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0:06 Nissan Blames Former CEO for Poor Performance
0:44 GM Preparing for a Downturn
1:24 Maserati to Get BMW AV Technology
2:06 Citroen Creates Autonomous, Long Distance EV
2:33 Kia Teases All-New Small SUV
3:01 1939 Porsche Type 64 Headed to Auction
3:57 Skoda Superb to Feature LED Matrix Headlamps
4:29 2019 Mustang GT350 Details & Impressions
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This is Autoline Daily reporting on the global automotive industry.
NISSAN BLAMES FORMER CEO FOR POOR PERFORMANCE
Nissan reported that its net profit plummeted 57% in the fiscal year it just wrapped up. That was way worse than analysts were expecting. Even more troubling, Nissan predicts its profit will drop another 28% in its current fiscal year. Not surprisingly, Nissan is blaming former CEO Carlos Ghosn. The company has an old product line and focused too heavily on fleet sales in a mad dash to boost market share. This is going to hurt Renault too. As the major investor in the Japanese automaker, it gets 43% of Nissan’ profits.
GM PREPARING FOR A DOWNTURN
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that GM is preparing itself for a downturn. Even if sales dropped 25% over a 2-year period the company would still be profitable, although profits could drop as much as 70%. That means the SAAR could drop to 12.7 million and GM would still be profitable. But to show you just how much the company relies on pickups and SUVs, its EBIT would drop by half a billion dollars for every percentage point of market share, if customers started shifting away from those trucks and bought CUVs and passenger cars instead.
MASERATI TO GET BMW AV TECHNOLOGY
Two years ago, FCA joined a consortium led by BMW to develop Level 2 and Level 3 automated driving technology. Fiat Chairman John Elkann says Maserati will be the first FCA brand to get the technology. No wonder. Maserati needs all the help it can get. Sales plunged 30% and profits plummeted 87%.
CITROEN CREATES AUTONOMOUS, LONG DISTANCE EV
Citroen unveiled a wild looking autonomous concept called the 19_19. It’s fully electric with a range of 497 miles or 800 kilometers. It features a spacious interior which has been designed to accommodate passengers while it’s in self-driving mode. The 19_19 Concept makes its official debut later this week at VivaTech in Paris.
KIA TEASES NEW SMALL SUV
Kia’s lineup was light on SUVs but it recently introduced the full-size Telluride and now it’s showing off a couple of sketches of an upcoming, compact SUV at the opposite end of the spectrum. The design of the yet-to-be-named model was inspired by the Kia SP Signature Concept. The new SUV will debut this summer and go on sale in Korea later this year with global markets to follow after that.
1939 PORSCHE TYPE 64 HEADED TO AUCTION
Auction house RM Sotheby’s is going to sell one of the rarest Porsche race cars of all time and has provided some amazing pictures. The 1939 Type 64 was made for a 1,500-kilometer race between Berlin and Rome. It was based on the KdF-Wagen and shares its drivetrain and suspension with the Type 1 Volkswagen, but the engine was tuned to 32-horsepower and it features a riveted aluminum body. However, the race was canceled due to World War II and this car likely only survived because it was used as a personal family car by Ferry and Ferdinand Porsche. Follow the link to learn more about the Type 64. It’s a very interesting car.
SKODA SUPERB TO FEATURE LED MATRIX HEADLAMPS
Audi’s LED Matrix headlights, which won’t blind other drivers and can help see around corners, are starting to trickle down into the non-luxury brands within the Volkswagen Group. The soon-to-be-updated SUPERB will be the first Skoda model to feature the headlights when it’s revealed later this month. It will also have LED sequential turn signals. But remember, these headlamps are expensive. Replacing one Audi headlamp at the dealership can set you back $3,000.
2019 MUSTANG GT350 DETAILS AND IMPRESSIONS
We’re finally able to go public with the specs on the 2019 Mustang GT 350 and all we can say is, “What a beast!” Not only does it look mean, it is mean. Under the hood is a 5-liter naturally aspirated V8 that cranks out 526 horsepower and 429 pound feet of torque. It features 4 valves per cylinder with twin independent variable camshafts. Redline is 8,250 rpm. And the sound is unlike anything else thanks to its forged-steel, flat-plane crank.
The car bristles with aerodynamic tweaks for those who will take it to the track, you can get more downforce by adding a Gurney flap to the rear wing. It sits on gigantic Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. 295/35s up front, 305/35s in the rear. It has 19 inch wheels to provide enough clearance for its massive aluminum, 6-piston rotors: 15.5 inch up front, 15 inch at the rear.
The car is a pleasure to drive. It’s visceral, constantly urging you to feed in more power. It sticks like glue, stops on a dime, and explodes out of corners. Best of all, the auditory feedback is phenomenal. A nice burble at idle, a raucous roar as you open it up, and a spine tingling cacophony of back pressure when you lift off the throttle.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. We are living through the Golden Age of Performance. And as we wrap up today’s report we’ll leave you with that pleasant thought.
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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.