Buried inside an economic report from the Richmond Federal Reserve this week is an interesting tidbit on the auto industry.
As part of its scan of the economic horizon for the Beige Book, the bank noted the massive wave of automobile industry recalls has only had a "slight adverse" impact on sales. Customer traffic was still up and new car sales strong on solid pricing.
The read from Richmond is consistent with recent U.S. sales reports from major automakers, although with a slight disconnect existing between a "sale" and a "delivery" in the industry the confirmation is noteworthy.
Chaos theory: Some industry analysts think recalls can actually spur sales as safety is teed up as a consumer issue and older cars replaced.
Fiat Chrysler (FIATY) plans to list ~750M shares at $5.03 each on the NYSE later this year, and could start trading as soon as Aug. 2, pending shareholder approval in August of a proposed merger of the two auto makers, according to a new SEC filing.
The merger plan must win Fiat shareholder approval at a special meeting scheduled for Aug. 1.
A "loyalty voting structure" will allow shareholders who hold their stake for three years to have two votes for each share they own, a move that favors the Agnelli family, which has controlled Fiat since its founding and still owns 30% of the company.
Chrysler (FIATY) has widened its ignition switch recall, and is now taking back another 696k vehicles. The malfunction can cause the vehicle to shut off by itself while in motion, and adds to the 196k vehicles which were taken back in an earlier recall.
The U.S. safety agency is also investigating Chrysler trucks over an issue which may cause the rear axle to lock up or even disconnect. The issue seems to be caused by loose pinion nuts, and mostly affects truck models from 2005. In February 2013, the company recalled 370k vehicles for similar issues.
Fiat Chrysler (FIATY) will begin selling Jeep in India by 2015. The original plan called for Jeep to expand to the region late last year, although it was scrapped after Jeep CEO Mike Manley felt that the brand would not hit the market strong enough.
According to IHS Automotive, India will be the world's third-largest auto market by 2020, with sales doubling to 6M vehicles.
Jeep has sold 100k vehicles last month alone, and it is aiming to hit 1M vehicle sales globally this year.
Cars.com sees May's seasonally adjusted annualized new car sales at 16.1M, up 4.1% from a year ago and the highest May SAAR since 2007.
Chrysler (FIATY -0.8%) had the best performance, says Car.com analyst Jesse Toprak, with a 15% Y/Y increase in sales, but GM (GM +1.4%) - amid big recalls - saw less impressive gains and lost 1.3% of its U.S. market share.
In other news, MKM's chief technician Jonathan Krinsky says Ford (F +1.5%) may be the best of the bunch. He notes the stock has been above its 200-day moving average for about a month and the 200 DMA has just begun turning higher - a bullish development in the medium-term. He's targeting the $23-$24 price range over the next 6-12 months, but would re-consider any bullish thesis if the stock can't hold $16.
Fiat S.p.A. Torino is the holding company of the Fiat Group. Through its subsidiaries, Co. is engaged principally in the manufacture and sale of automobiles, commercial vehicles and agricultural and construction equipment. Co. is organized into operating sectors, divided in the two major...More