October 29th, 2009 at 12:00pm
China will investigate whether American automakers unfairly benefited from government assistance. October sales will be better than a year ago, we’ll explain why. Navteq develops a new kind of nav system, with a 3-D display. All that and more, plus a look at whether or not Kia is looking to expand its dealer base by adding some Saturn dealers.
Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .
Here are today’s top headlines. The U.S. and China run into trade problems. October sales will be better than a year ago, we’ll explain why. And there’s a new kind of nav system coming, with a 3-D display.
Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.
This is Autoline Daily for Thursday, October 29, 2009. And now, the news.
Is there a trade spat brewing between the U.S. and China? According to Bloomberg, China will investigate whether American automakers unfairly benefited from government assistance, with GM and Ford reporting record sales in the country. But reports say the probe is likely retaliation for the U.S. imposing tariffs on low cost Chinese tires.
General Motors says it expects to post a sales gain for this month, the Associated Press reports, and it expects a gain in market share. GM also says annualized sales for the American market should hit 10.5 million units, up from 9.2 million last month, meaning the payback from the Cash for Clunkers program is over. I’d point out that it was one year ago when the American car market really started to crash, so next week look for many automakers to report better sales compared to a year ago.
Lots of earnings reports coming in from automakers around the world, and they’re all over the map. Volkswagen said its profits fell 86 percent, and Honda’s fell 56 percent, but at least they’re still profitable. Daimler posted a small profit, and Mahindra posted record profits. Mitsubishi and Mazda are both losing money. And Toyota says it will not lose as much as it thought, but with a $2.7 billion loss, that’s still bad enough.
General Motors plans to use more government bailout money to buy parts of Delphi, according to the AP. GM agreed to pay several billion dollars to purchase Delphi’s steering business and several factories in order for the company to emerge from bankruptcy. And you’ve got to love this line. House Republicans are criticizing the President over giving aid to the company. According to the Detroit Free Press, they’re calling the bailout “a bridge loan to nowhere.”
Volkswagen released a sketch of its New Midsize Sedan, or NMS for short. We don’t know much about this upcoming four-door, but it’s expected to replace the Passat in the automaker’s line up. It should also be a little bit bigger, offering Camry and Accord buyers a viable German alternative. The NMS will be built at Vee-Dub’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant. Expect a turbo-four under the hood and probably an optional V-6. If the production version looks anything like the sketch, it shouldn’t be a bad-looking car.
Navteq provides car companies and GPS makers with map and traffic data for use in navigation systems. Now it’s developing a new technology that can help guide motorists through difficult intersections. The New York Times reports that the system shows three-dimensional views of complex interchanges so drivers know exactly where to go. Lanes, overhead objects and even signage is visible, so there’s no mistaking an exit ramp for an overpass. This technology is NOT available yet, but this is just the tip of the iceberg in how nav systems are going to evolve.
Coming up next, could foreign automakers be interested in picking up a few leftover Saturn dealerships? We’ll find out, right after this.
Kia’s one of the only automakers who’s been rolling through the recession without seemingly missing a beat. The South-Korean manufacturer posted a third-quarter profit last week while its North-American arm continues to score with increasing sales, market share and even a new Georgia plant coming online ready to build as many as 300-thousand all-new Sorrentos a year. And with all that new product, Kia just may be looking to expand its dealer base by adding some top-notch facilities that just a few weeks ago Roger Penske thought he would be getting.
Kia’s not the only manufacturer with its eye on the Saturn dealers. In fact, it may not even be the only South-Korean manufacturer looking at these 400-plus businesses, with a built-in customer base, who are essentially free agents.
By the way, as for that new Sorrento I mentioned, we’ll have a closer look at it in next week’s Autoline Daily.
And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. One more thing, don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours TONIGHT where our special guest will be Mark Reuss, the head of global product engineering at General Motors. This will be an excellent program. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.