I guess you could say that Ford’s total abandonment of cars is working, if it weren’t for the almost complete model-by-model sales decline for pretty much the entire range of Ford trucks and SUVs. The Mach-E and the Bronco did well, and that was about it. All that and more in The Morning Shift for January 5, 2022.
Certainly it’s funny to see sales drops on cars like the Ford GT or the totally discontinued Fiesta, but cars still saw a drop if you slide things like the EcoSport, Bronco Sport, and Escape to the “car” side of the ledger.
Even the F-Series saw a seven percent drop in sales year over year. Ford tried to brush up the news by saying that its Q4 deliveries were the best in the country. From the Freep:
Ford Motor Co. sold more vehicles than Toyota, General Motors and Stellantis during the final three months of 2021 in what the Dearborn automaker said Wednesday is a sign of momentum in terms of production flow and delivery of popular new products.
“We could sell more vehicles if we had them, no question,” Erich Merkle, U.S. sales analyst for Ford, told the Free Press. “We sell whatever we can produce.”
The whole reason Toyota was best for 2021 was that it managed the supply shortages the best and got cars out the door. How this looks good for Ford, I don’t exactly get.
I eat up any story about corruption in German industry, because it defies our American vision of Germans as ceaselessly fastidious and purely dedicated to their work. Germans are just as corrupt as the next, and they have better words for it. Please enjoy that “bribe money” in German is “Schmiergeld,” which you could read as “smear money” or “grease money” a bit more colloquially. Anyway, here’s the story, from Wirtschafts Woche, charmingly abbreviated as WiWo:
The Munich public prosecutor has accused a former BMW executive employee of embezzlement and commercial bribery in business dealings. The 51-year-old is said to have collected more than 2.4 million euros in bribes from 2007 to 2015 when awarding contracts to management consultants.The managing director of a consulting firm - now insolvent - was charged with bribery and aiding and abetting embezzlement, the Munich Higher Regional Court announced on Wednesday. The “Wirtschaftswoche” had previously reported on it.In addition, three accused on the side of this consulting company were charged with aiding and abetting. The investigators put the damage to BMW at around 2.7 million euros. All five accused deny the allegations.
Can the lamestream automakers actually take on wildcat Elon Musk was a take that seemed pretty fresh a few years ago as we were gearing up for the first EV Audis, Jaguars, and Porsches to hit the market (mostly with a bit of a thud, as it turned out). Well, Bloomberg is still at it, declaring that the “Titans of Carmaking Are Plotting the Overthrow of Elon Musk.” It mostly reads like PR for car companies trying to get their stock valuations up:
After a year of standout growth during which Tesla became far and away the most valuable automaker ever, the trillion-dollar question is whether Musk’s advantages heading into the next generation of carmaking are as insurmountable as his company’s market capitalization suggests.
“When the two biggest car companies in the world decide to go all-in on electric, then there’s no longer a question of speculation — the mainstream is going electric,” said Andy Palmer, the former chief of Aston Martin and ex-Nissan Motor Co. executive often referred to as “the godfather of EVs” after being instrumental in developing the Japanese carmaker’s battery-powered Leaf. “I expect the shift to electric to be faster than everyone expects.”
I have no doubt in my mind Tesla will get overtaken in no great amount of time, but this stuff is still fun to read. The mainstream car world has been taking on Tesla this whole time. Cars like the Leaf are reminders of it.
I saw some pretty flashy coverage of John Deere saying it would be mass-producing a self-driving tractor in places like The Verge today and was sort of befuddled. “Don’t tractors already pretty much drive themselves?” I thought to myself. I went to go check what farming and tractor-specific websites were saying, and the news was much more muted. Here, for instance, is the John Deere news slotted beneath some news about meat subsidies and California’s Prop 12 for animal welfare.
When I was growing up I hated the space shuttle. I thought it was just so much less ... ambitious! meaningful! interesting! than the space program of past generations, but I kind of warm to the idea every so often. How do you feel about it these days?