Mazda Preps Next Mazda3 with Skyactiv-X Engine for L.A. Debut

First Up 11/08/18

Nissan Earnings Fall 21% as U.S. Turnaround Slows
Nissan says its push to improve profitability in the crucial U.S. market is taking more time and money than expected as it struggles to rein in marketing expenses at a time when overall demand has peaked, and customers are increasingly looking for deals. Automotive News reports that North American operating profit climbed 13 percent in the company's most recent quarter, the automaker said in a statement. But Chief Financial Officer Hiroshi Karube said the automaker was aiming higher. "In terms of overall profitability, we had hoped we could reach a higher level," Karube said on Thursday while announcing a 21 percent decline in global operating profit in the July-September period. "Nissan is trying to rectify things we didn't do well in the past. As such, we are taking more time than we expected. Or we are spending more cost than we expected." Nissan did make progress cutting incentives and inventories in company's fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30. But the improvements still were not enough to offset the hit from lower wholesale volume, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, and rising raw material costs. Read more here. 

BMW Could Shift More SUV Production to China Due to Tariffs
CNET reports that BMW could move more of its crossover and SUV production to China, in an effort to hedge losses caused by the Trump administration's tariffs. According to BMW Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter, the company will make "a final decision in the coming weeks about which model to localize next in China.” The German automaker currently builds its X3, X4, X5, and X6 crossovers and SUVs at its facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. But because of the trade battle between the U.S. and China, BMW has had to move production of volume sellers like the X3 and X5 elsewhere. China currently imposes a 40 percent tariff on vehicles imported from the United States. "If the tariffs undermine the competitiveness of BMW production and sales in the US, the result could be strongly reduced export volumes with negative effects on investments and jobs in the US," BMW spokesperson Kenn Sparks said. Read more here.

Tears, Sweat, and Clues Emerge as Auto, UAW Leaders Face Reckoning
Three auto industry officials were sentenced to federal prison Wednesday for their roles in a corruption conspiracy involving Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the United Auto Workers but received substantial breaks because they are leading investigators to new criminal targets. According to The Detroit News, the sentencing hearings for two former Fiat Chrysler executives and a UAW official were dominated by hints of pending criminal charges. Prosecutors leveled the hints more than three years into an ongoing investigation that has led to the convictions of seven people, caused upheaval at the top ranks of the auto industry and raised questions about the sanctity of labor negotiations. The scandal, so far, has implicated former UAW President Dennis Williams, the late Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, and others during an investigation focused on auto executives funneling illegal payments from a training center to union executives to buy labor peace. Read more here.  

Here Are the Cars Toyota is Most Likely to Drop from Its Lineup
Despite reporting an 11 percent boost in its quarterly profits, Toyota is apparently looking to cull a few underperforming models from its lineup, reports Forbes. In all likelihood, this means sweeping a number of slower-selling passenger cars from dealers’ showrooms. As with most other automakers these days, Toyota is selling far more trucks and SUVs than it does sedans and coupes. Though we don’t expect Toyota to get out of the automobile business altogether, or at least not as drastically as Ford is planning (retaining only the Mustang moving forward), there are some easy guesses as to which models will stay and which will be sent packing. For starters, Toyota is not likely to ditch either the midsize Camry or compact Corolla. Subcompact cars in particular have fallen far out of favor among U.S. buyers of late, and it’s no exception at Toyota. That means we can expect the tiny Mazda2-based Yaris hatchback and sedan models to disappear perhaps sooner rather than later. For more of Forbes’ take on which cars Toyota might drop from its lineup, click here. 

Mazda Preps Next Mazda3 with Skyactiv-X Engine for L.A. Debut
Mazda will pull the curtains on the next-generation Mazda3 small car at this month's Los Angeles Auto Show, kicking off a new era of performance-oriented vehicle platforms and Skyactiv-X drivetrains, all wrapped in a voluptuous new design language. According to Automotive News, the sedan and hatchback versions of the Mazda3 are expected to be on the stand. A teaser shot released Thursday by Mazda Motor Corp. offers glimpses of both, with their rounded bodywork showcasing the reinterpreted vibe of the brand's Kodo design look. But the Mazda3 embodies more than just new styling. The compact car is the leadoff nameplate for an entirely re-engineered vehicle architecture that the Japanese carmaker promises will weigh less, cost less, and deliver a quieter ride with crisper handling and better rigidity. Read more here.  

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