This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?
1st Gear: And It Won't Be A Cheap Sports Car, Sorry
Porsche essentially has six lines of vehicles (Macan, Cayenne, 911, Boxster/Cayman, 918, Panamera), but you better believe a seventh is on the way. Given that the the company sells a Macan about every hour, there's plenty of money going around to do something new.
What will that new thing be? We're not sure, because Porsche's board hasn't approved a plan yet, but don't expect it to be a cheap sports car like we want.
Bloomberg's guess is that it could be an electric car, or maybe a shooting brake version of the Panamera platform. Whatever it is, they're right to say it'll probably fill the huge chasm between the $151k 911 Turbo and the $845k Porsche 918 Spyder.
That's Ferrari territory.
2nd Gear: Being The Biggest Doesn't Always Mean Being The Most Profitable
I often harp on the problems that arise when you try to be "bigger" instead of just "better," and that applies to automakers at all ends of the spectrum. Ze Germans are locked in a war to be the biggest luxury brand in the world, with Mercedes and Audi frequently challenging BMW's recent dominance.
But at what cost?
But the competition is accelerating. BMW sales were up 9.5% last year while Mercedes-Benz sales rose a faster 13% and Audi posted a 10% gain. And in the first two months of this year, Audi outdistanced BMW in world-wide sales.
The automotive brinkmanship is starting to hit profits. The trio’s 2014 earnings were up on strong volumes, but profit margins except at Daimler are showing signs of slipping. Mercedes-Benz earlier spent heavily on developing new models, lifting its return on car sales last year to 8%, from 6.2% in 2013.
The weakening euro should give German auto makers more leverage in the U.S. to wage price wars in the months ahead, but the companies’ extensive production in North America and other parts of the world means the euro’s slide against the dollar won’t immediately translate to fatter returns.
Ah yes, there's our other friend, currency fluctuation!
3rd Gear: Sergio Ranks Possible Fiat Mergers
It's quite possible that, at some point in the near future, Fiat Chrysler merges with a European or Japanese automaker to create a mega-conglomerate. In fact, that may have been Sergio's plan all along.
But whom? Thankfully, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne took the time to sort of rank his preferences for Bloomberg:
- Ford? Feasible.
- GM? Feasible?
- PSA Peugeot Citroen? Ehhh....
- Volkswagen? He's never talked about it.
What we need is a sort of Tinder for executives to see if their resources, goals, and market position match up.
4th Gear: Is The New F-150 More Valuable On Resale?
I'm guessing very few people are in any position to actually want to resell their new Ford F-150s, but that hasn't stopped ALG from determining what the resale value of the new truck is going to be.
The resale value of a 2015 F-150 improved almost 12% from the outgoing model, to retain 58% of its value after three years, according to ALG, a division of TrueCar, an online automotive site.
That compares with GM's Chevrolet Sliverado and GMC retaining 51% of their value after three years and the Ram 1500 holding 46% of its original sales price. All are eclipsed by the Toyota Tundra retaining 63% of its value.
Great news for Ford, of course, and great news for all 13 Toyota Tundra owners.
5th Gear: Hyundai Investor Asks Hyundai To Act Like Everyone Else
South Korean companies have managed to get away with acting like little fiefdoms as opposed to multinational corporations for decades now, largely because they've been a cheaper buy than similar companies with modern governance structures in other places.
The good times may be over, however, as it's clear that investors aren't happy with this relationship anymore.
Claiming to speak on behalf of other institutional investors, Park urged the company - the world's fifth-biggest automaker alongside affiliate Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS) in terms of sales - to set up a board committee tasked with bringing governance up to international standards.
"Those proposals are not something unusual in light of global standards. But given the Korean situation, they are very innovative proposals," she said, reading a statement.
Given that APG owns just 0.65% of Hyundai it's not like Hyundai has to listen. However, you can only piss off your investors and your employees for so long.
Reverse: Please Don't Mention Fully Loaded
On this day in 1969, “The Love Bug,” a Walt Disney movie about the adventures of a Volkswagen Beetle named Herbie, opens in theaters across the United States. The film, which was based on a 1961 book called “Car, Boy, Girl” by Gordon Buford, centered around down-on-his-luck auto racer Jim (played by Dean Jones) who goes on a winning streak after teaming up with Herbie. Other characters in the film include the evil Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson), Jim’s rival on the racetrack; Tennessee Steinmetz (Buddy Hackett), Jim’s friend who makes art from used auto parts and Jim’s girlfriend Carole (Michele Lee). “The Love Bug” was a box-office success and spawned the cinematic spinoffs “Herbie Rides Again” (1974), “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” (1977), “Herbie Goes Bananas” (1980) and “Herbie: Fully Loaded” (2005), starring Lindsay Lohan.
Neutral: What Should Porsche Build Next?
And don't say El Camino-ized Panamera.
Photo Credit: Getty Images