AD #2090 – Shanghai Auto Show Reveals, Honda to Make Short Wheelbase Pilot, Why Investor is Going After GM
April 18th, 2017 at 11:36am
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- Mercedes Concept A Sedan Hints at Future Style
- I.D. Crozz is VWs First EV Crossover
- AAA Study Says Americans Want EVs
- Lincoln Offers Lessees Chauffeur Service
- Honda to Make Short Wheelbase Pilot
- Why Investor is Going After GM
On today’s show… we’ve got the latest reveals at the Shanghai auto show, Lincoln throws in a chauffeur as part of your lease and why David Einhorn desperately needs a blockbuster deal involving General Motors. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
MERCEDES HINTS AT FUTURE OF SMALL CARS
Mercedes is giving us a taste of what its future compact sedans will look like, by unveiling the Concept A Sedan at the Shanghai auto show. Even though the company calls this a sedan, the designers blended coupe-like elements into its style. This sleek looking concept uses a unique approach to make its headlights stand out. The grid structure in the lamp is coated with UV paint and exposed to ultraviolet light, which results in the headlights “glowing” in different colors, depending on the light. It’s a neat looking feature. But tell us what you think? Is Mercedes heading in the right direction with its design?
VW DEBUTS FIRST EV CROSSOVER
Volkswagen pulled the wraps off the I.D. concept in Paris, the I.D. Buzz in Detroit and now the I.D. Crozz in Shanghai. If you don’t remember, I.D. is the name VW is giving to a fleet of electric vehicles it will start producing in 2020. The I.D. Crozz is the first crossover it has shown. It’s built on the automaker’s MEB architecture and is a little bit smaller than the new long wheelbase Tiguan. Highlights include all-wheel drive from two electric motors that combine for 302-horsepower and over 300-miles of range from a 83 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. As for the styling? It’s pretty clear. As VW’s Head of Design says, “if it was ever possible to make a one-hundred percent certain prediction of what the future will look like, here it is.”
AAA STUDY SAYS AMERICANS WANT EVs
Despite electric vehicles only making up a tiny fraction of the overall car market, a new AAA study says Americans are ready to embrace EVs big time. The survey found that 15% of Americans or 30 million people said they will likely buy an EV as their next car. And nearly a third said they will likely buy a hybrid for their next vehicle. Look, we highly respect the AAA, but this survey isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. People have been saying the same thing for years in similar surveys. But the EV segment still represents less than 1% of car sales. Clearly the people being surveyed just say what they think is politically correct. We say, don’t listen to what they say. Instead, watch what they buy when they actually go to the showrooms.
And we’ll be back with more right after this.
TAKE ME HOME JEEVES
As it tries to claw its way back into the luxury segment, Lincoln is offering something that no other luxury brand has. As part of your lease you can get a chauffeur to drive your car for you. Lincoln will give you a $250 credit on your lease to use a chauffeur, which works out to about 8 hours of chauffeur time. You summon one with an app and can even use the chauffeur to make deliveries or pick stuff up at the store. And if you’ve had a drink too many at a party, you can get a chauffeur to take you home. The chauffeurs are all vetted and specially trained. And after you run out of your $250 credit, you can still hire them for $30 an hour. So far this is a test program in Miami and San Diego but Lincoln wants to take it nationwide to create a better luxury experience than anyone else is offering.
HONDA SPLITS SUV HAIRS
AutoForecast Solutions reports that Honda will start production a short wheelbase version of the Pilot in September of 2018 that only has 2-rows of seats. Obviously Honda wants more SUVs since that’s such a hot segment. But a short wheelbase Pilot will slot in right ahead of the CR-V, which is its best selling model by far. We’ll have to keep a close eye on this one, and see if the 2-row Pilot increases overall sales, or eats into sales of the CR-V.
Coming up next, John thinks that David Einhorn’s financial engineering plan for General Motors is something of a Hail Mary pass.
EINHORN’S HAIL MARY
David Einhorn is the hedge fund manager who wants to break GM stock into two different classes of shares. He’s a brilliant investor. So brilliant that he was reportedly on the short list to replace Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway. Investors in his company Greenlight Capital earn average returns of 16.5% a year, which is staggeringly good.
But David Einhorn hasn’t made any block buster deals in the last five or six years. And that’s what several analysts on Wall Street believe he’s after, a big blockbuster deal to get General Motors to split its stock into two different classes of shares.
I talked to several of the best known automotive analysts on Wall Street who think it’s a crazy idea. One analyst explained it this way. “Imagine that GM is a cookie and you break it in half. You can tell investors they can have this half of the cookie or the other half. But it’s still the same cookie.” The thinking on Wall Street is that David Einhorn is going after GM because he needs another blockbuster deal to polish his reputation. To use an American football analogy, it’s his Hail Mary pass.
And with that we wrap up today’s report. Thanks for watching and we hope to see you again tomorrow.
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