Great expectations at annual US motor show
The big non-metal news is that Ford, which posted record North American profits in 2012’s third quarter, continued to generate strong earnings and cash flow in the fourth quarter, said the company’s chief financial officer.
“We’ve had a wonderful nine months, in terms of profitability, margin and generating very positive operating cashflow,” Bob Shanks told reporters in Detroit.
But the story is very different in Europe, where it expects to lose $3 billion (€2.25 billion) in in 2012 and 2013. However, investors reacted positively to restructuring plans to restore profits there by mid-decade.
HYUNDAI:Having made no secret of its desire to move upmarket, the Korean automaker unveiled a luxury saloon concept that will be aimed predominately at US buyers and is expected in production by 2014.
LEXUS:The LF-CC concept shown in September in Paris has changed, slightly, into the production version of the IS saloon. The new IS300h petrol-hybrid shares a platform with the larger GS saloon but is still the Lexus rival to the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Its hybrid powertrain has an output of 220 bhp with emissions below 100 g/km and claims an official fuel consumption figure of 4.3 l/100 km (65.7 mpg). It is due on sale in Ireland this summer.
New features include 60:40 split/folding rear seats. A new cabin also features on the IS while the centre console includes Lexus’s first electrostatic switches to control the air conditioning temperature with the touch of a finger.
MASERATI:Although this Fiat-owned brand has aspirations to sell a lot more cars than it does now, that’s a tall order for a company with essentially two models.
But the redesigned Quattroporte saloon should provide a jump start.
MERCEDES-BENZ:One might think that Mercedes would have reserved its showing of the mid-cycle revamping of the E-Class saloon and wagon for one of the European shows later this year. But the car is an icon in America.
The biggest Mercedes news, however, did not happen in the show hall but at an off-site gala where the CLA (see inside story) will get a sneak preview. It will make its official motor show debut at the Geneva show in March.
TOYOTA:Toyota showcased its Furia concept car, which offers a teaser to some design traits that will feature in mid-sized US saloons.
Design chief Tokuo Fukuichi has been given a directive from president Akio Toyoda: make Toyota cars simple and cool.
– New York Times