0:28 Toyota & Mazda Establish Joint Venture
1:06 Toyota Helps Make Taxis More Efficient
1:47 BMW Sets Sales and Revenue Record
2:52 Nissan Reveals Sketch of the New Altima
3:12 Kia Teases the New K900
3:50 Highlights of the New Ram 1500
5:56 Does Lincoln Need to Expand Its Lineup?
On today’s show…Toyota and Mazda establish a manufacturing joint venture in the U.S… BMW posts its 8th consecutive year of profit growth…and does Lincoln need to expand its lineup? All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
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TOYOTA & MAZDA ESTABLISH JOINT VENTURE
Last year, Toyota and Mazda announced plans to build a new $1.6 billion manufacturing plant in the U.S., that will build 300,000 vehicles a year. And now we have some more details. The two companies have established a joint venture called Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., which will be located in Huntsville, Alabama. It will employ 4,000 workers and have the capacity to build 150,000 Toyota Corollas and 150,000 units of a new Mazda crossover. Construction of the new plant starts next year and production will kick off in 2021.
TOYOTA HELPS MAKE TAXIS MORE EFFICIENT
And in other Toyota news, the company, along with JapanTaxi, Accenture and the KDDI Corporation, have partnered up to make taxis more efficient. Last month they started testing a dispatch support system that uses artificial intelligence to help predict taxi demand. The goal is to help drivers provide more rides and reduces wait times for passengers. During the pilot, drivers using the system, have on average, seen sales increase 20%. That compares to all taxis, which have seen an average 9% increase. The companies plan to rollout the system for widespread use later in the year.
BMW SETS SALES AND REVENUE RECORD
BMW reported its earnings for 2017 and it was another record year for the company, the 8th in a row. The company sold 2.5 million vehicles worldwide, including MINI and Rolls-Royce, which is up 4% compared to the prior year. That helped push its revenue to nearly 100 billion euros, a gain of about 5%. Its earnings before interest and taxes reached nearly 10 billion euros, a 5% gain. And its net revenue soared 26%, to 8.7 billion euros. And thanks to several new vehicle introductions, BMW expects sales to continue to rise this year.
|BMW 2017 EARNINGS|
|Net Profit||€8.7 B||+26%|
Still to come…Nissan teases the new Altima and Kia gives a glimpse of the new K900.
NISSAN REVEALS SKETCH OF THE NEW ALTIMA
Sedan sales may be falling, but they’re still an important part of automaker’s lineups and we’ll see two make their world debuts soon. Nissan is showing off this sketch of the all-new 6th-gen Altima, which will debut in New York later this month. The automaker says it also hints at the future of Nissan’s sedan design language.
KIA TEASES THE NEW K900
And Kia will reveal the new K900. It teased a profile pic last month, but is giving a much clearer view of its flagship sedan. The vehicle was designed at both the automaker’s studios in Korea and California. The grille design has what Kia calls a “Quadric pattern” and features 176 jewel-like cells. You may also notice the lighting signature in the front headlamps is mimicked in the tail lights, which also share a strong resemblance with previous Mercedes models. The new K900 goes on sale in select global markets in the second quarter of this year.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW RAM 1500
I got my first chance to drive the new Ram truck the other day and while my driving impressions are embargoed until next week, here are some of the things I think are important. The wheelbase has been increased about 4-inches, which makes for a pretty spacious rear seating area and the rear seat itself is now able to recline. The new truck is up to 225-pounds lighter thanks, in part, to its mixed materials strategy. As you can see in this video, the frame uses a lot of advanced high-strength steel. And the front of the frame rails splay out to help improve performance in a small overlap crash. You’ll also note steel bars mounted to the frame, behind the front wheels to keep the wheels from penetrating into the cabin. We only drove the regular V8 engine because the 48-volt version won’t come out until later this year. The V6 comes standard with 48-volt system and will follow after the V8 version. For the diesel Ram? You’ll have to wait until 2019. The new Ram will start at a little over $33,000 including destination charges, while a top-of-the-line Limited starts at about $59,000.
Does Lincoln need more vehicles in its lineup? We’ll look into that, coming up next.
DOES LINCOLN NEED TO EXPAND ITS LINEUP?
The German luxury brands have a vehicle for just about every niche in the market. Lincoln on the other hand has only six vehicles in its lineup. So, does the company have any plans to add more vehicles to its portfolio? On Autoline This Week, Kumar Galhotra, the President of Ford North America talked about whether or not it makes sense for the company to expand its lineup.
(The ATW preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and have a great weekend. We’ll see you again on Monday.
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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.