0:32 Tesla Reports 2017 Earnings
1:46 Ford Transit Connect Wagon Updates
3:30 Ford Turns KA Into a Crossover
4:13 New Ford Ranger Raptor
5:31 Kia Unveils SP Concept for India
6:13 New Mercedes Sprinter Details
On today’s show… Tesla is losing more money than ever before and its stock goes up on the news, we’ll explain why… Ford turns the dinky KA into a crossover… and Kia is copying Range Rover on the styling of its latest concept vehicle. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for people who are enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
TESLA REPORTS ITS EARNINGS
Tesla reported its year end earnings and it’s losing more money than ever, but that doesn’t matter as we’ll explain in a moment. Tesla’s operating loss got worse, much worse. It lost $1.6 billion. That’s 144% worse than the year before. It’s net loss was $2.2 billion, which is 189% worse. But here’s why that doesn’t matter to Tesla’s investors. Tesla sold nearly 107,000 cars last year, that’s up 39% from the year before. No other car company in the world is seeing that kind of increase in sales. It’s revenue hit $11.7 billion, up 68%, which again is like no other car company. And it’s gross profit shot up 39%. As long as Tesla keep posting strong growth in revenue and gross profits, its investors will stick with the company. And sure enough in overnight trading Tesla stock jumped 11% to $345 a share. Tesla claims it will turn consistently profitable this year, and if that happens, we think the stock is going to hit $500 a share.
|Tesla 2017 Earnings|
|Operating Loss||-$1.6 Billion||-144%|
|Net Loss||-$2.2 Billion||-189%|
FORD UPDATES TRANSIT CONNECT
Ford just updated the Transit Connect Wagon with two new powertrains, a 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 1.5L diesel, which will get at least 30 MPG on the highway. Both engines get an all-new 8-speed automatic. There are three trim levels and two wheel bases, for five or seven passengers. A new instrument panel gets an optional 6.5-inch touchscreen. 4G LTE comes standard, which provides Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices. There’s also new driver assist features, including standard Automatic Emergency Braking. The new Transit Connect Wagon goes on sale this fall. And the new version can’t come soon enough for dealers. Sales of the Transit Connect plunged 20% in 2017 and were down another 9% in January.
Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours this afternoon when our special guest will be Don Runkle who has an amazing automotive background, especially in advanced technology. Also joining us are Phoebe Howard from the Detroit Free Press and Chris Paukert from Road Show by CNET. And it all gets going at 3 pm eastern time as we bring you some of the best insights as to what’s going on in the automotive industry.
When is a car not a car? When they start calling it a crossover and that’s coming up next.
FORD GIVES KA SUV-INSPIRATION
Car buyers want crossovers and Ford is going to give it to them, even if it’s really a car. The KA+ Active is a dinky car with SUV-inspired styling like black cladding on the wheel wells, a suspension that was raised nearly an inch, unique chassis tuning, unique front grille designs and exclusive interior finishes. The rest of the KA lineup also gets updated styling and technology. Under the hood is an all-new 1.2L 3-cylinder gasoline engine and a 1.5L diesel. Both get mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The new KA goes on sale in Europe later this year.
RANGER GETS THE RAPTOR TREATMENT
Ford also just showed off a Raptor version of the Ranger in Thailand. Styling is instantly recognizable as a Raptor, but other highlights include a unique frame, wider front and rear tracks and big brakes. Fox Racing Shocks can be found in the front and rear, which helps raise ground clearance by a hefty 11-inches. Power comes from a 2.0L diesel engine that puts out a little over 200-horsepower and about 370 lb-ft of torque and is mated to the automaker’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. Ford says the Ranger Raptor will “turn heads throughout Asia Pacific and around the world.” Sounds to us that it will make its way Stateside as Ford’s answer to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR-2. It will just be interesting to see if it keeps its diesel engine when it does.
Did Kia copy Range Rover for its styling inspiration? We’ll show you what we mean, coming up next.
NEW KIA LOOKS LIKE A RANGE ROVER
Last week Kia teased a new SUV, called the SP Concept and the vehicle just made its debut at the Delhi AutoExpo in India. As you can see, the concept wears a more stylized version of the automaker’s Tiger Nose grille, which sure shows a strong influence from the Range Rover Velar, especially with the grille and headlight treatment. Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer says “It’s still a concept – so it’s a little bit exaggerated – but the actual production car will be very close to what you see here.” That vehicle will be specifically tailored to the Indian market and will help Kia kick off its first-ever sales in the country in the second half of 2019.
MERCEDES UNVEILS NEW SPRINTER VAN
Mercedes took the wraps off the new Sprinter. Available in front, rear or all-wheel drive, it’s powered by a range of gasoline and diesel engines. Every all-wheel drive model and all diesel rear-drive models are equipped with a seven-speed automatic. Front-drive models have the option for a nine-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. An electrified version of the Sprinter will be available in Europe next year, but the company hasn’t announced when it will launch in the U.S. There are more than 1,700 variants of the new model and it comes with a new infotainment system, driver assistance technology and connectivity features. The new Sprinter arrives in Europe this summer and goes on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.
And that brings us to the end of today’s show, 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.