Aston Martin's Make-or-Break $189,900 SUV Gamble Starts in China

First Up 11/06/19

Mitsubishi Motors Slashes Full-Year Profit Forecast by $550M
Mitsubishi Motors Corp. slashed its annual profit and sales outlook, becoming the latest Japanese automaker hit by sputtering global demand and a stronger yen, reports Automotive News. Operating profit for the fiscal year through March 2020 will be 30 billion yen ($275 million) instead of 90 billion yen, the company said in a statement Wednesday, citing decreases in wholesale volumes and the impact of currency swings that erode income brought home. The revenue outlook for the period was cut 5 percent to 2.45 trillion yen. The gloomy outlook underscores the challenges facing other Japanese carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., which reports results Thursday, as well as Nissan Motor Co., Mitsubishi’s partner in a three-way global automaking alliance with Renault SA. The yen has strengthened 1.7 percent against the dollar since the start of April, and has been a key factor behind reduced outlooks by Japanese manufacturers this year. Read more here. 

BMW Earnings Bounce Back, But Industry Woes Remain
BMW AG returned to profit in the third quarter, helped by cost-cutting and a sales shift to higher-margin sport-utility vehicles, but it warned that Germany’s luxury car industry would continue to be squeezed by growing costs and heightened competition. According to The Wall Street Journal, the manufacturer of BMW, Mini, and Rolls-Royce automobiles undertook a large cost-cutting program earlier this year after its profit margin was eroded by slowing sales and the costs of shifting toward electric cars and new self-driving technology. On Wednesday BMW said its efforts to boost earnings were bearing fruit and could see it achieve annual savings of €12 billion by the end of 2022. “We are performing at a high level in comparison with our competitors and considering the difficult conditions our business is facing,” said Nicolas Peter, BMW’s finance chief, in a statement.” Nonetheless, we aspire to achieve more than that.” Read more here (subscription required). 

Acting UAW President Says Conduct Standards Are 'Priority' for Union Amid Corruption Probe
Rory Gamble, acting president of the United Auto Workers, said in a letter to members Tuesday that ensuring the union's conduct standards are met is his "priority" in his new role. According to The Detroit News, the letter is Gamble's first public communication to the UAW membership since taking over for Gary Jones on Sunday. Jones was put on paid leave after The Detroit News last week identified him as an unnamed official accused of splitting and pocketing $700,000 in union dues in federal charges against his aide. Jones has not been charged. "I know recent events concerning members of our leadership have disappointed and angered many of you," Gamble wrote. "I am angry as well, but I am not here to pre-judge anyone. I am here to take this union forward." A four-year federal investigation into the union has led to charges against 12 people, including 10 convictions, dealing with bribes, kickbacks and embezzlement stretching from the New Jersey coast to Palm Springs, California. Read more here. 

Ford Hires Former Zipcar CEO for Autonomous Vehicle Unit
Ford Motor has hired former Zipcar Chairman and CEO Scott Griffith for its autonomous vehicle operations, reports CNBC. The automaker on Tuesday said Griffith, who headed Zipcar for more than a decade until 2013, started Monday as the director of AV product, marketing and operations for Ford Autonomous Vehicles. In a Medium post announcing the hiring, Jim Farley, Ford’s president of new business, technology, and strategy, said Griffith will focus on the customer experience of self-driving vehicles, including the “critical role of leading the development and execution of our go-to-market strategy.” His responsibilities, according to Farley, will include “further developing Ford’s autonomous vehicle brand and marketing, defining the customer experience and product attributes needed to deliver this vision and building out the company’s fleet management and regional operations.” Read more here. 

Aston Martin's Make-or-Break $189,900 SUV Gamble Starts in China
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc will launch its first sport-utility vehicle in Beijing this month, highlighting China’s importance as a key market for a model the company says will help double sales. According to Bloomberg, the luxury carmaker, whose stock is down 78% since listing 13 months ago, will price the DBX from $189,900, pitching it between Lamborghini’s best-selling Urus SUV, which starts at $200,000, and the $165,000 Bentley Bentayga. Aston Martin is counting on the DBX to spur demand in markets where wealthy individuals tend to favor more-rugged autos because of the poor quality of roads, such as China and Russia. Sales at Volkswagen AG’s Lamborghini surged 50% last year, with the Urus accounting for almost a third of the tally, while Ferrari NV plans to join the supercar-SUV club with the Purosangue in 2022. Read more here. 

Around the Web

2020 BMW M2 CS Breaks Cover Ahead of L.A. Debut [Autoblog]

The Best Look Yet at the New Bronco [Forbes]

A Teenager Won $25K for Inventing a Solution to Eliminate Blind Spots for Cars []

Daimler AG Moves Forward with Reorganization of Key Units [The Detroit Bureau]