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Archive for the ‘Earnings’ Category

Senate Strikes Down Rule Protecting Against Discriminatory Lending

House expected to pass Senate measure for Trump to approve.

by on Apr.19, 2018

The National Auto Dealers Association, led by Chairman Wes Lutz, applauded the reversal of CFPB guidance over potentially discriminatory lending practices.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up a measure passed by the Senate on Wednesday that wiped out guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau designed to eliminate lenders from discriminating against auto buyers based on race or national origin.

The guidance, which was offered in 2013 by the Obama Administration, was considered controversial at the time and faced fierce opposition from Republicans as well as banks, lenders and finance companies.

Industry News!

The Senate asked the General Accounting Office to era to review whether or not the guidance, which was aimed at preventing auto lenders from charging borrowers higher rates based on factors such as race or national origin, should have been subject to Congressional review. (more…)

Caddy Triggers Battle of the Behemoths with $10,000 Escalade Discounts

Fighting off the new Lincoln Navigator.

by on Apr.16, 2018

A Cadillac Escalade Platinum can top $100,000.

If you’re looking for one of the biggest, baddest luxury utes on the market, Cadillac is hoping to lure you into one of its U.S. showrooms. Aiming to shore itself up against an assault by Lincoln’s newly updated Navigator SUV, Caddy is firing back with discounts of up to $10,000 on its own Escalade model.

GM has traditionally dominated the full-size SUV segment, both mainstream and luxury, and it gained significant traction when it introduced an all-new version of the ‘Slade for the 2014 model-year. But that’s a lifetime ago in today’s hotly competitive market and Lincoln has been building momentum fast with the all-new version of the Navigator it launched last year.

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While the two models don’t generate a lot of volume they serve up substantial profits for their respective manufacturers, providing plenty of room to load up the incentives. The question is whether Lincoln will now fire back with big givebacks of its own.

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Despite Problems, Musk Promises Tesla Profit in Second Half of 2018

Stock up, but not everyone convinced.

by on Apr.13, 2018

CEO Elon Musk shown exiting the back seat of a Model 3 at its debut. Musk still needs to dig out of trouble caused by Model 3 delays.

It’s been a tough few weeks for Tesla, the battery-electric automaker again missing production targets, being accused of improperly firing nearly 1,000 factory workers and being scolded by federal safety regulators for its role in investigating a fatal crash involving its semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

But that has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of CEO Elon Musk. After earlier this week suggesting Model 3 production isn’t delayed but in a “time shift,” the South African-born exec on Friday tweeted a promise that Tesla will be both profitable and produce positive cash flow by the second half of this year.

Promises, Promises!

Musk’s latest tweet came in response to a harsh Twitter post by British news magazine The Economist, which warned Tesla would need to raise more cash this year. “The Economist used to be boring,” Musk responded, “but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money.”

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Mueller Out, Diess In at VW – And More Shake-Ups Likely

Automaker restructuring into three groups and may be readying spin-off of truck group.

by on Apr.12, 2018

New VW CEO Herbert Diess unveiled two EVs, including the Buzz microbus, at CEO.

Matthias Mueller, the executive often given credit with steering Volkswagen Group through the worst crisis in its post-War history, has been pushed aside, replaced as CEO by Herbert Diess, the head of the flagship VW brand.

The elevation of Diess comes at a time when Volkswagen is charting a path that calls for greater sales and profits, lower costs, and a decreasing dependence on the diesels that had been a foundation, albeit a troubled one, for the company. Diess will also oversee a restructuring that will reform the parent company into three groups and could lead to the eventually spin-off of its truck and bus division.

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Shaking Things Up!

The 64-year-old Mueller was elevated to CEO in 2015, following revelations that VW had rigged its diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests. He “has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group,” the automakers said in a statement, work that included dealing with angry regulators, shareholders and owners and negotiating settlements, fines and buybacks that ultimately are expected to cost VW about $30 billion in the U.S. alone.

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Lincoln Planning Five New Models for China in Bid to Catch Rivals

China destined to become brand’s top market, said new Lincoln chief.

by on Apr.12, 2018

The Lincoln Aviator made its U.S. debut last month and should reach China by 2019 or 2020.

Struggling to catch up with rivals now dominating the world’s largest luxury car market, Lincoln plans to start building five new models in China by 2022, according to a report by the Reuters news service.

That’s in line with comments made to TheDetroitBureau.com by Lincoln’s new boss, Joy Falotico, who said she expects China to soon become the brand’s largest market, much as has happened for other luxury marques, including Detroit-based rival Cadillac.

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Global News!

It appears that the new models Lincoln will build in China will also be produced and marketed in other countries, including the U.S. During a backgrounder on the new Aviator SUV prior to its debut at the New York International Auto Show late last month, Falotico revealed that Lincoln plans to launch two new SUVs by 2020, “followed closely by four more vehicles.”

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Volkswagen CEO Mueller Likely to Be Replaced by VW Brand Boss Diess

Mueller helped company weather diesel scandal, but Diess seen as change agent.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Prior to being tapped to head VW after its diesel scandal broke, Matthias Mueller ran Porsche.

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller is expected to be forced out at a management meeting Friday, with VW brand boss Herbert Diess expected to replace him, according to reports out of Germany.

The shake-up, which has apparently been in the works for months, has the blessing of some of VW’s top shareholders, as well as its chairman and powerful labor chief. It will mark the most extensive management moves since shortly after the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal broke in September 2015.

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VW issued a short statement noting it is considering “a further development of the management structure of the group which would also be associated with personnel changes in the board of management.” The statement hinted that changes under study “could include” the naming of a new CEO, adding that Mueller himself “showed his willingness to contribute,” suggesting the 64-year-old executive might voluntarily step aside rather than fight to retain his post. He is currently under a contract set to continue through 2020.

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China to “Significantly Lower” Tariffs on Vehicle Imports

Move could help defuse threat of trade war, but unclear how much will change.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Tesla CEO Musk is one of those celebrating China's plans to sharply reduce import auto tariffs.

Foreign automakers have long complained about the hefty tariffs levied on vehicles exported to China, but Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said his government plans to “significantly lower” duties this year.

The move comes at a time when tensions between the U.S. and China have built to the point where many observers have been fearing the start of a potentially devastating trade war. Just Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump complained in a tweet about “STUPID TRADE” policies that allowed the Chinese to levy a 25% tariff on imported vehicles, compared to the 2.5% duties imposed by the U.S. on most foreign-made vehicles.

More Than Just Headlines!

The Chinese president’s comments leave a lot of questions to be answered before it can be clear what impact the proposed move will have on foreign automakers, but at least one U.S.-based manufacturer is pleased, Tesla CEO Elon Musk quickly tweeting, “This is a very important action by China. Avoiding a trade war will benefit all countries.”

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Tesla Hit With NLRB Complaint Over Mass Firings

Feds probe controversial firing of nearly 1,000 employees.

by on Apr.05, 2018

Tesla's Fremont plant has faced a series of problems over the last year.

The National Labor Relations Board has filed a formal complaint against Tesla, finding merit to a series of charges involving the company’s treatment of employees over the past months, including claims that union supporters were swept out in a mass firing.

Charges, cited by the NLRB, range from terminating employees in retaliation for engaging in union and/or protected activities to unlawful interrogations of union supporters. Many of the pro-union employees were fired last fall when Tesla dismissed nearly 1,000 employees for what it described as substandard job performance.

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Unplugged?

Tesla has yet to file an answer to the complaint lodged by the NLRB but denied the allegations when the union fielded the charges last autumn. It will have to come up with a response before a trial date now set for June 11.

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Daimler Remains Committed to Diesel Engine Use

Shareholders express concerns about continued investment.

by on Apr.05, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche attempted to assuage concerns of investors about the future of diesel engines.

Daimler AG management insists the diesel engine has bright future, but the company’s shareholders are growing more skeptical and are raising questions about whether they should remain part of the company’s product portfolio in the face of stringent, new emission standards.

Shareholders, mainly representatives of investment funds holding shares of Daimler AG, raised questions about whether, in the aftermath of the scandal around the cheating on the emissions tests used by Volkswagen, it was wise for Daimler and Mercedes-Benz to continue investing in diesel technology.

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The question, coming during a meeting in Germany from German shareholders, indicate how the fallout from the “Dieselgate” scandal continues to impact a technology that up until VW’s troubles emerged in 2015 was the pride of the German auto industry. (more…)

Daimler’s Zetsche Talks About Future With New Investor

Geely's Li Khufu is Daimler's largest investor, which may foster new deals.

by on Apr.05, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche discusses the company's future during its annual shareholders meeting.

Daimler AG continues to enjoy record success even as it spends heavily on new investments to prepare the company to meet future challenges in an auto industry that is changing quickly and dramatically even as it adjusts to new shareholders.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche also moved quickly at the beginning of the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Berlin to head off questions about the investment of Li Shufu, the Chinese entrepreneur who recently acquired approximately 10% of Daimler’s shares.

Global News!

“I’d like to start by saying our talks with Li Shufu have been very positive,” Zetsche said. “He wants to have a long-term investment with Daimler and he supports our successful strategy,” said Zetsche, adding that future collaboration with Li Shufu’s automotive empire, which includes Geely, the Chinese company he founded, and Volvo, is a possibility. (more…)