July 27th, 2011 at 11:47am
Daimler and Nissan both reported financial earnings. The Obama Administration has agreed to a lower fuel-economy standard but the biggest question is, what are the loopholes? Renault will introduce a small-van concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show called the Frendzy. All that and more, plus John answers your questions and comments in the “You Said It!” segment.
This is Autoline Daily for July 27, 2011.
DAIMLER POSTS Q2 GAINS
Daimler and Nissan both reported financial earnings for the most recent quarter this morning, and the numbers look pretty good. Daimler sold a just under 450,000 vehicles. Car sales rose 4 percent, while trucks were up 9 percent. In the U.S., by the way, truck sales at Freightliner were up 50 percent. That brought in just over $36 billion in revenue, which was up 5 percent and it turned a net profit of almost $2.4 billion, which was up a whopping 30 percent.
NISSAN POSTS SOLID Q1 NUMBERS
Nissan sold just over 1 million vehicles worldwide, up more than 10 percent in the last three months. That brought in just over $25 billion in revenue which was barely up over last year, and its net profit of $1 billion represented a 10 percent drop. But considering the effects of the earthquake, these are very impressive numbers and suggest the second half of this year will be very good for Nissan.
CHRYSLER EXECS WON’T GET PAY RAISE (subscription required)
Sergio Marchionne says he’s not going to make the mistake Daimler made when it took over Chrysler and imposed its culture on the company. He says Chrysler is going to retain its American culture. But he also says Chrysler executives are not going to get big pay raises now, even though it’s no longer under government pay restrictions that froze salaries in 2009. Smart move. As Chrysler goes into UAW negotiations that takes one bargaining chip away from the union. Marchionne also says they will not make Jeep Wranglers in China. He says to stay true to its brand image, the iconic Jeep will only be made in America.
MPG TARGET LOWERED
Another day, another CAFE target. The Obama Administration has agreed to a lower fuel-economy standard. Initially it supported a goal of 56.2 miles per gallon, but now it’s pulled back a tiny bit to 54.5 MPG. Apparently five automakers already support the new standard including the Detroit Three plus Honda and Hyundai. But the new number just leaves us with more questions, the biggest of which is, what are the loopholes?
RENAULT FRENDZY CONCEPT (subscription required)
Now for some future product news. Ward’s reports Renault will introduce a small-van concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Called the Frendzy, it’s designed to be a stylish work vehicle Monday through Friday and a family-focused people-hauler on weekends. It’s the fourth of a group of six concepts that follow an imaginary life cycle. First came the Dezir, which represents falling in love. Next, the Captur embodies discovering the world. The R-Space is for having a family, and the Frendzy, as I mentioned, is for working.
NEXT-GEN HYUNDAI AZERA
Closer to home, Hyundai will debut its next-generation Azera at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Hyundai what? Don’t tell me you forgot about the Azera! Well, it’s a large, front-wheel-drive sedan slotted above the Sonata but below the Genesis. Does that ring a bell? Think of it as a Korean version of the Toyota Avalon.
FEMALE SENATORS SEEK TO END BAN
We’ve been following the story about women in Saudi Arabia protesting the government’s ban on letting women drive, by going out and getting behind the wheel themselves. Now, fourteen female U.S. Senators sent a letter to King Abdullah asking him to end the ban. Also, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out against the policy last month. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving, even in an emergency.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
Kate McLeod saw our report on a Canadian company that can convert waste plastic into fuel. She asks, “Does that potentially equal 150 million barrels of fuel if we reused all of our waste plastic? Do I have that right? That’s pretty impressive.”
Kate, I believe you’ve got that right.
Lex saw our report on how the Industrial Transportation Research Institute in Taiwan has come up with paper speakers and asks, “John, those paper thin speakers in the headliner are a great idea for saving weight and space, one thing how do they sound?”
Lex, they sound pretty good. They’re especially good for listening to news or sports or talk on the radio. But for the best fidelity, they’d have to be paired with a woofer in the car.
Steve heard us say that the chances of a battery cell in a hybrid failing are about the same as being hit by lightening and says, “As much chance as being hit by lighting? My house got hit last night. I now need to replace my well pump. This is the second time that I had to replace the pump from a lighting hit in the last five years. Could you pick a comparison with a little better odds?”
Ok, the odds of a hybrid battery failing are about as good as the Democrats and Republicans coming together on a deal to balance the budget.
Pedro Fernandez liked our power-to-weight comparison of ponycars, but had this to say, “IMHO all these ‘pony’ cars need to go on a diet, if the tendency to make cars bigger and heavier continues in this segment as well, we may end up calling them ‘hippo’ cars.
Amen, Pedro, amen.
Join us for an all-new LIVE edition of Open Line with Michelle Naranjo and Chelsea Sexton next Tuesday. We’ll have Nick Richards, the group manager for Buick Communications. This will be your chance to ask about Buick’s eAssist technology and the upcoming Verano. If you can’t be there live, leave a message on our Google line: 1-620-288-6546. And, make sure you subscribe to the podcast at bit.ly/OpenPodcast. That’s next Tuesday, LIVE at 8PM Eastern.
And that’s today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.