Tag: Strategy

By on May 27, 2020

Nissan and Renault opted against a full merger on Wednesday, but neither side seemed to feel now was the time to disband the alliance and see how they might fare as a solo act. Every member of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance took time to address financial concerns last year, encouraging further product integration as a cost-mitigation strategy. Despite Nissan shareholders and staff clearly losing interest in the French-led confederation, the brand seems to understand that leaning upon its allies might be the only way to get through a period of increasing economic uncertainty.

Mitsubishi slashed its 2020 financial forecasts ahead of the coronavirus pandemic by over $500 million while the other two issued numerous profit warnings in the latter half of 2019. Now the world is exiting lockdowns and assessing the economic damage they caused. Obviously, this is not the time to be burning bridges, even if some alliance partners aren’t enthralled with what’s probably waiting on the other side(Read More…)

By on May 15, 2020

A struggling Nissan sees the U.S. market playing a bigger role in the company’s sales future. Ahead of the release of its near-term recovery plan, expected later this month, the automaker sees new product as the key to firming up its flagging U.S. presence.

Elsewhere, a report out Friday claims Nissan’s new plan will see the U.S. account for a third of the automaker’s global volume. With all of this in the works, it’s perhaps no surprise that the company’s North American arm saw a sudden resignation. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2020

nissan

Nissan’s new restructuring plan, due out at the end of the month, is coming together, and it seems the document will spell out which members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance will go where. In the interests of efficiency and not stepping on each other’s toes, sources claim the plan will see each automaker pour themselves into key markets, rather than competing against each other.

This will have the effect of making maximum use of resources.

For the Nissan brand, that means North America, China, and Japan will become its main stomping grounds.

(Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

gm

General Motors offered up a peak at its electric vehicle strategy in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, pulling the sheet back on a product plan that seeks quick profits as well as CO2 reduction.

Underpinning GM’s drive for domestic EV supremacy is a piece of modular architecture and a new battery type that should proliferate through divisions and segments in the coming years. The company claims these vehicles will not be the equivalent of the defunct, unloved Fiat 500e, a compliance vehicle that late Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne once warned consumers not to buy. Despite the EV game carrying steep costs and significant risk, GM’s not in the business of losing money if it can help it.

Oh, and that upcoming Cadillac crossover now has a name. (Read More…)

By on December 23, 2019

2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback - Image: Mazda

One of the bigger stories this year, albeit one that occurred mostly in the background of splashier news, concerned a fun-to-drive compact car that did pretty well for itself over the past decade. For 2019, that car got a makeover and a push upmarket, aligning it more closely with other models in the lineup. That car was the Mazda 3 — and the 2019 model year brought big changes not only to its content, but also its price.

Gone was the American-market’s base 2.0-liter engine and most of the model’s manual transmission availability, and these omissions played an obvious role in inflating the model’s entry price by roughly three grand. Looking back on the sales decline that marked the new 3’s entry to the market, Mazda’s leadership is expressing regret. (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2019

Volkswagen Group has decided to increase spending on the development of electric and digital technologies over the next five years to 60 billion euros ($66 billion USD). The automaker estimated the revised strategy amounts to slightly more than 40 percent of its investments in property, plant and equipment, and all research and development costs during the planning period.

Of that sum, 33 billion euros are expected to go directly toward the development of new electric vehicles. The increase allocates roughly €12 billion annually for hybridization, electric mobility and digitalization. The old plan set aside 8.8 billion euros per year. (Read More…)

By on May 28, 2019

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross front quarter

The man who once helped outfit Mitsubishi’s lone American assembly plant will soon head the company he joined back in 1984. He also wonders what can be done about the brand’s existence in the United States.

Takao Kato, 57, steps into the shoes of outgoing CEO Osamu Masuko on June 21st — a move that comes as the automaker’s membership in the Renault-Nissan Alliance faces uncertainty in light of merger overtures from Fiat Chrysler. In a news conference held before the merger news, Kato mused about the company’s limited presence in North America, promising changes ahead. (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2019

All-New Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Compact SUV - Image: Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi has quite the storied history, but for car lovers things don’t really kick off until the 1970s, when the company spun off Mitsubishi Motors from its Heavy Industries division. With help from Chrysler, the Japanese company managed a foothold in North America and started escalating volume. Before long, Mitsubishi was delivering economically minded vehicles to the American masses while fleshing out its lineup to include sporting models.

By the 1990s, Mitsubishi was the underdog option for discerning import enthusiasts. But all of those spectacular models gradually started to vanish. The 3000GT disappeared from the market, the Eclipse morphed into an overweight cruiser without the option of all-wheel drive, the Galant lost its excellent VR-4 variant, and the company never bothered to replace any of its previously discontinued performance models to pick up the slack. Eventually, Mitsubishi even abandoned the beloved Lancer Evolution due to hard times.  (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

On Thursday, Tesla announced it will finally begin delivering the Model 3’s long-awaited base trim to the public through direct online sales. By eliminating storefronts, the automaker believes it can reduce costs — helping to get that pesky profit situation under control.

Unfortunately, reports have emerged that claim those employees had no idea their jobs were on the line. Meanwhile, the company’s share price took a hit in the wake of the announcement, causing its stock to drop significantly. Since last Thursday, more than $8 billion disappeared from Tesla’s market capitalization.  (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2018

Image: FCA

During Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s final days, he said his company would begin prioritizing Jeep production in Europe. This of course comes at the expense of the Fiat brand, which lost a sizable hunk of the European market after 2009 and appears to be outright failing in the United States.

While the brand gained back some of that lost ground east of the Atlantic over the past two years, Fiat’s Jeep stablemate took off like a rocket after 2013 — effectively tripling its share of the European market. Eager to cater to the ever-changing tastes of consumers, FCA is going to stick with Jeep and make some money. As a byproduct, the company thinks it may be able to revitalize Italy’s manufacturing industry, bolster overall volume, and get some laid-off employees back onto the factory floor.

However, it’s not just Jeep that’s getting special treatment. FCA intends to do the same for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, as their products boast higher margins than anything Fiat builds. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2018

Ford badge emblem logo

In an earlier analysis of Ford’s lackluster share price, we noted that Europe and China posed a significant problem for the automaker’s bottom line. Europe, which was previously pretty good to the brand, has gradually lost its share of the market since 1994. While Ford still moves a lot of metal in the region, something’s definitely wrong.

On Wednesday, Ford announced that its European operations had endured a $73 million second-quarter loss. It’s anticipating a full-year loss in the region after earning $234 million last year. “We’re extremely dissatisfied with our performance in Europe,” said CEO Jim Hackett.

Something has to be done to avoid further setbacks. According to Jim Farley, Ford’s head of global markets, the clear remedy is concentrating on vans and crossovers because that’s where the money is. It’s a similar strategy to what’s being done in the United States, where Ford eventually aims to cull the lineup to a point where the Mustang is the only vehicle that qualifies as a traditional car. But is it the correct one, considering how we’ve arrived at this point?  (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2018

Toyota Factory Kentucky

Toyota Motor Corp. says it had reached an agreement to consolidate all of its core electronics component operations within Denso. The move should allow Toyota to free up resources to compete more effectively in the new vehicle technology field.

Japan’s largest automaker noted it still has to discuss the logistics of transferring production of parts produced at its Hirose plant, near Toyota’s global headquarters, before the end of next year. But Denso, the company’s largest supplier, has already agreed to the core concept of the deal. By 2022, Denso will have taken over the mass production of all electronics components used in Toyota’s vehicles.  (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2018

Mitsubishi Evolution VIII

While Mitsubishi Motors isn’t in the same dire straits it once was, the brand has only recently stopped hemorrhaging sales after doing so for over a decade. After losing half of its annual volume between 2002 and 2004, Mitsubishi trudged further into delivery darkness during the recession — finally dragging itself back into the light after SUV sales improved. Unfortunately, its image has not been so quick to recover and volume has a long way to go before anyone at the company will be celebrating.

However, the brand has a lot of closeted fans over the age of 30 in the United States. There was a time when Mitsubishi offered affordable transportation that you could happily live with and a handful of fun models for those interested in hooliganism. People who remember driving those vehicles don’t see Mitsubishi as a lost cause, but as a formerly important automaker that has seriously lost its way.

Fortunately, the brand now has the means to find itself. With help from the Renault-Nissan Alliance and its own parent company, Mitsubishi Motors may even be poised for a comeback. Last year the company sold 103,686 vehicles inside the United States, a feat which hadn’t been replicated since 2007 when the brand was still losing sales like they were socks in a dryer.  (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2018

lincoln navigator grille badge lincoln logo

While both Buick and Cadillac have a healthy lead over Lincoln in terms of domestic deliveries, the space between them is far more pronounced in China. At home, Ford moved 111,159 examples of its premium marque in 2017 against Cadillac’s 156,440. However, China’s Caddy sales clocked in at 175,489 last year — a number Lincoln could only muse about in its wildest fantasies.

That’s because Ford exports all of its luxury vehicles to China, while GM tends to build them locally. But the Lincoln brand shows a lot of promise in Asia. Ford moved roughly 80,000 vehicles in the People’s Republic in 2017 and 54,124 of those models wore the Lincoln cross. In theory, if Ford could localize and bolster its product lineup within the country, a higher volume would be all but assured. It’s a theory the automaker intends to test, too.  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2018

2018 Lincoln Navigator

Lincoln is a brand that never fully recovered from the post-recession sales slump. While volume has improved over the last several years, 2017 actually saw a very slight decrease in overall deliveries. That’s a shame, as we’ve seen Lincoln making efforts to turn things around.

Sure, the domestic luxury brand could still stand to distance itself from mainstream Fords a bit more. But Lincoln has stopped attempting to sell Buick-grade luxury at Cadillac prices and seems intent on pursuing more elegant designs. Still, Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett wants the company’s operational fitness in top form as soon as possible, and getting Lincoln’s overall value up is an important part of that goal.

One way of doing this is by leaning on utility vehicles. Navigator sales have improved dramatically since the fourth-generation model hit dealers and the Aviator seems to hold real promise. But it’s not scheduled for sale until the 2020 model year, which means Lincoln has to do more than just wait around until new and updated SUVs can right the ship. (Read More…)

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