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0:15 GM Posts Mixed 2018 Earnings
1:32 Pickup War Heating Up
2:25 Toyota & Nissan Get Left Behind in Pickup War
3:04 Chevy Reveals Heavy-Duty Silverado
4:22 Are Passenger Car Sales Finally Bottoming Out?
5:34 Renault-Nissan & Waymo Partner on AVs
6:05 Brose Power Liftgate
6:38 Is This Rivian’s Design Inspiration?
This is Autoline Daily reporting on the global automotive industry.
Hi I’m Sean McElroy. It’s February 6th, 2019. And now the news.
GM POSTS MIXED 2018 EARNINGS
GM posted its year-end earnings for 2018 and its UAW employees will be rejoicing. They’re going to get profit sharing checks of $10,750, on average. That’s thanks to the fact that GM earned a $10.8 billion EBIT profit in North America. On a global basis, GM earned $147 billion in revenue, up only 1% and it posted a net profit of $8.1 billion, meaning its profit margin was only 5.5%. GM sold 8.3 million vehicles, down from 9.6 million the year before. While the big drop mainly comes from GM selling off Opel, it actually saw its sales decline in every region of the world, except South America. Here’s our Autoline Insight. Overall, these numbers don’t look that good. But considering that GM was able to raise its revenue despite selling 1.3 million fewer vehicles is impressive. Also, its net profit was reduced by $2.5 billion in restructuring costs that are largely behind it. So we should see a big jump in profitability going forward.
PICKUP WAR HEATING UP
The pickup war is really heating up. Last month Ram outsold the Chevrolet Silverado. Even worse for GM, sales of the Silverado fell nearly 23% last month, while the Ram was up 20%. That has got to send shivers throughout GM, because FCA, by dropping the Chrysler 200 and converting its Sterling Heights plant to make trucks, now has enough manufacturing capacity for the Ram to outsell the Silverado for the entire year. GM can still claim leadership over Ram by including sales of the GMC Sierra. But GM never planned on having the new Silverado fall to third place. It seems that truck buyers really like the styling and design appointments of the Ram, especially that big screen in the middle of the center stack.
TOYOTA & NISSAN GET LEFT BEHIND IN PICKUP WAR
And yet, the Silverado isn’t the only pickup that’s struggling. Sales of the Nissan Titan are absolutely plummeting and the Toyota Tundra just never caught on. Meanwhile, the Ford F-Series continues to dominate the segment. But we have a word of warning for Ford. FCA does not plan to settle for second place.
|U.S. PICKUP SALES, JANUARY 2019|
And speaking of trucks, coming up next, a look at the new heavy-duty version of the Silverado.
CHEVY REVEALS HEAVY-DUTY SILVERADO
Chevrolet revealed more details about the heavy-duty version of the Silverado and here are some of the highlights. The truck is longer, wider and taller than the outgoing model and comes in five trim levels Work Truck, Custom, which is all-new, LT, LTZ and High Country. Each trim has is own unique front-end styling and all can be had as a dually. Under the hood is a new 6.6L V8 gas engine with direct injection, also a first for the heavy-duty truck. It puts out 400-horsepower, a little over 460 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 6-speed transmission. Or customers can choose the Duramax diesel 6.6L with 910 lb-ft of torque, which is mated to an Allison 10-speed automatic. Maximum towing is rated at 35,000 pounds, but Chevy notes that every dually model will be able to tow in excess of 30,000 pounds. When it comes to technology, the new heavy duty has up to 15 camera views available, including the invisible trailer view we recently reported on. We’ll have more to report on the Silverado HD in the coming days, which is slated to go on sale in the summer.
ARE PASSENGER CAR SALES FINALLY BOTTOMING OUT?
Even though there’s so much focus on trucks, could the drop-in sales of passenger cars finally be bottoming out? Last month sales of pass cars in the US market fell by 17,000 cars, a drop of 4.7%. That’s one of the smallest drops we’ve seen in years, and it could be an indicator that the bottom is coming into sight.
Will piston engines be around for decades to come or are electrics about to take over? That’s the topic on Autoline After Hours this Thursday. Our guest will be Brett Smith, who is a powertrain expert from the Center for Automotive Research. So, if you have any questions for the panel, just send them our way to viewermail@autoline,tv or hit us up on social media.
Still to come, did the styling inspiration for the Rivian EVs come from a 1960 Edsel?
RENAULT-NISSAN & WAYMO PARTNER ON AVs
Google’s autonomous vehicle unit, Waymo has partnered with FCA and Jaguar Land Rover to supply it with vehicles. And now Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reports that Renault-Nissan and Waymo will jointly develop autonomous taxis based on Nissan’s cars as well as a system to handle payments and reservations. The tie-up isn’t official yet but a formal announcement could happen this spring. Officially, Nissan says this report is based on speculation, but it did not deny the story.
BROSE POWER LIFTGATE
As you know, we like to cover the technological innovations coming out of the supplier industry. In the not too distant past, the mechanisms to automatically open the tailgates on SUVs and crossovers were big and clunky. But the supplier Brose has come with a solution that integrates the lift arms right into the struts. They use a screw mechanism to open and close the liftgates. Not only is it a much more elegant design, it helps create a larger opening with more space and easier access to the luggage area.
IS THIS RIVIAN’S DESIGN INSPIRATION?
We want to thank Autoline Daily viewer Al Rich who thinks he figured out where Rivian got the inspiration for the front-end styling on its electric pickup truck and SUV. He sent us this picture of a 1960 Edsel Ranger and sure enough, those vertical taillights sure are reminiscent of the vertical headlamps that Rivian is using. By the way, we love getting interesting pictures from our viewers. So if you’ve got something worth pointing out, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
But that wraps up today’s report, 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.