January 28th, 2011 at 12:09pm
Ford just reported a full-year net income of $6.6 billion for 2010, the company’s highest net income in more than a decade. Chrysler wants its dealers to avoid haggling over the price of the Fiat 500 with customers. Volkswagen showed off a futuristic two-seat concept called the XL1 this week at the Qatar Motor Show. All that and more, plus a design tour of the 2011 Chrysler 300.
Here we go again. Friday, January 28, 2011. Autoline Daily. Peter De Lorenzo . Autoextremist. AND NOW, THE NEWS!
FORD POSTS NET PROFIT IN 2010
There’s no doubt that Ford is on a roll right now. You can see it in the showroom – its product momentum is gaining steam by the minute – AND you can see it on the balance sheet. Ford just reported a full-year net income for 2010 of $6.6 billion – yes, billion with a “B.” That’s up $3.8 billion from 2009. This is the company’s highest net income in more than a decade, and solid proof that it’s got it goin’ on. This is good news for shareholders, the economy, the country and especially employees. Ford will share its profits with nearly 41,000 full-time hourly workers. The average amount awarded to each employee is expected to be about five grand. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all. Well done ladies and gentlemen.
GM WITHDRAWS LOAN APPLICATION
Earlier this week we reported that the U.S. Department of Energy was coming under fire because it has been dragging its feet in regards to awarding loans to automakers and suppliers to help build fuel-efficient vehicles. GM was one of those companies waiting for a loan but now the company has withdrawn its application. GM asked for over $14 billion but now says it doesn’t need the money because of its recent financial success and the confidence it has in its strategy. Ed Welburn, the company’s top designer, says not getting the loan won’t hurt its progress in developing fuel-efficient vehicles. In fact, GM says it plans to speed up the introduction of the Volt and is also thinking about doubling or tripling production by next year.
NO HAGGLING AT FIAT DEALERS
Saturn may be looooooong gone but some of its ideas are living on. Bloomberg reports Fiat is applying the extinct brand’s no-haggle pricing strategy to the 500 when it launches in the U.S. later this year. Dealers have been prohibited from selling the cinquecento for less than MSRP, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. According to Laura Soave, the head of Fiat in North America, the reason for this hard-line stance is younger buyers HATE haggling. She said it’s something that ruins the buying experience. Really? Let’s just say that the first-on-the-block, “gotta get me one” types will gladly be paying sticker, or higher.
VOLKSWAGEN XL1 CONCEPT
Volkswagen showed off a futuristic two-seat concept called the XL1 this week at the Qatar Motor Show. It’s the third generation of the company’s one-liter strategy which is focused on creating vehicles that are as fuel efficient as possible. The XL1 is a plug-in hybrid with a 0.8 liter two-cylinder engine that’s combined with an electric motor, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a lithium-ion battery. This combination results in an eye-popping 261 MPG! That’s just 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers! It can also drive up to 20 miles in electric-only mode, that’s 35 kilometers. Large parts of the body are made from carbon fiber, so the XL1 only weighs a little over 1700 pounds. That’s 795 kilograms.
VW SCIROCCO, PHAETON MAY RETURN TO U.S.
In related Vee-Dub news, a couple weeks ago we reported that Jonathan Browning, the head of Volkswagen’s U.S. operations, wants to bring the Scirocco back to the ‘States. That’s fine, I guess. There’s probably room in the market for another sporty hatchback. But according to Bloomberg, the company is also considering resurrecting the Phaeton, the answer to the question that absolutely no one was asking, which was dropped from its North American lineup back in 2006 after four years on the market because – SURPRISE, SURPRISE – nobody wanted a VW at an S-Class price. The company is still thinking it over, but if it does decide to pull the trigger we would get the car on its next product cycle.
TATA MAY SELL NANO IN NEW MARKETS
Tata is considering selling the Nano in other Asian countries this year. According to Bloomberg, the car is only sold in India right now where its sales have been inconsistent due to price increases and safety concerns. Only 500 were sold in November, but sales jumped to over 5,500 in December after Tata doubled warranties and offered better financing. Now that sales have rebounded, Tata wants to begin expanding into Asian countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Coming up next, we’ll take you on a design tour of the 2011 Chrysler 300, so don’t you go anywhere. I’m serious; sit back down! Don’t make me reach through the internet and smack you!
2011 CHRYSLER 300
Recently John got to sample a wide range of Chrysler’s latest products. One of if not THE most important one is the 300. Inside and out it’s been thoroughly reworked for 2011. Here’s a quick tour of its brand-new design.
The new 300 is a really solid offering and it’ll only get better once Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic transmission hits the market.
And with that, we’re closing up shop . . . for the weekend, that is. As always, thank you for joining us, but before I sign off I have to remind you about this week’s episode of Autoline Detroit. If I don’t, McElroy will skewer me with a ski pole. Believe me; I’ve seen him do it and it really hurts. This week he hosts the program from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show. Listen in on his conversations with top-level executives and industry experts. It’s a good time. You can watch the entire episode on our website, AutolineDetroit.tv, right now, but check your local listings because we may be broadcast in your area.
And with that, I’m Peter De Lorenzo, the Autoextremist. Later!