Episode 137 – Chrysler Predicts 2012 Profit, New Standards Add Cost, GM Revises Equinox MPGs

May 5th, 2009 at 12:09pm

Runtime 7:05

Chrysler predicts that it can earn a profit by 2012. New roof-crush standards will raise the cost of new cars by $1.4 billion annually. Chevy revised its initial estimate, and now expects the Equinox to hit 32 miles per gallon. All that and more, plus a look at the high-performance version of the 2010 Ford Taurus.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Chrysler could be profitable by twenty-twelve. New roof-crush standards could cost automakers a fortune. And Chevy is swinging for the fences with its redesigned Equinox.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Tuesday, May 5, – Cinco de Mayo – 2009. I’m Murray Feldman, filling in for John. He’s out of town on business, or so he says. And now, the news.

Chrysler may be slogging its way through bankruptcy, but it remains optimistic about the future. The Wall Street Journal reports that in documents it presented to the court, the company predicts that it can EARN A PROFIT by 2012 (subscription required). Chrysler lost almost $17 billion last year. If it can quickly ally with Fiat and emerge from bankruptcy, profits may not be far behind.

Chrysler is hopeful about the future, but this year is still going to be tough. It predicts that it will lose $4.7 billion in 2009. But the company projects that it will make $100 million in 2012 and $1.6 billion by 2013.

April car sales for Chrysler were abysmal. The company only sold 76,000 new vehicles, down 27 percent from just the month before. The only vehicles selling in volume at Chrysler right now are its minivans, the Ram pickup and its Jeep line-up. And even they’re not selling that well. According to the latest data available from Ward’s, Chrysler has over 80 days of inventory (subscription required). And while those inventory levels are coming down, it looks like the company’s sales are slowing down even faster. And that suggests there will be more plant shut downs this summer as the company tries to trim its inventory.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger says that the union has no intention of keeping its 55 percent stake in Chrysler and plans to sell the stock as soon as possible. According to the AP, the shares will be used to fund retiree health care costs. The union’s health care trust, currently has $1.5 billion and will receive another $300 million from the company next year. But the total retiree health care obligation is $11 billion. Gettelfinger warned that additional cuts may be necessary to help fund the trust.

Last week we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced new roof-strength standards for vehicles. According to the Detroit News, this will raise the cost of new cars by $1.4 billion annually. The new regulation will add $54 in new design costs and another $15 to $65 in annual fuel costs, due to the added weight. The new standards are also expected to save 135 lives and prevent more than 1,000 injuries annually.

Fuel economy is a top priority for consumers today. Automakers are doing everything they can to eke-out the best mileage possible. As we’ve reported, the redesigned Chevy Equinox crossover was expected to deliver 30 miles per gallon, or 7.8 L/100 KM, on the highway. That figure would put it at the top of its class, but now GM says the CUV will do even better. The company revised its initial estimate, and now expects the Equinox to hit 32 miles per gallon! That’s only 7.4 L/100 KM. These scores are achieved with the base, four cylinder engine. The final EPA rating is expected shortly.

Coming up next, a look at the high-performance version of the 2010 Ford Taurus, we’ll be back right after this.

Yesterday we gave you a broad overview of the redesigned 2010 Ford Taurus. Today, we’re taking a deeper dive into the high-performance version of the car.

The average person has probably never heard of it, but enthusiasts know all about the SHO. Two decades ago, Ford dropped a powerful, Yamaha-built V6 in the Taurus sedan, and the SHO, or Super-High Output, was born. With 220 horsepower and a five-speed manual transmission, it was a real sleeper. But enough history, the SHO is back, with more features, technology and performance than ever before.

The most important thing about the new car is what’s under the hood. 2010 SHOs are powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. With twin-turbochargers and direct fuel injection, it delivers an estimated 365 horsepower. Ford is touting the engine’s output and economy, claiming that it has the power of a V8 and the efficiency of a V6. Rounding out the drivetrain, the car comes standard with all-wheel-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission.

To further set the SHO apart from regular Tauri, Ford throws in a sport-tuned suspension, standard 19, or optional 20-inch wheels, and chrome exhaust tips. An optional performance package is also available. Among other things, it recalibrates the steering and gives the car a shorter final drive ratio for faster acceleration.

The 2010 Taurus SHO should start arriving at dealerships this summer with a base price of about $38,000, including destination charges. But without a Yamaha engine under the hood, and a no manual transmission offered, diehard fans of the original SHO may think this is an imposter. But its sleek body and 365 horsepower will probably create a whole new generation of enthusiasts.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. But don’t forget to tune in this Thursday for Autoline After Hours. Join John and his buddies Jason Vines and Peter DeLorenzo for another off-the-cuff discussion about anything and everything automotive. That’s every Thursday evening starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time or 23:00 hours GMT for all you international viewers.

Anyway, that does it for today’s show, I’m Murray Feldman filling in for McElroy, thanks for watching. John will see you tomorrow.

16 Comments to “Episode 137 – Chrysler Predicts 2012 Profit, New Standards Add Cost, GM Revises Equinox MPGs”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    I got a chance to see the new Taurus at a display during the Daytona 500. This is an impressive vehicle. Ford is doing a wonderful job in managing its fleet as well as its finances and public image.

  2. jerry flint Says:

    is that 2012 profit more or less than the profit ford predicted from its pag? i forget. or more or less that the continual promises of improvement from general motors?

  3. paulstewart Says:

    That SHO should not be a Penny over 35K,Shame on Ford !!! And that’s too much.I’ll stick with my ’95 stick.That engine should have been offered in Lincoln’s last Fall.First to justify the price on their Top line model at Lincoln, instead of that weak V-6 they started with. So sad.

  4. Ron Paris Says:

    Speaking of “average people” never having heard of the SHO Taurus Murray, it was never (repeat NEVER!) referred to as the SHO (pronounced like “show”) in its day and, unless Ford is changing the rules with monikers again (as it is inclined to do) it is still referred to as the S-H-O Taurus.

  5. Dan Clemons Says:

    Hi Murray:

    Thanks for filling in for John. We car junkies must have our car fix each day. You did a really great job and you are welcome back anytime.

  6. paulstewart Says:

    My Dad and I drove one of the 1st SHO’s back in 1989 at a Ford Dealership in Northville, Mich. I dropped the clutch a little too fast, when we pulled out of the dealership and lite up the tires out of the parking lot. The salesmen came running out. My Dad said keep driving OR they will take it back. My Dad drove it back when we were done even though he had a bad knee from 1945. It was a ‘hoot !!! And yes I even heard it called sho in many ways back in 1989.We had read about it in Car and Driver a week earlier. That’s how we knew about it.

  7. Dave E. Says:

    The SHO Taurus has ignited people’s interest in the Taurus, it was very popular when it was first introduced.

  8. Alex Kajdi Says:

    John,

    Murray is great! The New Chevy Equinox looks great, but will it be offered with a hybrid or Voltec powertrain?

  9. EAB Says:

    I remember a couple of years ago voicing my rage and finally leaving a prominent Ford online forum. My rage stemmed from the Windstar issues my father had and my 1997 Taurus, both of which were used up before 100K miles due to severe drivetrain issues. I have all Hondas and said it will be a cold day in hell before I ever buy another new Ford.

    Well, damn, if it ain’t getting cold in hell about now. Successful launches of new or heavily revised products, class leading features, and products that are overall better than the competition. My father in law, same “no way I’ll buy a Ford” mindset, just bought a new Edge. Common sense items like built in spot mirrors and MS Sync are one of the reasons people are coming back. Last month Ford outsold Toyota, and that’s with the current fleet.

    And now we have this new Taurus, which is better than anything Honda or Toyota have in their fleet right now. And the SHO, well, if I have the $$$ in a year or two, I’ll have one.

    Keep going Ford, and it will be YOU, not Toyota, who’s the 21st century GM.

  10. Sean Walsh Says:

    Wonder how the new roof crush standard will affect the FIAT designs that the President was raving about and small cars in general?

  11. pedro Fernandez Says:

    With the economy tanking, these automakers are still increasing prices with every new model year. When someone comes in with bargain basement priced cars they’re gonna make a killing. Also Nardelis’s comments are laughable. They haven’t figured out how to make a decent car in a century of carmaking and all of a sudden they’re gonna make the best cars in the world!

  12. Salvador G. Says:

    Hey.. Whatever happen to the Cougar guy… Oh Yeah! Pheonix. I forgot, anywho.

    Isn’t funny, Chrysler predicts a profit, heck if your company goes bankrupt and your debt is paid by the govertment, so you basically go back to zero; yeah! I can see profit. And Nardelli is leaving anyway, does he think someone is going to believe him?

    And Why is the NHTSA trying to introduce new safety standards now?? haven’t they heard the car industry is going under right now.

    I wonder who was the smart who said “We know the car industry is in bad times now, but lets raise their car cost, Oh yeah! and we know the rollover accidents are mostly related to SUVs and Trucks, but lets says ‘its for all cars”

    And Finally,
    You Murray… good job man, and your right is pronounce ‘SHO” and only SHO; I believe is an acronym, but I can’t remember for what.

    ps.
    for those who bother, why I call John McElroy the “Cougar Guy” cause a Cougar is another word for Puma and it suits him, he does like that Puma.

  13. B-sting Says:

    I saw the new Taurus and the S H O (short for Super High Output)in February and both look really nice. When I saw pictures in some magazines, I was a little hesitant; thought it looked a little too much like the Hyundai Sonota and even a little bit like the Azera. Trust me, these cars look great. Both of them have subtle lines and should bring people into Ford’s showroom.

    The Lincoln MKS offers the same engine now for this year, but it’s shy 10 horses. I think the S H O has nicer interior than the MKS. I even prefer the new Taurus over the Lincoln MKS. Speaking of Lincoln, I love their new MKZ; front end looks fantastic and really makes the previous model look dated. Ford has a lot of new exciting stuff coming out now and very soon.

    By the way, Murray does a good job when he fills in.

  14. Don from Royal Oak Says:

    I was sitting here thinking the SHO would be a Bad A#$ Sedan and then I lost all interest when they said automatic. For Shame.

  15. Andy S Says:

    To paulstewart — Please think twice before criticizng the only independent American car company. The EcoBoost will be offered in the Lincoln MKS and MKT as smarter transportation solutions than competitors’ V8s. Ford’s business savvy re-uses the Lincoln investment and adds some spice to resurrect the Taurus SHO. As a car enthusiast, this is great news. I dare you to compare the new SHO (price, specs, performance, quality) to that CVT boat anchor that some people call a Nissan Maxima.

    If you are suggesting the original 1989 SHO should have been installed on a Lincoln, please remember that 1989 SHO was only available with a manual transmission (an upgraded FWD auto tranny was years away). A manual tranny Lincoln would never garner enough sales volume to payback the investment or be noticed in dealer inventory — a lesson learned later on the Lincoln LS.

  16. C-Tech Says:

    I bought a used 1995 Taurus SHO (and yes, it was called a “Show”) in 1999 and loved it. It was a 5-speed stick and I got it cheap because the dealer couldn’t give it away. I understand why it is being offered as auto only. I look forward to 2015 when I can afford the “new” SHO used.