0:29 FCA Management Changes
1:00 Tesla Blasts Roadster Into Orbit
2:05 Nissan Puts Snow Tracks on 370Z
2:42 Continental Teams w/ NVIDIA on AI
3:05 Continental Develops Rubber Horseshoe
3:51 GM Reports 2017 Earnings
On today’s show… FCA has big plans for Tim Kuniskis… Continental comes out with a new type of horseshoe… and Tesla gets ready to kick off the greatest automotive stunt of all time. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
FCA MANAGEMENT CHANGES
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is making some important management changes. Tim Kuniskis, the Head of Passenger Car Brands in North America, will now run Alfa Romeo and Maserati globally. Kuniskis is taking over those jobs from Reid Bigland, who will keep his position as Head of U.S. Sales and President and CEO of FCA Canada. Steve Beahm, the Head of Maserati North America, will replace Kuniskis as the Head of Passenger Car Brands in North America.
TESLA ROADSTER BLASTS INTO ORBIT
Electric cars can be really fast, but Elon Musk is about to blast one into orbit. For the maiden launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, it’s going to take a cherry-red Tesla Roadster with a dummy behind the wheel into space. The rocket will hit speeds of 7-miles per second or over 25,000 miles per hour and cover a distance of 250 million miles as it travels around Mars and the sun. The Roadster will play David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on repeat as it makes the trek, and that will get Tesla more publicity than a year’s worth of Super Bowl ads.
Why in the world is Continental working on a new type of horse shoe? That’s coming up next.
NISSAN 370Z TAKES TO THE SLOPES
Nissan likes to have fun and create “snowmobile” versions of its vehicles. In 2015, it replaced the tires on a Juke Nismo RS with four snow tracks. The year after that it did the same thing, but with the Pathfinder, Murano and Rogue. And now its created the 370Zki, a modified version of the 370Z. The convertible’s tires were replaced with two snow tracks at the rear and two skis up front. It looks pretty cool and should be a blast to drive. It’ll be on display at the Chicago Auto Show, which kicks off this week.
CONTINENTAL TEAMS W/ NVIDIA ON AI
Continental, the big supplier, is investing heavily in advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS. Now it’s partnering with NVIDIA to develop artificial intelligence systems for Level 2 through Level 5 cars. It will use NVIDIA’s DRIVE platform with the first market introduction of Level 3 features coming in 2021.
IT’S FOR A HORSE, OF COURSE
And yet, while Continental is working on very advanced technology, it’s also working on horse shoes. You heard me right. Conti is now selling rubber horseshoes that last for up to 8 weeks, will provide more cushion for the horse and improve its stride.
GM’s UAW workers woke up this morning to hear they’re getting a big fat profit sharing check and we’ll tell you how much they made right after this.
GM REPORTS 2017 EARNINGS
GM reported its earnings for last year. Based on its continuing operations, that is, not including part of the year when it still owned Opel, GM sold 8.9 million vehicles, up 100,000 vehicles from the year before. It’s revenue was over $145 billion, down $3.6 billion, and it posted an operating profit of $10 billion, up slightly. But it posted a net profit of only $300 million, down $8.9 billion, primarily due to tax changes. With tax reform in the United States, GM had to change its deferred tax assets to the tune of $7.3 billion. But if you strip away all the different one-time charges GM actually put in a pretty good performance and its UAW workers will get a profit sharing bonus of $11,750.
|General Motors Earnings, 2017|
|Revenue||$145.6 Billion||-$3.6 Billion|
|Oper. Profit||$10 Billion||+$100 Million|
|Net Profit||$300 Million||-$8.9 Billion|
And be sure to join us for Autoline After Hours this Thursday. John and the gang will be discussing powertrains because our special guest is auto industry veteran Don Runkle. He used to be the head of EcoMotors, the Vice Chairman and CTO of Delphi and the President of Energy and Engine Management at General Motors. So you know he’ll have a lot of great insight into new developments in powertrains. That’s this Thursday at 3PM eastern time on Autoline.tv.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.