April 26th, 2010 at 12:00pm
Volkswagen just announced it will pour an additional $2 billion into China to launch new vehicles and build two new plants. Toyota shrugs off the bad news and puts in some positive results. All that and more, plus Bill Nye the Science Guy sings the praises of electric cars.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. VW ups the ante with its big bet on China. Toyota shrugs off the bad news and puts in some positive results. And Bill Nye the Science Guy sings the praises of electric cars.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Monday, April 26, 2010. And now, the news.
VW DOUBLES DOWN (subscription required)
In its bid to become the largest automaker in the world, Volkswagen just announced a huge investment in China. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company will pour an additional $2 billion into the country, a 50 percent increase over its previous plans. It will spend a total of $8 billion by 2012, including launching new vehicles and building two new plants. VW believes the auto market in China will grow 75 percent by 2018.
TOYOTA STILL GOING STRONG
Of course, to hit its goal of becoming the biggest car company in the world, it will have to surpass Toyota, and that won’t be easy. Despite all the recalls and problems that Toyota has been going through lately, the AFP reports that the company’s sales surged 26 percent worldwide in March. And obviously it expects the good times to keep on rolling, because it sure is building a lot of cars. Toyota’s production is up 82 percent. Put it all together and the company is expected to return to profitability when it reports its results next month. Analysts expect a half billion dollar profit for the fiscal year.
FORD CHOPS OUT SUPPLIERS
Ford’s global purchasing chief, Tony Brown, says there are too many suppliers and that more will go bankrupt this year. According to the Detroit News, he says that there is still too much overcapacity and that if he could he would take it out. Ford is cutting back on the number of suppliers it does business with, about 850 this year compared with over 3,000 in 2004. And in the future the company would like to cut that number to 750 suppliers.
HERTZ BUYS THRIFTY/DOLLAR (subscription required)
Talking about consolidation. Now it’s happening with the daily rental car companies. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hertz plans to buy Thrifty/Dollar for $1.27 billion in cash and stock. Hertz wants to increase the number of non-airport locations it has, expand its business in Europe and improve its fleet usage rate. On weekdays the company uses about 95 percent of its fleet but only 30 to 40 percent on weekends. Thrifty/Dollar on the other hand has a higher usage rate on weekends.
CHEVROLET DUMPS CAMPBELL-EWALD
In the advertising world this next report probably wasn’t unexpected, but it sure is a shocker. The AP reports that Chevrolet is dumping its advertising agency Campbell-Ewald, which has handled Chevrolet’s advertising since 1919, and came up with campaigns like Dinah Shore signing “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” in the 1950s. And the “Like A Rock” campaign for Chevy pickups. The Chevy account will now move to Publicis Worldwide, which is already doing the advertising for the Malibu and Equinox. Campbell-Ewald will still be the agency for OnStar and GMC.
OOOOH, THAT’S SCARY!
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined a Ford Mustang and an old Bentley? Neither have I, but that hasn’t stopped designers at Mitsuoka Motors from doing just that. Autoblog reports that this off-the-wall Japanese car company has grafted a Bentley front-end on a drop-top Mustang to create the Galue Convertible. And just in case the results weren’t hideous enough, it slapped what looks like a mid-‘90s Cadillac DeVille posterior on the car for good measure. Check it out if you’ve got a strong stomach and you’re near the Beijing Auto Show.
Coming up next, we pay a visit to Bill Nye the Science guy and get him to tell us what it’s like to live with the electric version of the Mini, the Mini-E.
To paraphrase the great William Shakespeare, some people are born explorers and some people have exploring thrust upon them. But as Autoline’s Chip Drake tells us, then . . . there are the pioneers…
Join us tomorrow when Bill Nye takes Autoline Daily for a ride around LA in his electric MINI E.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.