General Motor’s executives should be smiling this morning. Thanks to strong demand for its trucks and SUV’s, the General topped fourth quarter earnings estimates finishing at $1.39 a share, while Wall Street was looking for about $1.20. It also enjoyed a record net income in 2015 of $9.7 billion. “We continue to strengthen our core business, which is laying the foundation for the company to lead in the transformation of personal mobility. We believe the opportunities this will create in connectivity, autonomous, car-sharing and electrification will set the stage for driving value for our owners for years to come,” said CEO Mary Barra.
Ford will offer 10,300 white collar workers in Europe severance pay and early retirement as part of a $200 million cost cutting plan. It will also change its vehicle mix in favor of more SUV’s and end production of slow selling models. Ford wants to build on its recently announced full year profit on the continent of $259 million.
Auto sales were basically flat last month according to Autodata, Corp., hurt in part by the big snow storm and fewer selling days. Many analysts believe that sales will rebound this month, weather permitting. Sales were lower at Toyota, Honda and Ford with VW sales off 14.6 percent. Fiat Chrysler reported a 7 percent sales gain while Ford was off 2.8 percent and GM up a half percent.
Cadillac will not produce a second generation ELR plug in hybrid and Toyota may reduce the Prius lineup, according to Forbes. Both are victims of low gas prices and consumers buying more trucks and SUV’s these days.
India’s Tata Motors has decided it would be prudent to rename a small hatchback that was in the pipeline. It was to be named Zica, that in its homeland stands for Zippy Car. But that was too close to the Zika virus that the World Health Organization has termed a Global Health Emergency.