Feb. 21, 2014, 9:50 AM
- Automobile sales made an impressive jump in the second week of February, according to data compiled by J.D. Power.
- Winter storms had auto sales for the month tracking 5% lower than a year ago, but a strong bounce has now cut the falloff to closer to 1%. A monthly forecast for 15.7M vehicles delivered is back on track with more late-month momentum expected.
- Perhaps of equal importance, pricing has held up with the average transaction price of $29.9K looking good for a challenging month to get potential buyers onto dealer lots.
- What to watch: Analysts know February alone won't solve the inventory issue of the Big Three (GM, F, FIATY), but an improving trend needs to be confirmed to alleviate concerns. The month will also give a good read on several head-to-head model battles between Toyota (TM) and Honda (HMC).
Feb. 21, 2014, 4:55 AM
- General Motors (GM) is "working hard" to increase sales in China by 10% or more this year, says Matt Tsien, the President of the car-maker's operations in the country. Such growth would take sales to almost 3.5M vehicles from 3.16M in 2013.
- Ford (F) is way behind GM in China, although it expects to top 1M vehicle sales this year after the company and its joint ventures sold 935,813 units last year. That represented growth of 49%.
Feb. 19, 2014, 10:22 AM
- Shares of General Motors (GM +0.7%) and Ford (F +0.5%) are both mild out-performers after GM announces it will use aluminum in future truck lines.
- GM is expected to reap some significant long-term benefits from its move, while Ford's aluminum play doesn't look as risky with its rival following its tracks.
- Automobile industry analysts are split on which automaker is set up to see the largest gains: Ford has a huge head start and the F-150 brand juggernaut in its favor, while GM has scale and a production tech advantage.
Feb. 18, 2014, 7:21 PM
- GM is accelerating efforts to field a largely aluminum-bodied next-generation pickup truck by late 2018, recently locking in supply contracts with Alcoa (AA) and Novelis which are now working to increase their aluminum sheet production to supply the GM pickup, WSJ reports.
- The push to develop an aluminum intensive large pickup marks an apparent change of direction for GM; before Ford (F) unveiled its 2015 F-150 with a body made almost entirely of aluminum, GM execs had questioned whether such a vehicle could be cost competitive or appealing to U.S. customers.
- GM is said to believe it can offset Ford's head start by using more advanced welding techniques to produce a lighter, stronger and easier to assemble truck.
Feb. 18, 2014, 7:08 AM
- European car sales increased 5.2% in January as the recovery in the region started to broaden out to countries such as Greece and Portgual.
- Volkswagen (VLKAY) and Peugeot (PEUGY) were outperformers with sales gains of 7.6% and 3.8% respectively, according to the Association of European Carmakers. Hyundai (HYMLF) was on the other side of the ledger with a 5.5% drop in sales during the month.
- Of the Detroit automakers, Ford (F) has the best month with a 8.8% rise in sales.
Feb. 14, 2014, 11:43 AM
- Employee voting ends today at a Volkswagen (VLKAY) plant in Tennessee on the issue of joining the UAW.
- The stakes are very high with the UAW still searching for its first representation at a plant of a foreign automaker.
- The Big Three (GM, F, FIATY) are quiet on the issue, but wouldn't mind a more level playing field.
- What to watch: There are close to 20 automobile plants in the South at risk of unionization if Chattanooga falls. A Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) factory in Alabama and Nissan (NSANY) location in Mississippi could be the first two on the list.
Feb. 14, 2014, 8:00 AM| 8 Comments
Feb. 13, 2014, 1:03 PM
Feb. 12, 2014, 1:47 PM
- TRW Automotive Holdings (TRW +0.8%), BorgWarner (BWA +0.5%) and Delphi Automotive (DLPH +1.8%) look more attractive to Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas than General Motors (GM -0.1%) and Ford (F +0.7%) on concerns that auto loan credit will tighten.
- "Subprime as a percentage of new car sales has approached pre-crisis peaks and leasing is setting new records." warns the analyst in his note to clients.
- The trio of auto parts makers could have more global upside potential than the Detroit automakers if the U.S. auto industry hits some speed bumps.
Feb. 12, 2014, 9:07 AM
Feb. 12, 2014, 8:01 AM| 3 Comments
Feb. 12, 2014, 4:31 AM
- The major auto makers have found themselves in a bit of a dilemma.
- They've been offering discounts in order to clear an increasing amount of unsold inventory in the U.S., which in January reached the highest level since August 2009.
- However, the industry wants to avoid getting sucked into the kind of price wars that have caused so much trouble in the past.
- Production cuts are not on the agenda at the moment.
- Relevant tickers: TM, RNSDF, VLKAF, GM, DDAIF, BAMXF, FIATY, HMC, PEUGF, F
Feb. 10, 2014, 6:51 AM
- New car sales in Russia fell 6% Y/Y in January to 152K vehicles.
- Locally-produced models made up all ten of the top sellers in the region.
- General Motors (GM), Ford (F), Fiat (FIATY), and Volvo have all increased their investment in Russia on their expectation that the market is in a stabilization process.
Feb. 9, 2014, 1:54 AM
- Ford (F) may have to go trial for a third time in a 12-year lawsuit in which dealers have accused the company of breaching an agreement to publish prices for medium and heavy trucks, forcing them to pay more from 1987-1998.
- In the first trial in 2011, Judge Peter Corrigan told Ford to pay $2B to a class of about 3,000 dealers, but a state appeals court overturned the ruling. Ford won the second trial in September, but Corrigan believes that the jury in that hearing was confused and has ordered a third trial.
- Ford intends to appeal that latest ruling and have the second jury's verdict reinstated.
Feb. 8, 2014, 7:05 PM
- Though the pricing trend in the auto industry has been strong, there are some storm clouds gathering: The Big Three (F, GM, FIATY) all ended January with over 100 days supply of vehicles.
- General Motors is in the process of boosting discounts in the full-size pickup segment in an effort to clear inventory off of dealer lots. A generous President's Day sale run by GM aims to boost demand for the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 GMC Sierra
- Ford and Chrysler have also been pushing the incentives lever harder, but still trail GM's average incentive per vehicle.
- Channel checks indicate February traffic at dealerships is a bit light. Mother Nature might have something to do with that.
Feb. 6, 2014, 6:52 AM
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