January 29th, 2013 at 11:47am
Ford is the first automaker to release its 2012 earnings, and we take a deep dive into the places where they’re winning and losing. At long last we’ll see the clean diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze debut in the U.S. John McElroy asks Johan de Nysschen why Infiniti has changed its naming scheme to focus on the letter Q. All that and we take a look at the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Let’s get right to the news because Ford is the first automaker to announce its full year earnings for 2012.
NORTH AMERICA STRONG
Ford’s North American operations put in a stellar performance. Sales were up nearly 100,000 units and that boosted revenue to nearly $80 billion, up nearly $5 billion from the year before. And that led to a pre-tax profit of over $8 billion, up $2 billion from 2011. That means that each of those extra 100,000 sales contributed over $20,000 in profits.
SOUTH AMERICA WEAKENING
But the story was very different in South America. Sales dropped by 8,000 cars and trucks, revenue dropped by nearly a billion dollars and profits plummeted by nearly $650,000. Ford says it did better in the fourth quarter in South America but it believes the situation there will get worse and that it will only break even for the year.
In Europe it only went from bad to worse. Sales plummeted by a quarter of a million units, revenue dropped by more than $7 billion, and the company lost over $1.7 billion. While Ford is engaged in an aggressive turn around plan in Europe, it warns the market there will continue to deteriorate this year.
ASIA PACIFIC GROWING AND LOSING
Ford’s Asia Pacific region, which includes China, is a bright spot for the company. Sales jumped by 132,000 vehicles and revenue shot up by a $1.6 billion. Even so, the company lost money, though not as much as before, as it continues to spend heavily to boost capacity in the region. It expects to break even this year.
THE BIG PICTURE
So, when you put all these regions together, Ford sold 5.6 million vehicles worldwide, down 27,000 units from the year before. Revenue hit $134 billion, down two billion, and its after-tax profits hit $5.5 billion, down half a billion. It’s a solid performance, but shows the company has stopped growing and had serious issues to address outside of North America.
CLEAN DIESEL CRUZE’IN
We’ve been waiting two years for GM to tell us when its going to unveil the diesel version of the Chevy Cruze, and now we’ve learned it will be at the Chicago Auto Show next week. It will hit the showrooms in April or May. I keep saying that this car is a litmus test for diesel sales in the US market. If the diesel Cruze even sells reasonably well, look for everyone else to jump into the pool.
Q&A WITH DE NYSSCHEN
In case you didn’t see our live coverage of the Detroit auto show, the new global head of Infiniti, Johan de Nysschen, explained why they’re adopting the letter Q to name their cars.
(Our interview with Johan de Nysschen is only available in the video version of today’s program.)
By the way you can see that entire interview and several dozen others from the show at our website. Just look in the John’s Journal section and you’ll find it there.
Coming up next, a look at the all-new Nissan Pathfinder.
The Nissan Pathfinder came to North America in 1985 to battle the likes of Blazer, Bronco and Trooper. And even though that competition disappeared over the years, today’s all-new 2013 Pathfinder still finds itself in one of the most competitive segments in the auto industry, however, still ready to go tire-to-tire with all takers, any time.
What gets Nissan such glowing mpg numbers is the combination of a new 260 horsepower V6 engine, the next-gen Xtronic CVT powertrain and improved exterior aerodynamics all sitting on what is now a unibody frame for the Pathfinder.
But in addition to those improvements, Nissan gave its SUV some favorite features like the Around View Monitor and Easy Fill Tire Alert as well as a couple of new ones like Tri-Zone Entertainment so each row can listen or watch what they want, as well as Nissan’s LATCH AND GLIDE technology for easy third-row access even with a baby seat in row two, because if nothing else, this vehicle is family friendly.
It’s early, but families and other buyers just may be responding positively to the SUV. The fourth-gen Pathfinder hit dealerships a little more than two months ago and so far has outsold the 2012 model over the same time frame more than two to one.
Changing the Pathfiinder from a body-on-frame vehicle to a unit-body construction is what made the biggest difference. That dropped the weight by several hundred pounds.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.