AD #2767 – FCA’s Sales & Profits Slide; Passenger Car Sales Continue to Fall; Design Sketches Reveal New Hyundai i20

February 6th, 2020 at 11:46am

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Listen to “AD #2767 – FCA's Sales and Profits Slide; Passenger Car Sales Continue to Fall; Design Sketches Reveal New Hyundai i20″ on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 8:35

0:07 FCA’s Sales & Profits Slide
0:41 Global Vehicle Sales Down
1:20 Mercedes Most Valuable Car Brand According to Study
2:24 Autonomy Could Be Worth Trillions
3:26 Passenger Car Sales Continue to Fall
4:07 EV Sales Down in January
5:52 Hyundai Reveals New i20 in Design Sketches
6:30 New Explorer Brings in Younger Buyers
7:22 Audi Offers Free Solar Power Subscription

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42 Comments to “AD #2767 – FCA’s Sales & Profits Slide; Passenger Car Sales Continue to Fall; Design Sketches Reveal New Hyundai i20”

  1. Lambo2015 Says:

    A 65% drop in sales would tend to make me believe Tesla reached its saturation point in the US. For the folks that wanted an BEV they got one. Even with the gains of all the other BEVs it equates to not much of anything. Another indicator that BEVs will be lucky to reach a 10% of US sales.

  2. Lambo2015 Says:

    Cruise says it could be worth $8 trillion;
    Of course Cruise says that. All they need to do is take everyone’s vehicles away and have a monopoly on transportation. Notice they didn’t say when it would be worth that much. Maybe sometime in 2060.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sooner or later, the “soccer mom” stigma that hurt minivans will start to affect CUVs. Also, of course, car sales will increase substantially the next time gas gets expensive. Until those things happen, my cars will continue to become collector’s items. Well, not really.

  4. Lambo2015 Says:

    Sean you want to know how far passenger car sales can drop? What is the percentage of sales for all sports cars, Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, Mazda MX5, Challenger, alike?
    My guess is car sales will end up about 5% over whatever that it. I’m betting you’ll see a resurgence of the hatchback in crossover types of vehicles that are basically the CUV.

  5. Phred Says:

    Please! Please! Will some one challenge today’s industrial designers to acknowledge the importance of the functionality of their “modern interpretations” over some av-ant gard trophy minimalist appearance that is inconvenient , eye distracting to the point of being unsafe to operate in a moving vehicle, and having a short operational life! Massive touch screens that wrap around to the passenger side of the dash are not even practical.

  6. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Lambo – We’ll have to keep an eye on Tesla’s sales and see how they continue to perform. It’s likely Tesla’s drop in the U.S. has to do with shipping vehicles to other countries. It continues to sell every vehicle it makes. If U.S. sales keep on this path for many months to come, then we might be able to start making predictions about what’s going on.

  7. Lambo2015 Says:

    3 I really don’t think so Kit. Most of the CUVs are coming with tiny 3 and 4 Cyl engines and can achieve close to the same MPG as a sedan version of similar size, with maybe a loss of 1 or 2 MPG. Gas prices wont likely shift this change to CUVs. It would probably soften the SUV and truck sales, but not back to passenger cars. Which is sad as the CUV’s and SUVs all have the same basic shape and not a whole lot of room for unique designs. They rely the fascia, grille and lights to provide any distinguishing differences.
    Hey maybe Dagmar and tail fins will make a comeback someday. :-)

  8. Larry D. Says:

    In today’s Ward’s email, a piece by John McElroy on the Cybertruck and its cost savings. Those are calculated assuming a very modest 50,000 annual sales (last year Tesla sold close to 400,000 units, and this year will sell over 500,000 or 650,000)

  9. Larry D. Says:

    1 Even in CA, which has a HUGE number of EVs, the BEV market is FAR, FAR from saturated. And CA buys HALF the BEVS sold in all of the USA.

    On top of that, 20 states STILL cannot even sell Teslas. Do you really think this will continue for ever? MI already caved.

    I think your arbitrary numbers hide a lot of wishful thinking. You may WISH the BEV market in the US is saturated, but it couldn’t beb further from the truth

  10. Larry D. Says:

    2 Here you are 100% correct, though. Reminds me of a saying in the old country “The Old Hen has the Juice”, and a followup, “Who said that? The Old Hen Herself”)

  11. Larry D. Says:

    “…the Bolt had a blow out month, with sales up 262%. Chevrolet knocked $10,000 off the price last month. According to True Car, most Bolts are going for $27,000, and that doesn’t include a federal tax rebate of $1,800. And you can lease one for about $170 a month. Obviously this is a clearance sale.. GM says it has no plans to drop the car, this sure doesn’t bode well. ”

    The Bolt was a disaster from day 1. Sold for 50% – 100% more than ICE cars of its size (Fit, Sonic etc) and STILL lost $9,000 a unit. So now it loses $20,000 a unit. Great Job, GM, and Bob Lutz (let’s not forget), who shamelessly suggested HERE that all of you out there buyers of GM SUVs subsidize the billions this TURKEY lost. Way to go! Then you hate Musk and his INTELLIGENT Designs, just like the bums in school hated the nerds!

  12. Larry D. Says:

    This is the link on the ‘brand’ study, but they provide zero evidence for any of their claims. How did they get those numbers?

    I should be pleased, as all the cars I own are Mercedeses at this point, that they found M-B the top auto brand, but there is a giveaway in the little table in today’s show transcript, which should make any serious reader NOT take it seriously. Anybody sees it?

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 Just being taller makes the CUVs thirstier than cars with the same powertrain, but not by a huge amount.

    The differences are larger in CR’s 65 mph highway test, especially for the Toyotas, where the Camry did 29% better than the Rav with the same powertrain, 49 vs 38 mpg. The difference widens, as speed increases.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    On “global sales down”: We are in the middle of an epidemic that has already killed 500+ in CHina and many elsewhere. A huge province with 50 million people has been quarantined, around the City of Wuhan, whose university of Technology (the megacity has 30 universities total) I was invited to visit for years now and never made it.

    A lot of disruptions in production of almost everything will ensue because of the above, not only in cars and trucks but iphones, laptps, TVs and everything else made in CHina and exported to the World.

    Tesla’s stock lost a bundle yesterday (but recovered today) just because of the slowdown of its Model 3 production in SHanghai, also due to the damn virus.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 You keep saying the Bolt loses $9K/unit ad nauseam, but where is the data? Someone said that a Hummer H1 or H2 used less energy over its lifetime than a Prius, but that doesn’t make it true. If that were the case, a Prius would need to sell for a whole lot more than it does, just to pay for the energy used in its manufacturing.

  16. Roger T Says:

    Wow, I’m very surprised about this Chevy Bolt blowout sale. I purchased a car in January, and I went to look at the Bolt and the dealer told me there was zero incentive for it. I also researched online and did not find any Bolt incentives. I must have missed by a few days. I’m disappointed I missed it!!!

  17. Larry D. Says:

    Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 6th, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    “Sooner or later, the “soccer mom” stigma that hurt minivans will start to affect CUVs.”

    Do you have the least bit of evidence that this will happen? (even if you sure cannot tell us when?)

    What is much more likely to happen is that, because of their popularity, everybody and his mother-in-law, and soon even… Ferrari (!!!) will come out with their own CUVs, trying to get a slice of the lucrative market. AND at the end, there will be WAY too many models chasing the same number of passengers, which will have the same effect, loss of profitability, and MAYBE, 5 years from that time, the Geniuses who run Ford and GM, will CORRECTLY TRIM their model range to HALF the number of CUV models they offer.

    Even today, are those ugly little subcompact CUVs profitable? (Chevy Trax, Buick Encore and others)? IS even the Traverse profitable, starting at such a low $31k price, for its size and features?

    PS BTW I will KEEP saying that the ugly Bolt has been an UTTER failure, and after several years, GM has seen it, and soon it will NOT be able to handle the HUGE $20k per unit losses (based on its CURRENT $27k p-rice) and will Humanely Euthanize it. And if you prefer to stick your head in the sand and ignore all the FACTS, too bad. AND remember most Bolts are sold to that “Cruise” snake oil salesman outfit and used as AV guinea pigs. if not for that ‘solution’, they would make half of the tiny no of units they make now.

    The VOLT is a different story, even though GM killed it already, it sold 10 times the units the Bolt did (the VOlt is responsible for GM’s selling over 200,000 green cars and losing the Tax credit, like Tesla). I bet it also lost it Billions, BUT it was NOT an utter failure. I of course still would not buy one, as I am not impressed either with its nerdy 1.0 nor the Cruze-Civic like 2.0 versions.

  18. Larry D. Says:

    17 correction of course I meant chasing the same number of Buyers, not Passengers.

  19. Lambo2015 Says:

    16 Yeah if I lived closer to work where id be under, what is certainly a 10K mile a year lease for that Bolt Id consider it. well that and if setting up home charging isn’t too much. Would be fine for a go to work car.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:


    “Do you have the least bit of evidence that this will happen? (even if you sure cannot tell us when?)”

    I have more evidence than you have that it costs ~$48K to build a Bolt. Tastes change in everything, including cars. Maybe fins won’t come back, because of regulations against styling features that could kill you if you walk into a car and slash your throat with the fin, but other aspects of cars type, and design could certainly change. At some point, people will just get really tired of seeing all of these look-alike CUVs, including the one in their driveway, and buy something different, even if the minivan stigma doesn’t hit them.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 I doubt that GM makes money on base Traverses, as they probably don’t make money on zero option Corvettes. Most of both are sold with some high margin options or packages, and in higher-than-base trim levels.

  22. kurt wiley Says:

    Would be good if Dr. Data would review how much the “large SUV” market is growing and how large it might get. Is there any end as to how big those SUVS will get?

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19 You can get ~4 miles per hour of charge with a regular 120v outlet, which could work for a lot of people who can charge maybe 14 hours a day while home from work, and drive only ~50 miles/day. That would work for most of my driving while in Indiana. A lot of days, I drive less than 50 miles, and could charge 20 hours/day, and build up a full charge of 200+ miles for a longer trip.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 It looks like “large SUVs” have about 3% of market share, and growing.

    Chevy Tahoe is the top seller.

  25. Lambo2015 Says:

    20 Kit your thinking like a guy that grew up during the car craze when cars were an extension of your personality. Style and design were paramount and even took a backseat to practicality and comfort in some cases. In a lot of ways there were all kinds of things that hadn’t been done yet. Many designs were influenced by what was going on at the time. The big push to space brought very sleek aerodynamic shapes and the fins.
    Not saying there are no longer any younger generations that appreciate cars but society has moved on into being fascinated with technology and the internet. Todays generation would care more about the design of their smartphone than the design of their vehicle. The importance isn’t what it used to be (in general). New drivers look at vehicles as being a very expensive burden. I don’t believe the exterior style matters that much as long as they can connect their phone and its reliable. I believe interior styling has become more important and the best way for makers to stand out from the pack. But the fact that they all sorta look alike I doubt will have the same affect on current generation of drivers. Its more of an appliance to them and does it fill their needs to get from point A to point B?

    I mean look at the aftermarket mods for cars today. Surly you remember swapping out a radio or two back in the day. Its practically impossible to do anymore. Aftermarket wheels which seem t o still be fairly strong with trucks has to be a fraction of what it once was. People don’t customize their cars cause its not as important to them and isn’t as easy to do.
    Of course this is just my opinion but I really don’t see the CUV/SUV sales dropping off because of being un-cool like what happened with the minivan. I think todays drivers look at cars just differently than we do.

  26. Larry D. Says:

    Time to reveal the answer. Why don’t I take the brand value survey seriously? Here is why:

    “Volkswagen $44.9 Billion, Tesla $12.4 Billion”

    What are these $ figures? They are GROSS ESTIMATES of the alleged brand value. So when they tell us VW is worth “$44.9 bill” and not “$45 billion”, it shows their utter ignorance. FOr they can barely defend the 5 in 45, they sure cannot defend that it is 44.9 and not just an approximate $45. And same, and even more, with that ludicrous pseudo-scientific, pseudo-accurate “12.4″ vs just 12, or at best 12.5. But I am pretty sure they cannot defend the third digit.

    The question they do not answer is where do they get these estimates. If it is from some barely scientific survey, they are extremely subjective. If they are from their own calcs, I dare them to show them to us.

    This reminds me of college projects where the students design and estimate the cost of an engineering system. Their margin of error is at least 10%, esp in the COST estimates, but regardless, for decades they would present their final answer as an estimated cost of (say)

    $55,236,429.8213. With a straight face. THey even included fractions of one lousy penny, 1/100th of a penny!

    How many of these digits can they Defend, given the inaccuracy is worse than 10%?

  27. merv Says:

    one of your best shows yet

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25 Yep, it’s true that most people consider cars appliances, and don’t care much about what they look like. Apparently most people don’t care about color either, or dealers wouldn’t be able to get by so well stocking cars almost entirely in black, white, or one of multiple shades of grey.

    One thing in interesting, though, about a small sample of young drivers I work with. I’ve worked with a high school robotics team since the early 2000s, and for the first time in years, two of the current kids are driving cars with manual transmissions, a Jetta, and a Suzuki wagon of some sort. Maybe both cars were bought, mainly because they were cheap, but the kids seem to like being among the few new drivers who drive manuals.

    I may customize my Camry with “Bonneville style” wheel covers, which I recently found on-line for 16 inch wheels. For a long time, I saw them only for 14 and 15 inch wheels, but a different company has them for 16s. The Camry is the first car I’ve had in years with steel wheels, which allow a change of “look” for the low price of wheel covers.

  29. Kevin A Says:

    Could someone please explain the difference between an assertion and a fact to Larry. A fact is not just Larry’s assertions.

  30. Bob Wilson Says:

    “JANUARY EV SALES DOWN” – percentages without counts makes it hard to understand what is going on. Combine the percentages with counts and everything would be clear. For example, using counts from the “GoodCarBadCar” link for January::

    Tesla Model 3 – 15,566
    Tesla Model S – 1,235
    Tesla Model X – 1,811
    Tesla total – 18,612 (“fell 65%” – Wards)

    Chevrolet Bolt – 1,089

    No one makes revenue or profits from percentages but the actual product counts.

  31. Bob Wilson Says:

    Opps, I used the 2019 numbers in the previous post, not the 2020 numbers. But the point is percentages make it nearly impossible to understand the volume of sales.

  32. ChuckGrenci Says:

    30,31, Bob, you’re right; without the context of absolute numbers, relating percentage can either give a false evaluation or meaningful comparison. It depends on the situation and position the purveyor wishes to convey (sometimes misleading, either purposeful or just recklessly for content).

  33. Lambo2015 Says:

    30 Bob I agree especially in an emerging market like EVs. The volumes are still relatively small so slight swings sound impressive when they are presented in terms of %. Their are many start ups that might have sold 20 cars in 2019 that might sell 80 cars in 2020. A 400% increase sounds way better than, “we sold 80 cars”. Percentages will give you an idea of the direction but the numbers provide an attribute that frames the significance in much clearer terms.

  34. Larry D. Says:

    This morning I listened to AAH from yesterday. I skipped the first half hour as usual, and I only listened to the part starting with Gary’s data Q.

    Two things I noticed.

    First, the guest claimed that People do not want a BEV, they want a Tesla. But he and the others stopped there and did not ask WHY this may be so. Asking and answering that question, especially by the automakers who aspire in building a BEV that CAN compete with Tesla, is really what is important here. NOT asking and answering that Q may give the FALSE impression that consumers buy Tesla just because it is ‘cool’, like “Jeeps” are cool, and nothing could be further from the truth. They buy them because they are FAR SUPERIOR than anything else out there, AND they do NOT cost twice as much as their ICE rivals!

    Second, I was very surprised that some panelists (forget which ones) were sure that the BEV Hummer will be a smash hit and a ‘money machine’ for GM. I find both claims laughable, IMHO.

    FIrst, the kind of person who buys a BEV, and especially an overpriced, poorly designed atrocity such as a Hummer BEV, probably HATES the Hummer brand and all that it stands for!

    Second, this is a NICHE OF A NICHE vehicle. It will only sell a handful, if at all, at the $129k I have seen touted around. SO what “money machine” are you guys talking about? I bet it will just be a “halo” vehicle that will actually LOSE $ just as the failed Bolt and the Volt did.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    People buy Teslas because Teslas are cool, a cult as it were, and because Tesla has, by far, the best charging network for those who want to use a BEV for highway trips.

    Yes, a Model 3 is superior to other BEVs in powertrain efficiency, and available range, but the ideal of selling a car without a wiper switch is stupid. Also, the Model 3 doesn’t get such great reports for ride and road noise, compared to the supposed ICE competition from BMW and Mercedes.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 I certainly agree about the electric Hummer. The previous Hummers were disgusting to me, with their needlessly high bumpers designed to kill other road users, and I suspect the new, probably even heavier electric ones will also be that way.

  37. Larry D. Says:

    Another topic of AAH discussion was FOrd’s truly dismal financials. And a second ago I got this email alert reminding me of one of Murphy’s laws of work:

    “At the end of a project, the punishment of the innocent”

    Accordingly, Hinrichs, FOrd’s best hope to replace that clueless clown Hackett, is axed, and “all hat and no cattle” snake oil salesman Chris Farley, becomes COO, and good luck with that, Ford.

    Farley reminds me of another old country saying…”dumb kid, full of joy”….

  38. Larry D. Says:

    35, NO, do not insult the buyers, they are NOT high school kids (in fact the resident buyer here is retired), they do NOT buy them because they are “cool”, JEEP buyers, most of whom are undergrads, buy them for that reason (or their parents spoil them and buy them for their kids for that reason).

    The numbers are UNDENIABLE and I have said it 1000 times.

    Teslas, and the most important Tesla in particular, the Model 3, sell like crazy because not only have FAR superior performance than their competitors, BUT ALSO because they DO NOT cost TWICE what their ICE cousins cost, but THE SAME.

    Do not think all these people who buy BEVs are mindless birdbrains. NOTHING could be farther (or is it further) from the Truth.

    The BEV Hummer will be ‘cool’, but I bet few will buy it.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38 I’m not insulting anyone, and I might buy a Tesla some day. I don’t insult people who buy Jeeps and Mitsubishis either. You seem to be the one who does the insulting.

  40. Brett Cammack Says:

    Tesla is the iPhone of cars. Generally, people prefer iPhones because of their relationship with the device. Same with Teslas. Nothing subjective about it.

    I have an Android phone and don’t care for iPhones, but would happily buy a Tesla, if I could afford one. Hoping I can pick up a used Leaf or such before I die.

  41. Lambo2015 Says:

    36 Really? You think GM designed the bumpers of the Hummer to kill others on the road?
    Its called ramp angle and for many off-roaders a high bumper is normal and not designed for anything but to clear obstacles and allow a incline or decline without scraping the bumper.

  42. Lambo2015 Says:

    34 You have inside information to prove the New Hummer will be poorly designed? Seems like an assumption based off a the superbowl commercial which showed a teaser of just the grille. Kinda hard to make an assumption of its design based off that alone.