General Motors had a nice first quarter topping Wall Street earnings estimates thanks to strong sales in North America for its trucks and Sport Utility Vehicles. This morning, the General reported earnings of $1.26 a share, excluding one-time items, well above market expectations. Revenue also topped expectations, and GM said it set a record for first quarter earnings of $2.7 billion. “We’re growing where it counts, gaining retail share in the U.S., outpacing the industry in Europe and capitalizing on robust growth in SUV and luxury segments in China,” said Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “This strong quarter also reflects the excellent progress we’re making to improve results in our more challenged global markets. Importantly, the continued success of our core business is enabling us to invest in advanced technology and innovations that will help shape the future of personal mobility.”
If, as some experts have predicted, the price of gas takes a substantial leap upward, Honda is ready. It is expanding its Clarity Fuel Cell lineup to include an all-electric model and a Plug-In Hybrid in 2017. Honda said the Plug-In Hybrid will have an all-electric driving range of more than 40 miles.
Further, Honda will relaunch an Accord Hybrid this spring in hopes of doubling its previous best yearly sales of just under 14,000 vehicles. It will come with a 2.0-liter Atkinson Cycle four rated at 212 horsepower with EPA ratings of 49/47/48, Honda said. Certainly, the moves will help Honda achieve the federal mandate of a fleet average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025. The Accord Hybrid was pulled from the lineup last year with production being moved to Japan from the U.S.
Volvo announced it will aim to sell up to one million electrified cars by 2025. It plans to offer at least two hybrid versions of every model in its range and release its first all-electric car in 2019. “It is a deliberately ambitious target,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “It is going to be a challenge, but Volvo wants to be at the forefront of this shift to electrification.”
A court hearing will be held later today in San Francisco on how VW will deal with owners of diesel powered vehicles that exceed U.S. pollution standards. Various reports citing those close to the deal indicate VW will offer to buy back some of the diesels and/or offer compensation to owners. We will learn more later.