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Let it never be said that there isn't money to be made selling high-end exotic sports cars. Last month Ferrari revealed that it had recorded record profits despite selling fewer vehicles than the year before. Now arch-rival Lamborghini has reported record revenue.

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With the April 15 tax deadline just a few months away, our US readers will be faced with a decision should they get a refund: save or spend? It seems this issue is one many of us face whenever there's a windfall, trying to decide whether we should set the money aside in an account of some sort or use it as a down payment on a new car or a trip to the Apple store. Unsurprisingly, major corporations face a similar, albeit more complex, issue.

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Good news out of Dearborn today, as Ford announced $3 billion in profit for the last quarter of 2013, a 90-percent increase over the same period of 2012. Net income for all of last year, meanwhile, jumped to $7.2 billion from $5.7 billion in 2012, while pre-tax profits sat at a decade-topping $6.9 billion for all of 2013.

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Looking at the progress General Motors has made since it entered bankruptcy, it's easy to forget that the company still has a long way to go before it's the juggernaut it once was. A recent report from Reuters points out that, while GM is making money, it isn't making any gains in terms of US market share. Quite the opposite, really.

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Ford has released projections for its 2013 profits, along with predictions of its 2014 earnings, and the news has forced the company's stock to stumble, falling over seven percent as of this writing. The Blue Oval is expecting earnings of $8.34 billion for 2013, although the bulk of that is coming largely from its North American operations, as troubles abroad continue to take a toll.

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Ferrari's angle of emphasizing exclusivity by limiting deliveries is appearing to bear fruit. The company posted a 7.1-percent increase in revenues to 1.7 billion Euros ($2.2 billion at today's exchange rates) during the first half of 2013. Net profits, meanwhile, saw a jump of 20 percent to 116.2 million Euros ($153.5 million). The Prancing Horse delivered 3,767 cars, which, while an increase of 2.8 percent, represents a rate of growth that's slower than in the first quarter of 2013.

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Chrysler has some good news and some bad news. First, profits were up 16 percent over the second quarter of 2012, bringing the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based manufacturer $507 million on the back of strong demand for trucks and SUVs (a recurring theme this quarter, particularly in the US). Q2 revenue was up as well, from $16.8 billion in 2012 to $18 billion in 2013. The bad news is that the Pentastar's overall earnings forecast for net income in 2013 has been trimmed from $2.2 billion to between $

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Ford isn't the only American automaker that's in the money. General Motors has just reported a second quarter income of $1.2 billion, although that number actually represents a year-to-year drop compared to Q2 2012. This drop can be chalked up to the expense behind launching a new line of full-size pickup trucks (the 2014 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado), as well as the acquisition of GM Korea. Aside from those one-time costs, GM reported a seven-percent increase in income before interest and

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Ford is rolling along nicely, with a positive second-quarter sales report and a $2.3 billion profit in North America. The Dearborn, Michigan-based manufacturer captured $1.2 billion globally from April to June, with a $177 million profit in Asia. Even in Europe, the land of doom and gloom for automakers not named Mazda, Ford saw some success as it lowered its expected full-year loss from $2 billion to $1.8 billion. The company lost $348 million in Europe during the second quarter, which, believe

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Toyota has had some recent setbacks, what with last year's natural disasters and its lengthy recall problems. But according to Bloomberg, the carmaker is back on track, and is expected to post its largest profit in five years. Toyota reports financial results for its fiscal year tomorrow, and is expected to forecast a $10 billion net income, which would put Toyota ahead of General Motors in earnings, according to the report.

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Volkswagen is making progress in its quest to be the one automaker to rule them all. According to The Detroit Bureau, Volkswagen saw profits more than double last year as sales increased by 14.7 percent. All told, the company earned $20.5 billion in 2011, up from $9.1 billion the year prior. The profit figure is well ahead of what industry analysts predicted for the German automaker. Total revenue is up by 26 percent as well, which is around two percent more than forecasters calculated.

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2011 has been a trying year for Toyota, as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the flooding in Thailand have conspired to slow vehicle production and cut into profits. Toyota lowered its profit forecast after the Japan disaster, and now Automotive News reports that the automaker is once again cutting expected profits by a significant margin.

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At the end of the day, every mass-market automaker is nothing more than a company looking for profits. And while you can have a great-looking vehicle that performs well and draws critical acclaim, but if it doesn't sell and it doesn't have decent margins, it doesn't do the company much good. So when it comes down to pure profit, what automobiles are the biggest cash cows?

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On Wednesday, electric automaker Tesla Motors reported a deep second-quarter loss as spending on research and development for upcoming vehicles, including the Model S and Model X, more than offset the automaker's gains in revenue.

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Daimler has announced a very strong pre-tax profit of $3 billion for the first quarter of 2011, up significantly compared to its Q1 2010 profit of $1.76 billion. The hefty earnings come as Mercedes-Benz sales shot up 13 percent, while revenue jumped by 17 percent to $37 billion on the quarter. Post-tax earnings came in at $1.75 billion, nearly doubling 2010 totals.

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2010 Jaguar XJ – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Akio Toyoda, the new President of Toyota and grandson of company founder Kiichiro Toyoda, is predicting another two years of tough times for the auto industry. In order to stay afloat, the Japanese automaker, under the direction of Toyoda, will build more autonomous operations in North America and concentrate on a more region-specific lineup to help the company pull through the recession.

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Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560 - Click above for a high-res image gallery

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As the U.S. market finally makes the inexorable shift to more rationally-sized cars, Ford's President for the Americas, Mark Fields, will explain how his company plans to make money with smaller cars. Ford will apparently focus on doing what might seem intuitively obvious to some, but has not heretofore been part of doing business in the U.S. market. They will build small cars that people will actually find desirable to own and willing to spend more money on. For the past several decades, automa

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GM currently owns about 13% of the small car market. With demand for small vehicles increasing with the price of black gold, GM is out to increase that market share. Nevertheless, even if it doesn't increase its share, it plans to make more money off of each small car sold. How? By raising the price, naturally.

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