January 31st, 2013 at 11:47am
Fiat reported its 2012 financial earnings, and the results look pretty good, as long as you include Chrysler. Automakers are having a tough time selling EVs but that isn’t stopping California; it is not backing down from its zero emission mandate. Yesterday we reported that Fisker is desperately trying to find a deep-pocket partner and now it looks like the company might have one. All that and more, plus John McElroy has a look into what the 2014 Subaru Forester is all about.
Welcome to Autoline Daily and to the last day of January. Let’s get to the news.
CHRYSLER SAVES FIAT
Fiat reported its 2012 financial earnings, and the results look pretty good, as long as you include Chrysler. The Fiat Group’s total vehicle sales came to 4.2 million units, up by a million compared to the year before. That pushed revenues to about $109 billion, up nearly $32 billion, and it reported a net profit of $1.8 billion. But that profit was down by about $312 million from the prior period. And if you take the Chrysler numbers off the bottom line, the Fiat Group actually lost a billion three.
PROFITS FOR THE WORKERS
Speaking of that Chrysler profit, that’s going to result in Chrysler’s UAW employees getting bonus checks of $2,250.
CHRYSLER’S NEW PRODUCT PLAN
The Group also released its new product plan for North America, which includes a dozen more new or refreshed vehicles than originally set out in its 2009 product plan. The total comes to 47 new models over the next four years, it includes four Fiats and two Alfa Romeos set to debut in 2015.
Here we get a look at one of those 47 new models, the Mopar 2013 Dodge Dart, which will be shown at next week’s Chicago Auto Show. This Dart gets the turbocharged 1.4 Liter engine with tuned exhaust, an upgraded suspension and brake kit, and a Mopar inspired interior. They’re only going to make 500 of them starting this spring.
YOU WILL BUY THEM, OR ELSE
Automakers are having a tough time selling electric vehicles but that isn’t stopping California it’s not backing off its zero emission mandate. The number of EVs automakers must build depends on how many cars they sell in the state. In the first few years automakers will receive credits to meet the requirements before they get gradually stricter. However the state was forced to back off its mandate twice in the past and I think there’s a good chance it will come up short again. But California says that over 15 percent of the cars on its roads will be zero-emission or plug-in hybrids by 2025, and that a third of them will be fuel cell or pure electrics.
FISKER COULD GET RECHARGED
And speaking of EVs, yesterday we reported that Fisker is desperately trying to find a deep-pocket partner and now it looks like the company might have one. Chinese company Wanxiang, which just bought Fisker’s battery supplier, A123 Systems, wants to help the luxury EV builder. One executive at Wanxiang says, “…it will be in our best interest to support them, as a vendor or possibly in a strategic alliance.” I say, just dig out your checkbook, boys, because that’s what it’s going to take.
At the recent Autoline Supplier Symposium we learned that many suppliers in North America have just about run out of manufacturing capacity. They removed a significant amount of capacity in the last decade but especially during the Great Recession. Now they are on the verge of running into critical shortages in production capacity, tooling, and people. The shortage is particularly acute in plastics, rubber, castings, powertrain components, and specialized tooling. You can get more details on this looming problem in the John’s Journal section of our website.
And be sure to join us tonight for Autoline After Hours. We’ll be talking about all those Super Bowl ads that are already coming out. Join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo, as well as Michael Sprague, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Kia Motors America and David Kiley from AOL Autos.
Coming up next,we’re going to show you more of what the new Subaru Forester is all about.
2014 SUBARU FORESTER
(Subaru Forester can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
And I’ll be showing you some of my driving impressions of that Forester in a new segment coming up soon.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you again right here tomorrow.