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: Ford Get That Money
Well, the new Ford F-150 has turned out to be the insane profit margin machine that God and Ford intended it to be. The company just reported its best-ever quarter in North America and doubled global earnings over a year ago. Via Automotive News:
It earned a pretax profit of $2.7 billion in North America, 89 percent more than a year ago and the most ever for any quarter. North American operating margins jumped to 11.3 percent, from 7.1 percent in the third quarter of 2014.
“The Ford team delivered an outstanding quarter — with record third quarter profit, best quarter ever for North America, higher wholesales, higher revenue, higher market share and improved margin,” CEO Mark Fields said in a statement today. “We are delivering a breakthrough year.”
Revenue rose 9 percent to $38.1 billion. Ford’s global market share (7.6 percent) and automotive operating cash flow ($2.8 billion positive) both increased for the third consecutive quarter. Its pretax automotive operating profit more than tripled, from $686 million to $2.2 billion.
2nd Gear: Honda To Go Even Greener
There’s been a lot of talk lately about Toyota’s ambitious fuel cell plans and the eventual elimination of gasoline engines, but what about their top rivals from Honda? Turns out they’re going down the same path and will unveil several of those technologies at the Tokyo Motor Show this week. Again from Automotive News:
The systems range from a new-generation plug-in hybrid powertrain and 10-speed automatic transmission to a lean-combustion cycle that targets ultrahigh thermal efficiency.
They also include the company’s next hydrogen fuel cell sedan. And engineers even dangled the possibility of an all-wheel-drive, all-electric sports car, based on a Pikes Peak-climbing prototype. The rollout will unfold over the next five years.
3rd Gear: Nissan Wants More Control Over The Alliance
The Nissan-Renault Alliance has been a largely successful one, but all is not well in that world. Currently CEO Carlos Ghosn is in a power struggle with the company’s biggest shareholder, the French government. Make sure to read this full report from Reuters:
Nissan Motor (7201.T) has drawn up proposals to exit Renault (RENA.PA) control by purchasing a larger stake in its French parent, sources told Reuters, amid an escalating power struggle between Renault-Nissan alliance boss Carlos Ghosn and the French state, Renault’s biggest shareholder.
In a three-page document passed to the French government, the Japanese carmaker calls for deep changes to the 16-year-old alliance, giving the companies equal weight in joint decisions and “better balanced” cross-shareholdings of 25-35 percent, government and company sources said.
Renault currently holds 43.4 percent of Nissan and the casting vote in their Dutch-registered Renault-Nissan BV management structure. Nissan in turn owns a non-voting 15 percent of Renault.
4th Gear: GM Recalls 1.4 Million Cars For Fire Risk
General Motors is recalling a bunch of abysmal old shitboxes because in addition to being terrible, they can also cause fires with oil leaks. Here’s The Detroit News:
General Motors Co. said Tuesday it is recalling 1.41 million cars worldwide for fire risks linked to drops of oil on the exhaust manifold — the fourth time since 2008 the automaker has recalled vehicles for the issue.
The Detroit automaker said it is recalling the 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, 2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala, 1998-1999 Chevrolet Lumina and 1998-2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue and 1997-2004 Buick Regal “because drops of oil may be deposited on the hot exhaust manifold through hard braking, which can cause engine compartment fires. GM is working on a remedy. The company is aware of post-repair fires in some vehicles but no crashes or fatalities. There have been 19 reported minor injuries over the last six years.”
5th Gear: And Volkswagen Recalls 27,640 Bentleys
Isn’t that all of them? From Reuters:
Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) ultra-luxury division Bentley has recalled 27,640 cars globally because of potentially faulty battery cable joint connections, a spokesman at Bentley said.
The number of recalled vehicles, more than double Bentley’s record 11,020 deliveries last year, includes 5,906 cars in China, the brand’s second-biggest market after the Americas, he said.
Reverse: And They’re Still Not Open On Sundays
Neutral: Why Is Ford Doing So Well Right Now?
Truck profit margins, obviously. But the company’s pretty strong at the moment. Why do you think that is?
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