AD #1364 – Ford’s Economic Engine Stalls, Top 10 Global Automakers, Nissan’s Self Cleaning Car

April 25th, 2014 at 11:54am

Runtime: 8:31

- Ford’s Economic Engine Stalls
- April Sales Forecast Looks Good
- Incentives on the Rise
- Top 10 Global Automakers by Sales
- Federal Trade Commission Backs Tesla
- Nissan’s Self Cleaning Car
- Autoline This Week Preview

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Hello and welcome to the TGIF edition of Autoline Daily.

Ford reported its first quarter earnings, and we expected them to be down, but they came in worse than expected. Ford sold close to 1.6 million vehicles worldwide, up 6%. And yet its revenue barely budged at all, up only a fraction of a percent to about $36 billion. And that’s its total revenue, including its financial operations. If you just look at revenue from selling vehicles it did not move at all. And that is very odd. Ford’s pre-tax profits dropped sharply, down 35% to $1.3 billion. And it’s net profits dropped a similar 38%, to just under a billion dollars. Ford blames the drops on higher warranty and recall costs, and on currency exchange problems in South America. And no doubt that’s true. But that does not explain why the company’s revenue stalled out despite a 6% increase in sales. That is a red flag which shows the company is still overly dependent on the US market to power its economic engine.


Sales: 1.59 M +6.1%
Revenue: $35.9 B +0.8%
Pre-tax profit:: $1.38 B -35%
Net profit: $989 M -38%

Source: Ford

And speaking of sales, we accurately predicted that March sales in the U.S. would increase due to the warming weather. And now TrueCar is forecasting that April will be almost as strong. It says light-vehicle sales will reach nearly 1.4 million units and the SAAR will hit 16.2 million, which are only a little bit behind March. TrueCar expects the strong numbers because the Asian automakers have turned up the incentive dial this month.

And speaking of incentives, when it comes to moving the metal in the showrooms, automakers in the American market still rely heavily on sales incentives. This despite the fact that all excess capacity was removed with all kinds of plant closings during the Great Recession. CNW Marketing just did a fascinating deep dive into all the incentives that automakers are offering, and they’re all doing it. CNW found that the average vehicle sold last month cost just over $32,000. And the average discount was about $3,800, with around $3,150 of that offered up by the car companies, and rest coming from dealers. On average the discount comes to nearly 12%. Porsche has the lowest discount, only 3.4%, while Jeep has the highest at 14.7%.

Quick, can you name the top 10 car companies in the world? We didn’t think so, most people can’t. And even the experts in the industry probably won’t get the ranking right. So we compiled this list based on how many vehicles these automakers sold last year. Toyota tops the list, and is the first automaker in the world to sell more than 10 million vehicles in a year, though this is based on the company’s fiscal year. Next up is the Volkswagen Group, followed closely by General Motors. Nissan-Renault is in fourth place followed closely by Hyundai-Kia and then Ford. Fiat-Chrysler are just ahead of Honda, while Daimler and BMW round out the top ten. Of course, this is based on the number of vehicles sold. Next week, we’ll rank them by revenue and then by profit. We think you’ll be stunned by the results.

2013 OEM GLOBAL SALES (In millions)

1. Toyota 10.1
2. VW AG 9.72
3. General Motors 9.71
4. Nissan-Renault 7.7
5. Hyundai-Kia 7.4
6. Ford 6.3
7. Fiat-Chrysler 4.3
8. Honda 4.2
9. Daimler 2.3
10. BMW 1.9

Source: company reports

Tesla is receiving some support in its fight to sell cars directly to customers. Senior officials at the Federal Trade Commission published a blog post that says forcing consumers to purchase cars from dealers is bad policy. They point out that of the 15 million cars sold in the U.S. in 2013, Tesla sold just 22,000 of them and therefore doesn’t present a competitive threat to dealers. The post also points out that more and more people are using the internet to shop and car buyers should be able to purchase a new vehicle in the same manner.

Cleaning a dirty car can be a real pain in the butt, however Nissan is testing some new technology that may eliminate the need for car washes all together. The automaker applied a new paint to a Note that can repel rain, oil, mud and dirt and is testing it in Europe over the next several months. And by the looks of the video it seems to work pretty well. The company says it doesn’t have plans to offer the paint as a standard feature but is considering it as an aftermarket option in the future.

Coming up next, a debate about Right-to-Work.

On Autoline This Week, our weekly TV show, we take an inside look at the early days of the UAW. That’s because our guest is Bob Morris, author of the book “Built in Detroit” which looks at the beginnings of the union. However, the topic sparked several other debates, including this one about Right-to-Work laws.

(Today’s Autoline This Week preview is only available in the video version of the show.)

Also joining John for that discussion is Henry Payne from the Detroit News and Mark Phelan from the Detroit Free Press. As always you can watch that entire show right now on our website,

But that wraps up today’s and this week’s episodes. Thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog

41 Comments to “AD #1364 – Ford’s Economic Engine Stalls, Top 10 Global Automakers, Nissan’s Self Cleaning Car”

  1. G.A.Branigan Says:

    As much as I HATE the ‘dealer dance’ one has to put up with when going to buy a new vehicle,I’m not sure about NOT having dealerships.Where would you take your new purchase for recalls/warranty service etc? Building all new service centers isn’t financially feasable because then they would have to compete with local repair shops like they do already,but on a larger scale I would think.

  2. Brett Says:

    Just hearing the term “Right to Work” makes my blood boil…

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Brett: Why?

  4. Ziggy Says:

    @1 Where do Tesla owners take their vehicles for recalls/warranty service? That is the way the rest of them could do it.

  5. Buzzerd Says:

    G.A. – cause all it really is, is “right to work for less $” nothing else really changes.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    My Crapolla has been cleaning itself for the past 10 yrs, it’s called the So Fl daily wind and storm in the PM which will clean it all except for the bird poop, which I usually have to remove by hand when I see that the storms are coming, then let mother nature take care of the rest!

  7. Brett Says:

    Because it’s a deceptive euphemism for “Lets Screw Organized Labor”.

    The jerk saying it’s a good thing because labor unions give lots of money to the Democrats. Well, boo hoo. I know that’s just awful the way it lets the working class have a say in government instead just having a corporate oligarchy.

  8. Brett Says:


    Just to clarify. There are Tesla “dealerships”, but they are owned by Tesla and not by a franchisee like all the other manufacturers must do.

    They take their Tesla back to the Tesla store for service if it is needed.

  9. Buzzerd Says:

    regarding Tesla, I would think the other manufacturers would like an even playing field and who cares if their sales are low, do you have to wait for it to become a problem before you do something? and by then it’s “well you let us sell cars for this long, why change things now”

  10. Ziggy Says:

    The dealerships have brought it on themselves as far as people wanting to bypass them, I think most people would like to have a good experience at a dealership but because they are filled with idiots who don’t know the product and sharks who want to bleed the last dime out of them people want to shitcan the whole thing and just buy direct from the manufacturer. If the dealership experience was pleasant I don’t think Tesla would have a leg to stand on as far as public opinion, but because of the crappy way most dealerships treat their potential customers most of the public can’t stand them.

  11. T. Bejma Says:

    cwolf (and anyone else), I have a limited number of GM Employee discounts to offer to friends that currently drive competitor’s vehicles. Have to do the deal by 4/30 but if you are interested, drop me a note at tcbracing at Gmail.

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    Every one I know who has purchased a car in the past 10 yrs has had negative comments re the dealer, seems only the high end ones like MB and Lexus have fared better, Land Rover is horrible. A client of mine had his Porsche in for minor service and some young punk from the dealership service dept took it out for a joy ride and crashed, they’re now in court cause he wants a new car and the dealer just wants to repair it.

  13. MJB Says:

    Sign me up for that anti dirt coating!

    As much as I have always loved detailing my ride, I’ve got kids now. Which means I’ve got only a fraction of the free time I used to have to spend washing and waxing on weekends.

    If this coating does hit the market (via auto body paint shops) I’ll be the first in line at Macco to get it.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    This anti dirt coating serves a double purpose, if you happen to strike a pedestrian, said pedestrian will effortlessly slide from the hood, up the steeply raked windshield, the roof and end up caught in the rear spoiler, without even getting a rash on the skin.

  15. MJB Says:

    10. – Disco!

    Tesla’s got public sentiment on its side. Nobody likes the stealership, except for people with enough disposable income to tolerate the high cost and to little skill, patience or free time to do basic repairs/maintenance themselves.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12, My limited experience with the MINI dealership in Orlando has been good, except that they were unwilling to give as much discount on an ordered car, as buying one they had.

    My buying experience with the Prius in Indiana was at least ok, but the the people in the Toyota service departments in both Indiana and Florida seem unable, or unwilling to pick up their feet when they get in and out of my car. When I take it in, the interior is spotless. When I get it back, there are greasy smudges on the door sill, and sometimes other places as well. At least they haven’t wrecked my car.

    If I were the guy with the Porsche, I’d certainly do everything possible to get a new car. I’d be majorly pi$$ed if that happened to me, even with my relatively cheap cars.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit there is a law suit involved I can’t believe this giant dealership would not suck it up and get him a new one, his car was very expensive, it was not your run of the mill Porsche, that is why the punk took it out to impress the chicks that were on their way to a nearby high school, this dealer only sells high end sports cars and their clientele is very rich!

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    It did not work too well for Daewoo, did it? And we’re talking about a cheap car, not an expensive, high end machine like Tesla.

  19. MJB Says:

    14. Soweeet! I love killing two birds with one stone.

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    The word killing is counterproductive here Mr MJB

  21. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @7 Brett – Around here especially, the UAW is our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins to the nth degree, and for many our sons, daughters and every kind of in-law. The UAW was and maybe still is the bell cow of unions, where if the UAW got raises for it’s memebers, other unions to could follow suit. Those wages made it possible for our parents to put us through college, or whatever we wanted to do.

    And we all are familiar with the unions shortcomings. We all know that after examining GM’s pre-bankruptcy books, they backed off to help the company, and the 2 tier wage was born, good, bad or indifferent.

    However, what you may not realize is how many members are conservatives. So the union taking their dues and spending them on Democrats may be fine for people who want that done, but for others it’s problematic.

    Corporate spending in Washington has gone crazy. There are more super luxury dealerships in and around DC than almost the rest of the country. Presidents, Senators and Congressman go to DC with hardly more than lunch money, and in not many years, are millionaires. GE spends over $107 million dollars each and every day of the year and guess what? They pay no taxes at all. And probably get a deduction while doing it.

    And who benefits from that besides GE?

    The unions and the corporations are just doing what the government allows. If that is an issue for anyone, then you need to do something about it, whether you lean left, right, or center.

  22. C-Tech Says:

    One of the major reasons manufacturers want to bypass the dealer network is – PROFIT ! Keep in mind the dealer buys new cars wholesale from the manufacturer, marks it up and sells it to you. That is $700 to $10K in profits the manufacturer is giving to the dealer, in addition to the mark-up for warranty and retail parts. If Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan and the rest could control that segment of the business it will mean additional billions in profits for them. A byproduct is better customer service (maybe).

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Imagine how much you could save by buying from the manufacturer and picking up the car yourself at the point of entry into the country or at the factory if it’s made here, you might even want to go to Mexico or Canada and save yourself the almost grand that they now are charging for delivery. They should at least deliver it to your home like Ferrari does.

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: It would take more then a grand to get me across the border.They hate gringos more then they hate themselves.And they way are killing each other off,taking shots at an American coming down to pick up a new vehicle would be a no brainer.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well. I suppose Mexico is not such a good idea, but how many cars are made there that you would actually buy? not many, I suppose even though they keep moving production over there more and more and these company PR folks are very sneaky, they will say “Production has moved to North America” very tricky indeed, most people don’t realize that Mexico does belong to No. America, not central or south.

  26. Brett Says:

    Chuck, I most heartily agree that the political system in America is badly broken at this point. That does not diminish the fact that Labor traditionally counterbalances Capital in the system and “Right to Work” is simply a mechanism to upset that balance in favor of Capital.

    It has little to do with Liberal/Conservative. It has to do with the moneyed class vs. the working class.

    Besides, as I recall, every union member has a say in whether or not money from his dues will be spent on political efforts. Conservative UAW members don’t have to have their money put towards causes they disagree with, no?

  27. gary susie Says:

    My cousin was a go between the UAW and GM. The workers repeately told management about the poor quality was ruining the company. They told them to just put the cars together and let them worry about quality We now see how that worked out.

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    #27 what years are you referring to?

  29. cwolf Says:

    The other morning NPR reported the U.S. no longer has the highest standard of living. There were a handful of other nations taking the lead; Canada is one that comes to mind. Not only is the middle class dwindling at a faster pace than the average, the poor are getter even more poor. This trend had better reverse coarse sooner than later or the few rich will dictate to much of the population as to how much we need to exist on a thread.

  30. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf, of course, this had to happen, moved most manufacturing jobs abroad and then we’re supposed to wash each others backs and this is how we can make a living? everyday I read reports on how Americans have to do with less and less, like the families that move to central Fl from jobless north to work the tourist industry at minimum wages and can’t afford to even pay rent so they move into cheap motels near Disney and turn those rooms into permanent residences and then they need to have the sheriff’s office come in and kick them out and end up living in cars, this is what this service economy has done to us.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    just about all members of my family migrated from Cuba and got decent paying jobs in all kinds of factories all over NJ, making enough to pay rent, buy cars, buy clothes, take vacations etc. now all these jobs are long gone, recent arrivals have to work in food service and such making minimum wages which are not even enough to live on.

  32. cwolf Says:

    TB, thanks for the graceous offer. I think I will hold off a bit. I’m betting GM will better the rebates in the near future.
    I gotta tell ya, TB, I’ve driven a lot of cars lately. The 6 cyl. Mustand was a blast and I found the C-Max a hoot to try to maximise the efficiency. But I have to tell ya, I have come to compare everything to the 2.0 turbo Verano. It has style, lux. interior, drives like a dream and has that lil’something extra when you want it. It has a little bit of everything in one neat package…. that’s hard to beat!

  33. cwolf Says:

    I may not make many friends by saying this, but we need unions in manufacturing more than ever. The Canadian union and the steel workers seem to be more “bullish” than the UAW, so I hope they take note. I think the UAW has done enough to show mutual cooperation and it is now time for them to show they have a backbone. Workers haven’t had a raise since 2006, COLA should be reinstated, overtime pay should be increased and limits enforced without fear of being fired. A company should help contribute to retirement plans beyond just offering IRA’s. And most of all,…it’s time to do away with the 2-tier wage. Then, I think something should be done to bring the CEO salaries down to earth; Recieving 100-200% more than the average workers wage is out of line. This is how to jump start the ecomomy.

  34. XA351GT Says:

    Right to Work, anyone who works in a union company and chooses not to be in the union either has balls as big as basketballs or doesn’t care about their health and welfare much. Anyone who has ever witnessed non union workers crossing a picket line will know what I mean. That is the reason why you are not seeing more people doing so. I do agree though that if you choose not to be the union then you have no right to the benefits that the union gets their members.

  35. BobinAtlanta Says:

    In defense on unions, the UAW and organizations like it helped make America what it is now. Broke!

  36. C-Tech Says:

    Given the number of millionaires and billionaires in this country, we are hardly broke. Since taxes have been steadily going down for the wealthy over the past 20 years and a war was fought on credit, is there no surprise the government is broke(n)?

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30, 33, 36
    Agreed on all. Unfortunately, I don’t see things improving any time soon.

    By the way, the UAW helped me, even though I was a non-union salary employee. At least until 1986 or so, the company gave us lower level salary people the same benefits the union negotiated.

  38. RonE Says:

    It was reported Alan Mulally will be $300mil richer when he leaves Ford.

    Bill Ford said the labor unions saved Ford at their darkest hour.

  39. Rick Says:

    Unions need to stop using the argument that non-union workers should not get the same wage increases that union workers get. If the whole reason for the wage increase is because the employees were being underpaid and deserved more, how can unions turn around and say yes, non-union folks should continue to get underpaid just because they are non-union. It really makes them look both selfish and childish. Now if they went to the employer and demanded higher wages saying “yes, by this raise you are overpaying us but we deserve it simply because we are union” then that would be a different story. However I doubt that is how the negotiations work and I have never heard this argument used by a union.

  40. Bob Wilson Says:

    “. . . CNW found that the average vehicle sold last month cost just over $32,000. And the average discount was about $3,800 . . .” This is great news!

    It means according to John’s standard posted earlier this week about hybrid and EV prices, the ‘average vehicle’ was in the luxury range based upon his claim about hybrid and EV prices.

    Actually it means the old lie about hybrids being too expensive has been either throughly debunked . . . or perhaps it is time some reporters wake-up and realize the Prius and hybrids are here to stay regardless.

    Bob Wilson

  41. Chuck Grenci Says:

    High discounts on the hood (of a lot of vehicles) tells me that prices are too high to begin with; seems the car companies are trying to see what the market will bear. I know they are going for ‘max’ profits, but if they feel that they have superior vehicles, a lower price may entice conquest sales that could lead to higher profits in the long run. But when a ‘bag of chips’ costs four dollars, I guess the money just isn’t worth anything anymore, and items are going to cost historically astronomical prices..