Jan. 10, 2014, 7:06 AM
- Fiat (FIATY) eyes issuing a convertible bond to help boost its liquidity after striking a deal to buy Chrysler.
- CEO Sergio Marchionne thinks a convertible bond is the right strategy as a capital hike would prove "destructive" to the company.
- Reports in Italian media peg the proposed bond size at €1.5B ($2.04B).
Jan. 8, 2014, 8:08 AM| 1 Comment
Jan. 6, 2014, 12:22 PM
- The rapid evolution of Internet-connected cars is expected to be a major theme at 2014 Consumer Electronics Show this year. Mercedes (DDAIF), Audi (VLKAY), Ford (F), BMW (BAMXY), and Chrysler (FIATY) will all showcase new services which enable consumers to link mobile devices to their cars.
- Priceline.com (PCLN +0.2%) has a new partnership with General Motors (GM +1.5%) that will see the company's hotel booking service become available within the new Chevrolet AppShop. Watch for a great deal of talk on how the automaker's OnStar system fits into the evolution of infotainment systems in the industry with heavyweight Google and others quite active in the field.
- Other highlights from automakers include a closer look at BMW's all-electric i3 and Ford's highly anticipated C-Max Solar Energi.
- Though demonstrations of self-driving cars will be a crowd pleaser, the nascent technology doesn't threaten to disrupt the market for a few more years at least. (Related: Google, you can drive my car).
Jan. 6, 2014, 8:26 AM
- China wants Chrysler (FIATY) to do more to make its Jeep Wrangler vehicles safe after determining the model has a risk of catching fire.
- The automaker has a long history of problems with the Jeep Wrangler in China, but the issue takes on more importance with it preparing to mass produce Jeep vehicles locally.
Jan. 6, 2014, 7:53 AM
- Car sales in Europe are forecast to increase 2.5%-3% in 2014 as demand stabilizes in the region, according to a round of new forecasts.
- Though discounts are expected to taper off during the course of the year, automakers selling in Europe will still face some pricing pressure and are burdened with too much capacity. Last year, sales came in almost 25% lower than the industry-high seen in 2007.
- Related stocks: Fiat (FIATY), Renault (RNSDF), Volkswagen (VLKAY), Peugeot (PEUGY).
Jan. 3, 2014, 1:30 PM
- The automobile industry averaged promotional incentives of $2,676 last month in the U.S., just slightly higher than November's level but an increase of 4.0% from last year.
- Ford (F +0.7%) pushed the promotional lever the hardest of the major automakers, increasing incentives on average by 21.7% over the last year to $3,346 - although the automaker still fell well-short of General Motor's (GM -3%) average December incentive of $3,657.
- Chrysler (FIATY) trimmed incentives by 9.4% over the last year to average $2,954.
Jan. 3, 2014, 10:01 AM
- Chrysler (FIATY), Hyundai (HYMLF), Ford (F), and General Motors (GM) have all missed analyst estimates with their December U.S. sales marks.
- There isn't a great deal of panic amongst industry watchers as most are buying into the excuse of the negative impact on dealership traffic of widespread winter storms.
- Trucks and utilities sold well during the month, but consumers didn't show a lot of demand for passenger cars.
Jan. 3, 2014, 8:18 AM
- Chrysler (FIATY) saw both Jeep and Ram Truck post double-digit gains during December as the automaker ended the year with a 9% increase in sales.
- The new Cherokee mid-size SUV recorded sales of 15,038 in its second full month of sales.
- Chrysler Town & Country sales rose 5% to 9,737 units.
- The biggest disappointment for Chrysler during the month might have been more weakness with Dodge. Despite increased marketing, sales slipped 9% to 47,689.
- The automaker ended the month with 79 days supply of inventory, down from last month's level of 91 days.
Jan. 3, 2014, 8:10 AM
Jan. 2, 2014, 9:10 AM
- Shares of Fiat (FIATY) soar over 15% after the automaker finally works out a deal to gain complete control of Chrysler.
- The deal price of $4.35B came in below what analysts thought it would take to get a UAW healthcare trust to sign off on.
- What to watch: The impact on the automobile industry (GM, F, TM, HMC, NSANY) is that a tighter combination of Chrysler and Fiat could give both brands more funds to invest in new models and production. Supporting Chrysler in the vibrant U.S. market could be a particular focus.
Jan. 2, 2014, 2:40 AM
- Fiat (FIATY) has agreed to pay $4.35B to acquire the 41.5% stake in Chrysler owned by the United Auto Workers Retiree Medical Benefits Trust.
- The deal ends a long-running dispute over the valuation of Chrysler - which is just over $10B under the agreement - and helps pave the way for the consolidation of the companies into a single global automaker with combined sales of 6M vehicles and 2012 revenue of €84B.
- The transaction also means that Chrysler's prospective IPO will probably be called off. (PR)
Dec. 31, 2013, 2:52 PM
- IHS Automotive is out with a forecast on self-driving cars which could prove to be provocative.
- The research firm thinks by the year 2035 close to 9% of all cars sold will be able to function without a human driver. The estimate is more aggressive than most covering the nascent technology.
- The anticipated benefits of autonomous cars include fewer accidents, less traffic congestion, and an easier way for the industry to keep emission pollution under control. Detractors say insurance liability and software concerns will plague growth rates
- What to watch: The engineers at Google X may have something to say about the direction of the self-driving car initiative. The company's purchase of Boston Dynamics, the advent of Google glasses, and the spins the company's early prototype has taken around Silicon Valley all point to more than a passing interest by the tech giant.
- Related stocks: GM, F, TM, FIATY, HMC, NSANY, TSLA, VLKAY, DDAIF, HYMLF, BAMXY, PEUGF, RNSDF, FUJHY.
Dec. 26, 2013, 4:20 PM
- Despite some recent concerns on the U.S. automobile industry - including high inventory at General Motors (GM) and pricing pressures at Ford (F) - the industry is in the best shape that it's been in years, say some analysts.
- On demand: The average age of vehicles in the U.S. has never been higher at 11.3 years. Some pent-up demand from the fall when government shutdown worries stalled sales is also still being unleashed.
- On profits: Though a high level of promotional activity in December helped to juice sales figures at the expense of profits, some underlying positive trends remain in place. The increased use of domestic production in supply chains and the early success of 2014 models at premium pricing bodes well for bottom lines in the sector.
- On leased cars: Analysts think the lease cycle sets up well for the industry in 2014.Toyota (TM) has aggressive leasing plans in place.
- On gas mileage: Consumers will be tempted to trade into new vehicles with vastly improved gas mileage ratings. Honda (HMC) tops the list while Ford's betting truck owners will go for a lighter F-150 in the future. In the luxury segment, Tesla (TSLA) and Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) want to carve out more EV market share by reeling in middle-class buyers trading up while cutting down on gas costs.
- On brand reputation: Automakers such as Subaru (FUJHY) and Chrysler (FIATY) have seen consumer sentiment scores turn around as new models impress.
Dec. 26, 2013, 3:12 PM
- Sales of 2014 Jeep Cherokee vehicles are on their way to a second straight month of a strong performance, dealers tell Automotive News.
- The introduction of the new model has exceeded the expectation of analysts and could signal a market share grab for Chrysler (FIATY) in the profitable SUV segment.
- What to watch: Chrysler's large plant in Toledo, Ohio could run full out next year for the most time since 2007 to add a little more pressure on GM, Toyota, and Ford.
Dec. 26, 2013, 8:13 AM
- IHS Automotive forecasts light-vehicle sales in North America will top 16M in 2014.
- Though the sales prediction from the research firm looks strong, the outlook on pricing in the auto industry could be even more important.
- IHS thinks manufacturers will take their foot off the promotional pedal as sales gains become more closely associated with a strengthening U.S. economy - instead of incentives and deals.
- The level of promotional activity in the industry has been a growing concern, highlighted recently by a frank assessment from Ford execs,
- Related stocks: F, GM, HMC, TM, VLKAY, NSANY, FIATY.
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).
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