AD #2837 – Paying Dividends Puts Automakers at Risk; Kia Developing 800-Volt EVs; VW Atlas Cross Sport Impressions

May 14th, 2020 at 12:02pm

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Listen to “AD #2837 – Paying Dividends Puts Automakers at Risk; Kia Developing 800-Volt EVs; VW Atlas Cross Sport Impressions” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 11:36

0:07 German OEMs Pay Billions in Shareholder Dividends
0:32 PSA & FCA Scrap Dividend
1:00 Paying Dividends Puts Automakers at Risk
1:40 Heavy-Duty Truck Sales Plunge in April
2:40 Safety Systems Have Confusing Names
3:32 Lambo Offers 1st Collectable Digital Stamp
4:09 Finn Scooter is a Motorcycle Golf Cart
5:08 Porsche Going Digital for 911 Reveals
5:33 Scissor Door Kit for New Corvette
6:01 Hyundai’s Ideas for Interior Sanitation
6:42 Kia Developing 800-Volt EVs
7:30 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Impressions

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36 Comments to “AD #2837 – Paying Dividends Puts Automakers at Risk; Kia Developing 800-Volt EVs; VW Atlas Cross Sport Impressions”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Elon Musk’s being increasingly Trump-like, and threatening to leave California because he doesn’t like county rules to protect workers, is a real turn off to me. I had expected to seriously consider a Tesla when convenient charging is available in my area, but I no longer feel that way.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve seen a Neon or two at car shows with scissor doors. The kit was probably about 20% of the cost of the car, but it definitely stands out at a car show.

  3. Ron Paris Says:

    UV light to sterilize auto interiors? Wonder how they prevent color fade on interior materials???

  4. Jeff Taylor Says:

    Totally agree about cutting dividends. I’m shocked that they are being that irresponsible.

  5. bradley cross Says:

    Bjorn showed a company video of an Xpeng car that blasted high heat in the vehicle to kill germs. Obviously with no one inside.

    Kit, take a Tesla for a test drive they are hysterically fast. If you want a fast cool with some interesting technology they cant be beat.

  6. Wim van Acker Says:

    Autoline Team, @1: Do we know how much government support TESLA has received when it set up shop in California?

  7. Wim van Acker Says:

    Autoline Team and all experts on this forum, Buying vehicles in the current market. I was expecting that the dealerships would be interested to sell vehicles right now. I am in the market to buy 2 new Jeeps. One of the largest dealerships in the Detroit Metro area has not reacted at all in 10 days and counting; a second one cannot get its act together (I fully specified both vehicles and they have lost the specs twice, and their staff member does not know than a Grand Cherokee is a different product than a Cherokee); a third one, a small dealership, is actually working on it, now. Do others have similar experiences?


    the investors in auto stock must share the same burden as everyone else. Pay dividends, get relief from government !!! Unbelievable !!!
    It’s us regular tax payer ( again ) that takes the hit !!!

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7. I know of a dealer in Indiana which might be helpful. At least they were 30 years ago when I ordered and purchased my Caravan from them. I haven’t shopped for cars of any brand since the plague arrived, though.

  10. John McElroy Says:

    #6. Wim, California supported Tesla a lot. It played a big role in getting NUMMI for Tesla, and in landing a $465 million loan from the Energy Department a decade ago. CA provided EV subsidies for consumers knowing almost all of them would go to Tesla. The list goes on and on.

    #7. Yikes!!!! You ought to send this post to the public relations people at Jeep. They should be made aware of what’s going on (or not going on!).
    I bought a new car two years ago and the buying experience with several different dealers was so underwhelming and unsatisfactory that I wrote an editorial about it in Wards.

  11. Wim van Acker Says:

    @9: thanks, Kit. I am hoping to buy these vehicles in Michigan. You would expect that to be possible for middle-of-the-road Jeep vehicles in the Motor City during very bad times. I am wondering whether my experiences are the result of many good years and low unemployment rates: dealerships may have had to hire lowly qualified, low performers, because that was what was left for them in the market. Not being able to get their act together and the lack of knowledge are shocking to me. Interested to learn what others are experiencing.

  12. Wim van Acker Says:

    @10: thanks for the info on TESLA support over the years, John. The level of support you describe must have been instrumental for TESLA to become the success it is. It would be appropriate for Mr. Must to be thankful for many years to come and to tone down.

  13. MJB Says:

    Reaching back to a topic from yesterday – Carshows For Diecast Models.

    Maybe I’m missing the point entirely here, but I just think that handing out trophies to diecast car owners is quite on the ridiculous side of things.

    Why is the person who simply ‘bought’ the diecast being rewarded for all the detailed work the ‘maker’ of the diecast did to manufacture it?

    The Concours d’Elegance escapes this criticism simply due to the fact that the only way the owners can even present those cars for judging is to have first painstakingly restored them. Thus making themselves deserving on some level of some of the praise heaped upon the automobiles themselves.

    But I just don’t see the justification for elevating the ‘procurement and maintenance’ of a diecast car to the level of a Concours.

    Just my opinion…

  14. Wim van Acker Says:

    @10: thanks for your suggestion on Jeep Public Relations. I went on the website to find a contact to file a complaint about the complacency of the dealerships I have tried to buy 2 new vehicles from. I could not find any contact. Any suggestions?

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11. My most recent experience with “specing” a car was a Corvette, and the sales person was very knowledgable. My past experience with Chrysler years ago, and more recently for a friend who ordered a Challenger, was good. Given the few option choices on today’s cars, the sales people should know the option list pretty well, and should certainly know how to use the on-line materials they have. That’s disappointing that your experience has been so bad.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13. I suspect a significant part of the contest involves making a good photo to showcase the model, with an interesting and attractive background, good lighting, etc.


    7) I found that the larger dealers like Suburban or Lafontaine in Michigan are both terrible with customer service. This was even before the pandemic. Too big to really care about any single individual. The smaller dealers are leaps and bounds better at customer service, particularly now. I will avoid those 2 dealerships for the rest of my years of buying cars.


    You really should look at the Jaguar I-Pace. Faster than a Tesla, more comfortable than a Tesla, better ergonomics then a Tesla, better sight lines then a Tesla, better styling then an easter egg Tesla, Quieter than a Tesla, Jaguar knows how to paint a car properly, Jaguar knows how to screw the car together, and it is cheaper to boot. It just won’t be Toyota Camry money because it competes in the Model S-X category and not the 3/Y category.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 The I-Pace is a lot pricier than a Model 3, ~70K base, vs. ~$40K. The I-Pace has better build quality, but less range, and no charger network for the occasional road trip. The way things are going, I probably won’t be in the market for an EV any time soon anyway. Not much progress is being made on charging at my condo.

  19. Wim van Acker Says:

    @11, 17: I went on and have full specs of both vehicles. Sent the links to the two dealerships that have reacted. One, a small one, like MERKUR already mentioned, is working on quotes. Suburban in Troy has not reacted in 10 days. Suburban in Farmington Hills has lost the specs twice so far while switching from one ignorant to the next. They also called me and I had to explain the salesperson that a Cherokee she was trying to sell me is a different product than a Grand Cherokee, which I am interested in. I do not think she has understood it, though.

  20. XA351GT Says:

    Why would you invest in a company if you weren’t going to get what you’re owed? That is why shareholders fork out their money , because they expect a return on their investment. Stop paying dividends and watch how fast the market crashes.

  21. MJB Says:

    John, question about the golf cart mopeds.

    Do you know if they’ve put governors on them to restrict the amount of torque? If not, I could see potential damage to golf greens happening over time from these things being accelerated a bit too aggressively.

  22. Wim van Acker Says:

    @21: you do not drive golf carts or scooters on the greens. Just on the fairways and the roughs next to the fairways. The fairways are green and so are the roughs, but the “greens” of a golf course are the area around the flag with manicured grass surfaces. No driving there.

  23. GM Veteran Says:

    #19 – I can heartily recommend Pinckney Chrysler Jeep Ram in Pinckney, MI. Depending on where you live, it may not be real close, but it is a decent size dealership that knows that treating people well and professionally representing their products is critical to being successful in a small market. I bought my Grand Cherokee from them and so did my fiance. We are both very happy with the experiences we had. My salesperson was Caleb and he was the image of what we all want a professional salesperson to be.

  24. Kevin A Says:

    The first duty of any company to the shareholders is to SURVIVE. After that, dividends are nice, if the company can’t find any useful place to invest that money to grow. Right now, every company should be thinking about survival first.

  25. Wim van Acker Says:

    @20. Your question is based on a false premise: when you invest in a company that company owes you to make a best effort and to keep you informed and that is it. Every business owner shares in the good and the bad, as many business owners are experiencing these days. That should be the same for a shareholder in a publicly-listed company. Investing does not provide you with any guarantee. Lending money to a company, like buying bonds of companies, comes with some more guarantees, albeit at moderate returns. Bondholders are among the higher priority classes during a bankruptcy. The shareholders have lower priority, but have the opportunity to benefit from the up-side.

  26. Wim van Acker Says:

    @23: thank you very much.

  27. MJB Says:

    @22 – Thanks Wim. I guess you could tell that I don’t play golf. ;)

  28. Wim van Acker Says:

    @22: You are fine. I thought I clarify. Driving on the green is a big no no in the golf world. As a golf course owner you could technically do as you please, as shown by this 1 minute YouTube video:

  29. Ziggy Says:

    @23 What is a GM Veteran doing buying FCA products? Too scared of GM quality, or lack there of?

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23. I suspect he bought an FCA product, because they are who make Jeeps, and he wanted a Jeep.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29,30 In retrospect, my post was kind of “snarky.” Sorry.

  32. Larry D. Says:

    Any Business School with a minimum of self respect teaches its MBA students that dividends are DOUBLY DUMB: First of all, they are DOUBLY TAXED. (look it up.) Second, they Betray the Stupidity and incompetence of Management, who cannot find lucrative new investments for their $, but instead stupidly returns it to its OWNERS, ie the Shareholders.

    Therefore, I tried to NEVER own any stock that pays dividends, to the extent I could. And if you look at the best and the brightest of US companies, they are those that NEVER gave out dividends. DO NOT tell me about the mediocrities and the losers, I specifically restricted the above to the Overachievers and the Number One’s.

    There are a lot of excuses in favor of dividends, BUT if management knows what it is doing, the shareholder is far better off NOT being doubly taxed and NOT getting the STUPID dividend.

  33. Larry D. Says:

    I do not have access to this article, but the title is very intriguing. Bob Wilson et al, know anything about this?

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33. Here’s the first part of the article. I haven’t reached my monthly limit yet.

    “Tesla plans to introduce a new low-cost, long-life battery in the Model 3 sedan in China later this year or early next that it expects will bring the cost of electric vehicles in line with gasoline models, and allow EV batteries to have second and third lives in the electric power grid.

    For months, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been teasing investors, and rivals, with promises to reveal significant advances in battery technology during a “Battery Day” in late May.

    New, low-cost batteries designed to last for a million miles of use and enable electric Teslas to sell profitably for the same price or less than a gasoline vehicle are just part of Musk’s agenda, people familiar with the plans told Reuters.

    With a global fleet of more than 1 million EVs that are capable of connecting to and sharing power with the grid, Tesla’s goal is to achieve the status of a power company, competing with such traditional energy providers as Pacific Gas & Electric and Tokyo Electric Power, those sources said.

    The new “million mile” battery at the center of Tesla’s strategy was jointly developed with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology and deploys technology developed by Tesla in collaboration with a team of academic battery experts recruited by Musk, three people familiar with the effort said.”

  35. Brett Cammack Says:


    My general experience with dealerships is that they survive in spite of their sales operating practices, not because of them. I have a history of having to educate the sales personnel about the features and options on a vehicle I am interested as well as, frequently, what their current “ask” is on the car.

    Even if I tell them I’ve been “in the business” and know their games, they play them anyway.

    Your experience is not unusual from my perspective. I think Hanlon’s Razor applies, though.

  36. Larry D. Says:

    6, 10 Musk was too impatient and did not wait for battery costs to drop sufficiently before he came out with the outstanding Model S a LONG time ago (2012? 13?). If i was in his place, I would have WAITED. I am sure he knew battery costs would drop very steeply and fast the next 5 years after 2013.

    EVERY automaker gets a TON of help when they start a big plant in a state, esp when they did NOT have any plants there.

    CA was perfect for the kind of vehicle Tesla makes for many reasons, so it was in their OWN BEST INTEREST to give it incentives to make it, and why not make it THERE, if they pay them?

    HALF of all Tesla sales have been in CA. Their market is saturated with Teslas.

    CA wishes these vehicles were around in the terrible air quality days, the smog days of the 60s and 70s. MANY lives would have been saved, not to mention the god-awful air the living still had to breathe every day, esp in the LA area.