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Fiat Chrysler Tabs Infiniti’s Meunier to Head Jeep

Manley reaches outside company for top brand's new leader.

by on May.08, 2019

Former Infiniti Chief Christian Meunier is taking charge of Fiat Chrysler's top brand: Jeep.

In a surprise move, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. has gone outside the company to recruit a new chief to head up its most important brand: Jeep.

FCA announced it has tapped Christian Meunier to serve as Global President of the Jeep brand.

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Meunier joins FCA with broad background in the global automotive experience. In his most recent post before joining FCA, he was Chairman and Global President for Infiniti Motor Co. Ltd. at Nissan. (more…)

Volkswagen AG Meets Q1 Expectations Despite $1.2B Charge

Sport-utility profits carry automaker during the quarter.

by on May.02, 2019

Volkswagen rode the sales of its highly profitable SUV line-up to a strong Q1 earnings result.

Despite taking a $1.2 billion charge to account for the continuing fallout from its emissions scandal, Volkswagen AG hit its target for first-quarter earnings before interest and taxes of $4.4 billion.

Sales revenue of the Volkswagen Group rose 3.1% year-on-year to EUR 60 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal year.

Earnings News!

“The Volkswagen Group is once again off to a good start this year,” said Frank Witter, chief financial officer of Volkswagen AG. The sales revenue performance and earnings growth in the first three months of the current fiscal year are encouraging.”  (more…)

Faraday Future Rescued — Again

But will the latest deal finally break start-up’s string of bad luck?

by on May.01, 2019

Faraday claims the latest funding should finally help it move its FF91 model into production.

It’s often said that cats have nine lives. Faraday Future must be the automotive equivalent of a feline considering the number of times the battery-car start-up has been bailed out.

Months after laying off the majority of its workforce and slashing pay for those remaining, the California-based carmaker has been tossed yet another lifesaver, this time in the form of a new, $225 million bridge loan from Birch Lake Fund Management LP. That comes barely a month after Chinese videogame company The9 Limited agreed to pump in $600 million in three tranches.

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That’s enough, the company claims, to help it get its first product, the 1,050 horsepower FF91 ready for production while moving forward with the development of a more affordable model dubbed the FF81.

(more…)

FCA Partnering With Google, Samsung on Connected Car Tech

System will include over-the-air updates and support future autonomous vehicle efforts.

by on Apr.30, 2019

Fiat Chrysler is partnering with Google and Samsung to upgrade its in-car infotainment, including Uconnect.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will team up with Google and Samsung in a push to put connected car technology in all of its vehicles by 2022, the automaker announced on Tuesday.

The new system being developed by the three partners will use and update FCA’s current Uconnect system and rely on the Google Android operating system. It will allow the automaker to offer a common system worldwide, rather than an infotainment system that is currently tailored to individual markets.

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“The modern, in-vehicle experience must be designed for seamless connectivity and digital content, and provide an integrated, but familiar experience for the on-the-go consumer,” said Patrick Brady, vice president of Engineering at Google. (more…)

Volvo Cars Q1 Profits Fall Due to Rising Tariffs, Price Pressure

Automaker sells more cars, but makes less money.

by on Apr.29, 2019

Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars president and CEO, said the company's profits fell in Q1 due to higher tariffs and pricing pressure.

Volvo Cars’ operating profit and net income dropped during the first quarter despite increases in revenue and unit sales, the company reported.

“The continued growth in Volvo Car sales which we have seen in the first quarter clearly shows the quality of our product portfolio. We grew in all regions gaining market share while revenue rose faster than sales due to our product mix,” said Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson.

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However, compared with last year, Volvo’s profitability was undercut by higher tariffs and increased price pressure in many markets, he said. (more…)

Daimler Earnings Fall 37% as Mercedes Sales Stumble

U.S. sales fall 9% during the quarter.

by on Apr.26, 2019

Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche said the company's earnings performance was unacceptable during earnings meeting recently.

Daimler AG’s income dropped by double digits in the first quarts as sales of Mercedes-Benz vehicles fell in markets around the world, reducing the unit’s earnings before interest and taxes by 37%.

The adverse development at Mercedes-Benz led to a decline of 13% in Daimler AG net income for the quarter as the company’s total revenues remained flat. EBIT was down 15% despite improvements in the earnings of Daimler Financial Services. Daimler Trucks, despite a modest sales increase, saw its earnings decline due to an adverse swing in exchange rates.

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Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler’s board of management, said the company had to do better. (more…)

Ford Earnings Slide – But Still Exceed Expectations

Strong truck sales overcome a “volatile environment.”

by on Apr.26, 2019

Retiring Ford CFO Bob Shanks, in his last quarterly earnings call, warned of a "volatile" environment.

Ford Motor Co. saw first-quarter earnings slide by more than a third during the first quarter – but the number still managed to handily exceed Wall Street’s expectations, sending shares soaring in after-hours trading.

The automaker gave much of the credit to surging demand for its F-Series pickups, but also pointed to efforts to cut costs and improve productivity. But Ford officials also warned that an assortment of new product launches scheduled for the rest of the year, combined with a variety of challenges, could pose challenges for the rest of 2019.

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Ford faces a “volatile environment with very strong competition,” said Bob Shanks, Ford’s retiring chief financial officer, during a conference call with industry analysts and reporters.

(more…)

Lotus Goes Electric – But Can That Spark Brand’s Revival?

British sports car maker soon to build cars in China.

by on Apr.25, 2019

Lotus says the Type 130 will be the first all-electric British hypercar, and one of a number of new models the British sport car company is developing.

Even a cat might have run through its nine lives by now, but British sports carmaker Lotus somehow continues to hang on – and with a fresh infusion of capital from its new Chinese owners, Lotus is bound and determined to make a comeback.

It offered a hint of what’s coming at Auto Shanghai this month, announcing plans to get back into motorsports with its Evora line and teasing a new battery-electric hypercar called the Type 130.

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But Lotus is also set to break with tradition in a way that could shock some of its loyal fans, parent Zhejiang Geely Holding Group set to begin producing at least some future Lotus products at a new, $1.3 billion plant in Wuhan City, about as far as you can get from the brand’s traditional base in Britain. (more…)

Tesla Loses $522M in Q1 Despite 3% Model 3 Production Jump

EV Maker produced roughly 63,000 Model 3 vehicles in Q1.

by on Apr.24, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said delivering Model 3s to Europe was a logistical challenge unlike anything he'd seen before.

(This story has been updated with new information from the Q&A session during the company’s earnings call.)

Tesla posted a $522 million operating loss on revenue of $3.7 billion during the first quarter of 2019. The loss came despite a 3% increase in Model 3 production, accounting for about 63,000 vehicles.

This improvement in production rate was modest mainly due to changes to the production process for the introduction of new variants of Model 3, fewer working days and a supplier limitation, the automaker noted.

Sales News!

CEO Elon Musk noted that the company struggled with a massive increase in the delivery of Model 3 sedans to Europe. In fact, the completed half of the deliveries during the last 10 days of the quarter, he noted during the earnings call. (more…)

Tesla Boosting Range, Performance of Existing Models

Automaker also reviving lower-priced 75D versions of Models S and X.

by on Apr.24, 2019

Tesla surprised some Model 3 owners with an over-the-air update that extended the sedan's range by 26 miles to 286 miles.

Thousands of Tesla owners recently discovered a pleasant surprise after hitting the “Start” button on their battery-electric vehicles.

The automaker used its ability to deliver over-the-air updates to extend the range on certain versions of the Model 3 by 26 miles, those sedans now able to travel up to 286 miles on a single charge. At the same time, vehicle performance also was enhanced.

Electrifying News!

Now, Tesla says, it will be extending the range of the older Models S and X, though this will require a hardware, rather than software, fix. Extended range versions of those two products assembled from April 23 onward will get as much as a 10% bump in range, according to Tesla. (more…)