May 9th, 2012 at 11:45am
Toyota announced its financial earnings for its fiscal year and it didn’t do all that well, but the company is very bullish for this year. Opel revealed that the name of its new small car will be the Adam, the same name as the company’s founder. Audi outsold its luxury rival BMW on a global basis in April. All that and more, plus John McElroy responds to your questions and comments in “You Said It!”
Well, we’re halfway through the work week. It’s May 9th, I’m John McElroy and this is Autoline Daily.
TOYOTA POSTS LUKEWARM RESULTS (pdf)
Toyota announced its financial earnings for its fiscal year and it didn’t do all that well. No surprise there, what with the impact of the earthquake in Japan and the flooding in Thailand. Global vehicle sales hit 7.3 million units, an increase of 0.6 percent. Despite that increase, revenue dropped 2 percent to $232 billion. And net profits fell over 30 percent to $3.5 billion. But Toyota is very bullish on this year. It says global sales will jump 18 percent to 8.7 million vehicles. It forecasts that revenue will jump by the same percentage amount to $275 billion, and that profits will nearly triple to $9.5 billion. Even so, that would provide a net profit margin of only 3.5 percent, meaning Toyota even has more upside potential.
AUTO INDUSTRY BOOSTS RAILROADS
Like the saying goes, a rising tide raises all boats. U.S. railroads are enjoying a banner year thanks to strong car sales. Those cars and the parts needed to make them pushed train traffic up 21 percent in April. And it’s really a NAFTA story. The same sort of increases are happening in Canada and Mexico.
HYUNDAI UPDATES SONATA
As competition in the midsize-sedan segment heats up, Hyundai is making some minor changes to its hot-selling Sonata. For 2013, certain lower-level models get more content, including fog lamps and heated front seats. The range-topping Limited trim comes standard with a traditional sunroof, but a panoramic version is also available as an option. As strong as Sonata sales have been, I think Hyundai is running scared. Last month, John Krafick, the CEO of Hyundai Motor America said the competition is closing the gap with their advantage in fuel economy and styling. He said his message to the troops was they better react quickly, and I think this is part of that reaction.
ASTON MARTIN REVEALS NEW DBS
In an uncharacteristic move, Aston Martin went to the web to reveal the new DBS Ultimate. Usually automakers push out press releases, unveil vehicles at auto shows or invite the press to ride-and-drive events. But this time the company posted details on its public website. Is this an example of cost cutting? Maybe, but according to Autoblog this model is probably in its last year, so a proper introduction for what’s effectively a new trim line is arguably unnecessary.
ADAM OPEL ADAM
Opel revealed that the name of its new small car will be the Adam. It did so in a unique way on its media site with a comic strip as well as a prototype of the car driving a special route on the streets of Frankfurt to spell out its name. The car is expected to debut at the Paris Motor show in September. As you may know, Adam Opel was the founder of the automaker, which is also the formal name of the company. So I guess technically the car’s name is the Adam Opel Adam.
AUDI OUTSELLS BMW
And staying in Germany for the moment, Audi outsold its luxury rival BMW on a global basis in April. Audi sold just over 125,000 cars last month while BMW sold over 121,000 units. It was the first time in over a year that Audi outsold BMW. For the year, BMW has sold just 7,000 more vehicles than Audi.
Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!
YOU SAID IT!
And now it’s time for some of your feedback.
Chuck Grenci pulled out an old rule of thumb to figure out the value of the newest Cadillac. “Entry level ATS at $33,990; at a dollar a pound (announced weight at sub 3400 lbs), sounds like a pretty good deal. Coincidence, maybe, but still a pretty nice correlation.”
You know, I think that dollar-a-pound rule has held true for nearly 50 years. Somebody check that out for me.
Kit Gerhart thinks he knows why the electric version of the Toyota RAV4 has that outrageous $50,000 price tag. “The RAV-4 EV, if it actually has 100 mile range in normal driving, would have a battery about 4 times as big as the one in a Volt or Leaf. No wonder it’s expensive.”
Why would anybody buy an electric RAV4 at 50 grand, which is nearly $13,000 more than a Nissan Leaf, and 25 grand more than a RAV4 with a gas engine? That’s why I get the feeling Toyota was forced into this project for political and public-relations reasons, not because it believed that working with Tesla would produce a superior EV.
W L Simpson saw our report of Formula One driver Nico Rosberg showing the driving position in an F1 car and had this comment: “Formula 1, a luge on wheels.”
No kidding, W L, I wonder why they just don’t drive head first!
A bunch of you reacted to our report about the plan to use aluminum wiring in cars to save weight compared to copper. There’s a lot of good feedback in the comments section on this one, but I think GPL captured it best. “Aluminum wire to save weight… Why don’t they just make thinner fuel and brake lines while they’re at it? What could go wrong?”
Thanks for your letters and comments, we really get a kick out of reading them.
We’re giving away a number of copies of Paul Ingrassia’s new book “Engines of Change,” which highlights some of the most historically important automobiles ever created. All you have to do to enter the contest is send your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winners will be selected at random and announced on Autoline After Hours since Paul is our guest on the show this Thursday night.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.