1st Gear: It’s Not Like It Didn’t Try
Chevrolet tried attacking the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 by releasing a series of bad and dumb ads attacking its very aluminum nature. We always knew that they were going to bite Chevy in the ass someday, but maybe to Chevrolet it’d be worth it if fewer people bought F-150s.
It didn’t work. Via Automotive News:
Ford said F-150 sales soared 40 percent in June from a year earlier, and segment share for the full F-series line jumped to the highest level in 17 months.
Chevy Silverado sales gained almost 10 percent more of the segment, but were still down 3.7 percent more year-on-year in June. Much of the F-150s sales were powered by government and fleet customers, while the Chevy market share gain was powered by retail sales, so Chevy’s still considering it a success.
Until Chevy makes its own aluminum trucks, of course.
2nd Gear: It Looks Like Takata’s Trying To Sell Itself
Takata’s airbags ended up spewing chunks of shrapnel, which ended up being deadly for a number of people. As the fallout from that continues, it’s going to end up costing the company a ton of money (though that’s nothing compared to a person, you know, dying). To save itself, Takata is going to have to sell itself, reports Bloomberg:
Takata Corp. rose the most in a week after people familiar with the matter said the scandal-stricken air-bag maker is reaching out to as many as 20 possible buyers in an effort to narrow down a list of suitors.
Takata is working on restructuring the company and is open to a sale to a private equity partner, a parts supplier or a combination, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. One stumbling block to the sale is the liability from the air-bag recall, and Takata has been talking to its advisers about how to manage the legal risk, they said.
As with a lot of company sales, a mix of private equity and strategic buyers are expected.
What does this mean for you? Not a lot, if you don’t own Takata shares. But if you’ve got a recalled airbag, for the love of all that is sacred please get it repaired.
3rd Gear: We’re Not All Going To Be Traveling In Tubes Tomorrow - Airplane Companies
As much as we’d all love to whizz about in pneumatic tubes, a la Futurama, airplane makers Boeing and Airbus are busily re-assuring everyone that, no, it’s not coming so fast, and people will be traveling on planes for quite some time. From the Wall Street Journal:
Airbus Group SE on Monday raised its forecast for plane deliveries over the next 20 years, joining Boeing Co. in trying to pour cold water on concerns the era of across the industry is nearing an end, and assuring that demand for smaller airliners would remain resilient.
Airbus chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, said 33,070 planes would be delivered over the next 20 years. Those deliveries would be worth about $5.2 trillion, he said.
This is my disappointment face.
4th Gear: Germany May Have Found Its Volkswagen Punishment
Germany’s found itself in quite a pickle when it comes to Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal. On the one hand, it wants to make the company hurt for what it did, but on the other hand the German state of Lower Saxony owns about 20 percent of the company. That means that hurting VW ends up hurting regular old German citizens. But there may be a solution on hand, according to Reuters:
German prosecutors are demanding carmaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) face a fine based on the level of the profits the carmaker made from selling 11 million vehicles equipped with manipulated engine software, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.
Prosecutors in Braunschweig, Germany, are assessing the “economic advantage” Volkswagen enjoyed from using cheating software rather than expensive exhaust filter systems, to manipulate pollution tests, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.
Well that works.
5th Gear: Porsche Will Still Keep Churning Out Money
No matter how German prosecutors manage to get their pound of flesh, Porsche has vowed to keep making money. It’s the most profitable car division in the world (what, you think the ability to option up a Cayman into the stratosphere was because those $350 yellow seat belts were plated in gold?), and it intends to stay that way. Again, via Reuters:
Porsche aims to keep its profit margin running at a double-digit percentage of sales in the coming years, Chief Executive Oliver Blume said on Friday, benefiting from more efficient production while boosting spending on its first all-electric car.
The Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE)-owned sports car maker is investing about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) at its headquarters in Zuffenhausen and creating more than 1,000 jobs there to build the battery-powered “Mission E” model.
In fairness to Porsche, you can’t get just any car with yellow seat belts.
Reverse: Wilson Signs Federal Road Aid Act
On this day in 1916, in a ceremony at the White House, President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Aid Road Act. The law established a national policy of federal aid for highways.
Neutral: What Should Chevy Do Instead?
“Just make an aluminum pickup” is the obvious answer here, but it’s not that simple. One is likely in the pipeline, but in the meantime, it has to do something. It tried attacking Ford, but that hasn’t really worked. So what should it do instead?