July 26th, 2012 at 11:30am
More financial numbers are in today. Volkswagen, Nissan and Hyundai all posted their second-quarter profits. Hyundai dropped its industry-wide global sales forecast for the year because of economic concerns in Europe and China. Mazda is teasing the upcoming 2014 Mazda6 before it debuts next month at the Moscow International Automobile Salon. All that and more, plus a look at how Cadillac is rewriting the book on underbody aerodynamics.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for July 26. I’m John McElroy and here’s the latest news.
VW POSTS STRONG NUMBERS
More car companies are reporting their earnings for the second quarter. Yesterday the numbers didn’t look so good, today they look a little better. Let’s start with the Volkswagen Group, which sold 2.3 million vehicles in the last three months, up 9.5 percent. That brought in $59 billion in revenue. And VW earned $4 billion in operating profits. Interestingly, Audi accounted for 46 percent of the profits in the VW Group.
NISSAN POSTS MIXED RESULTS
Next up is Nissan, which sold 1.2 million vehicles worldwide in the second quarter. That brought in just over $26 billion in revenue, resulting in an operating profit of $1.5 billion, which represents a 20 percent drop.
HYUNDAI PROFITS UP
And that makes the comparison to Hyundai very interesting. Hyundai sold 1.1 million vehicles or almost as much as Nissan. It raked in $19 billion in revenue, which is less than Nissan because it’s cars are priced cheaper. But Hyundai posted an operating profit of $2.2 billion, which is substantially more than Nissan’s.
HYUNDAI CUTS SALES FORECAST
Speaking of Hyundai, it’s cutting its forecast for global auto sales this year. The company expects about 77.1 million units to be sold industry-wide, a drop of 500,000 units from its previous forecast. Hyundai changed its estimate because of the struggles in Europe and the slowing economy in China.
MARCHIONNE UPSET WITH VW
And Sergio Marchionne is ticked off at Volkswagen. He’s accusing it of waging a price war. He’s quoted as saying “It’s a bloodbath of pricing and it’s a bloodbath on margins.” Marchionne also called for the European Commission to address the continent’s overcapacity problems because the French and German automakers have not done enough to fix the issue.
You asked for it, Randy Seck, and now you’re going to get it. He’s one of our viewers that wanted info on Mazda’s next-generation midsize sedan. The 2014 Mazda6 is a perky-looking four-door that will take a bow next month at the Moscow International Automobile Salon. It will be the company’s second vehicle to FULLY incorporate Skyactiv engineering. That’s Mazda’s way of optimizing a vehicle’s structure and powertrain to cut weight and improve efficiency. The car will also feature the strangely named i-ELOOP technology, which is a capacitor-based regenerative braking system. It supposedly improves efficiency by 10 percent. As for the design, the front end looks a lot like the recently introduced CX-5, all part of Mazda’s new Kodo styling theme. The complete Mazda6 lineup will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in late September.
GM MANAGEMENT SHAKE-UP
GM is restructuring the way it develops new product. It’s streamlining the whole process by consolidating three positions into one. In the past, each product program was controlled by a vehicle line executive, a vehicle line director and a vehicle chief engineer. Now one executive chief engineer will be in charge of every product, and they’ll all report to Doug Parks, GM’s newly appointed Vice President of Product Programs.
Speaking of product development at GM, the new Cadillac ATS may have the most interesting and thorough approach to aerodynamics on the underbody of the car. We’ll show you what we’re talking about right after this.
2013 CADILLAC ATS
The underbody of the Cadillac ATS rewrites the book on how you design a car for aerodynamics. They’ve done a more complete job of closing off openings and smoothing out the underbody than I’ve ever seen on a production car. Here’s Larry Craig, the engineering program manager on the ATS, pointing out some of the details.
(The Cadillac ATS aerodynamics report is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
I really like those plastic covers on the bottom suspension links in the rear suspension. I’ve never seen anyone go into that detail to improve underbody aerodynamics. Cadillac says the ATS has a coefficient of drag of .29. That’s pretty good for such a short car. It’s easier to get better drag numbers with a longer car because it allows the aero guys to manage the air better.
Don’t forget that Autoline After Hours tonight where will be at Bob Lutz’s garage. This is going to be a great show as one of the best car guys in the history of the auto industry talks cars with me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo. If you can’t catch it live, watch it at your leisure at Autoline.tv or get the podcast at the iTunes store.
And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.