Episode 11 – Honda Expects Profit Drop, GM Wants Cash, Renault Debuts Concept in São Paulo

October 28th, 2008 at 12:00pm

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Profits take a 3.5 percent tumble at Honda in the company’s fiscal first half of 2008. GM wants immediate money from the feds to be able to pull off a merger with Chrysler. Renault and Chevy concept cars take the stage at the Sao Paulo auto show. All that and more, plus a look at a reenactment of the 1908 French Grand Prix.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Profits take a tumble at Honda. GM wants immediate money from the Feds. And concept cars take the stake at the Sao Paulo auto show.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, October 28, 2008. And now, the news.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the U.S. Treasury is considering providing significant financial aid to the American automakers. This goes well beyond the $25 billion in financing the government will make available for the Detroit Three to retool their plants for more fuel efficient vehicles. But the Detroit News Reports GM wants $5 billion to be able to pull off a merger with Chrysler. That money would come from the $25 billion for re-tooling.

As if to emphasize the global nature of this crisis in the auto industry, Honda’s profits plummeted in the company’s fiscal first half of 2008. Revenue dropped 3.5 percent, despite the fact that automobile and motorcycle sales were up. Operating income dropped 27 percent. It still earned $3.6 billion. But Honda expects that to drop further and says for its fiscal year that ends in March, it expects profits to drop 42 percent, due to the negative impact of currency exchanges, higher raw material costs, and increased expenses.

Renault unveiled a new concept car at the Sao Paulo auto show yesterday (accreditation required). The four-passenger vehicle is called the Sand’Up. It features a modular design so it can easily be converted to be a coupe, sedan or pickup. The bed is 1.7 meters long, or about five and a half feet, and can carry up to 500 kilograms, or over 1,000 pounds. The Sand’Up concept is a way for Renault Design Latin America to show what it can do.

General Motors also unveiled a new concept vehicle at the Sao Paulo show yesterday. The GPiX is a compact, two-door crossover that was designed in Brazil. It features LED headlamps and a panoramic glass roof. So, what does GPiX stand for? Well, it’s a portmanteau of sorts. The “G” stands for global and the “Pix” for pictures. I’m not sure what that has to do with cars, but hey, it’s a concept.

When gas prices spiked over the summer, drivers gave up their big cars and moved down into compacts. The same is going on with truck buyers. According to Ward’s, Ford Super Duty customers are downsizing to F-150s (subscription required). There’s been nearly a 10 percent swing. Ford said drivers are downsizing from F-150s to the compact Ranger pick-up as well.

Despite the global downturn, Toyota held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new plant in China. It’s a joint venture between Toyota and China FAW Group. The plant will build the Corolla and will have an annual production capacity of 100,000 units.

Coming up next, our feature story takes a look at a reenactment of the 1908 French Grand Prix. We’ll be back, right after this.

2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the 1908 French Grand Prix. Called the “race of the century,” it was one of the most important contests in the history of motor sports.

To celebrate the centennial, owners of period-correct racecars were invited to Dieppe, France, to compete in a historic reenactment of the event.

The challenges faced by early race drivers were just incredible. Imagine zipping around a race circuit at 100 miles per hour in a rickety open car with no safety equipment, no power steering and only rear-wheel brakes.

In case you’re wondering, a Mercedes took the checkered flag back in 1908, while two Benzes finished second and third.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry, but don’t forget you can get podcasts, transcripts and a whole lot more on our website, AutolineDaily.TV. Thanks for watching; we’ll see you tomorrow.

2 Comments to “Episode 11 – Honda Expects Profit Drop, GM Wants Cash, Renault Debuts Concept in São Paulo”

  1. Richard Tait Says:

    So F150 buyers are switching to Rangers? Interesting. John, have you heard anything about a new Ranger? The one currently on sale, for all it’s face-lifting frankly doesn’t cut it. What would it take for Ford to retool and build a State-side version of the Asian-market Ranger/BT-50 the way GM does with the Colorado/Canyon/i-Series/D-Max? They need to step up now.

  2. John Says:

    The Gpix looks cool.

    Any details like 2wd,awd,mpg,auto,5spd,CNG,EV,Wheel Base Length,MSRP,and most of all, will the poor people that live in the USA, home of Chevrolet, be allowed to own one?