May 26, 2014, 9:52 AM
- Ford (F) CEO Alan Mulally has warned about overproduction in Europe, saying that factory closures over the past year have not lowered capacity enough.
- "European carmakers need to cut back further...as excess capacity on the continent remains at dangerous levels," Mulally says.
- His warning comes despite sales on the continent starting to recover this year after falling by about 4M cars from 2007-2013.
- Relevant tickers: TM, RNSDF, VLKAF, GM, DDAIF, BAMXF, FIATY, HMC, PEUGF, F
May 23, 2014, 1:34 PM
- The NHTSA is investigating older Dodge Ram pickups to see if there any defects with ignition switches.
- Close to 115K Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks from model years 2004 to 2006 are part of the probe.
- Chrysler (FIATY) says it's cooperating fully with regulators.
- What to watch: The focus on safety issues with ignition switches could steer the industry toward wide-scale adoption of push-button starters. That development in turn could impact Delphi Automotive (DLPH +2.7%).
May 21, 2014, 6:53 PM
- Harry Wilson, who helped lead the White House’s auto task force during the General Motors (GM) and Chrysler bankruptcies, called GM’s recall crisis "emblematic” of deeper cultural problems at the company.
- Wilson told a Brookings Institute panel that the nearly-decade long delay in recalling 2.6M cars smacks of a penny-wise culture “driven by a company living on the brink of disaster for many years.”
- While GM is trying to reverse that culture, it still suffers from lack of communication and sharing information, he said - “a problem with GM for decades that [CEO Mary Barra] needs to fix.”
- Fiat Chrysler (FIATY) CEO Sergio Marchionne told the panel it was unfair that the government helped GM emerge from bankruptcy with lots of cash and little debt while Chrysler had to take new loans, but that Chrysler’s debt burden was a motivating factor that could have helped speed a change in GM's corporate culture - “When you are broke, you change your ways a lot faster.”
May 16, 2014, 8:13 AM
- European car registrations increased 4.6% in April, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
- The U.K. showed strong growth with a 8.2% gain, while registrations in Germany fell back 3.6%. Registration in Spain soared 29% off of a soft-as-butter comparable.
- Brand growth: Volkswagen (VLKAY) +4.4% to 287.9K; PSA Group (PEUGY) +5.2% to 122.2K; Renault (RNSDF) +16.1% to 107.6K; General Motors (GM) -5.2% to 75K; Ford (F) +9.1% to 82.7K; Fiat/Chrysler (FIATY) +1.8% to 68.1K; BMW (BAMXY) +0.5% to 64.2K; Daimler (DDAIF) +0.5% to 60.9K; Toyota (TM) +4.8% to 43.1K; Nissan (NSANY) +22.1% to 36.6K.
- ACEA data (.pdf)
May 13, 2014, 10:02 AM
- Fiat (FIATY) says its new A-segment vehicle planned for Brazil will replace the Uno Mille nameplate in the region.
- The same vehicle will also be a major focus for Fiat in India in 2015.
- The A-segment, also known as mini-cars, has seen demand held up better in Latin America and India than other segments.
May 9, 2014, 5:10 PM
- Chrysler (FIATY) says it is recalling 780K minivans to replace power window switches that can short-circuit and overheat or catch fire if moisture comes in contact with them.
- The company says there are no reports of accidents or injuries related to the issue, but has reports of 36 incidents of overheating and an undisclosed number of fires.
- Affected minivans are Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans from model years 2010-14 with power window vents for passengers in the third row of seats.
May 9, 2014, 7:03 AM
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is set to be based in London when Fiat (OTCPK:FIATY) and Chrysler complete the merger of their operations, CEO Sergio Marchionne says.
- The U.K. capital represents something of a compromise between Michigan, where Chrysler is located, and Fiat's home country of Italy.
- And as Pfizer is well aware, the U.K. offers attractive tax benefits.
- Fiat will still keep manufacturing operations in Italy, and it plans to increase output of its Maserati and Alfa Romeo cars in the country. The company's main listing will be in New York.
May 7, 2014, 1:19 PM
- Fiat (FIATY) CEO Serge Marchionne thinks it will take three years for shareholders to reap some of the benefits of the company's five-year plan.
- The large investment by Fiat in launching the Jeep brand in new markets and revitalizing Alfa Romeo will take at least that long to pay off.
- The figures Marchionne has scratched onto his napkin are pretty gaudy. The exec sees the automaker hitting global vehicle sales of 7M units a year by 2018 and net cash generation of €4.5B beginning in 2017
May 6, 2014, 10:37 AM
- Fiat (FIATY) thinks it can sell as many as 1.9M Jeep vehicles in 2018, a sharp rise from the 732K units the automaker sold in 2013.
- Demand for Jeep vehicles in China and Latin America is expected to stay strong even as competition picks up. Sales in North America are forecast to increase at a more moderate pace.
May 1, 2014, 3:41 PM
- Automobile sales in the U.S. showed solid gains in April as Nissan (NSANY), Toyota (TM), and Chrysler (FIATY) all posted double-digit sales growth. General Motors (GM) bested estimates with a 6.9% gain, while Ford (F) had a strong pace of truck sales although car sales came in light.
- Pricing and incentives: The industry averaged $2,751 in incentives per vehicle in April, up 8.9% Y/Y and 1% M/M. Japanese automakers (HYMLF, HMC, NSANY) led the promotional charge. The average transaction price was estimated to be 1.2% higher at $32,141. Detroit automakers saw solid pricing trends in most segments.
- Trucks: Sales gains at most major automakers were paced by strong demand for pickup trucks. Gains at Ford (8%), Nissan (10.5%), and Chrysler (34%) stood out.
- 2014 forecast: Demand in April was strong enough to keep a sales forecast for +16M units for the year in place. New models continue to sell well, but inventory levels will be closely watched as investments continue to pour into North American factories.
- CEO transition: Ford handed the reigns to Mark Fields a bit sooner than anticipated today. Wall Street analysts see a smooth transition with Fields strongly aligned with the course already laid out by Alan Mulally. "It's a story of continuity," Fields told reporters today.
- Tesla watching: Tesla Motors (TSLA) could show a year-over-year decline in deliveries in North America this year, forecasts Morgan Stanley. The investment firm isn't panicked over the potential deceleration in Model S sales growth, noting the long-term story of Tesla disrupting the industry still plays.
May 1, 2014, 8:10 AM
- Chrysler (FIATY) offset a 26% drop in car sales with a strong 34% gain in truck sales during April.
- Sales by model: Jeep Wrangler +14% to 15,389; Jeep Patriot +44% to 8,339; Dodge Cargo Van +77% to 1,263; Chrysler Town & Country +16% to 12,968.
- The automaker finished the month with 74 days of supply at 505,965 units.
May 1, 2014, 8:05 AM
Apr. 30, 2014, 12:06 PM
- The EPA says the average fuel efficiency of vehicles in the U.S. improved to 24 mpg last year.
- Subaru (FUJHY), Volkswagen (VLKAY), and Mazda (MZDAY) topped the list with fleet-wide averages of 26 mpg or better.
- Chrysler (FIATY), General Motors (GM), and Ford (F) all fell below the industry average due to their higher mix of pickups trucks, while Daimler (DDAIF) kept luxury a priority over slashing weight.
- Tesla Motors (TSLA) boasts a gaudy equivalent efficiency rating of 89 mpg, but didn't sell enough cars to land in the rankings.
- What to watch: The U.S. government wants each automaker to boast a fleet average of 54.5 mpg or better by 2025. If those regulations stands, it will create a need for a higher mix of vehicles powered by electric and fuel cell technology as moves like Ford's to build F-150s with aluminum won't be enough to swing the averages far enough north.
Apr. 28, 2014, 8:16 AM
- Kelley Blue Book forecasts new car sales in the U.S. will jump 10% in April to 1.415M units sold.
- Beyond typical macroeconomic, credit, and interest rates factors - a strong outlook for used-car values is contributing to the pickup in demand.
- The compact SUV/Crossover segment is expected to see the strongest growth. The research firm sees a 22.3% gain as the segment picks up market share over car and truck categories.
- KBB manufacturer sales growth (Y/Y) estimates: Nissan (NSANY) +19.5%; Chrysler (FIATY) +18.1%, Toyota (TM) +15.2%; Honda (HMC) +6.1%; General Motors (GM) +5.2%; Volkswagen (VLKAY) +4.2%; Hyundai (HYMLF) +3.7%, Ford (F) -0.9%.
Apr. 24, 2014, 1:40 PM
- A forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive calls for automobile sales in the U.S. to reach 1.1M units in April, up 5% Y/Y.
- The average transaction price in April is expected to be 3.6% higher at close to $29.8K.
- What to watch: Close to half of the new models in 2014 are arriving in the premium segment which will cause new competition as some premium pricing dips down into the levels of non-premium models.
- Automakers: GM, F, TM, FIATY, HMC, NSANY, TSLA, VLKAY, DDAIF, HYMLF, BAMXY, KIMTF, MMTOF, TTM
Apr. 21, 2014, 7:13 AM| Comment!
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