Dec. 26, 2013, 6:54 AM
- Brazil's government indicates it plans to slowly roll back tax breaks on automobiles next year instead of a sudden shift back to the original tax rate of 7%.
- Automobile industry officials in Brazil are worried about the impact on demand in the nation of the tax hike.
- Related stocks: Fiat (FIATY), Volkswagen (VLKAY), General Motors (GM), and Ford (F).
Dec. 24, 2013, 8:18 AM
- Reports of extended holiday shutdowns at auto manufacturers were unplanned and likely the result of rising inventory at dealers, says Buckingham Research, which cautions over "near-term pressure" in GM and Ford (F). The team also notes the deceleration in used car sales reported at CarMax (KMX) late last week.
Dec. 23, 2013, 2:28 PM
- Ford (F -1.7%) will unveil an aluminum F-Series model prototype at the Detroit Auto Show next month, according to Bloomberg. The redesign will be for the 2015 model year.
- The move marks a calculated risk by the automaker that consumers will back a lighter F-150 truck after the model built a formidable reputation for sturdiness.
- Sources say fuel economy ratings could approach 30 miles per gallon for highway driving due to the use of the cutting-edge lightweight material.
- Auto industry watchers think Ford is a step ahead of the game by converting to a lighter truck before rivals, although some execution risk exists.
Dec. 19, 2013, 3:24 PM
- The Ford (F -2.4%) hangover is building today as shares continue to fail to find traction following the automaker's blunt assessment of its North American business.
- General Motors (GM -2.4%), Toyota (TM -1.9%), Honda (HMC -1.6%), and Nissan (NSANY) are all lower on the day as investors conclude Ford's reality check could be contagious.
- The issue isnt' that demand for 2014 doesn't look strong (forecasts), but centers on worries that the pricing environment and capacity ramp up could seriously crimp profits.
- Morgan Stanley on the auto predicament: "The market is clearly moving from a 'need to replace' to a 'can’t afford to pass up a great deal' consumer mindset."
Dec. 19, 2013, 2:51 PM
- Forecasts for 2014 automobile sales in the U.S. are starting to pour in as the industry looks to top what was a very good year in 2013 and see the first +16M unit selling year since 2007.
- Kelley Blue Book thinks the industry can improve sales by 4.3% to 16.3M units next year.
- Edmunds is already in the books with an outlook for 16.4M vehicles on its view the lease return cycle sets up well for the industry.
- A tad more conservative is IHS Automotive with its projection for sales of 16.03M units.
- What to watch: Automakers tapped to see strong gains include Subaru (FUJHY), Ford (F), Chrysler (FIATY), and Hyundai (HYMLF) - while Toyota (TM), Volkswagen (VLKAY) and Honda (HMC) hope to reverse this year's drop in market share.
Dec. 19, 2013, 11:34 AM
- UBS resets its shorter-term expectations on Ford (F -2.3%) after hearing the automaker's business update yesterday. The investment firm take its PT down to $18 from $20.
- Ford's 2013 was a success. Unit sales rose at a double-digit pace and it beat every automaker except for Subaru in U.S. market share gains, but the outlook for 2014 involves the company seeing some higher costs associated with the launch of new vehicles and significant pressure on pricing in key highly-competitive segments.
- Many automobile industry analysts agree with UBS that Ford's strategy to invest in new vehicles and market share will pay off down the road for patient investors.
Dec. 18, 2013, 2:11 PM
- Microsoft (MSFT -1.4%) is down 3% over the last two days, as worries grow (thanks to John Thompson's recent comments) Alan Mulally (F -6.7%) won't be named Steve Ballmer's successor.
- Nomura's Rick Sherlund, who not long ago predicted Mulally would be Microsoft's next CEO, now wonders if the Bill Gates quote included in Thompson's remarks indicates "the board is rethinking the role and looking more exhaustively at candidates from the technology field."
- Moreover, if reports about Ford's board pressing Mulally to give "a definitive answer" regarding his future plans are accurate, Sherlund thinks "he might need to pull his hat out of the ring at some point soon."
- Like others on the Street, he's worried a CEO with an IT background won't be as "shareholder-friendly" as Mulally. Sherlund has previously suggested Mulally might cut costs, boost capital returns, and unload Xbox and Bing.
- However, FBR's Daniel Ives still thinks Mulally has a shot. He observes today's Ford business update contained no discussion of Mulally's plans, as many expected.
Dec. 18, 2013, 10:46 AM
- Ford's (F -7.2%) business update could prompt a rotation of investor funds out of the blue oval to General Motors (GM -3.4%), advises Buckingham Research.
- Despite the automaker's many improvements amid a booming U.S. auto sector, it's clear analysts got ahead of themselves with their rosy projections on Ford and will now have to reset.
- There's nothing official from Detroit, but the chatter flowing out of the Ford event is that CEO Mulally will stay on.
- Sector watch: Though GM is down on the day, Japanese automaker are holding up just fine: Toyota (TM) +1.0%, Honda (HMC) +2.6%, and Nissan (NSANY) +2.6% in OTC trading.
Dec. 18, 2013, 9:12 AM
- Ford (F) says it lowered its estimate for 2013 full-year profit in part due to higher warranty expenses in the U.S. associated with a large recall of Escape vehicles.
- The automaker also faces some extra adversity in Venezuela as a result of unanticipated government actions. Performance estimates for Asia/Pacific/Africa and Europe are on track with Ford's prior outlook.
- The automaker almost cut in half its pension obligation during 2013 on an aggressive lump sum program.
- Product launches in 2014: North America 23; South America 4; Europe 12; Asia/Pacific/Africa 8.
- Year-end presentation: webcast, slides (.pdf).
- F -4.4% premarket.
Dec. 18, 2013, 8:58 AM
Dec. 18, 2013, 8:42 AM
- Ford (F) CFO Bob Shanks will give a year-end update in front of sell-side analysts and media.
- The talk could be instructive with December trends, inventory, and pricing all important issues but an even sharper focus will be on the CEO job at Ford. Expect some Q&A on if Alan Mulally has promised the board he will stay on at the automaker or if he is still in the mix for the CEO job at Microsoft.
- Ford update webcast
- F +0.2% premarket.
Dec. 17, 2013, 1:29 PM
- The UAW would like to see the two-tier system in which new hires are paid just half of what veteran workers earn reworked.
- Detroit automakers (GM, F, FIATY) prefer having the entry-level wage scale because it allows them to compete with Japanese, South Korean, and German counterparts. Time is on the group's side with the UAW labor contract not set to expire until 2015.
Dec. 17, 2013, 7:15 AM
- European car registrations rose 1.2% Y/Y in November to put together a third consecutive month of gains on the continent.
- By regions, the U.K. and Greece were strong while registrations in Germany slipped 2% during the month.
- Monthly growth by manufacturer: General Motors (GM) -3.8%; Volkswagen (VLKAY) +3.2%; Daimler (DDAIF) -1.6%; BMW (BAMXY) -6.8%; Fiat (FIATY) -5.8%; Renault (RNSDF) +8.9%; Peugeot (PEUGY) -1.2%; Ford (F) -1.8%; Honda (HMC) -4.0%; Hyundai (HYMLF) -7.3%; Toyota (TM) +7.3%; Jaguar Land Rover (TTM) +1.3%; Suzuki (SZKMY) +15.8%; Nissan (NSANY) flat.
Dec. 17, 2013, 6:58 AM
- IHS forecasts the global automobile industry will produce 85M sales in 2014, up 3.7% from this year's level.
- Based on the same trend of strong growth in China and the U.S., Deutsche Bank has an even higher estimate for 2014 sales of 87.4M to rep 4% growth.
- Related stocks: GM, F, VLKAY, NSANY, HMC, TM, FIATY, HYMLF, DDAIF, BAMXY.
Dec. 13, 2013, 5:46 PM
- With reports and speculation about Alan Mulally's career plans refusing to let up, Ford (F +1.2%) has scheduled an analyst meeting that will take place at 9AM ET on Wednesday.
- Director Edsel Ford II stated last week Mulally, widely reported to be a top candidate to succeed Steve Ballmer at Microsoft, will stay at Ford until the end of 2014; not everyone is convinced. Bloomberg reported yesterday Mulally's candidacy has "faded" due to concerns about his lack of an IT background, but added there are still scenarios in which he could be named Microsoft's next CEO.
Dec. 12, 2013, 1:39 PM
- Ford (F -0.4%) plans to add 5K new jobs next year in the U.S. as it plans for an increase in production.
- The automaker says it will open three new manufacturing facilities in 2014 to help it launch a total of 23 new vehicles in global markets.
- In November, Ford increased its market share in the U.S. while keeping a tighter reign on inventory than GM.
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