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Episode 697 – Stock Market Woes, Lincoln’s Revival, Maybach in Holding Pattern

August 8th, 2011 at 11:35am

Runtime: 8:00

The stock market is hurting big time but for the automakers times have been great in 2011, worldwide sales in the first half hit 39 million units even despite the disaster in Japan.  Lincoln looks like it’s just about to break through, and with new designs from Ford’s luxury division, styling will play a big part.  The world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano, is sliding, rather plummeting, in sales.  To the tune of 50 percent!  Putting a dent the company’s profits.  All that and more, plus Ford’s head of vehicle electrification, Nancy Gioia shares a lesson that helped her career at Ford!

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Welcome to Autoline Daily, June 8, .2011.

STOCK MARKET WOES, CAR MARKET GOES (subscription required)
Well, stock markets around the world are melting down, the global economy is looking pretty shaky, and there’s a lot of uncertainty out there. But at least for the first half of the year, the auto industry got off to a good start. According to Ward’s, automakers made over 39 million vehicles in the first half. That’s 2 million more compared to this time last year. That would have put the industry on track to make over 78 million cars, trucks and busses this year. But now, who knows?

LINCOLN REVIVAL
The Lincoln brand is about to undergo a substantial re-do in the next three years. Autoline Daily was shown three of Lincoln’s future products and they definitely signal that a big change is coming. These photos are just recent concepts, not the actual cars that will come out. A key reason for the big change is that Lincoln now has its own unique design studio located within the Product Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan, with its own unique design team. That hasn’t been done in modern times. Ford is also committed to spending the money to give Lincoln completely unique sheetmetal, and interior components, and powertrains. Not only will you see dramatic styling changes, look for big jumps in fuel economy. Big jumps.

MAYBACH IN HOLDING PATTERN (subscription required)
Daimler’s super luxury brand, Maybach is struggling. Last year only 200 customers showed up to buy one. That’s why CEO Dieter Zetsche is trying to figure out what to do with the brand. Analysts say the Maybach has too much in common with the Mercedes S-Class—same platform and technology. Maybach may partner with another niche luxury maker like Aston Martin. Or Daimler could integrate it with Mercedes, becoming the top car in the line-up. Or they could just drop it. Daimler has problems starting new brands. The smart car is another flop.

TATA NANO 50% OFF, IN SALES
And speaking of slumping sales, the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano, is struggling. Sales are down nearly 50% in the last two months, mainly because of higher borrowing cost for consumers in India, the car’s main market. In fact close to 60% of Tata’s profit comes at the other end of the market with Jaguar and Land Rover.

RAV-4 EV PRODUCTION
Toyota and Tesla will build the upcoming Rav-4 EV alongside the conventional Rav-4 at Toyota’s factory in Woodstock, Ontario. The companies say this will streamline production and yield better quality for the EV’s. As previously announced, Toyota will pay Tesla Motors $100 million to supply the electric powertrains which will be built in Palo Alto, California.

ROTARY KEEPS ON SPINNING
Born in 1929 at the hands of German inventor Felix Wankel, the rotary engine refuses to die. The compact and powerful alternative to piston power is today only found in Mazda’s RX-8 sports car, but soon even that cease production due to slow sales. However, Mazda says it isn’t giving up on the rotary and wants to have a new rotary powering one of its cars by decade’s end. The company has long touted the engine’s inherent advantages in running on hydrogen, and could be used in extended range EV’s.

Coming up next, some pretty astute advice for people who are looking to forward their career.

“AH-HA” MOMENT
As executives move up the corporate ladder, they learn things along the way. I’m especially interested in the lessons they learned that really helped them in their career. I call them those ”Ah-ha” moments. And I recently asked Nancy Gioia to share one with me. Nancy is the head of all vehicle electrification—hybrids, plug-ins and electrics—at the Ford Motor Company.

Great little lesson for all of us to learn.

Well, that wraps up today’s show. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

60 Comments to “Episode 697 – Stock Market Woes, Lincoln’s Revival, Maybach in Holding Pattern”

  1. Dale Leonard-Lakewood,Oh Says:

    A Linclon take-off on the 64 Continental…BUILD IT !!!!!

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Tata story reminds me that you can only fool some of the people some of the time. I wonder why Rolls has done better with the 7 series-derived Ghost than Daimler has with the Maybach. I guess it’s the brand reputation.

  3. Don MacConnel Says:

    I’m still wondering what passed me on I65 near the Corvette Museum at Bowling Green, KY. It had the strong gill bars of the Lincoln MKX but they were slanted inward. The back of the car had the hint of a bustle. I thought it was pretty striking but don’t have a clue as to what it was.
    Any ideas?
    It’s great to hear that Lincoln is on the move to get a truly distinctive vehicle. That might make ol’ holy water Dan Ackerson eat his words about what it would take to bring Lincoln into competition with Cadillac.

  4. tj Martin Says:

    Stock Market

    Dropping like a stone thanks to the S&P downgrading the US’s credit standing . FORD so far today is one of the big losers on the market .

    Maybe this’ll give the Polarized Politicians ( both sides ) the kick in the rear they need to start voting for what the US needs rather than what their respective parties want .

    Probably not though :(

    Oh well . If its any consolation , the rest of the World is in as bad if not worse shape than us . With a couple though looking good ( China & Germany ) at the moment on the verge of implosion

    @ Pedro – TATA Nano . I said from day one this was doomed to fail and here we are . As to the Maybach vs Rolls Royce question : its a matter of Badge recognition . Rolls Royce has been in the public eye from its inception , whereas Maybach is a Badge M-B tried to revive in spite of the vast majority of buyers having never heard of them ( when’s the last time any of us saw a Classic Maybach at a Concours or Auto Show ? )

  5. tj Martin Says:

    New Lincoln design unique ???

    Prototype Two looks like a rehashed New Ford T-Bird with a body kit . Please Lincoln , don’t bring that nightmare back from the dead at FORD design .

  6. tj Martin Says:

    FORD’s turn ;

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/26000-ford-mustangs-investigated-for-sticky-6-speed-manual-gearbox/?ref=automobiles

    Who’s next ?

  7. MJB Says:

    @#2
    … because the Maybach is unappealing.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    Here we go again, more Chinese made crap. Nice going there Mr. Mullaly, keep outsourcing American jobs, save the company some more money and next year you’ll get another nice raise. Chinese made transmission indeed, poor Mr Henry must be turning so much in his grave that he has developed arthritis.

  9. Steve Says:

    I’m been interested in buying a Mazda RX-8. I’ve heard that the engines have problems. Maybe that’s why they are not selling. Once a car gets a bad rap it’s very difficult to overcome.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    Rotary engines have oil burning/leaking issues as they age, would not be my first choice, it’s no wonder no other carmaker uses it.

  11. MJB Says:

    John, you sure that wasn’t Sigourney Weaver circa 1986, and not Nancy Gioia you had on Autoline after-hours?

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Aliens?

  13. tj Martin Says:

    @MJB

    #7 – You can sell Dung wrapped in Gold Foil in todays market place with the right Badge on it . Maybach has the wrong Badge .

    @pedro- #8 – Couldn’t of said it better

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder if the Aston Martin re-badged Toyota IQ is selling at all? If it is, then I have lost faith in humanity.

  15. MJB Says:

    @#10

    Aren’t those oil burning/leaking issues typically the result of gaskets that have been compromised by engine overheating, brought about by failure to change oil at proper intervals? This (or somehting like it) is what I had heard years ago. Bsically that rotary engines require more attention to regular maintenance AND if they’ve been overheated even once, that’s when the litany of problems begin.

    Any truth to this?

  16. MJB Says:

    @12

    Yep. That’s the PRECISE image that came to mind the instant I saw her face.

    By the way John, we need to talk about possibly updating the lighting on your After Hours set. It did look like a bit of a time-warp with Sigourney – ehhh Nancy there. Has everything to do with backdrop color palette and lighting.

  17. Carroll E. Gant, JR. Says:

    In watching this video or should I say clips, I think I didn’t get the 8:00 minutes as noted. I had jump cuts than a black window? I got about 2.5 to 3 minutes I think of video…

  18. jesse Says:

    A LINCOLN TOWN CAR that gets 35 miles a gallon!!I’ll be all over that.

  19. Jon M Says:

    @ MJB – …”with Sigourney…” LMAO!! That was as funny as it is true

  20. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    #14

    According to CAR , EVO and a friend in the UK who pays attention to such things , there was an initial rush by current Aston Martin owners to buy the Cynical Cygnet , for the wife /mistress/ kiddies etc , as well as a few new buyers paring the Cygnet with their real AM purchase for the same reasons ( but Daddy I WANT an ASTON too ….. waaahhhhhh ) but demand has tailed off somewhat .

    At least thats the last I heard about the ToyotaMartin overpriced Cygnet . So………. I guess you can go ahead and lose faith in humanity …….. or become as Cynical as I have .

    Your choice

    Hmmn . :(

  21. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    the stock market. it is overpriced as a whole. so it should come down. as far as auto sales for the rest of the year, i believe they will slow down because the consumer planet-wide does not have the confidence to make any major purchase at this time.

    the revival of lincoln. it has been promised before. there were concepts that could have been put in production years ago. but ford did not have the courage to do so. hopefully ford is willing to have lincoln be unique. not solely a rebadged ford. if not, it will be time to say good-bye.

    maybach. the 57 and 62 are basically rebadged top of the line s-klasse. there is nothing unique about them. when someone is spending 250 thousand dollars and more, there should be something special about the vehicle in their eyes. that is why the ghost is selling quite well. yes, it is based on the 7 series bmw. however the look, appointments, and acoutrements are solely rolls-royce. and that is the reason why the ghost sells. the platform does not matter. everything else does.

    rav-4 ev. this is very low risk for toyota. high risk for tesla. tesla is getting small money for this? there has to be more than this electric rav-4. given the ambition of elon musk, this can only be the beginning.

    the rotary engine. i hope to own a car powered by a rotary. no torque on the low end. but absolutely glorious at the top end. the rx-7 racers had that scream unlike any other engine. but have to be fastidious about maintenance.

    ms. nancy gioia. she is absolutely correct. preparation and being confident in what you have to present without denigrating others is very important. and the willingness to have you ideas discussed and debated. again, the willingness to do your research and presenting your findings without bias or favor. excellent advice to anyone.

    regards,
    vrmchris

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cynical I’ve been since people like Carter and Sean Penn who are so concerned about human rights break US travel restrictions and go to Cuba to kiss Castro’s ass. I guess now I will also lose faith in humanity as well, Chinese transmissions for the Mustang! can’t get over that one,I suppose the engines are made in Mexico?

  23. Jon M Says:

    Mercedes is having a problem selling Maybachs and (not so) Smart cars and this is considered newsworthy. Surely it’s a slow day in the world of automotive scribing. After all, when you market glorified, over priced S-class Mercs to the well-heeled and adult sized versions of Little Tikes’ cozy coupe branded as Smart (to the curiosity of us all) to the frugal, tree hugging crowd, it is little wonder they don’t sell very well. A better story might be what drives people to pay huge premiums for grossly overpriced, futilely glorified versions of the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban in the form of Cadillacs.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well, the stock market just took a ginormous dump and so new car sales will do likewise this month. Let’s see what spin these rosy colored glass optimists are gonna say when the report comes out at the end of the month.

  25. tj Martin Says:

    Ahh the Smoke & Mirrors of the market place .

    I’ll say this one last time .

    IF the Maybach had a Rolls Royce or Bentley grill and badge M-B wouldn’t be able to make them fast enough .

    Lets face it . the Bentley Continental is nothing more than a tarted up Audi A8/VW Phaeton , and regardless of the hype Rolls Royce would like you to believe , the Ghost is no more than a tarted up BMW , “complete with many 7 bits and bobs on board ” ( EVO )

    But……… Rolls Royce everybody knows is the car to have to express your conspicuous consumption . Bentley the same , only a touch more sporty .

    Maybach ? Who on Planet Earth other than a very few diehard GearHeads have ever even heard of Maybach ?

    Correct Badge/Label = Big Sales , regardless of how little quality/content is in it . Ever looked at the quality of stitching in a lot of todays Designer Labels ? Dreck !

    Incorrect Badge/Label , regardless of quality and or content = Lousy sale

  26. tj Martin Says:

    @ Jon M

    #23

    I’ve asked the same question myself . Many times .

    @pedro – #24 So how does it feel to live in an AA+ ranked country instead of the AAA we’ve been since it seems like forever

    Pretty lousy from my perspective . Heck I couldn’t even turn on the Weather Channel without having the Stock Reports blasted across the screen !

    Well at least Oil Prices went down . Thats probably as good a realistic spin as anyone should put on today . But you know they’ll take it further .

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ remember the Chevy Prizm? same as the Corolla w/o the Toyota badge and sales were abysmal throughout its history.

  28. MJB Says:

    I’m telling you, tj, I think aesthetic has something to do with it too.

    Yes, brand cache does a lot to drive purchases at this income level (dare we all harken back to our days in public high-school where all the rich kids wore the latest designer ‘this’ & ‘that’, and regardless of whether or not your thrift store duds looked just as fashionable as their LaCoste & Polo, they WEREN’T LaCoste or Polo, and so your were denied entry into their little click)

    BUT, I do think aesthetic plays some symblance of a role here. I mean, isn’t there any other care we can point to whose sales were virtually non-existent following a less than attractive design change/introduction?

  29. tj Martin Says:

    M-B Maybach ;

    Q-Why did Mercedes build it ?

    A- They were motivated by a severe case of ” Keeping up with the Johanne’s ” ( Audi-Bentley and BMW -Rolls Royce )

    Q- Why did it fail ?

    A- It was an ill conceived attempt to revive a long dead brand and yes they didn’t differentiate the styling enough from the S- Class , But mainly due to a total lack of Brand recognition

    Q- What should M-B do now ?

    A- Drop the Maybach as it’ll only continue to fail , forget about Audi ( as much money as VW Audi loses on every Bugatti Veyron and Bentley other than the Continental who’s sales are also lagging who cares- WhatCAR ) and BMW ( How much money does anyone really think BMW profits from Rolls Royce ? The only reason BMW bough them was to keep VW Audi from getting RR – AutoCar ) …..

    ………..and just continue on building the brilliant cars that M-B does so well . Oh and drop the SMART as well or sell it to some unsuspecting fool .

  30. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    I won’t argue that the Maybach was no looker , but will hold firm to #13

    Boring as it is , with the right badge on its snout ……..

  31. RAFI N. Says:

    The revival of Lincoln with new designs and new powertrains is all fine and dandy, but it would be great if Ford also changed back the names of the Lincoln products. I mean I consider myself to be a car fanatic, but when it comes to Lincoln cars today, I still can’t tell the difference between an MK-this or MK-that. I think a good, instantly-recognizable car name (along with excellent quality and style) are some of the keys to a brands’ success. I’d much rather be in a Lincoln Continental than in a Lincoln MK-something…

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    you could have a loaded V12 turbo S600 with all the options checked and still saved enough to get yourself another Merc

  33. MJB Says:

    @31 +1 Amen to that, brother!

    Just to echo that sentiment, I MUCH prefered when Acura made the “Legend” to todays TL (which I believe is what replaced it.) Not to mention, the car itself WAS a Legend. Always did like that Legend Coupe.

    Down with the alpha-numerics! Quite trying to be like the euros. Just NAME your products!

    Didn’t the industry learn anything at all when the Taurus got revived and rebadged as the Ford 500? Apart from being a design failure…the ‘Ford 500′??? Really??? And you see that they’ve gone back to the Taurus nameplate since that flub.

  34. MJB Says:

    …darn typos…

  35. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB & RAFI N; #31 & 33

    Make that + 2 . Spot on !

  36. tj Martin Says:

    @pedro fernadez

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/business/global/daily-stock-market-activity.html?hp

    Well you asked earlier ( #24) , so please don’t shoot the messenger :(

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh yes every thing is peachy and rosy, let’s all go out get hammered and put a down payment on new wheels to celebrate our independence from that over rated AAA rating.

  38. cwolf Says:

    Geewhiz, I’m not all that hyped on Lincolns redesigns. The MKX has the same looks over-all. The Continental styled car catches my eye,but doubt it will be on a fusion sized platform,so my guess volume will be low. The little fella with the flared wheel openings is most daring for Lincoln and will have to wait to appreciate. I’m sure it will cost a pretty penny to the aging crowd who still feels some of their youth. Yah, I’ll have to try one on for size,that is if the market has’nt eaten all my savings. The way things are headed, my Milan may have to hit 300K before putting her out to pasture.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Don’t despair cwolf, the Chinese cars may hit this market for under $15k and we will live happy ever after.

  40. Tom L Says:

    Re: tj #6
    Did you see the video on that page with the old girl at 101 and still diving
    ” only in America”
    Two Classics, One Car
    Everyone should watch the video

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    Cool great-grandma and cool car, there are remarkable people around indeed.

  42. cwolf Says:

    Rehash of my liking of the Impala: I have been seeing LOADS of Impalas on the highway,wich is a testament to the steady and loyal following over the years. I have rented many,mostly for trunk space, and that cast-iron six never fiald to deliver 32mpg over all terrains. I think it was a handsome car,too! But the new design will soon arrive, with a new motor under the hood. I’ve been wondering if those loyal will remain,if the trunk space will still be as ample and if the new power plant will ever become as reliable and dependable as the old and proven. Some bought this car just because it was the only car that could be had with a bench seat! If it is to be about the size of the old Malibu,I hope ,at least they kept the trunk space and improved upon the very low rear seat cushion.

  43. cwolf Says:

    pedro, the chinks are in the same type boat we are in but coming from opposit directions. The koreans are fairing better……,the little basterds!

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    Big ticket items will suffer but the little cheap trinkets they make over there will continue to sell here and their factories will keep chugging along merrily while our unemployment ranks will increase more and more. I too appreciate the Impala, an all purpose car if I ever saw one, roomy, reliable, good highway cruise and not bad on gas for its size, I just hope the new one doesn’t price it out of many folks’ budget (Taurus)

  45. cwolf Says:

    Ya,pedro. Kinda makes you want to bury your head in the sand until things become brighter,huh? We could be a Swede for a year or so!

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Lincoln needs a new Town Car, and it needs to be rear drive with a modern chassis, not a stretched Taurus or something like that.

    As far as the current Taurus, I’m not impressed. They came out with the 500, a nice, roomy, boring-but-attractive tallish sedan. Now, with two makeovers, we have the smaller on the inside, bigger on the outside, uglier New Taurus. I guess that’s progress to some.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Cwolf, re. #42,

    The iron 3800 has been gone from the Impala for several years now. It was a good engine, especially in highway gas mileage, but the new engines seem to be ok. I have two friends with fairly high mileage Impalas with the new engines, one 3.5 and one 3.9. Both have beeb reliable.

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 3800 was last used in Impala in 2005.

  49. tj Martin Says:

    Oh this will work out real well !

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/08/recording-industry-chairman-named-to-lead-automotive-trade-group/?ref=automobiles

    Believe me when I tell you as screwed up as the folks running the Automotive Industry today are …..

    The LAST thing you want is anyone from the RIAA getting their hands on it , or anywheres near it .

    What’s next ? Hiring Rupert Murdoch to run the Automotive Ethics Committee ?

  50. tj Martin Says:

    @Tom L

    Yes I did . The article was good as well . Thanks for putting that up for a bit of relief from this otherwise dreadful day . Should of though of it myself but didn’t … so again Thanks . Or Takk for the two burgeoning Swedes on the site

    The article just proves what cwolf , myself and others have been saying to these young whippersnappers all along .

    ” Old Guys ( and Gals ) Rule ”
    :o

  51. XA351GT Says:

    @Kit #46
    Sorry I have to disagree with you on Taurus. It is a much better car in every way than when they renamed the 500. That car was so bland that Toyota was jealous. The new Taurus had style and one of the best interior designs with the way the center stack flows seemlessly into the console. I never sat in the 1st gen 500/Taurus ,but the new one has ample room if you aren’t 300 lbs. Plus the car actually performs well with all it’s engine cgoices from what I’ve heard. The SHO is a butt kicker for such a large car.

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    re. #53,
    I actually like the looks of the 500/Montego, but the power was underwhelming with the original 3.0 engine. What I really don’t like about the Taurus is that, while it has adequate room, the 500/Montego had more. It guess that’s the cost of the more macho styling of the current car. The new one has much better power trains, though.

    As far as styling, as always, that is very subjective.

  53. fthomas Says:

    I consider myself quite an automobile fanatic. That being said I can’t for the life of me understand why one could be so disgruntled about naming schemes. If Lincoln can build a vehicle that is striking in appearance, has intuitive cutting edge technology and is built with on par or above quality then the least of my concern would be MK? Whatever. I just don’t get it.

  54. tj Martin Says:

    Here’s the song Chrysler or one of the other Big Three should be using in their commercials .

    John Hiatt – ” Detroit Made ”

    Now there’s a man who knows how to express himself without looking like a pretentious _______ on crack . As well as show a little pride of place , rather than arrogance

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1XnRY01jL0

  55. tj Martin Says:

    I’m with Kit on the ” new ” Taurus .

    First time I saw one I thought I was looking at the new Chrysler 300C , what with the added bulk , slit windows and blind spots galore . Then I looked at the badges and was a bit shocked . Really ? The new FORD Taurus ???

    WTH did FORD decide to try and clone the 300C ?

  56. tj Martin Says:

    I asked the question yesterday and today here’s the answer

    This is who’s next ;

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110808/CARNEWS/110809890

    Next ?

  57. MJB Says:

    I think the new taurus design is a definate winner. As far as looking like a rebadged Chrysler 300, I just don’t see it.

  58. gt40 Says:

    55: Because the 300 was a huge success, and one of the most visually striking cars to roll out of Detroit in decades, that’s why.

  59. XA351GT Says:

    Actually the new Taurus is based on the Interceptor concept more than the 300C.

  60. fthomas Says:

    That anyone would think that the Taurus looks like the 300 is……bizarre.

    XA351 got it right. The Taurus resembles the Interceptor concept.