August 5th, 2011 at 11:10am
General Motors is back to being No. 1 in global car-sales for the first six months of the year, knocking Toyota from the top spot. Volkswagen is crying foul on the Obama administration’s proposed CAFE rules saying they favor large vehicles and pretty much ignore diesels. Chevy confirmed it will sell its small hatchback, the Spark, in the U.S. All that and more, plus a look at the fantastic paintings of one automotive artist and how he puts so much realism into his work.
Hey, I’m back! It’s Friday, and this is Autoline Daily. Here’s what’s happening in the news.
GM BACK TO #1 IN SALES
General Motors is back to being No. 1 in global car-sales for the first six months of the year. GM sold just over 4.5 million vehicles, nearly a 9 percent jump. And the Volkswagen Group jumps to second place with 4.1 million cars. Rounding out the top three is Toyota with 3.7 million units. Of course Toyota was knocked from the top spot because of the earthquake in Japan. Toyota says production will get back to normal in September but it’s still likely the company will trail VW in sales for the year.
GM POSTS HUGE Q2 PROFIT
And thanks to that jump in sales, GM posted a huge profit for the second quarter, $2.5 billion, an increase of nearly 90 percent. Revenue was $39.4 billion, an increase of $6.2 billion compared to last year. Each region, except for South America, reported slight increases in the second quarter.
CHINA’S DEALERS SUFFER LOSSES
China’s auto market may be growing, but car dealers aren’t reaping the benefits. According to Gasgoo, nearly a third of all domestic dealers in China suffered losses the first half of the year. With some cities in the country restricting sales of new cars, dealers are being forced to discount cars because inventories are getting too large. But it’s only the domestic dealers who are suffering, 80 percent of import dealers made a profit or broke even in the first half of 2011.
FIAT-CHRYSLER HEADQUARTER DEBATE
Where in the world is Segio Marchionne going to put the headquarters of Fiat-Chrysler? The Italians think he’ll put it in America, the Americans think he’ll put it in Italy. Marchionne is hyper critical of how Europe and Italy are treating business. Putting the headquarters in Detroit would really send them a message they need to change. But here’s my Autoline Insight. Fiat has a greater concentration of engineering and R&D in Torino than Chrysler does in Auburn Hills. And since Chrysler will rely on Fiat for technology and platforms, the real weight of the organization will still be in Italy.
VW FIGHTS CAFE (subscription required)
Volkswagen is crying foul on the Obama administration’s proposed CAFE rules. Ward’s reports VW says the standard is too heavily biased toward full-size pickups and SUVs. A company spokesman said this will encourage people to buy larger vehicles than they need, in effect defeating the purpose of the legislation. But the German automakers’ biggest concern involves diesels, which are basically ignored by the proposed CAFE law. The company is NOT on board with the new rules but it hopes an ongoing dialogue with the administration will result in some policy adjustments. Yeah, we’ll see about that.
CHEVY SPARK COMING TO AMERICA
GM’s latest B-segment car, the Chevrolet Sonic, isn’t even available in the U.S. yet, but the company plans to offer an even smaller model. According to GreenCarReports.com, the company confirmed Chevy will sell its itty-bitty Spark hatchback in America. This will give GM complete coverage of the market from the A- through E-segments. The Spark is expected to arrive in the first half of next year.
WHY IS MULALLY APPEARING ON TV?
Ford CEO Alan Mulally has hit the television talk-show circuit recently, appearing on the David Letterman show and on the Charlie Rose show. I’m told Letterman was after Mulally for the last two years. So why is Mulally suddenly appearing on national TV programs now? Here’s my Autoline Insight. Ford has been stung by UAW president Bob King calling Mulally’s pay package “immoral” and “outrageous.” So they’ve put Alan on an all-out charm offensive. And judging by the reviews and internet chatter, it’s working. People love how and what Mulally has to say. And that will take the sting out of Bob King’s comments.
Coming up next, a look at the fantastic paintings of an automotive artist, and how he puts so much realism into his work..
LAST NIGHT ON AFTER HOURS
Last night on Autoline After Hours we had an artist on, Dave Snyder, who paints classic American muscle cars, but does it in a way that evokes an era and produces a captivating realism. I asked him how he does it, and here’s what he had to say.
By the way, you can watch that entire episode on our website right now at AutolineDetroit.tv. Just look in the John’s Journal section.
And of course, don’t forget to check out the LIVE broadcast of RoundAbout tonight. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv.
That’s today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you Monday.