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Daimler AG Pushing Forward on Restructuring Plans

Company's move to split into three units provides more freedom.

by on Jul.26, 2018

Daimler AG is splitting into three separate entities to improve efficiency and profitability.

Daimler AG took another step toward a restructuring aimed at giving its three key operating units – cars, trucks and financial services – greater freedom and flexibility.

The plan approved by the company’s supervisory board this week creates three new operating companies while the parent company, Daimler AG, retains oversight and governance, according to the company’s announcement.

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“The new structure positions Daimler to tackle the rapid pace of change in the mobility sector and the corresponding strategic challenges. Legally independent divisions will sharpen our focus on the future success of the business.” Manfred Bischoff, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG. (more…)

Audi Rolls Out All-New, 2019 Q3

Crisper exterior, bigger interior, more tech toys.

by on Jul.26, 2018

Audi has a new entry for the small luxury utility market that is growing by leaps and bounds in the U.S.: the 2019 Q3.

Audi has been moving on two critical trends in the luxury car market, both moving both down-market and expanding its presence in the fast-growing utility vehicle market. It scored with the original Q3 that combined both trends into one package and, for 2019, it’s hoping to hammer another one out of the park with the second-generation of its compact crossover.

The Q3 comes along at a busy time for Audi which, among other things, is also launching a new range-topper, the big Q8 utility vehicle. For the U.S., the Q3 is the smallest crossover it offers, and the all-new version comes just four years after the North American debut of the original.

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The new model grows in every dimension, both outside and in, while also adopting a bolder, more muscular appearance that bears the clear stamp of Marc Lichte, Audi’s design director who came onboard a few years back, promising to shake up the brand’s styling language. But what may particularly appeal to the generally younger buyers is that the 2019 Audi Q3 features a suite of new, high-tech features. (more…)

Ford Q2 Earnings Hurt by China, Supplier Fire

Automaker revises full-year guidance downward.

by on Jul.25, 2018

Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO, said the company is moving to invest in areas that will return the best profits.

Ford’s second-quarter earnings were down compared with year-ago results, driven there by poor sales in China and the loss of truck sales when its supplier suffered a fire that forced the company to shut down its truck production lines for eight days.

The automaker reported net income of $1.1 billion, or 27 cents a share, on revenue of $38.9 billion, compared with 2017 results of net income of $2.1 billion, or 51 cents a share, on revenue of $39.9 billion.

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“This quarter we achieved solid results in North America, offset in part by unexpected challenges with our overseas operations and headwinds in the business environment,” said Jim Hackett, president and CEO, in a statement. (more…)

FCA Reports Lower Than Expected Earnings as it Mourns Marchionne

Former chief memorialized with a moment of silence on earnings call.

by on Jul.25, 2018

Mike Manley, new CEO of FCA, led a moment of silence today before leading the reporting of the company's second quarter earnings.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported Q2 earnings that were lower than expected, but that was surpassed by news that former CEO Sergio Marchionne died due to complications from surgery in Switzerland.

The company’s executives, including the newly appointed replacement for Marchionne, Mike Manley, soldiered on through the earnings call, starting with a moment of silence to honor the man many believe saved Chrysler from extinction.

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Then they moved on, as they believed Marchionne would have insisted, to describe how slow sales in China put a drag on the company’s earnings results despite impressive sales in North America during the first half of the year. (more…)

General Motors Reports Flat Earnings for Second Quarter

Rising incentives on pickups drain profits.

by on Jul.25, 2018

GM's profits were hurt by increased incentives on its full-size pickups during the second quarter.

General Motors posted earnings for the second quarter that were basically flat as rising incentives and lower prices on its pickup trucks took a bite out of the company’s profits.

GM’s income from continuing operations of $2.4 billion, down $0.1 billion, compared to the second quarter of 2017 due to a driven primarily by the decline pricing and trim mix for the company’s the current-generation full-size pickup truck models, which is due to be replaced next year, and increased commodity costs.

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The decline in the profitability of the company’s pick-up truck business was partially offset by improved performance in GM Financial and China. (more…)

Manly Manley Facing Tough Challenges at FCA

Great track record at Jeep, Ram, but lots more to do, observers caution.

by on Jul.23, 2018

New Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley is not sliding into a cushy job, rather it is a position that faces several difficult challenges in the near and long term.

The head of Fiat Chrysler’s European, Mideast and African business operations reportedly has stepped down, the apparent departure of Alfredo Altavilla kicking into high gear what could become a period of significant turmoil in the automaker’s senior ranks touched off by the unexpected departure of long-time CEO Sergio Marchionne over the weekend.

The 66-year-old Marchionne, who brought Fiat in as a white knight to save Chrysler after its 2010 bankruptcy, was replaced over the weekend by Michael Manley after suffering a grave decline in health following seemingly routine shoulder surgery last week.

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The 54-year-old Manley was considered the front-runner to replace Marchionne when he retired nearly a year from now, but the unexpected shake-up will put plenty of pressure on the new CEO to hold things together while also moving ahead with the new FCA five-year plan Marchionne unveiled barely two months ago. Altavilla was seen as one of the other senior execs positioned to succeed Marchionne and it remains to be seen if his departure could be followed by others. (more…)

Tesla Demands Refunds from Suppliers to Help it Claw into the Black

“Simply ludicrous,” warns one analyst.

by on Jul.23, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is pushing supplies to provide refunds on parts, some of them from months ago, as he scrambles to bring the company into the black.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

Tesla has demanded that suppliers give it refunds on parts purchases, some of those dating well into the past, in order to help the carmaker deliver the promise CEO Elon Musk has promised for the second half of 2018.

It is unclear if Tesla would be able to make that target without the givebacks. Investors reacted with skepticism after the news broke over the weekend, the company’s stock tumbling sharply ahead of the bell marking the official opening of Monday morning trading.

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Tesla officials told TheDetroitBureau.com in a email that only certain suppliers were asked for a refund on past products and that this kind of interaction is not out of the ordinary. (more…)

Automakers Warn Trump Administration About Tariff Impact

Proposed tariffs could add $6,000 to price of a new car.

by on Jul.20, 2018

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is leading the Section 232 investigation into whether or not imported automobiles and parts represent a threat to the U.S.

During the U.S. Department of Commerce’s public comment hearing today, the Trump administration was warned the steep tariffs it has under consideration could add a total of $83 billion to the cost of new vehicles sold to American consumers.

“Higher auto tariffs will harm American families and workers, along with the economy” and “would raise the price of an imported car nearly $6,000 and the price of a U.S.-built car $2,000,” the Auto Alliance said in a statement prepared for the hearing.

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Meanwhile, dozens of employees from Toyota’s 10 U.S. assembly plants descended on Washington D.C., to oppose the government’s threat to impose a 25% tariff on imported vehicles and parts. They were joined by U.S. production workers from other international automakers across the country. (more…)

Auto Industry Unites to Challenge Trump Tariffs

UAW lone dissenter, seeks targeted tariffs.

by on Jul.19, 2018

Representatives from six auto groups testified at a U.S. Department of Commerce public hearing against new tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump.

With one exception – the UAW – the automotive industry is prepared to take a united stand against tariffs as the U.S. Department of Commerce holds a one-day public hearing on a Trump administration proposal to levy 25% tariffs on imported automobiles in the name of national security.

Seven associations representing almost 10 million jobs across the auto sector in the U.S. have joined together to urge the White House to not impose higher tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.

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“Raising tariffs on autos and auto parts would be a massive tax on consumers who buy or service their vehicles – whether imported or domestically produced. These higher costs will inevitably lead to declining sales and the loss of American jobs, as well as an increase in vehicle service and repair costs that may result in consumers delaying critical vehicle maintenance,” said the groups in an open letter to President Donald Trump. (more…)

Vietnam’s First Real Car Co. Takes Aim at the West

Paris debut planned, U.S. launch could follow.

by on Jul.18, 2018

VinFast turned to Pininfarina to design its new models, the sedan shown in this rendering.

The first “volume” Vietnamese automaker will reveal two new models designed by Pininfarina during the Paris Motor Show this coming October, setting into motion what it hopes will be a global rollout over the next few years.

VinFast, which will be setting up a new “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility” in the northern part of Vietnam plans to launch the two vehicles – an SUV and a sport sedan – in September 2019, though it will initially focus solely on “affluent” buyers in its home country before targeting opportunities elsewhere in Asia and in Western markets.

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“Our show stand will…prominently feature the best of Vietnam, demonstrating the passion and tenacity that we will bring to the global automotive stage,” said James DeLuca, CEO of VinFast Trading and Production LLC. “We have the resources, scalability and commitment to become a significant new player in the global automotive industry.”

(more…)