Newly-formed Stellantis, a combination of Peugeot-maker PSA and Fiat Chrysler (FCA), wants to use its clout to take on rivals racing to produce more electric vehicles, Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday. Stellantis is now the world’s fourth largest carmaker, with 14 brands including Opel, Jeep, Ram and Maserati, and like its peers, it is grappling with a shortage of semiconductors and investments in electric vehicles. Low global car inventories and cost cuts should help boost profit margins this year, though the carmaker is also looking beyond savings, Tavares said.
Ford needs to pay more attention to its bottom line, CEO Jim Farley says. “We’re not competitive yet on costs,” Farley observes… citing the $1 billion to $2 billion the automaker is spending on warranty costs as one of the areas in which Ford needs to improve. At the same time, Ford is restructuring its chronically money-losing South American operations to create a more viable business model. It also is overhauling its business in China to become more competitive. Farley says all of these efforts are part of Ford’s goal of reaching an 8% profit margin from the company’s far-flung operations.
Some of the nation’s biggest dealership groups expect service and parts business, especially body shop and collision repair, to recover in the second half of this year, as consumers begin to drive more. “The forecast for 2021 is definitely heavier weighted on the second half,” says Jeff Dyke, president of Sonic Automotive, in a phone interview. “As the vaccine gets out, and people get more comfortable with traveling, we’re going to have people back on the road again.”
Nikola Corp. is dialing back projected output of its first commercial zero-emission vehicles and said an internal review of claims about its technology concluded the startup and its founder made several inaccurate statements -- marking a break with the company’s previous denials of misleading communications with the public.
Source: Automotive News
Ford Motor Co.'s production in Europe will continue to be affected by the global semiconductor shortage until late in the second quarter, said the automaker's regional boss, Stuart Rowley. The shortage will stop production at Ford's factory in Saarlouis, Germany, where it builds the Focus compact car, for five weeks Rowley told Automotive News Europe. "That is a huge impact on our operations," he said.
Jaguar Land Rover loses more than 100,000 sales annually due to customer perception of quality issues with its models, CEO Thierry Bollore said. JLR has long struggled to have the same quality standards as its rivals, but the company has made "dramatic improvements" on reliability recently, Bollore told investors on a call on Friday. "The dissatisfaction of our customers was really detrimental to our natural volume. The missed opportunities today are massive," he said. "It's more than 100,000 healthy sales that we could perform."
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pleaded guilty on Monday to charges it conspired with company executives to make illegal, lavish gifts to United Auto Workers (UAW) leaders and undermined workers’ confidence in collective bargaining. The U.S. unit of the Italian-American automaker, which is now part of Stellantis NV, said in January it reached agreement with U.S. prosecutors to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and pay a $30 million fine.
General Motors’ pivot to become an all-electric vehicle company by 2035 is starting to take shape as the automaker prepares to release two Chevrolet Bolt models this summer ahead of a flagship $113,000 GMC Hummer EV pickup later in the year. The all-electric Bolts – a redesigned hatchback and a new crossover – will both start at under $34,000. They are the beginning of what GM hopes will eventually be a full lineup of “affordable” EVs as the company builds scale to reduce costs of its next-generation electric vehicles such as the Hummer with new battery systems and platforms.
Toyota's decision to add at least a third plug-in hybrid nameplate to its U.S. lineup next year bucks an industry trend that has seen other automakers pull back their PHEV offerings as full battery-electric vehicles proliferate. The industry fall-off in plug-ins might be because of the vehicles' added cost and complexity or the fact that regulators don't seem to value them as much as full BEVs. But Toyota, sticking to its pioneering hybrid technology, sees plug-ins as part of a broader overall strategy that seeks to cut carbon emissions sooner before full EV charging infrastructure is in place.
The shortage in semiconductor chips used in new vehicle parts is going to cost the automakers dearly this quarter and is likely not to be recouped this year. According to global consulting firm AlixPartners in Southfield, the present chip shortages could cost the global auto industry $14.3 billion, or more, in revenues in the first quarter and $60.6 billion for the year. It did not break out the estimated revenue hits by company.
Source: Detroit Free Press
Now it’s Generation Z’s turn in the barrel as young people facing life’s rolling challenges, economic and otherwise. It could affect their car-buying behavior, says Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s chief futurist. Two generations before Gen Z (people born between 1996 to 2009), many Generation Xers (1965-1979) came of age during economic down times, and consequently had trouble landing work. Because of that, they unduly got branded as “slackers.” But as they aged, times got better. They acquired more wherewithal. Now, automakers, including luxury brands, avidly pitch vehicles to the so-called slacker generation.
Stellantis NV expects profitability and vehicle sales to improve in its first year of operations following the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and PSA Group. Adjusted operating income margin should rise to between 5.5% and 7.5%, up from 5.3% last year, Stellantis said Wednesday in a statement. Both Fiat and PSA beat targets for last year. The company is “focused on achieving the full promised synergies,” Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares said in the statement. About 80% of the targeted 5 billion euros ($6 billion) in annual savings are expected at the end of 2024, according to a presentation.
General Motors Co said on Wednesday it was further extending production cuts at three North American plants and adding a fourth to the list of factories hit by the global semiconductor chip shortage. The extended cuts do not change GM’s forecast last month that the shortage could shave up to $2 billion from this year’s earnings. GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson subsequently said chip supplies should return to normal rates by the second half of the year and he was confident the profit hit would not worsen.
General Motors Co. is looking to build a second battery factory in the U.S. with joint-venture partner LG Chem Ltd., the latest move in the Detroit auto maker’s efforts to expand its investment in electric vehicles. A GM spokesman confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that the companies are exploring building a second battery-cell plant and said a decision could come in the first half of this year. GM and LG are closeV to completing a decision to locate the plant in Tennessee, said people familiar with the matter. A final selection hasn’t yet been made, the people said.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
A large global recall of electric vehicles has led Hyundai Motor Co to sharply revise down fourth-quarter operating profit, although reports said battery maker LG Chem Ltd would bear the bulk of the costs. LG will assume 70% of the estimated $900 million costs to replace battery systems in some 82,000 electric vehicles globally, according to Yonhap news agency and other South Korean media. But Cho Hyun-ryul, an analyst at Samsung Securities, said he estimated LG’s burden was slightly lower at 62% of the costs.
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