• Popular Stories

  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      FCA US Reports March 2017 U.S. Sales
      Dodge brand sales up 10 percent; four Dodge brand vehicles post sales gains Ram Truck brand sales up 6 percent; Ram pickup sales increase 6 percent year over year Jeep® Grand Cherokee sales increase 22 percent compared with same month a year ago Fiat 500 sales up 12 percent for the month April 3, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported U.S. sales of 190,254 units, a 5 percent decrease compared with sales in March 2016 (199,467 units).
       
      In March, fleet sales of 43,992 units were down 15 percent year over year as FCA US continues its strategy of reducing its sales to the daily rental segment. Fleet sales represented 23 percent of total FCA US sales in March. FCA US retail sales of 146,262 units were down 1 percent for the month, and represented 77 percent of total March sales.
       
      Dodge brand and Ram Truck brand sales increased year over year in March. Dodge brand sales were up 10 percent, led by the 100 percent increase in Dodge Journey crossover sales. Ram Truck brand sales were up 6 percent in March as the Ram pickup and Ram ProMaster van each posted year-over-year sales gains. Sales of the Jeep® Grand Cherokee – the Jeep brand’s volume leader in March – were up 22 percent compared with the same month in 2016. Sales of the Fiat 500 and the all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan increased year over year as well in the month.
      Dodge Brand
      Four Dodge brand vehicles posted year-over-year sales increases in March, led by the Dodge Journey crossover’s 100 percent sales gain. Sales of the Dodge Challenger were up 17 percent in March. The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon – the Dodge brand’s new ultimate performance halo car – will be unveiled this month during the 2017 New York International Auto Show week. The Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and the Dodge Viper also turned in year-over-year sales gains for the month. Dodge brand sales were up 10 percent compared with the same month in 2016.
       
      Ram Truck Brand
      Ram pickup truck sales increased 6 percent in March, compared with the same month a year ago. In addition, sales of the Ram ProMaster van were up 24 percent for the month. Ram Truck brand sales, which include the pickup, ProMaster and ProMaster City, were up 6 percent in March. The brand last month unveiled a new exterior color shade for its luxurious and capable Laramie Longhorn line of pickup trucks. RV Match Walnut Brown will serve as the model’s new two-tone contrast color, replacing White Gold. The Ram Laramie Longhorn is the Texas Auto Writers Association’s Luxury Truck of Texas.
       
      FIAT Brand
      Sales of the Fiat 500 increased 12 percent in March, compared with the same month a year ago. Fiat 124 Spider sales were up 39 percent compared with the previous month of February. Experts at Cars.com consider the all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider best in its segment, naming it the “Best New Convertible” of 2017.
       
      Jeep® Brand
      The Jeep Grand Cherokee – the brand’s volume leader for the month – recorded a 22 percent year-over-year sales increase in March for its best sales month this year. The all-new 2017 Jeep Compass – the most capable compact SUV ever with the most advanced 4x4 systems in its class – began shipping to Jeep dealerships in March. The new Compass expands the Jeep brand’s global reach with an unmatched combination of attributes that includes legendary and best-in-class 4x4 off-road capability, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, premium and authentic Jeep design, superior on-road driving dynamics, open-air freedom, and a host of innovative safety and advanced technology offerings.
       
      Chrysler Brand
      Sales of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – were up in its third month of year-over-year comparisons, and increased 3 percent compared with sales in the previous month of February. March also was the Pacifica’s best sales month so far this year. The Pacifica continues to earn a plethora of awards and accolades in 2017, landing on Kelley Blue Book’s list of the “12 Best Family Cars of 2017” in the best minivans category, and “2017 North American Utility of the Year.”
       
      Alfa Romeo Brand
      Alfa Romeo brand sales of 555 units were up 1,191 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
       
      Maserati Brand
      Maserati brand sales of 1,312 units were up 32 percent compared with the same month in 2016.
      U.S. Sales Summary March 2017
                      Month Sales
      Vol %
      CYTD Sales
      Vol %
      Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Compass
      2,651
      7,823
      -66%
      8,552
      22,987
      -63%
      Patriot
      5,968
      9,264
      -36%
      16,180
      29,211
      -45%
      Wrangler
      16,336
      17,586
      -7%
      41,311
      41,922
      -1%
      Cherokee
      14,589
      16,302
      -11%
      40,755
      48,438
      -16%
      Grand Cherokee
      20,374
      16,693
      22%
      56,600
      47,658
      19%
      Renegade
      8,065
      8,872
      -9%
      25,345
      22,154
      14%
      JEEP BRAND
      67,983
      76,540
      -11%
      188,743
      212,370
      -11%
      200
      2,565
      4,971
      -48%
      6,620
      15,915
      -58%
      300
      4,969
      6,172
      -19%
      15,063
      17,141
      -12%
      Town & Country
      95
      14,200
      -99%
      341
      37,228
      -99%
      Pacifica
      9,340
      30
      New
      25,052
      140
      New
      CHRYSLER BRAND
      16,969
      25,373
      -33%
      47,076
      70,424
      -33%
      Dart
      1,578
      5,137
      -69%
      4,658
      16,241
      -71%
      Avenger
      0
      8
      -100%
      0
      23
      -100%
      Charger
      8,236
      8,798
      -6%
      22,319
      26,345
      -15%
      Challenger
      6,225
      5,325
      17%
      15,725
      16,128
      -2%
      Viper
      71
      65
      9%
      178
      137
      30%
      Journey
      11,858
      5,931
      100%
      34,400
      23,892
      44%
      Caravan
      15,602
      13,124
      19%
      40,054
      38,057
      5%
      Durango
      6,506
      7,241
      -10%
      16,729
      20,093
      -17%
      DODGE  BRAND
      50,076
      45,629
      10%
      134,063
      140,916
      -5%
      Ram P/U
      46,384
      43,647
      6%
      119,199
      113,298
      5%
      Cargo Van
      0
      1
      -100%
      0
      3
      -100%
      ProMaster Van
      4,048
      3,263
      24%
      10,047
      8,302
      21%
      ProMaster City
      1,317
      1,886
      -30%
      3,333
      4,551
      -27%
      RAM BRAND
      51,749
      48,797
      6%
      132,579
      126,154
      5%
      Giulia
      484
      0
      New
      966
      0
      New
      Alfa 4C 
      71
      43
      65%
      140
      158
      -11%
      ALFA BRAND
      555
      43
      1191%
      1,106
      158
      600%
      500
      1,671
      1,494
      12%
      4,020
      3,595
      12%
      500L
      106
      535
      -80%
      284
      1,262
      -77%
      500X
      726
      1,056
      -31%
      1,966
      3,258
      -40%
      Spider
      419
      0
      New
      961
      0
      New
      FIAT BRAND
      2,922
      3,085
      -5%
      7,231
      8,115
      -11%
      TOTAL FCA US LLC
      190,254
      199,467
      -5%
      510,798
      558,137
      -8%
          Total Car & MPV
      51,432
      59,902
      -14%
      136,381
      172,370
      -21%
          Total UV's
      87,073
      90,768
      -4%
      241,838
      259,613
      -7%
          Total Truck & LCV
      51,749
      48,797
      6%
      132,579
      126,154
      5%
                    MASERATI BRAND
      1,312
      997
      32%
      3,288
      2,250
      46%
                 
    • By William Maley
      FCA US Reports March 2017 U.S. Sales
      Dodge brand sales up 10 percent; four Dodge brand vehicles post sales gains Ram Truck brand sales up 6 percent; Ram pickup sales increase 6 percent year over year Jeep® Grand Cherokee sales increase 22 percent compared with same month a year ago Fiat 500 sales up 12 percent for the month April 3, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported U.S. sales of 190,254 units, a 5 percent decrease compared with sales in March 2016 (199,467 units).
       
      In March, fleet sales of 43,992 units were down 15 percent year over year as FCA US continues its strategy of reducing its sales to the daily rental segment. Fleet sales represented 23 percent of total FCA US sales in March. FCA US retail sales of 146,262 units were down 1 percent for the month, and represented 77 percent of total March sales.
       
      Dodge brand and Ram Truck brand sales increased year over year in March. Dodge brand sales were up 10 percent, led by the 100 percent increase in Dodge Journey crossover sales. Ram Truck brand sales were up 6 percent in March as the Ram pickup and Ram ProMaster van each posted year-over-year sales gains. Sales of the Jeep® Grand Cherokee – the Jeep brand’s volume leader in March – were up 22 percent compared with the same month in 2016. Sales of the Fiat 500 and the all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan increased year over year as well in the month.
      Dodge Brand
      Four Dodge brand vehicles posted year-over-year sales increases in March, led by the Dodge Journey crossover’s 100 percent sales gain. Sales of the Dodge Challenger were up 17 percent in March. The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon – the Dodge brand’s new ultimate performance halo car – will be unveiled this month during the 2017 New York International Auto Show week. The Dodge Grand Caravan minivan and the Dodge Viper also turned in year-over-year sales gains for the month. Dodge brand sales were up 10 percent compared with the same month in 2016.
       
      Ram Truck Brand
      Ram pickup truck sales increased 6 percent in March, compared with the same month a year ago. In addition, sales of the Ram ProMaster van were up 24 percent for the month. Ram Truck brand sales, which include the pickup, ProMaster and ProMaster City, were up 6 percent in March. The brand last month unveiled a new exterior color shade for its luxurious and capable Laramie Longhorn line of pickup trucks. RV Match Walnut Brown will serve as the model’s new two-tone contrast color, replacing White Gold. The Ram Laramie Longhorn is the Texas Auto Writers Association’s Luxury Truck of Texas.
       
      FIAT Brand
      Sales of the Fiat 500 increased 12 percent in March, compared with the same month a year ago. Fiat 124 Spider sales were up 39 percent compared with the previous month of February. Experts at Cars.com consider the all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider best in its segment, naming it the “Best New Convertible” of 2017.
       
      Jeep® Brand
      The Jeep Grand Cherokee – the brand’s volume leader for the month – recorded a 22 percent year-over-year sales increase in March for its best sales month this year. The all-new 2017 Jeep Compass – the most capable compact SUV ever with the most advanced 4x4 systems in its class – began shipping to Jeep dealerships in March. The new Compass expands the Jeep brand’s global reach with an unmatched combination of attributes that includes legendary and best-in-class 4x4 off-road capability, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, premium and authentic Jeep design, superior on-road driving dynamics, open-air freedom, and a host of innovative safety and advanced technology offerings.
       
      Chrysler Brand
      Sales of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – were up in its third month of year-over-year comparisons, and increased 3 percent compared with sales in the previous month of February. March also was the Pacifica’s best sales month so far this year. The Pacifica continues to earn a plethora of awards and accolades in 2017, landing on Kelley Blue Book’s list of the “12 Best Family Cars of 2017” in the best minivans category, and “2017 North American Utility of the Year.”
       
      Alfa Romeo Brand
      Alfa Romeo brand sales of 555 units were up 1,191 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
       
      Maserati Brand
      Maserati brand sales of 1,312 units were up 32 percent compared with the same month in 2016.
      U.S. Sales Summary March 2017
                      Month Sales
      Vol %
      CYTD Sales
      Vol %
      Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Compass
      2,651
      7,823
      -66%
      8,552
      22,987
      -63%
      Patriot
      5,968
      9,264
      -36%
      16,180
      29,211
      -45%
      Wrangler
      16,336
      17,586
      -7%
      41,311
      41,922
      -1%
      Cherokee
      14,589
      16,302
      -11%
      40,755
      48,438
      -16%
      Grand Cherokee
      20,374
      16,693
      22%
      56,600
      47,658
      19%
      Renegade
      8,065
      8,872
      -9%
      25,345
      22,154
      14%
      JEEP BRAND
      67,983
      76,540
      -11%
      188,743
      212,370
      -11%
      200
      2,565
      4,971
      -48%
      6,620
      15,915
      -58%
      300
      4,969
      6,172
      -19%
      15,063
      17,141
      -12%
      Town & Country
      95
      14,200
      -99%
      341
      37,228
      -99%
      Pacifica
      9,340
      30
      New
      25,052
      140
      New
      CHRYSLER BRAND
      16,969
      25,373
      -33%
      47,076
      70,424
      -33%
      Dart
      1,578
      5,137
      -69%
      4,658
      16,241
      -71%
      Avenger
      0
      8
      -100%
      0
      23
      -100%
      Charger
      8,236
      8,798
      -6%
      22,319
      26,345
      -15%
      Challenger
      6,225
      5,325
      17%
      15,725
      16,128
      -2%
      Viper
      71
      65
      9%
      178
      137
      30%
      Journey
      11,858
      5,931
      100%
      34,400
      23,892
      44%
      Caravan
      15,602
      13,124
      19%
      40,054
      38,057
      5%
      Durango
      6,506
      7,241
      -10%
      16,729
      20,093
      -17%
      DODGE  BRAND
      50,076
      45,629
      10%
      134,063
      140,916
      -5%
      Ram P/U
      46,384
      43,647
      6%
      119,199
      113,298
      5%
      Cargo Van
      0
      1
      -100%
      0
      3
      -100%
      ProMaster Van
      4,048
      3,263
      24%
      10,047
      8,302
      21%
      ProMaster City
      1,317
      1,886
      -30%
      3,333
      4,551
      -27%
      RAM BRAND
      51,749
      48,797
      6%
      132,579
      126,154
      5%
      Giulia
      484
      0
      New
      966
      0
      New
      Alfa 4C 
      71
      43
      65%
      140
      158
      -11%
      ALFA BRAND
      555
      43
      1191%
      1,106
      158
      600%
      500
      1,671
      1,494
      12%
      4,020
      3,595
      12%
      500L
      106
      535
      -80%
      284
      1,262
      -77%
      500X
      726
      1,056
      -31%
      1,966
      3,258
      -40%
      Spider
      419
      0
      New
      961
      0
      New
      FIAT BRAND
      2,922
      3,085
      -5%
      7,231
      8,115
      -11%
      TOTAL FCA US LLC
      190,254
      199,467
      -5%
      510,798
      558,137
      -8%
          Total Car & MPV
      51,432
      59,902
      -14%
      136,381
      172,370
      -21%
          Total UV's
      87,073
      90,768
      -4%
      241,838
      259,613
      -7%
          Total Truck & LCV
      51,749
      48,797
      6%
      132,579
      126,154
      5%
                    MASERATI BRAND
      1,312
      997
      32%
      3,288
      2,250
      46%
                 
    • By William Maley
      Last week saw the PSA Group (parent company of Citroen and Peugeot) purchasing Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors for $2.3 billion. This move would make the PSA Group the second-largest automaker in Europe. We already know some of the plans that PSA Group has for their new brands such as setting operating profit targets of 2 percent in 2020 (jumps to 6 percent by 2026) and the next-generation Opel/Vauxhall Corsa being the first new product developed with PSA. But as we alluded to in the original news story, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered such as possible job cuts or what happens to Buick and Holden as they share products with Opel. I have been doing a bit of thinking on these and some other questions. The end result is this piece.
      1: Will there be job cuts and plant closures?
      In 2016, PSA Group employed 172,000 people worldwide. With the acquisition of Opel and Vauxhall, they will be adding close to 42,000 workers (the majority of those from Opel). The number of plants will also increase to 28 due to this purchase. Sooner or later, PSA Group is going have to make cuts. During the press conference announcing the deal, PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares said the company “would honor existing labor agreements and closing plants is a “simplistic” solution.” That may be true for now, but this might change within the coming years. Some analysts believe PSA Group will close two to three plants within five years.
      The most likely place where the closures and layoffs could take place is in Great Britain. The reason as we talked about in a story back in February deals with the decision made by British citizens last year with leaving the European Union.
      “By leaving, the country would lose access to the EU Single Market which guarantees unconstrained trade across the member states. It would mean various countries would be leveraging tariffs on British-made goods, making production in the country less competitive.”
      Former British member of parliament and business secretary Sir Vincent Cable outlined how bad this decision looks for Vauxhall in a recent interview on BBC Radio 4.
      There could be a way that the British Government could at least stall the possible closures. Back in October, the British Government worked out a secret deal with Nissan to keep them investing in British car production at their plant in Sunderland. This deal caused an uproar as the details were kept as many believed the British Government would be handing over money to keep Nissan happy. But sources told British newspaper The Independent back in January that the deal had no mention of money.
      It could be that the British Government could do something similar for PSA Group to keep jobs, but it is too early to say if this will happen or not.
      2: Will this affect PSA’s plans of entering the U.S.?
      Probably not. Let’s remember that PSA Group is working through a ten-year plan that may or may not see the return of the Citroen and Peugeot, along with the introduction of DS to the country. Already, the first part of this plan is gearing up for the launch of a car sharing service next month. There is also extensive research going on into the U.S. marketplace. 
      But could there be a possibility of Opel or Vauxhall vehicles being sold here? It would not be surprising if there isn’t talk about this at PSA Group’s HQ. But there is a slight complication to this idea. As part of the sale, PSA Group cannot sell any Opel vehicles developed by GM anywhere in various markets outside of Europe (China and U.S. for example) until they transition to PSA platforms. That means a number of models such as the Astra, Insignia, and Mokka are out of the question for the time being. If Opel was chosen to be one of the brands PSA would sell in the U.S., they might not have a full line of vehicles to sell due to this clause.
      3: What does the future hold for Buick and Holden?
      If there are some losers from the sale of Opel, it has to Buick and Holden. Buick has found some success with Opel products as the Encore (rebadged Mokka) has become one the best-selling models for the brand. Holden is getting a shot in the arm as the Astra will hopefully help their fortunes in the compact space, and the new Commodore (rebadged Insignia) has a tough task ahead of it with living up to an iconic name. For the time being, Opel will continue supplying models to both brands. It is what happens in the future that many are concerned about.
      During the Geneva Motor Show, GM President Dan Ammann said something very interest to Australian journalists about the future of Holden’s products.
      This makes sense as the Astra was only launched and the Commodore is getting ready to go on sale. But I wouldn’t be surprised if talks begin very soon about this very topic. The same talks are likely to begin at Buick soon where they face the same issue for the Regal and Encore. Our hunch is Buick might have the easier time of two. The Encore would continue on since it shares the same platform as the Chevrolet Trax. As for the Regal, it could leave Buick’s lineup once the next-generation model runs its course.
      4: Does GM lose anything with this deal?
      There has been a lot of talk about how much money will be freed up from the sale of Opel/Vauxhall for GM, along with making a bit more profit. But it comes at a cost that could hurt GM down the road. The recent crop of compact and midsize sedans from GM owe a lot to Opel’s engineering knowledge. Vehicles that excel in driving dynamics and fuel economy are worth their weight in gold when it comes to the European marketplace. As we know, one part of why GM went into bankruptcy was the lack of competitive small and midsize cars that got good fuel economy. Opel would prove to be GM’s savior with this key knowledge.
      Right now, compacts and midsize sedans aren’t selling as consumers are directing their attention to crossovers and SUVs. This is due in part to lower gas prices. But sooner or later, the price of gas will go back up and cause many to go back to smaller vehicles. With talk about GM scaling back on their small and midsize car lineup, this decision could have consequences down the road. Plus with Opel out of the picture, GM doesn’t have someone it can rely on to get these models back to the forefront. We can hope GM’s North American office has learned some stuff when working with their European counterparts.
    • By William Maley
      Last week saw the PSA Group (parent company of Citroen and Peugeot) purchasing Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors for $2.3 billion. This move would make the PSA Group the second-largest automaker in Europe. We already know some of the plans that PSA Group has for their new brands such as setting operating profit targets of 2 percent in 2020 (jumps to 6 percent by 2026) and the next-generation Opel/Vauxhall Corsa being the first new product developed with PSA. But as we alluded to in the original news story, there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered such as possible job cuts or what happens to Buick and Holden as they share products with Opel. I have been doing a bit of thinking on these and some other questions. The end result is this piece.
      1: Will there be job cuts and plant closures?
      In 2016, PSA Group employed 172,000 people worldwide. With the acquisition of Opel and Vauxhall, they will be adding close to 42,000 workers (the majority of those from Opel). The number of plants will also increase to 28 due to this purchase. Sooner or later, PSA Group is going have to make cuts. During the press conference announcing the deal, PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares said the company “would honor existing labor agreements and closing plants is a “simplistic” solution.” That may be true for now, but this might change within the coming years. Some analysts believe PSA Group will close two to three plants within five years.
      The most likely place where the closures and layoffs could take place is in Great Britain. The reason as we talked about in a story back in February deals with the decision made by British citizens last year with leaving the European Union.
      “By leaving, the country would lose access to the EU Single Market which guarantees unconstrained trade across the member states. It would mean various countries would be leveraging tariffs on British-made goods, making production in the country less competitive.”
      Former British member of parliament and business secretary Sir Vincent Cable outlined how bad this decision looks for Vauxhall in a recent interview on BBC Radio 4.
      There could be a way that the British Government could at least stall the possible closures. Back in October, the British Government worked out a secret deal with Nissan to keep them investing in British car production at their plant in Sunderland. This deal caused an uproar as the details were kept as many believed the British Government would be handing over money to keep Nissan happy. But sources told British newspaper The Independent back in January that the deal had no mention of money.
      It could be that the British Government could do something similar for PSA Group to keep jobs, but it is too early to say if this will happen or not.
      2: Will this affect PSA’s plans of entering the U.S.?
      Probably not. Let’s remember that PSA Group is working through a ten-year plan that may or may not see the return of the Citroen and Peugeot, along with the introduction of DS to the country. Already, the first part of this plan is gearing up for the launch of a car sharing service next month. There is also extensive research going on into the U.S. marketplace. 
      But could there be a possibility of Opel or Vauxhall vehicles being sold here? It would not be surprising if there isn’t talk about this at PSA Group’s HQ. But there is a slight complication to this idea. As part of the sale, PSA Group cannot sell any Opel vehicles developed by GM anywhere in various markets outside of Europe (China and U.S. for example) until they transition to PSA platforms. That means a number of models such as the Astra, Insignia, and Mokka are out of the question for the time being. If Opel was chosen to be one of the brands PSA would sell in the U.S., they might not have a full line of vehicles to sell due to this clause.
      3: What does the future hold for Buick and Holden?
      If there are some losers from the sale of Opel, it has to Buick and Holden. Buick has found some success with Opel products as the Encore (rebadged Mokka) has become one the best-selling models for the brand. Holden is getting a shot in the arm as the Astra will hopefully help their fortunes in the compact space, and the new Commodore (rebadged Insignia) has a tough task ahead of it with living up to an iconic name. For the time being, Opel will continue supplying models to both brands. It is what happens in the future that many are concerned about.
      During the Geneva Motor Show, GM President Dan Ammann said something very interest to Australian journalists about the future of Holden’s products.
      This makes sense as the Astra was only launched and the Commodore is getting ready to go on sale. But I wouldn’t be surprised if talks begin very soon about this very topic. The same talks are likely to begin at Buick soon where they face the same issue for the Regal and Encore. Our hunch is Buick might have the easier time of two. The Encore would continue on since it shares the same platform as the Chevrolet Trax. As for the Regal, it could leave Buick’s lineup once the next-generation model runs its course.
      4: Does GM lose anything with this deal?
      There has been a lot of talk about how much money will be freed up from the sale of Opel/Vauxhall for GM, along with making a bit more profit. But it comes at a cost that could hurt GM down the road. The recent crop of compact and midsize sedans from GM owe a lot to Opel’s engineering knowledge. Vehicles that excel in driving dynamics and fuel economy are worth their weight in gold when it comes to the European marketplace. As we know, one part of why GM went into bankruptcy was the lack of competitive small and midsize cars that got good fuel economy. Opel would prove to be GM’s savior with this key knowledge.
      Right now, compacts and midsize sedans aren’t selling as consumers are directing their attention to crossovers and SUVs. This is due in part to lower gas prices. But sooner or later, the price of gas will go back up and cause many to go back to smaller vehicles. With talk about GM scaling back on their small and midsize car lineup, this decision could have consequences down the road. Plus with Opel out of the picture, GM doesn’t have someone it can rely on to get these models back to the forefront. We can hope GM’s North American office has learned some stuff when working with their European counterparts.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      General Motors seems being in a cutting mood as it drives to improve its profit margins and stock price. Last week saw the sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Group and it's only the beginning said GM CEO Mary Barra.
      Automotive News reports that GM is considering reducing investments in North American cars and "select" international markets according to a chart that was shared during a conference call with analysts last week. The chart says these two earned a spot on the chopping block due to low profit potential and weak strength in franchises.
      "There's a little bit more work that we're doing in the international markets. Our overall philosophy is that every country, every market segment has to earn its cost of capital," Barra said on the conference call. 
      Barra and GM President Dan Ammann declined to go into details about these plans.
      GM has already made significant changes in terms of their international operations by ending or reducing operations Australia, Indonesia, Russia, and Thailand. The automaker has also scaled back plans in India. The comments made during the call suggest more cuts could take place here and possibly elsewhere.
      As for 'reducing investments in North American cars', this likely means GM is taking a hard look at various segments in passenger car segment. With consumers trending towards utility vehicles and trucks, sales of passenger cars have been falling precipitously. As of March 1st, dealers had four month's worth of inventory of cars, compared to an 81-day supply for light trucks and less than 60-days for full-size SUVs. GM could walk away from certain segments such as compacts or full-size sedans, or delay investments in certain models.
      These moves will allow GM to funnel money into models that make more money, and returning capital to shareholders.
      "That's an immediate opportunity for us to reward shareholders without changing the risk profile of the company or our ability to manage through a downturn," GM CFO Chuck Stevens said.
      Analysts are mixed on GM's plans.
      "It takes a lot of discipline to shift away from a volume-is-king kind of mentality," she said. "In the end, that's going to make a better GM -- a longer-standing company that's not only more profitable but more relevant," said Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book to Automotive News.
      John Murphy, an analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch isn't so sure about this plan.
      "It appears that GM's recent decision-making has become much more short-term-focused and, in our opinion, could create challenges for the company in the coming years," Murphy wrote in a report.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)