Here PDL AE rant of the week www.autoextremist.com
DateWednesday, November 5, 2014 at 08:38AM
By Peter M. De Lorenzo
Detroit. Searching for newsworthy items this week proved to be a futile pursuit, because in reality the industry is in a holding pattern now. Yes, we have the sales winners regularly crowing over their notable increases, the players who are keeping their powder dry through the transition while preparing for the breakout fight ahead, and the rest who are just trying to get through each day in better shape than the previous one.
What passes for news this week isn’t much. Toyota piling on record profits on top of record profits – including a whopping 23 percent increase in net income in their latest tally – has long ceased to be frightening and has transitioned into something like the looming thunderhead off in the distance that never goes away. We’re talking about a corporate monolith – I am retiring the “juggernaut” moniker – that could simply crush the U.S. industry if it wanted to.
Fortunately cooler heads prevail over in Toyota headquarters and they’re merely content to ride the wave of sanctioned currency manipulation - under the auspices of Japan, Inc. – to reap staggering profits from the U.S market. As I said this isn’t really news, it’s simply re-stating a grim fact that every other auto company in the world has to live with.
Let’s see, what else? Well, the All Knowing and All Powerful Sergio Marchionne is exercising his FCA stock options and manipulating his stake in the company to great effect and tremendous personal gain (he now owns 1 percent of FCA). Good for him, it’s something he’s excellent at and it seems to keep him occupied and distracted from the fact that it if it weren’t for having Jeeps and Ram trucks to sell, the whole enterprise would probably have done a pirouette into the grand abyss long ago.
Despite Marchionne’s predilection to dismiss all bad news and negative comments as irritating chatter that need not be listened to, it’s growing more obvious by the day that if it weren’t for the aforementioned super-heated sales of Jeeps and Ram trucks that FCA’s blatant inability to build products with even a modicum of quality would be front and center in the industry discussion right now.