How automakers address the sedan question in India is particularly interesting. It doesn’t involve increasing legroom or wheelbase. It doesn’t involve creating a reason to increase the average transaction price of those cars. And despite India having some of the deadliest roads in the world, it doesn’t involve safety.
In India, most automakers go in the exact opposite direction with their sedans — by building them shorter and cheaper, but no more safer — yet they remain just as comfortable inside as the models on which they’re based.
Ford announced Thursday that it had earned a record pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion for 2015 — including $2 billion in the fourth quarter — bolstered by pickup sales in the U.S. and strong growth in China.
The record-setting year for the automaker wasn’t much of a surprise — second- and third-quarter results set records along the way — but Ford’s ability to finally turn a profit in Europe may be the most unexpected news. The automaker had lost money in Europe since 2011.
Latin America, notably Brazil, will continue to be a sore spot for Ford and other automakers. Ford said Thursday it expects to lose more money there in 2016 than the $832 million it lost there in 2015.
Jeep Pickup, Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade: All The Things We'll Probably Hear Tomorrow From Sergio
On Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will update investors on his long-term plans and fourth-quarter profits — namely, how many Jeeps it sold — during his scheduled earnings conference call.
It’s widely expected that Sergio will address the near-certainty that Jeep will build a pickup based on the Wrangler, as well as the future for the Jeep Compass that’ll likely survive from the Patriot/Compass twin billing, and Jeep’s potential to keep afloat fledgling FCA brands such as Maserati and Alfa Romeo.
Analysts say FCA’s ambitious target of $5 billion profit by 2018 would be almost unattainable at this point.
“‘Ambitious’ is not really an adequate word to describe it, ‘fantasyland’ might be more appropriate,” Bernstein’s Max Warburton told Automotive News.
Looking to expand its global presence beyond its native China, Beijing Automotive Group announced they would like to acquire a “mid to high-level brand” in either Europe or the United States, and already has a list of potential brands in mind.
Two plants in Ford’s joint venture with Russian manufacturer OAO Sollers will experience job cuts as a result of a weakening ruble and decreasing demand by customers in the local market.
Following its global grand opening in India, Nissan’s low-cost Datsun brand will open its doors to the Russian market April 4 in Moscow.
With PSA Peugeot Citroen’s supervisory board’s blessing, CEO Philippe Varin is continuing talks with partner Dongfeng regarding the stock sale to both the Chinese automaker and the French government.
Just in time for the 2014 Delhi Motor Show — where the above Datsun Redi-Go concept made its debut this week — Renault-Nissan launches production of the revived brand’s Go subcompact at their plant in Chennai, India.
The rumors have it that the new Ford Ka will be on sale as of March this year. Production of the old Ka has come to a close as the Zetec Rocam engines have also been terminated (and thus the old Brazil-market Fiesta is probably dead as well). At launch, the new Ka will come exclusively with a 1.5 Sigma engine and a 1.0, three cylinder, EcoBoost-based engine. Rumors have it that it will be the most powerful 1.0 engine in Brazil and will thus have to provide around 82 ponies.
The Russian government said that it will spend up to 271 billion rubles ($8US billion) over the next three years to subsidize the country’s struggling auto industry. A government web site said that the subsidies will underwrite research & development, jobs and costs related to more stringent emissions standards. Car sales in Russia in 2013 fell by 6% to 2.78 million units and 2014 looks like another weak year as the Russian economy stutters, according to the Association of European Businesses.
The Brazilian auto industry has been on edge for a week and a half, as the Economic Ministry announced that the mandate for airbags and ABS on all Brazilian cars in 2014 was “under review”. Citing worries over inflation (as car prices make up an infinitesimal part of that complex calculation) and the fact that auto sales were down, the Economic Ministry said that the 2014 adoption of the aforementioned equipment might not be in Brazil’s best interest.
If you live in Brazil and are pining away for a Jaguar or Land Rover, Tata Motors will open a factory for the luxury marques in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
McLaren, like many makers of luxury goods, is having a difficult time moving their fine wares in China as of late, all thanks to a crackdown against lavish spending begun last year by the country’s Communist government.
The importance of South America to Ford Motor Company’s plans can be seen from the fact that chairman Bill Ford went to Brazil to introduce the Ka Concept, an entry level hatchback for urban consumers in Brazil and other global markets, particularly developing countries. FoMoCo says that the car was developed by Ford Brazil. Of course, the Ka Concept is a concept car in name only and when the production Ka arrives next year it should be very close to what was revealed this week. It’s also very similar to the small sedan whose spy shots TTAC featured recently that our sources tell us will be the Ka sedan.
Speaking at a ceremony at Ford’s Northeast Industrial Complex in Camaçari, Bill Ford said, “Ford has a long history in Brazil, bringing development, jobs and growth to the region. As an integral part of our global growth strategy, we are committed to bringing world-class products to Brazil and to helping the region create global vehicles for the rest of the world.”
In India for the relaunched Datsun brand’s first car, the Go, CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance, Carlos Ghosn, announced that Renault and Nissan will jointly develop a platform for low cost and ultra low cost cars aimed at India and other emerging markets, which Ghosn believes will make up 60% of the global automotive market by 2016. To do that, the alliance will spend another $5 billion on investments in their Indian operations over the next five years. Renault-Nissan is committed to using India as its global hub for emerging markets, developing the cars there as well as assembling and exporting them.
This week, the idea of Brazil’s cars being “unsafe” due to inferior construction has been gaining a lot of currency on the blogosphere after the Associated Press published a report on this topic. Very few outlets have anyone posted in Brazil to do any deeper digging, but TTAC does. Unfortunately, our man Marcelo de Vasconcellos is currently in exams right now (good luck, Senhor!) and was unable to write up an article refuting these claims. Still, Marcelo took the time out to talk to TTAC about the problems behind the article.
According to Bloomberg, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn claimed that “Brazil is very much a cornerstone” in VW’s push to become the world’s largest car maker by 2018.
Herr Winterkorn is in São Paulo for the largest and most important Auto Show in Latin America. Striving to make the most of this unique opportunity, the Brazilian press was all over VW’s CEO. He didn’t disappoint. He announced investments of 4.4 billion dollars to expand VW’s model line and modernize their factories in Brazil until 2016.
Well, they better!
After making rather disparaging remarks about the management culture at Jaguar Land Rover, Tata CEO Ratan Tata is attempting to do some major damage control after he criticized the Brits in a May, 2011 interview with The Times.
Although the article is hidden behind a pay wall, Tata is widely quoted as saying that “…nobody is willing to go the extra mile, nobody.” At the Delhi Auto Show, Tata essentially backtracked on his comments, saying his fairly explicit comments were misunderstood.
Brazil is touted to soon eclipse Japan as the world’s third largest auto market, and there is at least one Japanese company that wants to make hay of this: Nissan. The Nikkei [sub] heard that Nissan plans a Brazilian factory which “will have an annual production capacity of roughly 200,000 units and will begin churning out strategic small cars in 2014.”
The 19th Indonesian International Motor Show (IIMS) is currently taking place at the JIExpo in the capital city, Jakarta, with almost all the world’s major automakers represented at a show which is quite simply bigger, bolder and brasher than ever before. There is a real spring in the step here as this huge, underdeveloped nation of 238 million people, the fourth-most populated in the world, stands poised to unlock the potential of its auto industry and become a major player on the world stage. Indonesia is standing at a crossroads and everyone is preparing to join the party.
According to Wards Auto, global auto sales through May hit 32.62 million units, up 6.0% from the year-ago number. But as the chart above shows, the rate of growth in global deliveries has slowed dramatically over the past year-and-a-half, falling below five percent the last several months. So what’s the problem? At this point, what isn’t the problem? The US and Japan have been hit hard by the Japanese tsunami, while the once-blistering-hot markets of China and India are shrinking and growing more slowly respectively.
Collectively, markets in the Asia/Pacific region accounted for 2.35 million vehicle deliveries, equating to 37% of world sales, the region’s lowest global market share since May 2009.
In the U.S. and Canada, sales of Japanese vehicles slipped precipitously below the rest of the market in May due to supply shortages, pulling North America’s year-over-year performance 2.3% below like-2010 on a volume basis, despite an 11.7% increase in Mexico.
So where’s the good news? After a forgettable few years, Europe is back… and South America is staying strong.
Overall deliveries in Europe rose 14.2% in May, to 1.85 million units. The resulting 29.2% share of world sales was the region’s highest take since June of last year…
Double-digit growth in many of South America’s smaller markets lifted regional sales in May 27.6%, compared with year-ago, for a 7.9% share of global deliveries – a 9-month high.
As you’ve read here many times, the drums against imports have been beating in Brasília for a long time. Now, the government is acting. It has opened up its little tragic bag of dirty tricks and is pulling the first, as it were, rabbit out. It also promises to dip into that bag again if this first rodent fails to bite. Moneyed (and not so moneyed Brazilian import buyers of Chinese cars) Brazilian consumers should run to the dealerships to get ’em while they can. They should also put some money aside as the measure will also affect parts makers and consequently prices.
Hyundai and Kia are on a tear in the European market, having recently passed Toyota to become the best-selling Asian automaker in the EU (at 605,386 units, some 50k away from Daimler’s 2010 sales). And with its first Europe-centric product coming online, aimed at the heart of Europe’s 896k unit midsize segment, it hopes to keep the growth coming. In service of that goal, Hyundai is moving European production of its iX35 (Tucson) CUV from Kia’s plant in Zilina, Slovakia, to its own factory in Nosovice, Czech Republic, and adding an extra shift according to the WSJ. And unlike many of its European competitors, Hyundai is keeping its Euro-zone production capacity on the slim side, importing the forthcoming i40 from South Korea and the i10 from India, helping to keep the Korean automaker out of the overcapacity trap that plagues its competitors. Though Hyundai has good prospects for growth in Europe, production capacity expansions are being targeted at the developing markets that show more promise for growth.
Today, I saw a new, and so far the finest specimen of Japan’s new export products: A car factory. Remember when the Nikkei wrote about a new Toyota factory in the Miyagi Prefecture with a U-shaped assembly line where the assembly time is cut down to a third? Not only did they get it wrong. They missed the best part of the story: Budget car factories, ready for export. Of course, that’s not how it was sold to the natives.
Ohira is a little village near Sendai. Sendai is a town two Shinkansen hours north of Tokyo. The area is famous for its beef tongue, not the hottest export item. Ohira was known for exactly nothing until Toyota decided in 2007 to relocate their factory from Sagamihara, in the outskirts of Tokyo, up into the woods of Ohira.
A year later, the whole region went into shock:
While some analysts (who might be sitting on large quantities of GM and Ford stock ) already dream of a sales rate between 15 and 16 million cars by year’s end in the U.S., CEOs of European carmakers are less gung ho.
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- Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
- Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
- Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
- CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
- Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.