Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 8
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Don't look for a tremendous shifts in automotive market share over the next three years because it might not be coming. That's at least according to the annual Car Wars report by John Murphy, from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.
In the report's analysis of automakers' market share from 2013 to 2017, it predicts only small changes among the major companies. Ford and Honda see the biggest positive effect with an estimated 0.5 percent increase in their shares over the next three years; to 16.2 percent and 10.3 percent respectively. On the flip side, European automakers and Nissan are expected to lose 0.2 percent each to fall to 8.3 percent and 7.8 percent each respectively. The rest of the industry is predicted to hold steady as it is now.
The biggest loser in that prediction might be Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles. The report certainly throws a wet blanket on its plan for significant gains in market share. Murphy told The Detroit News that the company's goal was "almost unattainable."
Ford Motor Company has a dual-class stock structure of Class A and Class B shares. The roughly three billion Class A shares are for the general public like you and me, while the roughly 71 million Class B shares are all owned by the Ford family. Each Class A share gets the shareholder one vote, each Class B share is worth 16 votes, the result being that Common Stock holders control about 60 percent of the company while the Ford family controls 40 percent even though it holds far fewer shares. The only way that could ever change would be if the Fords sell their Class B shares, but even so, Class B shares revert to Class A when sold outside the family, so they'd have to sell a whole bunch of them.
A contingent of Class A shareholders think the dual-class system is unfair, and for the past few years a vote's been held during the annual shareholders meeting to end it. It has failed every time, as it just did again during the meeting held this week. A smidge over 33 percent voted to end the dual system, outvoted by the 67 percent who are happy with the way Ford is going - unsurprising in view of a corporate turnaround that will be part of business-class curricula for years to come.
On the sidelines, Ford elected Ellen R. Marram to the post of independent director, the first woman to hold the job. The former Tropicana CEO and 20-year Ford board member replaces retiring board member Irvine Hockaday who helped bring Alan Mulally to the CEO position.
In all of the most hotly contested mainstream segments of the motoring universe, the difference of one mile per gallon averaged on a widow sticker can mean the difference between a sale and a walk-off - to say nothing of two or three mpg. So, when Hyundai and Kia were forced to reveal that many of their 40-mpg ratings were actually 38s and 37s, well, it made for big news.
It also, conceivably, made for a competitive disadvantage immediately, when the Korean automakers' products were being shopped versus the guys down the block. And it's that disadvantage that makes a recent story from Automotive News so juicy.
AN is reporting that Margo Oge, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, got a tip in 2010 that Hyundai/Kia were "cheating" to get its impressive fuel economy numbers. The tip, said Oge (who retired from the EPA this past September), came from a senior vice president from a domestic automaker. The source was credible enough for Oge to launch an audit of the Hyundai figures, which ultimately lead to the debacle that we reported on a few months ago, and that the Korean company has been trying to bounce back from ever since.