January 31st, 2011 at 12:00pm
Chrysler reported its earnings for 2010 and while the numbers are not great, they do show progress. Daimler is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and will give employees a €1,000 bonus. Starting tomorrow, Renault will introduce its own line of tires specifically designed for its older vehicles. All that and more, plus a tour of the new Lincoln MKX with chief engineer Elaine Bannon.
This is Autoline Daily for the last day of January, 2011. And now, the news.
2010 CHRYSLER EARNINGS
Chrysler reported its earnings for 2010, and while the company is definitely making progress, it has not progressed as far as Ford or General Motors have. Chrysler sold 1.5 million vehicles last year, which brought in almost $42 billion. Unfortunately, its expenses were more than a half a billion more than that, and it posted a net loss of $652 million. All last year CEO Sergio Marchionne complained that Chrysler’s sky-high interest rates kept it from posting a profit. Take them out of the picture for the moment and Chrysler achieved what it’s calling a “modified” operating profit of $763 million. The company finished the year with $7.3 billion in cash but it also has over $13 billion in debt. These numbers are not great, but they do show progress. This year Chrysler expects to boost revenue by another $13 billion and post a net income of between $200 million and $500 million.
DAIMLER CELEBRATES 125th ANNIVERSARY
Daimler is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. That’s right, Karl Benz first drove his Patent Motorwagen 125 years ago. The company is so over the moon about achieving this milestone that it will give all of its employees worldwide a €1,000 bonus, which converts to roughly $1,300.
RENAULT LAUNCHES OWN TIRE BRAND
Starting tomorrow Renault will introduce its own line of tires, becoming the first OEM to do so. The name of the new brand is Motrio and the tires have been specifically designed for Renault’s older vehicles. Two different tread patterns will be available, one that Renault says maximizes driving comfort for its smaller vehicles and the other offers a more dynamic focus for the rest of its lineup and its sportier models. The new tires are only available in the UK which can be bought through Renault’s dealers. Pricing for the tires starts at £36 which translates to $57. My question is, who’s really making these tires? I can’t believe for a second that Renault is actually making them itself, it has to be contracting them out.
BEIJING CITIZENS SCALP CAR REGISTRATIONS
We’ve reported that Beijing is restricting the number of new-car registrations to 240,000 for the entire year to try to reduce traffic jams. The city set up a lottery system in order to award new registrations but according to Gasgoo, enterprising citizens who have no intention of buying a car are applying to get a registration anyway. And we know what that means. They want to scalp those registrations and stuff their pockets with wads of yuan. Beijing is now looking at ways to prevent the scalpers from taking advantage of the system.
AUSTRALIA CANCELS CAR INCENTIVES (subscription required)
The Australian auto industry is a surprising victim of the devastating floods that have ravaged vast parts of the country. According to Ward’s, the government has abruptly canceled nearly a billion dollars in incentives for green cars and cash for clunkers. The money will be diverted to help clean up the state of Queensland which has been ravaged by floods for weeks. The move is expected to impact the global auto industry because many companies have development and test programs in the country. Let’s hope those flood waters start receding and they can get that mess cleaned up pronto.
FEWER CARS EQUIPPED WITH V-8s (subscription required)
This is pretty obvious but for enthusiasts it’s painful to watch. Ward’s reports V-8 engine penetration in the U.S. is at an all-time low. Last year they powered fewer than 21 percent of all North American light vehicles. That’s down from the year prior when they took nearly 23 percent of the market. Blame it on the car market. In 2010 V-8s were installed in just 5.7 percent of passenger vehicles. Trucks fared better with a nearly 34 percent penetration rate but the trend there is toward downsizing as well. Last year, 64% of all new cars were equipped with four-cylinder engines.
Coming up next, we’re going to have the chief engineer, Elaine Bannon, take us on a personal tour of the new Lincoln MKX.
Elaine Bannon is the Chief Engineer on the new Lincoln MKX. We asked her to take us around the vehicle, pointing out the highlights of what they changed on the new model. Here’s what she has to say about the vehicle she’s in charge of.
The timing of the redo of the MKX is pretty good. Crossovers represent the hottest segment in the American market right now. Of course, there’s some controversy about the MyLincoln Touch system, about it being complicated and distracting. That may deter some buyers, but my bet is that the MKX will do pretty well in the market.
And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.