14% drop compared with last year’s result, which was attributed to commodity price increases and unfavorable exchange rates.

Subscribe for Free!

The 9% increase in quarterly profit can be almost entirely attributed to a drop in the automaker’s effective tax rate to 9% from 28.6%, Ford officials said. (more…)

Automotive Hall of Fame Unveils New Induction Class

Group to honor five new industry-related people.

by on Apr.26, 2018

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson is part of the latest five-person induction class of the Automotive Hall of Fame.

The Automotive Hall of Fame has tapped five individuals, including two well-known media personalities and three pioneers from different parts of automotive business, for induction this summer.

The list of this year’s inductees includes Michael “Mike” Jackson, the current chairman, CEO and president of AutoNation, the largest automotive retailer for 19 consecutive years. The outspoken Jackson has been a major force in reshaping automotive retailing.

Industry News!

Also on the list are Frank Stronach, founder of Canadian based Magna International, which has become one of the industry’s top suppliers during the past four decades and Kiichiro Toyoda, the Japanese entrepreneur whose decision to expand his father’s company, Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, into automobile manufacturing led to the creation of one of the industry’s global powerhouses, the Toyota Motor Corp. (more…)

FCA Enjoys Record Q1 Results as Plans Fall into Place

Company earns 1 billion euros and paying down debt.

by on Apr.26, 2018

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company was on track to meet its goal of paying off its debt by the end of 2018.

Despite production delays for the new 2019 Ram pickup truck, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. reported record profits of 1 billion euros for the first quarter of 2018 thanks to stronger sales in North and South America and a drop in capital spending as the company completed the launch of three new vehicles.

“Overall the business is in good shape,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne during a conference call with analysts, noting the company had eliminated 1.3 billion euros worth of debt out of the company’s cash flow.

News You Can Trust!

“Obviously I’m pleased by the debt reduction,” Marchionne said. (more…)

Earnings Down, GM Still Beats Q1 Forecast

Automaker plans “significantly lower investments” in passenger car models.

by on Apr.26, 2018

"We are on plan to deliver another strong year," says GM CEO Mary Barra.

General  Motors net earnings dipped 60% to $1.05 billion during the first quarter but still managed to beat Wall Street expectations thanks to strong demand for its North American light truck line-up.

The announcement by the nation’s largest automaker came less than a day after Ford Motor Co. also topped earnings forecasts by riding a wave of demand for pickups, SUVs and CUVs. Ford yesterday said it was going to all but abandon traditional passenger cars in North America and GM is also expected to trim its sedan line-up, though not nearly as drastically as its cross-town rival.

Breaking News!

“Results this quarter were in line with our expectations with planned, lower production in North America related to the transition to our all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra said in a statement accompanying the earnings report. “We are on plan to deliver another strong year in 2018.”

(more…)

And Then There Was One: Mustang. Ford Cutting Cars by 2022

Updated: Ford not only automaker shifting from cars to trucks, sport utes and crossovers.

by on Apr.26, 2018

In less than four year, these will be the only cars you can buy from Ford.

(This story has been updated to include comments and details on shifting product plans at General Motors and other manufacturers.)

The Mustang will be the last survivor.

That’s according to Ford Motor Co.’s new plan that calls for the elimination of all cars, except the original pony car, by 2022.

Industry News!

What’s left will be nothing but profit centers, or at least potential profits, as the company focuses on what consumers are really buying these days: trucks, sport-utilities and crossovers. Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed the plan during the company’s earnings call. (more…)

Tesla Model 3: How Can Such a Good Car Be So Bad

Teardown of battery-electric vehicle reveals many surprises.

by on Apr.25, 2018

"You can see the gaps from the moon" on the body of a Tesla Model 3, according to Sandy Munro.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, think of it as two tales of a car, suggests Sandy Munro, head of the suburban Detroit competitive analysis firm, Munro and Associates. How can such a breakthrough vehicle also have so many problems, he asks, during a lengthy look at what’s under the skin of the Tesla Model 3.

Over the years, Munro’s firm has vivisected hundreds of automobiles, including a number of new battery-electric vehicles, such as the BMW i3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV. But few teardowns, he suggested, have been more eye-opening than Tesla’s first mainstream offering. In terms of its battery-based drivetrain technology, the Model 3 readily sets a benchmark, but it’s another matter entirely with many of the things an owner more readily sees, including a body with massive quality and fit-and-finish problems.

Dig Deeper!

“It’s the best of (cars) and the worst of (cars),” Munro said, during a special meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association held at his Auburn Hills facility. “Some stuff gets a six, on a scale of one to five, others a one.”

(more…)