Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: Tesla Shares Jump On Q4 Report Despite Losses
We’ll have more on Tesla Motors’ fascinating (not really, actually) Q4 report today, but while the company lost money in the last quarter, it’s building more cars than ever and Elon Musk promises some sort of profit this year. That was a boost to their share prices in after-hours trading, but still down since the start of the year, Reuters reports:
Tesla shares rose more than 10 percent in after-hours trading after the company forecast a 60 to 80 percent increase in vehicle sales this year and promised it would turn a profit on an adjusted basis. It will start generating positive cash flow in March.
Tesla shares are still down more than 30 percent since the beginning of the year, reflecting investor concerns about continued losses.
Musk and the company’s new chief financial officer, Jason Wheeler, sought to assure investors on a conference call on Wednesday evening that Tesla is determined to cut costs, hit production targets and stanch losses.
“Cash is king,” Wheeler said.
How much do you think they’re seething at this news over at General Motors, which posted a record profit last year but can’t convince Wall Street they’re worth a damn? A lot, I bet.
2nd Gear: Daimler Still Believes In Diesel
Are we seeing the death of diesel? In passenger cars in the U.S., maybe, but certainly not in other markets. At least not yet. Reuters reports Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, will spend 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in the next three years to develop a next-gen diesel engine that will meet new pollution standards. Without cheating! Hopefully.
“We are spending the money on engine development and production capacities,” Bernhard Heil, vice president of product group powertrain at Daimler AG said.
Part of the 2.6 billion euros has already been invested. Daimler will introduce selective catalytic reduction (SCR) on its smaller front wheel drive cars by 2019, replacing current nitrous oxide trap exhaust systems, the company said.
3rd Gear: Mr. Bolt Goes To Europe
Speaking of GM and electric cars, the promising new Chevrolet Bolt is headed to Europe too, but with a different badge. They’re calling it the Opel Ampera-e, a tweak on the name of the previous-gen Volt’s Euro cousin. Via Autocar:
The new model, which takes the form of a five-door, five-seat hatchback, is destined to be an affordable rival for the likes of the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf and second-generation Ford Focus Electric.
Opel says the launch of the Ampera-e is part of its ongoing model offensive which will result in the launch of 29 new vehicles between now and the end of the decade.
Opel says the new car builds “on the electrification expertise established with the original Ampera, which set the benchmark for modern electric cars in 2011. The new Ampera-e combines innovative electric mobility with state-of-the-art connectivity and exciting driving dynamics”.
4th Gear: Ford To Launch Four New SUVs
The Chicago Auto Show is underway today, and while it’s one of the lesser auto shows, some news still manages to trickle out of it. Truck and SUV news, especially! Speaking of the latter, Ford is set to reveal four new ones in the next four years, reports the Detroit Free Press:
Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of sales and marketing, announced the news today at the Chicago Auto Show.
So far, Ford is not saying when or where the new nameplates will be added, but it is emphasizing that the products are part of its global plan. As such, the new models could be added either to the automaker’s mainstream Ford brand or to Lincoln. The SUVs could be launched in North America, Europe, Asia or South America or in all of those regions.
What Ford is saying is that these will be new vehicles that will be launched in addition to updates to existing SUVs. “We are announcing today that we are gong to add four all new nameplates,” LaNeve said. “That’s all new entries. These are in segments of the SUV market where we currently do not compete.”
Bring on the Bronco!
5th Gear: A Shit-Ton More Takata Recalls
The Takata recalls grow in scope, again. Now they’re affecting some 2.3 million cars in the U.S. from BMW, VW and Mercedes, and we’re not even sure which cars are affected yet. Via Bloomberg:
The recalls, detailed in company statements and government filings, are part of the 5.1 million vehicle recall expansion that Takata telegraphed to U.S. regulators in late January. The German companies join Honda Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co., both of which already widened recalls following the ninth U.S. fatality tied to Takata’s safety devices.
“The Takata recall has been really long and drawn out and there’s been a lot of confusion — it’s been unclear exactly which models,” said Rebecca Lindland, a senior analyst at vehicle research firm Kelley Blue Book. With some replacement parts not even available until summer, now the “biggest issue is when can they fix them,” she said.
What a mess!
Reverse: First Contract