February 8th, 2012 at 11:45am
It looks like GM is poised to announce a big loss in Europe. Diesels already outsell EVs and hybrids, but could incentives be on the way? The Hyundai Elantra has shed a couple of doors for its new coupe version and added a hatchback for the new GT. All that and more, plus John McElroy responds to your comments and questions in You Said It!
This is Autoline Daily for February 8th, and here’s what’s going on out there.
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General Motors is going to announce a big loss in the fourth quarter in Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal. GM has lost $14 billion on its European operations since 1999. That’s why GM has assigned a new management team to turn Opel around. Here’s my Autoline insight. Whenever new management steps in it always throws every possible problem onto the books to get that behind them. They can always blame their predecessors for those problems, but you only get to do that once, so here’s their chance. Plus, GM needs to convince German unions and politicians that drastic measures are necessary, and anything that can make the problem look as dire as possible is what they’re going to do.
In the American market, vehicles with diesel engines, including heavy-duty pick-ups, now outsell all hybrids and electric cars combined. And they’re doing that without any incentives. But that could be about to change. Ward’s reports that the EPA could offer incentives to consumers, or to automakers in the form of more generous credits towards their CAFE targets. Currently, future CAFE regulations are heavily biased in favor of hybrids and electrics.
NADA HATES CAFE
Speaking of CAFE, the National Auto Dealers Association is opposed to the suggested target of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That’s about 4 liters per 100 kilometers. It says that goes too far, and will force higher car prices that will cripple sales. So far, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy target is just a proposal, it has not yet been finalized.
CHINA TO IMPORT 1 MILLION CARS
As we’ve talked about before on this show, Chinese consumers prefer driving foreign brands over domestic ones. In fact, imported car sales in China grew by over a quarter last year in China and they’re expected to surpass one million units for the first time this year. European automakers are especially increasing imports into China in order to offset losses because of the debt crisis back home.
ELANTRA MODEL LINE EXPANDS
On the heels of being named the North American Car of the Year, Hyundai is expanding the Elantra line-up, with a coupe and a hatchback. The Coupe incorporates the same “fluidic sculpture” design language as the sedan and Hyundai’s signature hexagonal front end. The hatchback, called the Elantra GT, also has the same engine and a sleek design. Hyundai says it’s lighter than its competitors thanks to the use high-strength steel, yet it has more interior room. The Coupe is scheduled to go on sale this spring while the hatchback will be available in the summer.
Coming up next, it is time for You Said It!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
armydray13 saw a couple of our recent reports on Mazda, including its latest profit and sales numbers. “So…yesterday Mazda’s sales were up 68.2%, but today their revenue is down 17%? Not sure I follow the math on that one!” Armydray13, the sales numbers were just for last month and only in the American market. The profit numbers reflect Mazda’s global operations for all of last year, including the impact of the massive earthquake and the flooding in Thailand.
A bunch of you reacted to our reports on the Super Bowl ads, especially with Ford lashing out at GM for running an ad showing Chevrolet Silverados surviving an imaginary apocalypse, while a guy who drove a Ford F-150 didn’t survive. TangoR34 wonders why Ford reacted like it did. “Why should Ford flip out? They were the one who did a “Ford owner who would only drive a non-bailed-out American brand” PR stunt.” Amen Tango, what goes around comes around.
Adam White feels the same way, “I have owned a Ford Truck for over 10 years….When I saw the Chevy Silverado Ad during the Super Bowl last night I laughed out loud at the ending! I thought it was one of the better Ads shown during the game. No hurt feelings here.” Right, it was a fun ad, Ford is just being petulant. Lighten up, Ford!
Chuck heard me say that when Ford saw the ad, “that took the rag off the bush,” and it demanded a retraction from Chevrolet. “Took the rag off the bush…”?? Where in the world did that one come from?” Chuck, I am so glad you asked. It’s an American idiom that went out of use over a century ago. It’s something that I’ve never found the chance to use before. I ran across it years ago reading Western novels by Louis L’Amour. It’s very hard to track the origins of it, but it goes back to the Old West and it kind of the equivalent of slapping someone with a glove: it reflects both an insult and a challenge.
012345 also weighed in on the ads, “So, what was the best Super Bowl Car Ad, Mr. McElroy? I gladly would say it was the one featuring Mr. Clint Eastwood, but that ad just makes me feel like shooting some punks.” Well, don’t go shooting anybody, but thanks for sharing that thought. By the way, those Super Bowl ads are going to be one of the topics on Autoline After Hours tomorrow night. Joining us will be Jean Halliday who reports on automotive advertising, so join me and the Autoextremist Peter Delorenzo for the best insider information in the business.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.