Episode 689 – Daimler & Nissan Post Earnings, MPG Target Lowered, Renault Frendzy Concept

July 27th, 2011 at 11:47am

Runtime: 7:19

Daimler and Nissan both reported financial earnings. The Obama Administration has agreed to a lower fuel-economy standard but the biggest question is, what are the loopholes? Renault will introduce a small-van concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show called the Frendzy. All that and more, plus John answers your questions and comments in the “You Said It!” segment.


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This is Autoline Daily for July 27, 2011.

Daimler and Nissan both reported financial earnings for the most recent quarter this morning, and the numbers look pretty good. Daimler sold a just under 450,000 vehicles. Car sales rose 4 percent, while trucks were up 9 percent. In the U.S., by the way, truck sales at Freightliner were up 50 percent. That brought in just over $36 billion in revenue, which was up 5 percent and it turned a net profit of almost $2.4 billion, which was up a whopping 30 percent.

Nissan sold just over 1 million vehicles worldwide, up more than 10 percent in the last three months. That brought in just over $25 billion in revenue which was barely up over last year, and its net profit of $1 billion represented a 10 percent drop. But considering the effects of the earthquake, these are very impressive numbers and suggest the second half of this year will be very good for Nissan.

CHRYSLER EXECS WON’T GET PAY RAISE (subscription required)
Sergio Marchionne says he’s not going to make the mistake Daimler made when it took over Chrysler and imposed its culture on the company. He says Chrysler is going to retain its American culture. But he also says Chrysler executives are not going to get big pay raises now, even though it’s no longer under government pay restrictions that froze salaries in 2009. Smart move. As Chrysler goes into UAW negotiations that takes one bargaining chip away from the union. Marchionne also says they will not make Jeep Wranglers in China. He says to stay true to its brand image, the iconic Jeep will only be made in America.

Another day, another CAFE target. The Obama Administration has agreed to a lower fuel-economy standard. Initially it supported a goal of 56.2 miles per gallon, but now it’s pulled back a tiny bit to 54.5 MPG. Apparently five automakers already support the new standard including the Detroit Three plus Honda and Hyundai. But the new number just leaves us with more questions, the biggest of which is, what are the loopholes?

RENAULT FRENDZY CONCEPT (subscription required)
Now for some future product news. Ward’s reports Renault will introduce a small-van concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Called the Frendzy, it’s designed to be a stylish work vehicle Monday through Friday and a family-focused people-hauler on weekends. It’s the fourth of a group of six concepts that follow an imaginary life cycle. First came the Dezir, which represents falling in love. Next, the Captur embodies discovering the world. The R-Space is for having a family, and the Frendzy, as I mentioned, is for working.

Closer to home, Hyundai will debut its next-generation Azera at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Hyundai what? Don’t tell me you forgot about the Azera! Well, it’s a large, front-wheel-drive sedan slotted above the Sonata but below the Genesis. Does that ring a bell? Think of it as a Korean version of the Toyota Avalon.

We’ve been following the story about women in Saudi Arabia protesting the government’s ban on letting women drive, by going out and getting behind the wheel themselves. Now, fourteen female U.S. Senators sent a letter to King Abdullah asking him to end the ban. Also, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out against the policy last month. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving, even in an emergency.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

Kate McLeod saw our report on a Canadian company that can convert waste plastic into fuel. She asks, “Does that potentially equal 150 million barrels of fuel if we reused all of our waste plastic? Do I have that right? That’s pretty impressive.”

Kate, I believe you’ve got that right.

Lex saw our report on how the Industrial Transportation Research Institute in Taiwan has come up with paper speakers and asks, “John, those paper thin speakers in the headliner are a great idea for saving weight and space, one thing how do they sound?”

Lex, they sound pretty good. They’re especially good for listening to news or sports or talk on the radio. But for the best fidelity, they’d have to be paired with a woofer in the car.

Steve heard us say that the chances of a battery cell in a hybrid failing are about the same as being hit by lightening and says, “As much chance as being hit by lighting? My house got hit last night. I now need to replace my well pump. This is the second time that I had to replace the pump from a lighting hit in the last five years. Could you pick a comparison with a little better odds?”

Ok, the odds of a hybrid battery failing are about as good as the Democrats and Republicans coming together on a deal to balance the budget.

Pedro Fernandez liked our power-to-weight comparison of ponycars, but had this to say, “IMHO all these ‘pony’ cars need to go on a diet, if the tendency to make cars bigger and heavier continues in this segment as well, we may end up calling them ‘hippo’ cars.

Amen, Pedro, amen.

Join us for an all-new LIVE edition of Open Line with Michelle Naranjo and Chelsea Sexton next Tuesday. We’ll have Nick Richards, the group manager for Buick Communications. This will be your chance to ask about Buick’s eAssist technology and the upcoming Verano. If you can’t be there live, leave a message on our Google line: 1-620-288-6546. And, make sure you subscribe to the podcast at bit.ly/OpenPodcast. That’s next Tuesday, LIVE at 8PM Eastern.

And that’s today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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45 Comments to “Episode 689 – Daimler & Nissan Post Earnings, MPG Target Lowered, Renault Frendzy Concept”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    I suppose that in Saudi Arabia the body shop techs must be like our Maytag repairmen, lonely and bored with not much to do.

  2. ItsmeBill Says:

    Rut-roh, Pedro.

    :runs: :hides:

  3. HtG Says:

    just think what kind of hell would break loose if all five wives wanted to go drive five different places at once. That’s a LOT of gas. I’m not even going to mention the ‘temporary wife.’


  4. HtG Says:

    Well, I’m still here. You good, Pedro?

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG: you don’t have to go that far, look at our own polygamist dude in Utah with the 5 wives, I wonder if they all require their own car, or do they car pool? nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yes I’m fine with my statement, in my travels I have seen many rear end collisions involving the UN-fair sex, with their yapping and their texting BFF’s and the makeup and the turn around to slap Billy and Bobby for misbehaving in the back seat. And then the dreade phone call to the mate: ” Honey I crashed, but it wasn’t my fault it was the other driver”

  7. tj Martin Says:

    Glad to have been able to contribute one to those 450,000 cars Daimler sold this Quarter :o

    @HtG – And guess what ? The car is filthy from the trip ( did more than my fair share of bug killing driving thru KS ) and its too bloody hot here ( 101 w/110 heat index today ) to clean it myself ( I actually love washing and waxing my cars )

    So I call the M-B dealer to get a detailer recommend . They’ll do it . For FREE ! Ahhh the bennies of M-b ownership . Remembering its only a 40K car mind you !

  8. tj Martin Says:

    MPG CAFE Loop holes John asks ?

    Well thats simple John . The Loop Holes go to the manufacture willing to shell out the most favors and $$$ to the US of A government , or alternatively has the most reps in DC .

    Sheesh John thats an easy one . Been this way for a good 175 years . Money talks . Everyone else pays ( that’d be you and me by the way )

  9. HtG Says:

    tj, you arent’t one of those clay bar, old tooth brush, double bucketing, tire scrubber types are you? Dear oh, dear.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder if Chevy dealers offer to charge the $45,000 Volt for free?

  11. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Hey John,

    Daimler car sales up 4% and truck sales up 9%, but your chart has 449,100 sales up 2%. How does that math work?

  12. HtG Says:

    Looks like Saab’s in a bit trouble…


    (I know, I’m terrible)

  13. tj Martin Says:


    Oh dear . Oh me oh my .

    The Mustang gentlemen …. the ultimate in Steve McQueen cool factor has just taken a MAJOR plunge on the Coolometer .

    Mary Kay Cosmetics has just chosen the Mustang to be its new Pink Rewards Car .

    From Bad ( ____ ) Cool to Pepto Bismo Pink with a Big Hair Lady driving , make you wanna lose it .

    Oh dear !

    @ HtG – #9 Why yes I am as a matter of fact .” Old habits die hard ” from my F word days ( settle down moderators …. its
    Ferrari ) [ HtG did you catch the quote ? ]

    As to your # 12 …. well I just keep looking smarter albeit sadder every day when it comes to SAAB . Wouldn’t you agree ? Hmmn . Maybe someday folks will take my Marchionne’s Madness rants more seriously as well . Hmmn !

  14. cwolf Says:

    HtG, anyone willing to bet tj will remark that even though the free detailing was good,he still does a better job. Heck,claying the car is noth’in to his washing and waxing the inside of his rims!

    Can’t imagine going on any kind of road trip with a handfull of wives,even worse with the herd of kids. Pit stops would occur every half mile cuz someone or the other would have to pee!

  15. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    A thousand poxes upon your soul for that one ! ( #14)

    Believe me I’ll just be grateful I didn’t have to deal with the cleanup in this ( its now 105 !!! ) dad burned rasum fasum God Awful heat !

    Anyway smarty pants ( :o ) the cars too new for the clay bar !

    Thppppppt ! :o

  16. HtG Says:

    I can’t laugh at anyone when it comes to car cleaning, cwolf. I have a louche rejoinder to your wheel detailing wonderment, but will leave it to the Craig Ferguson fans out there.

  17. tj Martin Says:

    Insiders info ; re Polygamists wives and family

    Dateline ; Aspen CO

    Subject ; Saudi Royals residing there

    Well if the bunch up Aspen way are any indication as to how the Saudis would deal with their multiple wives being able to drive its all quite simple really . Just buy each and every one what ever car they want along with the kids who are of driving age . Which in their case includes one of the Juniors toodling around CO in …………… guess …………… come on I know you can do it …………….. no not that … too common …………

    A Bugatti Veyron ! With his very own security force trailing behind in a pair of Audi S5′s . I kid you not !

  18. HtG Says:

    funfact for ya tj. One thing making it so much hotter now is that the rains earlier this year saturated the ground, making the heat evaporate more water into the air, raising the heat index. It’s making the nights hotter too, as measured by heat index. I heard this on FreshAir

  19. HtG Says:

    @17 In white, this year? I can’t remember where I heard that white is the color

  20. tj Martin Says:

    Should I consider making a run for it now after #17 ? :(

  21. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Nope …… not white .

    As to # 18 …. well we didn’t get so much rain here in KC ( fact is we’re on the edge of the drought zone ) so what’s our excuse ?

    All the Hot Air coming from DC of late ?

  22. HtG Says:

    nah, there can’t be too many white GLKs in KC, MO.

    Would you like me to create a distraction, tj?

  23. cwolf Says:

    @17: I would’nt mind bing the underwriter for all those insurance policies!

    Hey! It’s raining on my dead grass.

  24. HtG Says:

    tj, quick. Bloomber tv will interview Fword US ceo at the NY showroom in a minute.

  25. tj Martin Says:

    Ferrari NA CEO Signor Mattiacci Interview

    1) Molto Grazzi HtG for the head up . I just poked in here on whim in the nick of time and caught the full interview

    2) I think I know what’s killed your grass off cwolf . Its all the Hot Air from DC being combined with the Hot Air from Ferrari NA . According to the three dealerships I know , Ferrari sales in reality have been in the toilet of late ( Mattiacci claiming all kinds of sales increases which of course cannot be substantiated because Ferrari REFUSES to reveal their Spread Sheets which is why no market will accept a Ferrari IPO )

    3) By my estimation 60% of the photos they showed during the interview ( I DVR’d it and watched it twice ) were of the Ferrari FF , which out of respect to the moderators I won’t say what that should stand for . Bit of a hard time selling the FF perhaps ?

    4) The brand new 5 year Free Maintenance when buying a new Ferrari . Well they’re not handing that out because the new ones are so reliable I can promise you . And you don’t Give Away maintenance etc when your sales are doing as well as Mattiacci is claiming .

    6) Me thinks Mattiacci has been well schooled in the Marchionne Academy of Hyperbole & BS with at least a Doctorate in hand from the master .

    Sad to watch such a formerly great company being run by such an abject bunch of No Brow Shysters . Enzo must be spinning in his grave about now :(

  26. HtG Says:

    what FF stands for. Take index finger and thumb, form a horseshoe, while clenching three outer fingers. Rotate hand at wrist. Something like that, tj?

    I’m never getting over sports cars without manual transmission. Never.

  27. tj Martin Says:


    If thats the same as Colbert’s ” what finger am I hiding behind my hand ” routine , then thats the one I’m thinking . ______ Ferrari ! :(

    Heck , no manual in the FF is bad enough ! But that horrendous Hatchback posterior ( that looks like it fell off the cheapest current Alfa being made ) as well as that pretentious AWD set up takes it all just a step too far .

    Next thing you know Ferrari will be building an SUV . Based on the JEEP Grand Cherokee . Ooops ! May of let something out I shouldn’t of .

    Now I’d really better make a run for it :o

  28. HtG Says:

    DC Hot Air. Check out this piece. Looks like the GOP may have issues.

    This would be fun if it weren’t for real.

  29. HtG Says:

    not so fast, teej. I can’t breath. I can’t breath

  30. HtG Says:

    @26 tj, am I misinformed? I thought I had accurately described a quite vulgar hand gesture employed on the Apennine peninsula.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    CNN/Money just released a list of what they call America’s best loved cars.I guess people don’t buy what they love, but what what makes sense. I find the #1 Premium chosen to be quite comical. As I drive around these parts I see tons of Corollas, Civics, Yaris, Not one single one of them on this ridiculous list.

  32. cwolf Says:

    While my wifes grandparents were still with us,they used similar jestures. It was followed by words in broken english that sounded like rap jibberish to me,yet a smile always followed. Was the smile an added option or was it to add emphasis?(jokingly)

    tj,I agree the DC hot air is a plenty that we can do without. Any guesses if things are’nt resolved? I’ll go out on a limb as say auto sales won’t decrease more than 5% for the month and profits by less than 1%.

    Let me also say this about John’s comment about no raises for Chry exects and as being one less chip the union can’t use. Maybe these guys were already over paid and wonder if other options and perks are also off limits? In reality the point is moot; Even if the union does try for more,how much meat is left on a half dead horse?
    One the other hand,I hope the UAW profits from the negotiations because if the workers feel content, they may spend more! The gov’t can’t get the economy moving and corp’s refuse to get off their nest eggs, so someone has to get the ball rolling.

  33. HtG Says:

    If DC can’t get this done, one bad consequence is a rise in interest rates because creditors will require a premium to lend to us(but some people say the US still looks good compared to the rest of the world). That will make it harder to extend credit to car buyers. Another thing is a declining dollar, which makes oil imports more expensive in dollars; so more upward pressure on the price of gas.

  34. Carroll E. Gant, JR. Says:

    What’s up with that comment on Muscle Cars being too hevy? I don’t see that. This person must be thinking of cookie cutter asian cars that don’t come close to a “Muscle Car” with 400+ HP and torque of that much and more. People who love these performance cars do for the styling, performance and history. And Some are Bad ASS sports cars like the Chevrolet Camaro 2SS and LT1 with 556HP and the ZR1 Corvette with 638HP. Take thast put puts…

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the “muscle cars” weren’t so obese, they could perform as they do with less horsepower. Still, obese or not, the current “pony cars” are a good group to chose from, for those who are into this type of cars. Compared to the old ones, the current Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger are better in every way, and they still have much of the “character” of the old ones.

  36. XA351GT Says:

    Kit@35 I agree with you there. They do capture the character of the originsls . That is what nearly every other car built today lacks. they are bland boxes on wheels there is no emotion in them and unfortunately no collectibility in them. Makes me wonder if anything other than todays pony cars will be on a car show field in 20 years. I know most people could careless ,but as a enthusiest it concerns me .As I’d hate to see the hobby die.

  37. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    That group of 14 senators and our secretary of state look like King Abdullah’s fantasy “harem from h*!!.”

  38. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #30 No you’re spot on . I was just comparing it to the International symbol of Disdain to be certain as to your reference

    As far as politics , both sides are a God Awful mess ! It is rather telling though that on Charlie Rose this week one of the top Republicans placed the blame 70% – 30% with the bigger number in his own words ” Sadly belonging to his ( Republican ) party ”

    @Caroll E Gant

    More weight = Less Performance , plain and simple . Knock a few hundred pounds off all the current breed of Pony Cars ( especially Porky Pig Challenger ) and you’d be amazed what those beasts would be capable of . Well maybe not Porky Pig as he’s running on a decade old Mercedes E Class platform , but definitely the other two .

    @ XA351GT

    No worries there good buddy . Unless the Politically Correct legislate Hot Rods & Muscle Cars out of existence , the Hobby is well and good Healthy . I’ve got more than a few friends in the Hobby as well as the Industry and things are humming along like gangbusters . Even the Kiddies are jumping on board . FYI my first car was a 1965 Olds 442 w/rebuilt 69 455 done by me in HS w/my two great uncles ( one had a speed shop the other a body shop ) assistance . It ran solid 11′s in 1974 at the drags . Tj’s a GearHead period . Not a mono color Snob !

  39. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG


    Come to Vail with us next year . I’ll get you in shape up there in no time . Either that or give you a coronary :(

  40. HtG Says:

    I still cannot get over one of your posts from yesterday, tj. I’m feeling like a cranky old man, watching brands change what I thought they stood for. At least the market wouldn’t accept the likes of the BMW GT.

    @39 Thanks for the offer, I do need to get in shape. I’m a long way from the days of racing triathlons.

  41. HtG Says:

    Speaking of lightweights, did you see the WheelerDealer shows where they fixed up an Elan and a Sprite?(can be watched on YouTube) Let’s see if the Miata people come up with something worthy to follow the present Big Boy.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    While the Challenger is really obese, it has a rather high tech chassis compared to the “live axle” Mustang. The Dodge is softly sprung in most versions, though, good for a soft ride, but not a sporty drive.

  43. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    The Miata ? How’s about the Ford 5 liter versions as well as the RX7 – RX8 conversions that have been running around for awhile ?

    The 5 Liter is a 20th-21st century Sunbeam Tiger and the Wankle powered ones are to die for .

    FYI; #40 You’re not the only one steaming under the collar about brands completely losing their way these days .

    @ Kit Gerhart

    Once again mate , the Challenger is on a Decade Old M-B platform , so calling it High Tech in light of what is available these days is an Oxymoron .

    That Mustang ” Live Axel ” may seem dated , but in light of its performance on track over the other two ( Camaro & Challenger ) its very well sorted and very High Tech . Like the rear engined Porsche 911 , which in reality should not work at all , Ford has managed to bring that ” Live rear axel ” into the 21st century , kicking a whole lot of butt in the process .

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeh, tj, the Mustang’s rear suspension is well sorted out for that type of design, and they do a good job with their “performance tuning” of Mustang. The fact remains, though, that the oldish IRS setup of Challenger is much “higher tech” than Mustangs solid axle, not that the IRS buys you much, except maybe ride comfort.

  45. Phil Says:

    You got to love the government. They mandate a fuel economy standard of 54.5mpg
    That means new cars will be tiny boxes the size of the ‘Smart brand car’, which nobody bought, and cost what, $40,000, which nobody will pay. Cars sales (again) go in the toilet, jobs are lost, bankruptcy follows….