January 25th, 2011 at 12:11pm
GM’s selling more cars in China than in the United States, but guess where most the profit comes from. Speaking of “most” where do the most vehicles get built in North America? We have the answer. Ford is closing a plant due to a supply shortage, and you can expect to see it happen again. All that and more, plus we get some track time in the Dodge Challenger 392.
This is Autoline Daily for January 25, 2011. And now, the news.
CHINA IS GM’S #1 MARKET
Six years ago General Motors hit quite a milestone. In 2005, for first time ever, GM sold more cars overseas than it did in the American market. And now GM has reached another milestone. Last year GM sold more cars in China than it sold in the US, specifically 2.3 million vehicles in China versus 2.2 million in the US. And that’s important. However, here’s my Autoline Insight. GM doesn’t make nearly as much profit in China as it does in the US. The company doesn’t break out its profits in China and there is a good reason for that. There isn’t much to report. In fact, in the third quarter of 2010 GM’s North American operations made three and half times more profit than the rest of GM’s international operations, excluding Europe. I sure would love to see any of the major automakers report their revenue and profits from China. But so far none of them are doing it.
CHINESE LOVE IMPORTED SUVs
Speaking of China, it imported a record number of new vehicles last year. Gasgoo reports that China imported 650,000 vehicles in 2010, an increase of 80%. Interestingly nearly 60% of those imports were SUVs, mostly luxury SUVs from Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus. Hello! That ought to be a wake up call to the Detroit Three. They make more SUVs than anybody else. Not only should they be exporting them to China, they ought to introduce their full-size pickup trucks to Chinese consumers. Now that could be a game changer.
GM ADDS TRUCK SHIFT
Speaking of full-size pickup trucks, GM is adding a third shift at its truck plant in Flint, Michigan and hiring 750 line workers to build more heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Those are true work trucks, typically bought by contractors and construction workers, and that’s another sign the US economy is recovering.
FORD’S PARTS SHORTAGE
But in related news, Ford is going to close its truck assembly plant in Dearborn, Michigan for a week due to a shortage in engine parts. The Detroit Free Press reports the shortages are in electric motors and wiring harnesses and the affected engines are Ford’s 3.7 L V-6 and its 3.5 L Eco-Boost engine for pickups. Here’s more Autoline Insight. We’re going to see a lot more of these part shortages as the year goes on. In fact this is going to limit any increase in sales. You may have heard some analysts predict that SAAR rate will hit 15 million units by the end of the year. Uh-uh. Ain’t gonna happen. The supplier industry can’t keep up. Remember, you only need one component missing to shut a plant down.
NORTH AMERICA’S BIGGEST ASSEMBLY PLANTS(subscription required)
As long as we’re talking about assembly plants, Wards just published some interesting numbers. The highest volume assembly complex in North America is Volkswagen’s plant in Puebla, Mexico. It makes the Jetta, Bora and Beetle and last year it made over 434,000 of them. Toyota’s assembly complex in Georgetown, Kentucky is the second largest in North America. It makes the Camry, Avalon and Venza and it made more than 371,000 of them. The third largest plant is Nissan’s in Aguascalientes, Mexico. It makes the Sentra, Platina, Renault Clio and Versa/Tilda. Last year it made over 334,000.
Coming up next, I’ll take you for some track time in what they’re calling the 392 version of the Dodge Challenger.
I recently got a chance to take a Dodge 392 Challenger out for some laps at Sears point Raceway in California. The 392 is part of the SRT-8 package on the Challenger. Dodge just kicked it up a notch by dropping in a 6.4 L hemi V-8. That’s bigger than the 6.1 L that used to be in this car. And they’re calling it the 392 because that’s the cubic inch displacement. Here’s what I’ve found during my test drive.
Let me tell you driving the car on the track felt a lot faster than what this video captures. The 392 packs 90 more foot pounds of torque than the prior engine. All told, the engine bangs out 470 hp and 470 pound feet of torque. Maybe they should’ve called it the 470.
If you live in the Washington, DC area, and are interested in going to the Washington Auto Show, we’ve got free tickets to hand out. Let us know if you want any by dropping us an e-mail addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve got lots to give away, so don’t be shy.
And that brings us to the end of today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching we’ll see you tomorrow.