January 27th, 2012 at 11:35am
Ford posted its financial earnings for 2011 and it was the company’s best year in over a decade but it still fell short of Wall Street targets. BMW will now offer a diesel engine for select M vehicles in Europe. Chevy announced all of its vehicles sold in the U.S. will have a window sticker explaining the environmental impact of the car. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week about GM and Chrysler dealers who were forced to give up their businesses during the companies’ bankruptcies.
Hello again, Murray Feldman here from FOX2 News, Detroit rounding out your week of Autoline Daily. And you know what that means, IT’S FRIDAY, January 27th, 2012! Yes, the weekend is nearly upon us. Here’s what’s going on in the automotive world.
FORD PROFITS FALL SHORT
Yesterday Hyundai had good financial news to report. Today, it’s Ford. The Dearborn-based automaker’s net income was more than $20 billion last year. That works out to a pre-tax operating profit of almost 9 billion bucks and it makes 2011 its best year since 1998! Ca-ching! But, and this is a big but, it failed to meet Wall Street’s targets. The fourth quarter was a bust. They reported over 13 billion in profit, but when you take out a non-cash accounting charge profit came in at just over a billion dollars for the quarter. Less than analysts expected. Trouble in Europe, floods in Thailand and higher costs for materials and commodities did them in. Still, the company will shell out $6,200 per worker in profit sharing. The company was solidly profitable in North America; it earned a healthy sum in South America; but it lost money in both its European and Asia-Pacific regions.
BMW OFFERS DIESEL FOR M VEHICLES
BMW is expanding its high-performance lineup. European drivers will be able to choose from four, yes, FOUR diesel-powered M vehicles, including oil-burning versions of the X5 and X6 crossovers, plus two versions of the 5 Series – a sedan and a wagon. The bodies may be different but all of these cars share the same all-wheel-drive system and the same engine. It’s a new tri-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six. Yes, three turbos. Output is 376 horsepower with a Mount Kilimanjaro’s worth of torque: 545 pound-feet. Look for the formal introduction of these M vehicles at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Again, these cars are a Europe-only affair. Sorry all you American BMW fans.
HYUNDAI CAN’T BUILD ENOUGH ELANTRAS
As I mentioned in yesterday’s show, Hyundai is on fire right now, especially in the U.S. The Elantra, its C-segment offering, just took home the North American Car of the Year Award at the Detroit Auto Show a couple weeks ago. Last year this little sedan stormed up the sales charts. But the company warns this year won’t be as good. Turns out, it’s too popular! Hyundai simply won’t be able to build enough of them to keep up with demand, and that’s a happy problem to have.
DAIMLER AND NISSAN TEAM UP IN MEXICO
Yesterday we reported that Nissan will build a new factory in Mexico, and according to TheDetroitBureau.com, Daimler plans to set up shop nearby. The two companies have been working together lately. Earlier this month they announced plans to build Mercedes four-cylinder engines in Nissan’s powertrain plant in Tennessee. According to sources, the new Daimler plant in Mexico will build small luxury vehicles for both Mercedes and Infiniti and could include both conventionally powered vehicles and electric cars.
ETHANOL DEMAND DROPS
The price of ethanol is falling in the U.S. According to Bloomberg, alcohol fuel is looking at its second year of decline because of oversupply, less demand, the end of a federal subsidy and an increase in corn prices. Demand for gasoline has dropped which means less ethanol is being used to blend it with the fuel. Some plants have been idled and those that are up and running have been doing so at a loss since December.
CHEVY ECOLOGIC STICKERS
Automakers love to brag about being “green.” But this is an interesting way to go about it. Chevy just announced all of its vehicles sold in the U.S. will have a window sticker explaining the environmental impact of the car. The label will have info about the environmental aspects of manufacturing and assembly, fuel-saving technology they’re equipped with and how 85 percent of the weight of the vehicle can be recycled at the end of its life. The Ecologic stickers will first appear on the Chevy Sonic and then on 2013 models later in the year.
Coming up next, who has John got in the studio this week? We’ll preview the latest episode of Autoline, right after this.
AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
Scores of GM and Chrysler dealerships were shut down when the companies went through bankruptcy. Of course, a lot of franchisees were NOT happy about this, to say the least. On Autoline This Week John has three dealers on to talk about the process and just how unfair and random it was.
Oh no, not so fast, John. We’re not giving that away here. To find out what she’s talking about you’re going to have to watch the show. Check your local public television listings for Autoline or swing by our website, Autoline.tv where you can watch the complete broadcast. Also joining McElroy in the studio for this program is Jeff Duvall of Duvall Automotive, based in Georgia, and Phil Painter from Painter Automotive. Check it out. It’s a really lively discussion.
And that’ll do it for Autoline Daily this week. Again, I’m Murray Feldman of FOX2 News, Detroit. Thank you for watching – or listening to the audio podcast. I’ll see you next time.