Daimler Q3 Covid Results – Sales, Revenue Down. Earnings Up

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Daimler Results

China profits helped Daimler as other major markets collapsed.

Daimler AG (ticker symbol: DAI) today reported its results for the third quarter, which ended September 30, 2020. The Group’s total unit sales decreased by -8% to 772,700 cars and commercial vehicles (Q3 2019: 839,300) and revenue dropped by -7% to €40.3 billion (Q3 2019: €43.3 billion). EBIT increased by 14% to €3,070 million (Q3 2019: €2,690 million). Adjusted EBIT, reflecting the underlying business, was €3,479 million (Q3 2019: €3,142 million) and net profit was €2,158 million (Q3 2019: €1,813 million). (Daimler Q1 2020 Net Profit Down -92% at €168m from €2149)

Daimler expects that the significant unit-sales reductions recorded in the first nine months due to the COVID-19 pandemic will only be partially offset by the end of the year. Group unit sales and Group revenue in 2020 are forecast to be significantly lower than in the previous year. (Daimler Confirms 2020 Group Sales and Revenue Will Decline, Daimler Q1 2020 Net Profit Down -92% at €168m from €2149)
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Groupe Renault Q3 Revenues -8% at  €10,374m, Sales -6%

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Q3 Groupe Renault Results

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While Q3 2020 saw a slight recovery in the global automobile market with a -4.0% drop compared with a -28% decline in the first half of the year, Groupe Renault under-performed at 806,320 vehicles sold – down -6.1% compared with the third quarter of 2019. The Renault brand continues to nurture electric vehicles and is now accelerating the launch of the E-TECH hybrid and plug-in hybrid line-up in Europe as automakers are designing to government regulations, not customer demand.

“This third quarter highlights the change in our commercial policy, which now focuses on profitability rather than volumes.” Our EV performance, our E-TECH hybrid models which have been very well received…” claimed Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault. Group revenues reached €10,374 million (-8.2%) in the quarter. The assertion comes as Covid-19 patients in hospitals in Europe is still less than half of the peak in March and April, but it is rising  each week, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. People across much of Europe — including larger countries like France, Italy, Poland and Spain — are now more likely to be hospitalized with Covid than those in the US.
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California Remains Below 2020 Emissions Target

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on California Green House Gas Inventory

The Governor issued a second Executive Order promoting the role of nature in addressing climate change by enlisting California’s vast network of natural and working lands.

The California Air Resources Board today released GHG emissions data for 2018 showing that emissions remain below 1990 levels but are effectively flat compared to 2017, while the economy grew by 4.3%. The data shows a slight increase in overall emissions from the previous year, and a slight decline in emissions from transportation, which is the state’s main source of both GHGs and air pollutants.

Executive Summary: California’s latest greenhouse gas data shows that while the state continues to stay below its 2020 target for emissions, there is much more work to do to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. Executive Order N-79-20 issued 23 September by California Governor Newsom recognized that achieving our air quality and climate goals hinge on transforming the state’s transportation sector. In that order, the Governor calls for 100% sales of zero emission light-duty vehicles by 2035.
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CARB Warns Vehicle, Engine Makers on Emissions Cheating

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on CARB actions against emission defeat software used by automakers.

CARB’s recent screening tests and investigations have uncovered several systemic violations. In general, CARB has found that manufacturers have failed to submit required information about their engines and vehicles during the certification process and following certification in-use. Manufacturers are required to submit complete and accurate information according to California Code of Regulations (CCR) sections and test procedures incorporated in the CCR sections for mobile source categories.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) today sent a letter to automakers and other vehicle and engine manufacturers “encouraging them to disclose” by the end of the year 2020 any unapproved hardware or software programs that impact emissions control systems in vehicles sold in California, aka auxiliary emission control devices or AECDs.

The move comes as CARB nears completion of a new testing lab that gives the agency greater ability to detect these unapproved programs. Given the sorry history of so-called cycle cheating on CARB and EPA compliance tests, it’s not surprising that CARB is increasing efforts to protect public health and reduce combustion pollution. CARB is also immune from the federal machinations of the Trump Administration to roll back, cancel or ignore the negative effects of air pollution on people, communities and the planet itself. Continue reading

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Random Covid Curiosities

An arbitrary and whimsical look at virus induced tendencies and knock downs. – Autocrat.

15 Oct. 2020 – Rolls-Royce Introduces Cleanest Motor Car Micro Environment. When developing the latest generation of luxury products, Rolls-Royce engineers sought to elevate air quality within its existing motor cars to unprecedented levels of purity. By using the latest sensor and Nanofleece filtration technology, the marque claims the cleanest microenvironment available in any motor car.

“The importance of protecting clients from harmful carbon and pollen particles, as well as viruses and bacterial contaminants, has been of the utmost importance to the marque…since 2015, all Rolls-Royce motor cars have benefited from state-of-the-art air filtration equipment,” Rolls claimed.

For the new Ghost, which debuts in autumn 2020, this technology has been developed to incorporate hardware and software improvements, collectively dubbed the MicroEnvironment Purification System. Impurity Detection Sensors have been introduced to detect ambient pollution levels, automatically switching fresh air intakes to Recirculation Mode if unacceptable levels of airborne contaminants are present. This channels all cabin air through a Nanofleece filter, which can remove nearly all ultra-fine particles, viruses and bacteria from the Rolls-Royce’s interior in less than two minutes.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on taxpayer costs because of the failed Trump Covid Response Plan and its effects on Budget Deficits.

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15 Oct 2020 – Federal revenues are projected to fall from 16.3% of GDP in 2019 (already down because of the Republican tax cuts for the rich) to 15.5% in 2021, primarily because of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic and the federal government’s lack of a vigorous public health response by the Trump Administration. Revenues rise after 2021, reaching almost 18% in 2030, because of the expiration of temporary provisions enacted in response to the pandemic and scheduled increases in taxes. Big, big unknowns that puts this CBO forecast at risk is the ongoing reappearance of the Covid virus and the virtually certain negative effect it will have on the economy and tax collections. Other factors such as a new round of COVID relief measures to prevent further economic destruction to the non-wealthy citizens and bailouts of companies are also quantifiable but seem likely.

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ZF Seatbelt Retractor Recall Bites Corvette, Jeep, Ram

AutoInformed.com on 2020 Corvette Recall because of ZF partsStingray

General Motors President Mark Reuss with the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette during its unveiling.

Front seatbelt retractors may not lock as intended during a crash because of defective parts from supplier ZF. The safety defect applies to multiple makes and models. As a result, FCA US has announced a safety recall on 2019 and 2020 Model Year (DT) Ram 1500 Pickup, 2019 Model Year (DJ) Ram 2500 Pickup, 2019 Model Year (JL) Jeep Wrangler, and 2020 Model Year (JT) Jeep Gladiator vehicles. FCA US is not aware of any accidents or injuries. General Motors recalling some 2020 Chevrolet Corvette models as well. GM is not aware of any injuries or accidents either.

The safety defect appeared at GM during barrier testing of a 2023 model year Corvette. GM worked with ZF to analyze the root cause of the retractor failure, including teardowns, computer analysis, and CAE simulations. That analysis showed that the retractor failure was caused by the locking mechanism not being properly engaged. The same part is used on current production models. Continue reading

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Chinese, Malaysian owned Lotus Engineering Expands Hethel

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on New Asian Investments in  Lotus

The Lotus consultancy claims to provide a comprehensive range of technical services to automotive manufacturers and suppliers.

The Asian Investors that own Lotus are making a multi-million-pound investment to enhance the engineering test facilities in Hethel, Norfolk UK. These latest improvements are in addition to an all-new sports car factory, which will be home to an all-new Lotus model next year, along with a new assembly hall dedicated to the Lotus Evija all-electric hypercar. Both will be manufacturing new Lotus cars during 2021. (Lotus at Goodwood Confirms Type 130 Named EVIJA)The Lotus Engineering consultancy seeks to expand its portfolio of services and its client base. It will complement the Lotus Cars business as it prepares to deliver a new range of performance cars – the first of which will be unveiled next year. (The Cora Virus effect is unknown as yet, along with the UK’s trading status with the EU.

Improvements include an all-new Electric Drive Unit (EDU) test cell, plus upgrades to the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) test and development cells, the Propulsion Prototype build workshop and the vehicle emissions lab. The 2.2-mile Hethel test track – the scene of so much historic race and road car development since Lotus moved to the Norfolk site in 1966 – has also been upgraded. (Renault Group to buy Lotus F1 Team, Raffle by Jim Clark Trust for Lotus Evora, Formula 1: Car by Car 1950–59 Now Available in the U.S.) Continue reading

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InoBat – First Battery Developed With Artificial Intelligence?

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Intelligent electric vehicle battery unveiled by European battery pr

InoBat is backed by a consortium of investors.

The world’s first ‘intelligent’ electric vehicle battery was today revealed today by European EV battery producer, InoBat Auto (InoBat) by the company’s CEO, Marian Bocek*. Speaking at the GLOBSEC Tatra Summit 2020, Bocek claimed that after only a year of research and development, InoBat can now unveil the world’s first battery developed through a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and High Throughput (HTP) technology.

InoBat’s technology-led approach to battery production – it’s claimed – enables them to create better batteries more quickly and efficiently, while delivering an increase in operational range for current best-in-class electric vehicles of almost 20%.  This technology enables InoBat to reduce its dependence on cobalt, in addition to also boosting energy density to a goal of 330 Wh/kg and 1,000 Wh/I by the end of 2023. What’s not clear is how InoBat can compete with major automakers, many of whom seeing selling their EV developed technologies to other companies as a way to offset costs and generate profits. GM’s Ultium battery business is just one example. Continue reading

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Covid Casualties – U.S. and China Images Declining

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Pew US China Image Research

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Negative views of the United States and China have risen in many countries during the past year, according to the latest pew Research. In most of 14 advanced economies surveyed between June and August 2020, unfavorable views of both countries are at or near historic highs in Pew Research Center’s decade or more of polling on the issue.

Few in the countries surveyed have confidence in the leader of either the U.S. or China, and many are critical of how both countries have handled the coronavirus outbreak. On most measures included in the survey, people are even more critical of the U.S. than of China. However more still have favorable opinions of the U.S.
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Covid Causalities: US Trade Deficit Continues to Increase

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Growing US trade Deficit and lack of a Covid Response plan

The US  average goods and services deficit increased $3.1 billion to $61.3 billion for the three months ending in August.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis say that the  US goods and services deficit was $67.1 billion in August, up $3.7 billion from $63.4 billion in July, revised. August exports were $171.9 billion, $3.6 billion more than July exports. August imports were $239.0 billion, $7.4 billion more than July imports. The August increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $3.0 billion to $83.9 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.7 billion to $16.8 billion. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $22.6 billion, or 5.7% from the same period in 2019. Exports decreased $296.1 billion or 17.6 percent. Imports decreased $273.5 billion or 13.1%.

Particularly worrisome for the Covid -Sick US economy were goods deficits with countries that effectively addressed the Covid-19 crisis with strong central government responses: In billions of dollars, with China ($26.4), European Union ($15.7), Mexico ($12.5), Germany ($4.6), Japan ($4.3), Italy ($2.6), France ($2.2), South Korea ($2.2), and Canada ($1.2).
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Education, Hospitals, Police – Comprise the Largest State and Local Government Employment Groups

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Government Employment.Local governments employed 14.2 million workers in March 2019, far more than state governments that had 5.5 million employees on their payroll, says the Census Bureau. The latest report, the 2019 ASPEP, says that in March 2019 state and local governments employed 19.7 million people, an increase of 0.4% from the 2018 total. According to the survey, 14.8 million were classified as full-time and 4.8 million were part-time employees. Full-time state and local government payroll increased 3.4% to $79 billion, and part-time employees’ payroll totaled $6.8 billion.
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Used Electric Vehicle Battery Reports Offered by Recurrent

A new Seattle-based startup focused on electric vehicles (EVs), claims to be the first company to offer third-party reports on the battery life and range of used EVs to help car buyers. Roughly half of American car buyers say they expect to own an electric car in the next 10 years according to recent surveys, but  so far sales have been miniscule. Recurrent claims the lack of reliable information about battery condition and actual range stops most of those purchasers from choosing EVs.

“Imagine buying a traditional used car without knowing the odometer reading. Battery health is the new odometer for electric vehicles, and we’re bringing transparency to it,” said Recurrent co-founder Scott Case.
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JR East, Hitachi, Toyota to Develop Fuel Cell Railway Vehicles

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on HYBARI - the Toyota Fuel Cell Train project

Hybari name was adopted to evoke an image of an advanced hybrid railway vehicle equipped with fuel cells and a main circuit storage battery. “HY” represents “hydrogen,” while “HYB” means “hybrid.”

East Japan Railway Company (“JR East”), Hitachi, Ltd., and Toyota Motor Corporation have entered into an agreement to collaborate on development of test railway vehicles equipped with hybrid systems that use hydrogen powered fuel cells and storage batteries as their source of electricity. “By collaborating to develop these test railway vehicles, we aim to further improve the environmental superiority of railways and realize a sustainable society,” the companies said this morning in Japan.

The development of innovative rolling stock powered by hydrogen in theory will contribute to the development of a low-carbon society as it helps to curb global warming and diversify energy sources. Hydrogen ensures minimal environmental impact because it does not emit any carbon dioxide when used as an energy source. It can be produced from various raw materials using renewable energy.
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New Mercedes-Benz Strategy Aimed to Help Higher Profits

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Financial Struggles

“We are set for profitable growth. Additionally, we have initiated comprehensive measures to bring down the breakeven point in order to right-size our company and our operations.” Click to Enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz today announced a new strategic course that claims will  pursue profitable growth in the luxury segment and target leadership in electric drive and car software. This follows the Q2 Daimler disaster. The COVID pandemic or the Grim Reaper saw a decline in demand for cars, vans, trucks and buses. Group total sales decreased by -34% to 541,800 cars and commercial vehicles (Q2 2019: 821,700). Revenue slipped significantly by -29% to €30.2 billion (Q2 2019: €42.7 billion). EBIT was minus -€1,682 million (Q2 2019: minus -€1,558 million). Adjusted EBIT was -€708 million (Q2 2019: plus €2,447 million).

“In recent years we have done many things right: design, product engineering, brand rejuvenation, sales growth. As a result, we have put Mercedes back on top again. But we have not yet lived up to our full potential in terms of turning volume success into profit growth,” said Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG at a virtual investor and analyst conference. Continue reading

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Toyota, Hino to Make Class-8 Fuel-Cell Electric Truck

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Toyota and Hino Class-8 Fuel-Cell Electric Truck

This deal expands upon the existing effort to develop a 25-ton FCET for the Japanese market announced earlier this year. It’s an obvious solution for the long-standing dirty diesel scourge.

Toyota Motor North America and Hino USA have agreed to jointly develop a Class-8 fuel-cell electric truck for the North American market. With the expanding interest in heavy-duty electric trucks, aka FCETs, prompted by government demands and the global warming crisis, it’s the latest foray into the well-funded and planet destroying fossil fuel wars by the latter day purveyors and avatars of dinosaurs – Big Oil.

The companies said today that they will leverage the newly developed Hino XL Series chassis with Toyota’s fuel cell technology to deliver “exceptional capability without harmful emissions.” The first demonstration vehicle is expected to arrive in the first half of 2021.
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