Lee Iacocca Dies at 94

First Up 07/03/19

Lee Iacocca Dies at 94
Lee Iacocca, father of the Ford Mustang and former chairman of Chrysler, has died of natural causes at his home in Bel Air, Calif., his family said Tuesday. He was 94, reports Fox News. Born in Allentown, Pa., on Oct. 15, 1924 as the child of Italian immigrants, Iacocca started working at Ford Motor Company in 1946 and is heralded as the leader of the team that created the first Mustang in 1964. He ascended to CEO of the company in 1970 but was fired by Henry Ford Jr. in 1978. The auto mogul later slammed Ford, saying in his autobiography, "If a guy is over 25% jerk, he's in trouble. And Henry was 95%." The famed businessman moved on to Chrysler Corp. in 1978 and became the CEO a year later, pulling the company out of bankruptcy after taking it over. He persuaded the federal government to provide the company a $1.2 billion loan in 1979 and made major cuts to the workforce, slashing wages, including his own which he shrunk to $1 a year and closing plants. He also introduced fuel-efficient cars and the minivan. Read more here.  

Trucks, SUVs Can't Stop 2019 Sales Slides
Auto sales fell the first half of 2019 in the United States. And analysts don't think the rest of the year will get any easier, reports The Detroit News. General Motors Co. on Tuesday reported that U.S. sales fell 4.2% through the first half of the year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sales through the first six months of the year were down 2% despite its best June in more than a decade. And Toyota Motor North America sales were down 3.1% through the end of June. GM reported sales slid 1.5% in the second quarter of 2019 as the automaker phases out sedans from its lineup. Chevrolet sedans and compact cars in some cases had double-digit sales declines,  and sales of nearly all its truck models fell, too. The GMC Canyon midsize truck did post record second-quarter sales of 18,863 units. Read more here. 

Trump Says China Trade Deal Needs to be Tilted in U.S. Favor
President Donald Trump said on Monday that trade talks with China were under way and any deal would need to be somewhat tilted in favor of the United States, reports Automotive News. Global automakers and suppliers have a huge stake in the outcome of the talks, particularly with several companies planning to export more light vehicles and parts from China to the U.S.  Trump told reporters on Monday that U.S. and Chinese negotiators were "speaking very much on phone but they are also meeting. It essentially has already begun." He went on: "I think we have a good chance of making a deal.” He said he expected China's negotiating position to move closer to Washington's. Talks broke down in May after the United States accused China of backtracking on reform pledges. Read more here.

Tesla Deliveries Reach Record Quarter After Questions About Demand
Tesla Inc. returned to growth mode in the second quarter, setting a record for deliveries and beating Wall Street’s expectations, relieving some pressure on Chief Executive Elon Musk to prove that demand remains strong for the electric-car maker’s vehicles, reports The Wall Street Journal. The Silicon Valley automaker delivered a total of 95,200 vehicles in the three months that ended June 30, a sharp increase from a year ago as the company worked to boost production. Analysts surveyed by FactSet on average expected total deliveries of 90,680. The previous record was 90,700 in 2018’s fourth quarter. Tesla also said on Tuesday that the total includes deliveries of 77,550 Model 3 compact cars, beating the 74,100 expected by analysts. The company didn’t mention its full-year target of delivering between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles globally. Read more here. 

Car Owners Are Holding On to Their Cars Even Longer – Driving Down Sales
Automakers are likely n for a disappointment on Tuesday as the latest monthly sales numbers are released. Industry watchers expect a 3 percent year-over-year decline for June — and a similarly weak performance for the first half of the year, reports NBC News. The retail numbers for the first half of 2019 — which exclude sales to daily rental companies and other fleets — are at their lowest level since 2013, when the auto industry was just emerging from the Great Recession, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Industry analysts point to a variety of factors contributing to the downturn — which some warn could be an early signal of a coming recession. Rising prices are one key concern, with Power data estimating the typical motorist spent a record $33,346 during the first half of this year, up 4 percent, or $1,158, from the same period a year ago. Read more here. 

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