August 23rd, 2011 at 11:46am
GM’s stock is taking a beating! It’s plummeted 34 percent since the IPO. Warren Buffet’s baby, Chinese automaker BYD, is also taking it on the chin following a disappointing profits report. Saab is sinking . . . fast. Its financial situation looks grimmer by the minute as debt collectors come a-knocking. All that and more, plus another power-to-weight comparison, this time with V-8 ponycars.
This is Autoline Daily for August 23, 2011. And here’s the latest from the frontlines on the automotive battleground!
DA BEARS MAUL GM
Whoa! What’s going on with the price of GM’s stock? Yesterday it closed at only $21.71, down from its IPO price of $33. Even though the overall market is down about 14 percent, GM’s stock is down by 34 percent. Even though I’m not going to buy any, it’s starting to look like an attractive price, and that explains why senior officers in the company have been buying big chunks of it.
BYD GETS BUFFETED
Speaking of a plummeting stock price, BYD, the Chinese automaker, saw its stock fall off a cliff yesterday because profits plunged 99 percent for the most-recent quarter. That stock has fallen 81 percent from its peak two years ago. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet put $230 million into the company back then, and while that investment is now worth twice that, at one point it was $2 billion more than it is today.
And yet, despite all the troubles with stock prices, the debt crisis, and all the uncertainty going around, the rich seem largely unaffected. Bloomberg reports Audi is hiring people to help boost production of its A8 flagship by nearly 60 percent! A company spokesman says they expect sales to remain strong AT LEAST through next year. According to Ward’s, in the U.S. last month, the A8 was up almost 300 percent year over year (subscription required).
SAAB SINKS LOWER (subscription required)
But there’s a big difference in the health of luxury brands compared to those that are merely premium brands. And in this case, we’re talking about SAAB. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Swedish debt agency discovered the automaker only has about 5.1 million kronor in cash, about $800,000. But with an estimated 50 million kronor in debt, Saab is in deep doo-doo. And now the company is telling workers, once again, that it could delay paying them. I hate to say I told you so. Back in June I estimated the company’s payroll at about $28 million a month. If it’s only got 800 grand in the bank, they’ll burn through that in a matter of minutes.
Buick is starting to leak out details about its new compact car, the Verano. The message the Buick folks want to get out is how they’ve tried to make this car as quiet as possible. Inside they’ve got foam pads, sound absorbing blankets, thick mats, spray-deadener and dense carpeting. They’re also using double layers of glass in the front doors and thicker glass all the way around. To demonstrate how quiet the car is, they had a worker with a leaf blower walk past a Verano as the window gets rolled up.
Coming up next, more power-to-weight comparisons. This time with V-8 pony cars. Stick around!
A while back we compared the power-to-weight ratios of entry-level V-6 ponycars. We pitted the Chevrolet Camaro against its local rivals, the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang PLUS an overseas upstart, the Genesis Coupe. Today, it’s time to step up to the V-8-powered models.
Again, we’re looking at the lowest-priced offerings from each manufacturer, and they’re all pretty close. No bells, no whistles and no Hyundais in this face off. The biggest engine you can get in the Genesis Coupe is a 3.8-liter V-6.
Like before, these muscle machines are each equipped with six-speed manual transmissions. And interestingly the Camaro and Challenger both use the same gearbox, the Tremec TR-6060.
If you remember, last time Hyundai and Ford delivered the best power-to-weight ratios thanks to their lower curb weights. Today’s battle looks a little more evenly matched.
The Camaro SS is powered by an old-school 6.2-liter pushrod small block delivering a best-in-test 426 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. You know what they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The big, bad Dodge follows a similar formula. With variable valve timing on board, its 5.7-liter HEMI churns out a healthy 376 horsepower with 410 foot-pounds. Under-hood the Mustang is the highest tech. Its new Five-Oh – the smallest engine here – features double-overhead-cams with TiVCT to really make some power. Its numbers are 412 and 390. Again, these competitors are pretty evenly matched.
As always, weight is a deciding factor. And once again the Challenger is the fat guy of the group, topping 4,000 pounds (4,082) in R/T trim! The Camaro is a little lighter at about 3,800 ell-bees. But as expected, the Mustang is the trimmest, tipping the scales at just about 3,600 pounds. The difference between the Challenger and the ‘Stang is 477 pounds!
Let’s crunch some more numbers. Take a look at the pounds-per-horsepower row of our handy-dandy chart. Given its massive curb weight the Challenger has the worst score, but not by much. At only 10.9 pounds-per-pony it’s still a rocket ship. The Camaro betters that, hitting just nine pounds. The Mustang takes top honors at about 8.8.
Things are even closer in the Torque department. We had to carry this one out the hundredths place! Thanks to its big cubic inches the Camaro delivers the best number.
As much fun as all this tire-smoking, V-8 performance is, we can’t forget about fuel economy. And again, light weight really pays off. The Ford has the best city and highway efficiency at 17/26 miles per gallon. Camaro and Challenger are neck and neck, with the Chevy delivering one more MPG around town. It’s a tie on the open road.
As before, hit the link in today’s show notes on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv, to download an Excel file with even more figures. Find out how these machines stack up against each other in a variety of other categories like specific output and pounds per dollar.
You can listen to a new episode of RoundAbout with Jim and Bob Hall. Topics include a car that can go 1 million miles without refueling, an Audi Q7-turned-pickup, and a Corvette-inspired hybrid that could use a little help. Plus, the crew pits brother against brother in a Dream Cruise-themed edition of the Versus game. All that available right now at — say it with me — AutolineDetroit-dot-TV.
And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.