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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.

Beyond the Headlines!

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…)

April Won’t be Showered With Huge New Car Sales

Pickups expected to be bright spot in slow sales month.

by on Apr.25, 2019

The Rouge plant produces a new F-Series pickup, on average, every 53 seconds. Since pickup sales are on the rise, Ford looks to keep up the pace.

Brisk sales of pickup trucks are propping up the sales of new vehicles during April, according to new estimates from analysts.

The analysts from Edmunds, the car shopping website, forecast that 1,357,024 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in April for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate or SAAR of 16.8 million, which is more or less the consensus prediction for total vehicles sales during 2019.

Sales News!

The Edmunds forecast reflects a 16.2% decrease in sales from March 2019 but a 0.3% increase from April 2018.  (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…)

NHTSA Analyzing 12.3M Non-Takata Airbags Due to Possible Defect

ZF-TRW produced airbags for six automakers.

by on Apr.24, 2019

The 2011–13 Kia Optima has already been recalled once for an airbag problem.

As U.S. auto safety regulators are attempting to wind down the ongoing Takata airbag debacle, they are now investigating nearly 12.3 million vehicles with airbags that may not inflate during a collision.

The vehicles are equipped with airbags produced by ZF-TRW, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and could be responsible for as many as eight fatalities. The airbags do not inflate due to faulty control units.

News You Can Trust!

The investigation involves 2010-2019 model year vehicles produced by Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota. (more…)

Google Maps Taking Guesswork Out of EV Charging

A search now show charger availability, type and other helpful info.

by on Apr.23, 2019

ChargePoint, Electrify America and other companies are adding more charging stations across the U.S.

For years, the knock against electric vehicles has been finding a place to charge up and how long it’ll take EV owners to do so. Google Maps is now taking the sting out of some of those problems.

“If you’ve ever driven to an electric vehicle (EV) charging station only to find that all ports are occupied,” wrote Alex Donaldson, project manager, Google Maps, in a blog post, “you know that you could end up waiting in line for anywhere between minutes to hours — which can really put a damper on your day when you have places to go and things to do.”

Electrifying News!

Google Maps will now show you the location and availability of charging stations when you use the search function. The feature was teased in a company blog post last fall, but now the tech giant is making it available in real time in the U.S. as well as the United Kingdom.  (more…)

Subaru NYIAS Display Shows Commitment to National Parks

Automaker donated $2.1 million to parks in 2018.

by on Apr.22, 2019

Subaru is the National Park Foundation's largest corporate partner and its NYIAS display reflects that commitment.

Subaru of America Inc. has become the National Park Foundation’s single largest corporate partner.

“Through our partnership with the National Park Foundation, we have provided nearly $20 million in support since 2013, funding programs and projects in more than 100 national parks that help protect these treasured places and increase public awareness and engagement across the National Park System,” said Thomas J. Doll, CEO and president, Subaru of America Inc.

Auto Show News!

The automaker donated $2.1 million in 2018 through its Share the Love buying program where it donated $250 from the sale of every vehicle to the foundation. Through the 11 years of program it has raised $145.7 million. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Recalling 320K Dodge Darts

Most of the affected vehicles located in the U.S.

by on Apr.19, 2019

Fiat Chrysler killed the Dodge Dart as part of its realignment of its product portfolio.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 320,000 Dodge Dart compact cars in North America that could roll away due to defective shift-cable bushings.

An FCA US investigation discovered certain cars are equipped with a cable bushing that may degrade after prolonged exposure to high ambient heat and humidity. Should degradation occur, it may prohibit the driver from shifting gears.

News You Can Trust!

It may also allow the shift cable to detach from the transmission, which permits the car to roll away. The Italian-American automaker said the recall covers 2013 through 2016 model year automatic transmission Dart cars. (more…)

Weakening Sales Worry Automakers Gathered for NY Auto Show

Industry execs fear a Trump “grenade," but automakers are creating some of their own problems.

by on Apr.19, 2019

Toyota's U.S. sales chief Bob Carter expressed concern about the potential impact of actions by the Trump administration could have on sales this year.

U.S. auto sales suffered a severe chill over the winter. Demand was widely expected to slip slightly after posting an unexpected increase in 2019, but the market has been surprisingly weak and many of the industry officials gathered for this week’s media preview at the New York International Auto Show fear the situation could get worse.

In particular, there was a clear sense of concern that President Donald Trump could be “pulling the pin out of the grenade,” as Bob Carter, head of U.S. sales for Toyota put it, escalating the various trade wars to the point that it could send American car sales into a tailspin.

Sales News!

The harsh weather that swept through much of the country in January and February clearly took some of the blame for the way demand tumbled during the first quarter. But even a climactic reprieve in March did little to improve the situation, and sales for the first three months of the year were off by 4%. Only four brands finished the quarter in the black – and even then, only on the retail side. (more…)

Hyundai Names Former Nissan Exec José Muñoz its New COO

The 53-year-old exec was forced out in wake of Nissan’s Ghosn scandal.

by on Apr.18, 2019

José Muñoz, Nissan's former chief performance officer, is joining Hyundai and will oversee U.S. operations as part of his duties.

José Muñoz, the widely admired Nissan chief performance officer forced out in the wake of the scandal surrounding former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, is moving to South Korea, where he will become the global chief operating officer at Hyundai Motor Co.

The 52-year-old Muñoz was considered a rising Nissan star and a potential successor to Ghosn but tendered his resignation in January, sources told TheDetroitBureau.com, in protest over the Japanese automaker’s handling of the Ghosn investigation. The 65-year-old Ghosn remains in a Japanese detention center accused of a variety of financial crimes, though skeptics contend he has become the victim in a power struggle between Nissan and its French alliance partner Renault.

News Now!

In his new post, Muñoz also will serve as president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America. (more…)