April 27th, 2012 at 12:00pm
We’ve got the first-quarter financial results for a whole bunch of automakers and the numbers are all over the place. Luxury automakers are starting to expand into Inner Mongolia because of growing wealth in the area. The EPA made if official: the brand-new Ford Escape has the best fuel economy in its segment when equipped with an automatic transmission. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week with Carla Bailo, the senior vice president of Research and Development for Nissan Americas.
Welcome to the end of another week of Autoline Daily. I’m John McElroy and here’s what’s happening in the car business today.
FIRST QUARTER FINANCIAL RESULTS (Microsoft Excel file)
We’ve got the first quarter financial results for a whole bunch of automakers today and the numbers are all over the place. We have detailed numbers in today’s show notes, so click on the link if you really want to get into them, but here are the highlights. Volkswagen is the undisputed global leader in revenue and profits, even if it doesn’t sell the most vehicles. VW’s financial performance is now the best in the industry. Daimler also had a good quarter and so did Honda. But now let’s get to the bad news. Ford saw a drop in sales, revenue and profit due to losses in Europe and Asia and a big drop-off in profits in South America, though it did quite well in North America. Meanwhile, the picture looks very bad for Fiat and Mazda. Both companies reported lower sales, a big drop in revenue, and a bottom-line disaster. As I predicted two years ago, Chrysler is now bailing out Fiat. And while Sergio Marchionne says he needs an Asian partner for Fiat-Chrysler, it seems unlikely he would want to hitch up with Mazda if the company is losing so much money.
INNER MONGOLIA ATTRACTS LUXURY BRANDS
Now here’s one I never expected. Turns out Inner Mongolia is one of the hottest car markets in China. It’s all those rare-earth-metal millionaires from the mining industry. And they have money for luxury cars. Porsche sold 200 vehicles in one small city there called Ordos, which is known for its Genghis Khan mausoleum. So now Porsche is opening a dealership there. So will Bentley and Maserati. And I want to give a shout out to our viewers in Mongolia, because we do have a few fans there.
DAIMLER EXTENDS BERNHARD
Wolfgang Bernhard just got another five year extension on his contract at Daimler. He turns 52 later this, is a member of the Board of Management and is responsible for Manufacturing and Procurement of Mercedes-Benz cars as well as the entire Mercedes van division. He also was the COO at Chrysler in the DaimlerChrysler days.
THIEVES TARGET BEIJING ATTENDEES
Auto shows are all about glitz, glamour and hot new vehicles, but that’s not the case in Beijing. According to China Car Times, a gang of thieves was on the prowl, stealing photographic equipment and other electronics worth thousands of dollars. So far dozens of people have been robbed. I’d bet a lot of them are jet-lagged foreign journalists – rich pickins for local thugs. A big problem is that practically anyone can obtain credentials to attend the media days. Scalpers were selling press passes for as little as 1,500 yuan, about $240.
ESCAPE EPA NUMBERS OFFICIAL
The EPA made if official: the brand-new Ford Escape has the best fuel economy in its segment, when equipped with an automatic transmission. It comes with three engines – a 2.5-liter four-banger, as well as one-six and 2.0-liter EcoBoost options. All of them achieve at least 30 miles per gallon on the highway, which is about 7.8 liters/100 km. The efficiency champ is the 1.6. It delivers up to 33 MPG on the open road – five more than the outgoing Escape, including the hybrid version! The Mazda CX-5 equipped with a manual gearbox delivers 35 MPG on the highway, but it’s way down on power compared to Ford’s smaller EcoBoost engine. And besides, Americans don’t buy manual transmissions so it’s better to be best with an automatic.
Coming up next, how come Japanese automakers don’t seem to have any women executives or engineers?
AUTOLINE THIS WEEK
On Autoline This Week my guest is Carla Bailo, the senior vice president of research and development for Nissan Americas. In a wide-ranging interview, one of the topics we get into is how Japanese automakers don’t seem to do a very good job of promoting women. Also joining me for the show are Lindsay Brooke from Automotive Engineering International and Brent Snavely from the Detroit Free Press. Here’s a taste of what the show is about.
(Today’s Autoline This Week preview is only available in the video version of the program.)
You can watch that entire interview right now on our website at Autoline.tv, or if you live in North America, check your local public television listings since Autoline This Week is carried coast-to-coast in the United States and Canada.
Friday is here, and there’s no better way to wind down our automotive week than with the RoundAbout crew. Host Craig Cole has a preview of what is coming up tonight.
Well, last week we talked about a truck that appeared to emulate a Soviet jetliner, and fittingly tonight we’ll tell you about a Russian MiG-29 tooling down Slovakian roads. Plus, Ford of Spain has figured out how to perfume your used car with the odor of off-gassing plastics, AKA new car smell. Find out about all this and way, way more with our guest panelist Jeff Glucker from Hooniverse.com. Join us 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time at Autoline.tv.
And that wraps up this week’s news. Thanks for watching and we will see you on Monday.