By on January 24, 2020

Making the pilgrimage to the big top building at Westworld in Scottsdale to experience the insanity that is Barrett-Jackson’s flagship is a trip that should be undertaken by every red-blooded gearhead. Equal parts car show, party, and sale, the annual desert soirée is gloriously mad in all the right ways.

Of course, there are plenty of people who carp that vehicles at Barrett-Jackson fetch too much money and, indeed, some of them do. Witness the 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight that traded for an eye-watering $385,000 simply because Paul Walker’s name was on the ownership.

However, many of those same people are simply making noise on the internet and have no plans (or means) to, y’know, actually buy something. They’ll also bemoan the so-called Bring-a-Trailer premium instead of simply appreciating the weird and wonderful cars that appear.

Here’s the simple fact: there are deals to be had. While on the ground in Scottsdale, we sought out a few we figured would be of interest to you, the reader. And to prove a point, of course.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale Arizona

It’s no secret that wherever enthusiasts — of any person, place, or thing — get together, mad money soon follows. Look at the huge money being commanded for certain rock n’ roll memorabilia, or rare artwork by a noted painter. Your author just bid obscene money for a frame containing handwritten liner notes, a platinum record, and a picture signed by some famous Canadian musicians. My bank account weeps but my office walls are happy.

It is the same, of course, with cars. Some recent models have skyrocketed in value, while a few others have traded on famous names. What’s been your biggest surprise of late?

(Read More…)

By on January 13, 2020

Maybe it won’t be needed, what with a new sport-utility vehicle on the way, but Aston Martin’s deflated stock price and profit dive has the British automaker in search of a financial parachute. By that, we mean investors who can pump a little cash into the company while boosting shareholder confidence.

After a disappointing year, Aston Martin needs to chart a path to better finances, and a Chinese company that’s no stranger to endangered European brands might just be that sugar daddy. (Read More…)

By on January 6, 2020

2019 Ram Power Wagon

Many talking heads and auto journos, your author included, theorized the American car market in 2019 would fail to sell in excess of 17 million new vehicles for the first time in several years. However, thanks to a late-year push, a total of 17.11 million copies of fresh metal moved off showroom floors and onto America’s highways.

If you’re keeping count, and many are, this makes for the fifth consecutive year the industry topped the 17 million mark. The only other two calendar years it did so was 2000 and 2001. We can draw these conclusions now that Ford has gotten off its Blue Oval butt and posted its numbers, a full 48 hours after just about everyone else.

(Read More…)

By on December 23, 2019

2019 BMW M2 Competition interior

As the calendar flips into 2020, various and sundry beancounters have begun bleating that we’re all spending way too much money on cars. The folks at AAA remarked earlier this year that the average annual cost of vehicle ownership amounts to $9,282, or $773.50 a month. That’s the highest cost associated with such since they began tracking expenses in 1950.

Santa is just around the corner (no, really — go look) so TTAC is here with a fictional present: assuming there is a monthly bank error in your favor of $773.50, what would you go out and buy today?

(Read More…)

By on July 29, 2019

Denis Le Not 2019 Nissan Altima unveil - Image: Nissan

As you read last week, Nissan is busy sharpening its axe, ready to chop the company back to sunnier balance sheets. Some 12,500 positions, or more than 9 percent of the automaker’s global workforce, are poised to disappear as Nissan attempts to recover from a serious slump.

News of the cull came on the heels of a dismal first-quarter earnings report in which the company revealed a net income loss of 94.5 percent. Its operating margin? A prosciutto-thin 0.1 percent, down from 4 percent a year earlier. Something needs to give.

What will give are jobs, a lot of them, and numerous car models — roughly 10 percent of the brand’s global lineup by 2022, the automaker said. Most of those models will be el-cheapo offerings in developing markets. As for sales, the automaker finds itself sliding in a major market where bright points of light are hard to find.

Let’s search for those stars. (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2019

Image: Tesla

There must be more than a few half-grins among the cynical, perpetually grumpy denizens of Finance Twitter today. For the first time since late 2016, Tesla’s stock price opened below $200. Compared to the sky-high valuation the company’s enjoyed a year or two ago, Tesla’s sinking shares reflect the weight of reality.

Tesla needs cash. Years after it began building electric cars for the fairly well-off masses, the company’s actions in recent months stands in stark contrast to the rosy predictions of the past, and it seems people are taking notice. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2019

Elon Musk

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Tesla cash-raising bonanza, the electric automaker is looking to boost the size of its stack once again.

After Thursday’s shelf offering of stock and convertible notes, Tesla announced Friday it wants to boost its injection of capital from $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion, issuing further common stock and debt. CEO Elon Musk now says he’ll buy $25 million of the new stock, up from $10 million yesterday. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2019

Financial Twitter and Tesla Twitter — groups that are often one and the same — are in hardcore prediction mode after Tesla announced plans to raise $2 billion through the sale of stock and convertible bonds.

The automaker’s move comes after a first-quarter earnings report showed a steep drop in deliveries and automotive revenue, plus a $702 million net loss. Tesla’s cash pile dwindled, quarter over quarter, to $2.2 billion — its smallest stack in years. Among those snapping up shares will be CEO Elon Musk, who promises to buy $10 million in common stock. (Read More…)

By on April 26, 2019

That headline was unavoidable, by the way. On the same day Ford Motor Company released a better than expected first-quarter earnings report, it also revealed the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into its emissions certification process — a probe that could see fuel economy ratings rolled back.

Wall Street seemed much more interested in the financial news, however, giving the company’s stock a much-needed lift. In the Glass House, Jim Hackett must be smiling. (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2019

tesla-model-3

Analysts and investors, who were already warned to expect disappointment, didn’t walk away disappointed from Tesla’s first-quarter 2019 earnings report. The automaker’s two-quarter streak of profitability came to a crashing halt, with the company warning that next quarter might bring with it another loss.

Quite an about-face from the rosy projections issued at the start of the year. It wasn’t all that long ago that CEO Elon Musk was only mildly worried about Q1. Now, as the company reports a $702 million loss, the onus is on Musk to restore investor enthusiasm the hard way. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2019

2019 Ram Power Wagon

Talking heads have been warning for days that the auto industry should prepare itself for a rougher than usual ride in 2019, speculating that sales for the first quarter would be softer than what we’ve seen in past years.

This proved to be true, as players such as the Detroit Three, Nissan, Toyota, and Mazda all conspired to drag the industry down by just over three percent compared to this time last year. Fortunes were better at places like Kia, Hyundai, and Honda, each of whom recorded jumps in volume – two of them quite healthy.

(Read More…)

By on March 16, 2019

After a fiscally damaging year that Ford CEO Jim Hackett implored employees to forget, cuts are coming to the automaker’s workforce, and America won’t be spared. But America can wait, as that region remains a major profit generator. Other regions aren’t, and the automaker’s axe has already fallen in South America.

Now it’s Germany’s turn, with Ford announcing the loss of “more than 5,000” workers in that country. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2019

The whisperings from earlier this week panned out, but only partway. Amazon, the e-commerce giant that’s probably sending a cookbook to your neighbor’s house as you read this, is leading a $700 million investment in Michigan-based automotive startup Rivian.

What’s missing from this news is General Motors, which, according to sources who spoke to Reuters and Bloomberg earlier in the week, was looking to sink its own cash into the company.  (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2019

Image: GM

Despite a year-over-year sales drop in the fourth quarter of 2018, a higher average transaction price spurred by growth in high-margin vehicle sales in North America returned better than expected Q4 earnings for General Motors.

The company’s strong showing comes as its overseas ventures sank and headwinds gathered at home and abroad; mainly, predictions of a slower 2019. That’s GM’s outlook, too, which explains why CEO Mary Barra isn’t backpedaling on her plan to shutter five North American plants. (Read More…)

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