February 3rd, 2012 at 11:40am
Mazda reported its latest financial numbers for its most recent fiscal quarter and the results don’t look good. The company’s revenue fell by 17 percent and its losses exploded. Toyota believes its going to come roaring back this year and sell almost 9.6 million vehicles. Fiat announced it will unveil a four-door version of the 500 at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. All that and more, plus Autoline Daily correspondent Isaac Bouchard reports on the 2012 BMW 3 Series.
This is Autoline Daily for February 3, but best of all, of course, it’s Friday. Well we have mixed news coming out of Japan today.
MAZDA ZOOM-ZOOMS INTO THE RED (pdf)
Mazda reported its latest financial numbers for its most recent fiscal quarter and the results don’t look good. The company’s revenue fell by 17 percent and its losses exploded. Its operating loss jumped four-fold and it posted a net loss of $1.4 billion. The company also revised its outlook for the year and predicted that losses would be five times higher than it originally expected. Mazda is actively looking for a new automotive partner as it and Ford continue their slow-motion divorce.
TOYOTA EXPECTS RECORD SALES
But while Mazda struggles to fix its business, Toyota believes its going to come roaring back this year and sell almost 9.6 million vehicles. That could put it back in the Number One slot in terms of global vehicle sales, but in any case it will be a real horse race between Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen. Toyota’s sales forecast includes its subsidiaries. Daihatsu, which makes small cars, and Hino, which makes heavy trucks, are expected to sell a combined 1 million units.
JLR & CHERY SEEK PARTNERSHIP
Speaking of companies that used to be part of Ford, Jaguar-Land Rover is talking with Chinese automaker Chery to partner up. According to Bloomberg, the companies have applied to create the joint venture and are awaiting a decision from the government. By building vehicles in China, Jaguar-Land Rover will avoid import tariffs. The company expects China to become the second-largest market for Land Rover and the third largest for Jaguar this year.
LOTUS WANTS TO MERGE
Dany Bahar, the CEO of Lotus is looking for a partner. No, no, not THAT kind of partner, he’s in search of a merger or a buyer for the British sports-car maker. It seems the brand is in a bit of a financial pickle. Last summer he mentioned they were searching for outside investment, unsubtly dropping Toyota’s name several times. They probably need the cash to fund all of the projects they’re working on including the new Elise, the Esprit, Elan, Eterne and a brand-new V-8 engine. Right now Lotus is owned by Malaysian automaker Proton.
FIAT 500L TO DEBUT IN GENEVA
To say Fiat’s North American dealers are hurtin’ is an understatement. They desperately need more products to sell. As it stands, the Cinquecento just ain’t cuttin’ it. Reinforcements in the form of Alfa-Romeos have been pushed back, making their position all the more difficult to defend. But help is on the way. Fiat is readying a four-door version of the tiny hatchback, the 500L. It publically debuts at the Geneva Motor Show early next month. The 500L is expected to go on sale in Europe in the fourth quarter of the year, no word yet on its availability in North America.
AUTOS SPEND MOST ON SUPER BOWL ADS
Companies love advertising during the Super Bowl because of the large audience it attracts. And no one spends more on Super Bowl ads than the auto industry. According to a new report from Nielsen, automakers more than doubled their spending last year. Over the past five years the industry has spent over $170 million which is $45 million more than beer companies, who are No. 2 on the list.
I’m Isaac Bouchard from Big Sur, California with big news about the all new BMW 3 Series. That story, coming up next.
John, I’m here at historic Laguna Seca racetrack in Monterey, California to check out the all-new BMW 3 Series. As the owner of a current 335i I’m very particular about this car. Let’s see what BMW has done to the 3 Series.
This latest 3, that BMW designates as the F30 is over four inches longer than my car. And although in the broad sense it looks a lot like it, there are things that make it more unique and modern such as the three-dimensional kidney grill elements that they’ve done. Also, they have new model lines that are differentiated by such things as the fog lamp that the air intake surrounds here.
Let’s face it, even a sport sedan like the 3 Series earns its keep as a daily driver . . . but that’s not enough. Not only does this car have to perform on the street, but for a guy like me who takes his 335i to the track several times a year it’s important that it can hack it in a place like Laguna Seca . . .
Whether at the racetrack or along California’s fabled Pacific Coast Highway the 3 excels. They’ve managed to make it technologically contemporary and more environmentally benign without losing the soul that makes it such an iconic and important sports sedan to enthusiasts like me. From Big Sur, California I’m Isaac Bouchard for Autoline Daily.
Thanks for that report, Isaac. Be sure to check out Autoline This Week, where my guests include Jim Farley from Ford, Reid Bigland from Chrysler, and Mary Barra from General Motors. You can watch the show on our website, or check out your local public television listings.
Well, the weekend is around the corner and as usual the Autoline network has one last trick up its sleeve. RoundAbout host Craig Cole has all the latest car news you DON’T have to think about.
That’s right, and speaking of weekend, we’ll be talking about the Simca Week-End with our guest, Bob Hall. We’ll find out if this 1955 convertible makes the cut on Bob’s top-10 list of French cars. Look forward to that and a lot more including our newest segment where our panelists play product developer and the audience decides who wins. It’ll be loads of fun.
Anyway, that’s it for today’s show. Thank you ever-so-much for watching. We’ll see you back here again on Monday.