August 8th, 2011 at 11:35am
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!
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?
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.
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.