“The estimate of the current loss per unit for each Volt sold is grossly wrong,” GM says as a retort to the Reuters story that GM loses around $49,000 on every Volt. GM says that “it allocates Volt development costs across lifetime volume, not across the current number of Volts sold.” TTAC commenters that rushed to the aid of the beleaguered company suggested the same. Oddly enough, GM passed on a much stronger argument that would have turned the Volt into a money machine. If not immediately, then much earlier than suggested by Reuters.
It’s not all blood and tears in Europe. Actually, the bloodier Europe looks, and the more Marchionne & Co do cry, the bigger the smiles at European carmakers with heavy exposure to foreign markets. The Euro is way down, and a low Euro means heavy profits from abroad – if you have business abroad. BMW sure does, and it posted its second best quarterly earnings in company history. Profit before financial result (EBIT) amounted to € 2.27 billion in the April-June 2012 quarter.
Five years ago, car dealers throughout the country were hit hard by carmageddon. Now, they are about to get hit again where it really hurts: In the workshop, where the real money is being made. The auto sales collapse of 2008 winds its way through the years like a diet through an anaconda. While showrooms were empty five years ago, now it’s the service bays that are deserted.
If you are anxious to hear what Opel is going to do to stop the bleeding of money (just in case you are holding GM stock,) then you need a lot of patience. GM Europe CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke thinks he might have a plan within two to three months. He might have a plan. Setting the plan in motion may take longer.
Germany’s Hannoversche Allgemeine, usually well-informed in Volkswagen matters, got its hands on hot data: Volkswagen’s 2011 balance sheet , which will be presented to the Supervisory Board on Monday. According to the paper, Volkswagen more than doubled its annual profit to €16 billion ($21.4 billion.)
Opel Chief Karl-Friedrich Stracke told reporters that an agreement with unions about a fix of money-losing Opel is a while away. “I expect this not to happen in a month or so, rather than in a couple of months, that’s at least how I see the timetable,” Stracke told Reuters.
Analysts think that Stracke is an optimist, and that restructuring Opel won’t come cheap. The guesstimate is more than $1 billion, and the payback will take a while.
When GM will announce 4th quarter and year-end earnings tomorrow, a lot of fingers will be pointed at Opel, and on GM CEO Dan Akerson who decided to keep the hemorrhaging unit instead of selling it off to Magna and the Russians. Bloomberg expects that tomorrow’s quarterly profit will be “GM’s lowest since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2009,” despite record sales in the U.S. and China. According to Bloomberg,
GM’s turn-around hinges on a market share above 19 percent, board member Stephen Girsky said at an industry meeting in October 2009. “The public plan is 19 percent and change. That is what everything is being based on,” Girsky said during a panel discussion at a conference at Columbia Business School. Reuters was taking notes.
In the 3rd quarter of 2009, GM had a market share of 19.5 percent. The share climbed to 21.8 percent in January 2011, and eroded ever since.
Toyota will still be #3 in cars made this year, but in terms of profitability, it has become an also-ran. Toyota shares that fate with their Japanese peers at Nissan and Honda. The Nikkei[sub] tabulated yen-denominated group earnings of 10 major automakers worldwide for the July-September quarter and comes to the conclusion:
Volvo, given up as beyond salvage by former owner Ford, was sold off to China’s Geely in the automotive equivalent of a yardsale at $1.8 billion. Saying no is always easier than saying yes (well, there are certain exceptions), so most augurs said: “This won’t work.” Asked why, they answered: “It was tried it before, and it failed.”
Wonders of wonders, it appears to be working: Volvo Cars reported an EBIT of 600 million kronor (about 93 million U.S. dollars) in the second quarter, 40 percent more than in the same period of the previous year, a statement from Volvo Cars says.
While natural and man-made disasters rattled the globe, Volkswagen, Europe’s largest and by the end of the year most likely the world’s second largest auto manufacturer, reports eye-popping numbers for the first half year of 2011.
Including China, Volkswagen made $13.5 billion in the first half of 2011. How did they pull off that economic miracle?
May sales estimates are out, and the analysts are seeing slowdown in their crystal balls. Reuters reports that its survey of leading auto analysts projects a 12.6m SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate) for the month, while Bloomberg is projecting a 12.1m rate. Wherever the actual number lands, it is likely to be the first month this year below a 13m SAAR, as Japanese supply interruptions as well as model changeovers lower overall supply. But, reports the WSJ [sub], there’s evidence that perceptions of undersupply are possibly keeping consumers away from showrooms as much as an actual shortage of vehicles. A Honda dealer who says he has plenty of cars for sale is quoted as saying
Traffic is down and I think it’s the media effect. People think there’s no cars and they think there’s no incentives, so they’re waiting.
And that’s not all: it turns out that May’s downbeat forecasts could have an even deeper cause…
Volkswagen looks back at its best year in history. At a press conference today, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced a consolidated group profit before tax of €9 billion ($12.45 billion). €1.9 billion ($2.6 billion) of that is Volkswagen’s share out of their China businesses.
Luxury cars, pronounced an endangered species two years ago, are back with a vengeance and enrich their makers. After reporting record sales, BMW follows with record profits. The Bavarian Motor Works are looking at a 2010 pre-tax profit of €4.8 billion ($6.7 billion) on sales of €60 billion ($83 billion). Not bad for a company that delivered only 1,461,166 BMWs, MINIs and a few Rolls-Royces last year.