July 30th, 2009 at 12:00pm
Volkswagen reports an after tax profit of 251 million euros. The Cash for Clunkers program is off to such a strong start that many car dealers are worried the program will run out of cash. Scientists find that people who drive like jerks might actually reduce traffic jams. All that and more, plus a look at how Ford plans on marketing the new Ford Taurus.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. Volkswagen reports a profit. Cash for Clunkers could run out of cash mighty quick. And people who drive like jerks might actually reduce traffic jams.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, July 30, 2009. And now, the news.
Volkswagen is the latest automaker to report its financial performance for the second quarter, and it’s not half-bad considering the global financial collapse. Revenue was down only 7.7 percent for the quarter. And even though profits were down by more than 82 percent, Volkswagen still managed to post an after-tax profit of 251 million euros. That makes VW the healthiest of all the major automakers from a financial standpoint, and it is my candidate to surpass Toyota to emerge as the No. 1 car company in the world in the next few years.
The Cash for Clunkers program in the American market is off to such a strong start that many car dealers are worried the program will run out of cash by the end of August. The Wall Street Journal reports that showroom traffic is up strong. In just a matter of days the program sold nearly 23,000 vehicles involving close to $100 million in government incentives. Chrysler said its showroom traffic is the highest in two years but only 1 out of 3 people have vehicles that qualify for the clunkers program.
The Science and Technology Committee in the U.S. House voted to increase spending on research on advanced vehicle technologies, like hybrids and hydrogen vehicles. According to the Detroit Free Press, the bill increases spending to $550 million, up from the $334 million requested by the Obama administration. The bill increases spending on hydrogen vehicles which the administration sought to cut out because it doesn’t see any near-term future for hydrogen.
Ssangyong Motor’s creditors threatened to liquidate the company (subscription required) if workers don’t peacefully end a strike. According to Wards, workers have until Friday to leave the factory they have taken hostage. The creditors also plan to seek compensation for the money they lost during the dispute. Workers have occupied the plant for nearly 70 days.
Autoblog reports that BMW may debut an eco-friendly supercar at the Frankfurt Motor Show. With styling based off the company’s M1 Homage concept, the sleek two-door is all about sustainability, and should have things like regenerative braking, stop/start functionality and electric power steering. Rumor has it the company could launch the car by 2012, and I just love the idea of a super exotic sports car designed to keep the tree huggers happy.
This story comes from a blog about physics via the LA Times. Scientists at a college in Sweden ran a computer simulation that models how crowds of people move through confined spaces. They found that things flowed best when only about 60 percent of pedestrians were obeying the “rules.” The physicists inferred that drivers that speed, pass on the wrong side and accelerate quickly actually help smooth the flow of traffic. So, the next time some jerk cuts you off don’t flip ‘em the bird, thank them for keeping things moving.
Coming up next, another feature about the new Ford Taurus – this time about marketing – we’ll be back right after this.
So far in our exhaustive coverage of the twenty-ten Ford Taurus we’ve taken a detailed look at the car’s exterior design as well as its brand new interior. Now, let’s find out how the company is planning on marketing this stylish new product.
There’s nothing special about how Ford’s planning to push the new Taurus. It’s putting the high-performance SHO at the heart of its campaign, to put a halo on the car and the rest of the brand.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But don’t forget to tune in tonight for Autoline After Hours at 7 p.m. Eastern or 2300 hours GMT. Our guest will be analyst Jim Hall from 2953 analytics. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tonight.