October 27th, 2011 at 11:51am
Volkswagen posted astounding numbers in the third quarter, with a HUGE jump in revenue. French automaker PSA is finally taking steps to reduce its workforce as part of a bid to save money next year. The 2012 Ford Ranger just aced Euro NCAP’s battery of crash tests. All that and more, plus a look at a pedestrian safety system from German supplier company Continental.
This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, October 27, 2011. And have we got some eye-opening financial results to talk about.
VW ON A ROLL (ROLLING IN MONEY)
Roll over Beethoven, Volkswagen is bringing you some news. The giant German automaker posted astounding numbers in the third quarter. Revenue jumped over 25 percent to more than 38 billion Euros. Its operating profit skyrocketed over 45 percent to 2.9 billion Euros and all of this was thanks to a 16 percent increase in vehicle sales of over 2 million units. Remember, we’re not just talking about the VW brand, we’re talking about VW AG, and all the car companies that make up that giant corporation.
DAIMLER’S MODEST FIGURES
Meanwhile, Daimler posted results that look puny by comparison. It saw its revenue increase by only 5 percent, to 26 billion Euros, but it’s pre-tax profit plummeted by 19 percent, and that happened even though sales of passenger cars, trucks, busses and vans increased by 11 percent to more than 525,000 units.
PSA LEARNS HOW TO DOWNSIZE (subscription required)
I’d estimate the U.S. auto industry has cut about 100,000 jobs over the last five years in a painful but necessary downsizing. Europe has kicked, screamed and fought against doing the same thing. But now, The Wall Street Journal reports, French automaker PSA announced it could eliminate up to 6,000 direct and non-direct workers in Europe. The job cuts are part of a financial plan designed to save the company about $1.1 billion next year. This is a good first step, but will European automakers be able to stomach the cuts necessary to really get things moving again? It’s like solving the Greek financial crisis, the longer the put if off, the more painful it’s going to get.
EURO RANGER ACES NCAP
Paleontologists aren’t certain, but they estimate the American version of the Ford Ranger has been around since roughly the late Cretaceous period. In its home market it’s remained basically unchanged, a true driving fossil. But on other continents, over millions of years, it’s evolved into a modern and capable workhorse. As a testament to how far this compact truck has come, the 2012 model just received a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, the best score ever awarded to a pickup. It also received the best pedestrian protection rating of ANY VEHICLE ever tested by the program.
THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY (subscription required)
Automakers love taking jabs at one another in advertisements. Last month Ford aired an ad that slammed the GM and Chrysler bailouts. Now Ward’s reports that Renault is poking fun at Opel’s quality. Its new ad is a parody of an Opel ad that talked about the “German quality” of the Corsa. Renault’s ad matches it shot for shot and ends with the tagline that translates to “Renault – quality, French version.”
KIA’S LATEST CAMPAIGN
And speaking of advertising, Kia just launched a new global brand campaign. The company is using TV commercials and digital ads on Facebook with tennis superstar Rafael Nadal. The Facebook campaign will be rolled out in three phases that includes a quiz, a corporate social responsibility program that highlights environmental awareness and a state-of-the-art semantic social movie. The Facebook ads start today and run until the end of January and are available in seven languages.
Safety is a big deal. After the break we investigate a piece technology designed to help protect pedestrians in car crashes. Stay tuned . . .
Safety features are almost always aimed at people traveling INSIDE a vehicle, but what about those on the outside? Pedestrian protection is a big deal in Europe and it’s an issue that will likely take hold in other heavily urbanized areas around the world. Here’s a technology German suppler Continental has developed to help with this problem.
Did you hear the noise that pylon made on impact? He wasn’t driving that fast, but it sounded like the bumper got ripped off!
Don’t forget to join us tonight for Autoline After Hours. Joining us tonight is Charlie Vogelheim with ResponseLogix, a company that deals with buying cars over the internet. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, at Autoline.tv for the best insider information in the business.
And that wraps up this show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.