‘Vapor ware’ and a power cord: Nuggets from Nikola founder indictment

Nikola founder Trevor Milton leaves a federal courthouse in New York Thursday. (AP)

Nikola Corp. founder Trevor Milton is in federal custody Thursday, charged with misleading investors about the state of the company, which he left in September.

“Trevor Milton is innocent,” his lawyers said in a statement. “This is a new low in the government’s efforts to criminalize lawful business conduct. Every executive in America should be horrified.”

Here are some excerpts from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s 66-page complaint against him, as well as the criminal indictment:

Share price

Milton was “intensely focused” on the company’s stock price, calling and texting senior executives to “do something” on days when the shares were falling, the SEC complaint says. He also “tracked the daily number of new Robinhood users who held Nikola stock.”

Fountain surprise

Milton used his social media presence and appearances in interviews to announce new initiatives and changes, before informing the company, the SEC said.

“On June 25, 2020, Milton sent a series of tweets from his personal account in which he claimed that Nikola would offer a drinking fountain in the Badger (truck). This information came as a complete surprise to Nikola’s designers, engineers, and marketing personnel. When informed of the tweets, one engineer questioned whether ‘this [is] a joke,’ a marketing employee wrote that his ‘head is fuzzy,’ and a designer texted, ‘Uhhhhh what.’”

Social media

Nikola executives repeatedly tried to rein in Milton’s social media, the SEC said. At one point the president asked Milton to let the company’s chief legal officer pre-screen his tweets — an effort akin to what Tesla was ordered to do with Elon Musk after the SEC sued him over his tweets.

“Senior Nikola executives attempted other tactics in the spring and summer of 2020 to try to rein in Milton’s social media presence, to no avail.”

They scheduled media training for executives at the company, but Milton did not attend. Instead, Milton’s response was to assert “that these senior executives did not understand current capital market dynamics or what he was trying to accomplish with retail investors, and that he needed to be on social media to put out good news about Nikola to support its stock price.”

At a press conference Thursday, Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s head of enforcement, highlighted the obligations of corporate officers to provide complete and accurate information about their companies.

“There is no end-around or exceptions to this obligation,” Grewal said. “Corporate officers cannot say whatever they want on social media in violation of federal securities laws.”

Personal sales pitch

“Milton was personally involved in soliciting reservations from several potential customers,” the SEC said. “He communicated to potential customers that the reservations were cancelable for any reason at any time. For example, on May 9, 2016, as part of his efforts to secure the largest reservation Nikola had received to-date, Milton wrote to a potential customer, ‘[y]ou have full ability to cancel at any time before the options, color and major deposit is made. . …’

“Another time, Milton cited the non-binding nature of the reservations in an attempt to convince a potential customer to double the amount of reservations.”

“Milton wrote to this party, ‘[y]ou had asked for 50 trucks that would have been $500 for each deposit. What I did since it is fully refundable at any time, is put you down for 100 at $250. You can cancel at anytime any of those.’”

‘Vapor ware’

When Milton touted the Badger pickup as being “built,” “done,” “real,” and a “fully functioning vehicle inside and outside,” Nikola’s vice president of technology referred to the Badger in an internal email as “vapor ware” with “no technical plan,” according to the SEC.

The unveiling

According to the SEC, a Nikola engineer said in December 2016 that the truck they were working on was “not even remotely ready to operate.” One of the reasons why: “all electrical components were powered through a cord running from an external power source, rather than the truck’s battery.”

In the criminal complaint, prosecutors said, contrary to Milton’s claims, “Nikola had not successfully reached the milestone of creating a fully functioning prototype at the Nikola One launch event on December 1, 2016. In fact, the Nikola One prototype was not completed, let along tested and validated, by the time of the unveiling event.”

For example, “the prototype was wholly missing significant parts, including gears and motors, and the control system (i.e., the system that communicates the driver’s directions to the vehicle) was incomplete. The infotainment system in the cab was also incomplete. Instead, for the purpose of an unveiling event, tablet computers or other computer screens were mounted into the areas where screens for the infotainment would be, and the screens were set to display images created to have the appearance of infotainment screens, with speedometers, maps, and other information displayed.”

“Further, the truck was towed onto the stage at night prior to the event, and the screens and lights were powered by an external battery and power cord running under the truck to the wall, which had to be manually disconnected as the stage spun.”

“Similarly, an air line had to be connected to the vehicle to keep the truck’s air suspension and air brakes working, because there was a slow leak in the truck’s air supply. Nikola personnel operated the truck’s headlines at the event by remote control.”

Source: AutoBlog.com

Biden seeks automakers’ pledge for 40% of sales to be electric by 2030

President Joe Biden drives the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup. (Reuters)

WASHINGTON — The White House is negotiating to have automakers pledge that 40% or more of the vehicles they sell in the U.S. will be electric by the end of the decade, something the companies say will require the government to help promote the use of the cars.

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said the union is in discussions with the White House and automakers about a sales target, but he said an agreement has not been reached.

A second person familiar with the negotiations also confirmed the talks on an EV sales target are happening but said there’s no agreement and the talks are still at an early stage. A pledge on new car sales will be significant because while some U.S. automakers have promised to convert their model lineups to electric vehicles, they haven’t made any promises on volumes.

Automakers are looking for support from the government in meeting those goals, such as subsidies or funding for charging infrastructure like that contained in a bill working its way through the Senate now.

Representatives for the White House and automaker Stellantis declined to comment. GM, in a statement, said, “We do not have an agreement to comment on at this time.” The talks were previously reported by the Washington Post.

“Ford has already said that we are leading the electrification revolution and planning on at least 40% of our global vehicle volume being all-electric by 2030,” Melissa Miller, a Ford Motor Co. spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. CEO “Jim Farley said Wednesday that customer reaction to EVs so far is exceeding our expectations, and we’re going to stay ahead of customer demand.”

An agreement with automakers could help build support for a $550 billion, bipartisan infrastructure deal that passed a procedural hurdle in the Senate this week. The bill would dole out $7.5 billion to help build a nationwide network of EV chargers, an amount that would nearly double all prior public investment by utilities, states and the federal government in those critical charge points.

The White House has not said how many charging stations the money will pay for, but it said the funding represents the “first-ever national investment in EV charging infrastructure in the United States.”

But it’s still just a fraction of the $87 billion analysts and environmentalists say is needed this decade to swiftly electrify the nation’s cars and trucks that will require reliable access to electrons.

“In context, it’s a big investment, but relative to the amount that’s needed to really set us up for 100% electrification, it’s a down payment,” said Nick Nigro, founder of Atlas Public Policy, a research firm that analyzes the EV market.

Ryan Gallentine, a policy director with Advanced Energy Economy, a group that supports greater electrification, called the Senate spending measure “a good start” that will buttress automakers’ EV plans.

In many places, getting charging stations installed will require upgrades in power transmission and other systems to support them, Gallentine said.

“There’s a lot of factors that play into the number of actual chargers we get,” Gallentine said. “States are going to have to look at the amount of money they are going to get out of this package and decide how they will want to spend it.”

Key step toward climate goals

A rapid rollout of EV charging stations is seen as critical to building consumer support for the cars and meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of halving U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.

Automakers are also lobbying for an expansion of the electric vehicle tax credit, currently valued at as much as $7,500. Tesla Inc. and GM have already passed a 200,000-per-manufacturer ceiling at which the value of those credits phases down.

With EV sales hitting monthly records and analysts predicting those plug-in cars will reach nearly 70% of the passenger vehicle market by 2040, more charging infrastructure is urgently needed, Nigro, with the Atlas Policy Group, said.

“We have a growing need for more and more infrastructure to accommodate that demand,” he said. “And if we’re actually going to approach the level of EV market share that many states are now setting as goals, we need an order of magnitude more infrastructure.”

In March Biden asked Congress to dedicate $174 billion to electric vehicle investments — including by installing a network of half a million chargers nationwide. As lawmakers debated the details of that spending, the administration pressed for $15 billion, while some senators pushed for $2.5 billion.

$7.5 billion for charging stations

At $7.5 billion, the EV charging spending in the infrastructure deal developed by a bipartisan working group of senators reflects a middle ground.

Although legislative language was not immediately available Thursday, Bracewell LLP Principal Liam Donovan said the measure is likely to be modeled after provisions of a surface transportation bill approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this year.

That bill would set up a grant program for alternative fuel corridors and community grants, with the aim of strategically deploying EV chargers and other infrastructure for public use. States, local governments, Indian tribes and other entities could seek the grants, and recipients could use the money to contract with private companies to install the systems and pay for the first five years of operations.

The planned program dwarfs the $1.25 billion the state and federal government have invested in electric vehicle charging to date, including some $400 million from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to Atlas figures. It also eclipses the $2.7 billion in approved electric vehicle charging investments by utilities tracked by Atlas.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Audi teases Sky Sphere that is somehow both a sports car and a lounge

Audi has revealed a few glimpses of its upcoming Sky Sphere concept, a car that will in part define the future of the brand. It’s the second in Audi’s trio of Sphere concepts, which the company will put forth as a showcase of its upcoming technologies and design.

In the video, the car is described by Marc Lichte, Audi’s head of design, as both a “real sports car” and an “autonomous lounge,” two ideas that seem to be at direct odds to each other. However Lichte, along with senior VP Henrik Wenders, gives a clue to the direction of the concept by spending some time with a classic Horch 853A.

Horch was one of the four companies that merged to become Auto Union, the predecessor of present-day Audi. It’s represented by one of the four rings in the Audi logo. Horch was a luxury brand that competed against Mercedes, and the 850 series boasted inline eight-cylinder engines beneath their long hoods.

Wenders and Lichte start with the “golden” 1920s as the era in which the cars were developed, describing it as an exciting time in history. A number of technological innovations — like the first mainframe computer, a long distance transatlantic flight for passenger airliners, and the advent of color film — contributed to the zeitgeist surrounding the Horch. Of course, all those things didn’t happen until the 1930s, like the Horch 850 series itself which debuted in 1935, but it’s understandable why a German company would not want to refer to the ’30s as a “golden” era.

We only get a few closeups of the Sky Sphere’s nose and rear. Rather than a distinct pair of head or taillights, they are illuminated with an array of individual lights. The front features an array of glowing elements of varying size that together form a semblance of a grille, even though there is no actual opening for air, or even an outline of one.

At the rear, dozens of red points span the trailing edge of the deck. Each one appears to be able to illuminate with different intensities independent from the others, forming a neat pulsing animation. Illuminated Audi logos accompany both sets of lights, a white one in front a red one at rear forming the CHMSL.

Audi has made lighting a signature trait of its cars, so it’s not surprising to see a dazzling light show from a flagship concept. Beyond that, we can infer some of the Sky Sphere’s themes from what Lichte calls out on the Horch — a long wheelbase, long bonnet, and minimal overhangs. Given its name, and the fact that the Horch 850 series was known for some stunning coach-built convertibles, the Sky Sphere could be open-top as well.

The Sky Sphere is the second of Audi’s three upcoming Sphere concepts. The trio has been created to show Audi’s future as they enter an electrified, autonomous world. The Grand Sphere sedan has been teased already, and the Sky Sphere will be revealed at Audi’s Malibu, California, studio on August 11. The final member, the Urban Sphere SUV, will follow.

Source: AutoBlog.com

2022 Land Rover Defender Trophy Edition is a throwback for North America

Earlier this year, Land Rover announced it was building a limited run of classic Defenders with big V8s with the color scheme of the Camel Trophy Land Rovers. The Camel Trophy, in case you’re not familiar, was an off-road competition that took participants to remote locations and featured yellow-ish Land Rover models. It lasted for decades, and, yes, it was sponsored by the Camel cigarette brand. The U.S. didn’t get the classic Defender Trophy Edition for obvious regulatory reasons. To make up for that, the company has created the 2022 Land Rover Defender 110 Trophy Edition, exclusive to North America.

At its core, the Trophy Edition is basically a graphics package with a bunch of optional features included. But it’s a highly effective one. The exterior gets the same type of yellow wrap as the classic European model. Naturally, both this and the classic have a vintage-looking Land Rover logo instead of a cigarette brand on the side doors. The visuals are finished off with a black trim package along with a front bumper protector, skid plate, expedition roof platform, ladder and mud flaps. Other accessories included are rubber floor mats, winch installation kit, tow hitch and air compressor.

All of these upgrades are added to a Defender X-Dynamic SE, which comes with the 395-horsepower six-cylinder engine. It also has air suspension and both off-road packages that feature an electronically locking rear differential, off-road tires, terrain management and off-road cruise control. The included cold-weather package adds a heated windshield, washer nozzles, headlight washers and steering wheel.

Finally, the Trophy Edition comes with a two-person entry in the U.S. Trophy Competition. It’s in a similar vein as the original Camel Trophy with participants learning how to off-road and then participating in off-road, team and physical challenges. The winner will continue on to a competition in the U.K.

Pricing for the Trophy Edition starts at $91,350. That seems like a lot, but a similarly equipped non-Trophy Edition will run around $85,000. And the standard one doesn’t come with the cool color scheme, entry in an off-road competition and the exclusivity. The latter comes courtesy of the fact Land Rover is only selling 220 of these models in the U.S. If you’re interested, it goes on sale in August.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Rinspeed 969 looks like a 930 Turbo seduced a Testarossa

Every year before the Geneva Motor Show, we post about some peculiar yet highly thought-out concept from Swiss company Rinspeed that will debut in the city by the lake. Thing is, these fantastical Geneva jewels aren’t new; company founder Frank Rinderknecht has been working them up since he founded his company in 1977, and back then they were a lot less conceptual. Take this, the Rinspeed 969 being auctioned by Gooding & Co. during next month’s Monterey Car Week. Despite its looks, the coupe predates the Ferrari Testarossa. According to a history written by Silverstone Auctions for a different 969 sold in 2018, Rinspeed started building these babies as early as 1982. The Ferrari didn’t bow until 1984. The source of the name is a mystery; Porsche began developing its 959 in 1981, but that 1980s super coupe didn’t debut until 1985. An American owner bought this car and its sibling R69 from Rinderknecht’s outfit in 1985.

It started as a 1984 Porsche 930 turbo given the slantnose treatment, tucking a 3.3-liter flat-six shifted through a four-speed manual under its whale tale. Just about everything but the interior and body-in-white got thrown in the bin. The bodywork flares way out over the rear wheels, swapping its rear spoiler for a roof spoiler and a flat deck. A Porsche 944 donated its pop-up headlights and its taillights. The wheels are 15-inch Gotti split-rim alloys, massively deep front and back. Stitched two-tone leather covers almost everything inside, the deeply bolstered and hugely adjustable Recaros also embossed with Rinspeed’s cheetah logo. The four-tier Pioneer stereo in the center console can be controlled by custom buttons placed in the center of the steering wheel, a feature not shared by any other 969 we could find online. But there were only about 12 of the 969 and its sibling R69 built, so that’s believable.

The later Rinspeed R69 shed the side strakes and featured cleaner bodywork, and sat on BBS RS wheels. One of them supposedly found a home in one of American singer Lionel Richie’s garages.   

The original owner held onto this 969 for 36 years, putting less than 10,000 miles on the clock. This one comes with all documentation, manuals, records, put up with a pre-sale estimate of $125,000 to $150,000. That’s quite a bit above the $83,764 sale price another 969 sold for in the UK in April of this year, but the Gooding & Co. example is being sold without reserve, so this Swiss-flavored monument to the 1980s will find a new home.

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Spa 24 Hours: ASP Mercedes tops opening qualifying

Marciello and Juncadella both went fastest when they were at the wheel of the #88 ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 in their respective sessions, while Gounon was third quickest in the final 15-minute segment of qualifying for the double-points round of the GT World Challenge Europe. Their average time of 2m18.433s put them four tenths clear of the Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 shared by Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Ross Gunn, which ended up on 2m18.867s. Best Audi R8 LMS GT3 was the factory Attempto car of Mattia Drudi, Christopher Mies and Dennis Marschall, which was a further two tenths back on 2m19.090s. The #4 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes claimed fourth position in the hands of Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Vincent Abril. The two Walkenhorst-run factory BMW M6 GT3s took fifth and sixth positions. Sheldon van der Linde, Marco Wittmann and David Pittard ended up with a 2m19.145s average, which just shaded the 2m19.156s from team-mates Timo Glock, Martin Tomczyk and Thomas Neubauer. #95 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3: Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen, Ross Gunn Photo by: SRO The CMR Bentley Continental GT3 driven by claimed seventh overall as the top Silver Cup class entry with Stuart White, who was fastest in Q1, Nelson Panciatici, Jean Pierre-Alexandre and Ulysse De Pauw. The fastest entry from Porsche, winner of the past two editions of the Spa enduro, was the ART-run GPX Racing entry shared by Earl Bamber, Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet in eighth position. Ricardo Feller set the fastest time across the four mini-sessions with a 2m18.067s in the final 15 minutes aboard the #14 Emil Frey Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo. That moved the Silver Cup entry he shares with Alex Fontana and Rolf Ineichen up to ninth position two tenths up on the sister car driven by Jack Aitken, Arthur Rogier and Konsta Lappalainen. The top 20 cars from Thursday’s opening qualifying period go through to Friday evening’s Super Pole session. Read Also: The factory WRT Audi that headed both sessions of free practice in the hands of Kelvin van der Linde and then Dries Vanthoor failed to make progress to the final session. Vanthoor failed to set a time in a Q2, which was interrupted by two red flags. The works Sainteloc Audi of Markus Winkelhock, Patric Niederhauser and Christopher Haase also failed to make the cut. The 30-minute Super Pole session is scheduled to begin at 7:50pm local time on Friday. shares comments
Source: AutoSport.com

Ocon: “Fighting spirit” Alpine’s big strength in F1 battle for fifth

With McLaren and Ferrari already far clear in the fight for third, it has left Alpine, Aston Martin and AlphaTauri separated by just nine points in the race for P5. AlphaTauri currently sits fifth, one point clear of Aston Martin, with both teams having already scored podium finishes this year. Alpine is a further eight points back in seventh. Alpine has now shifted full focus to the development of its 2022 car, anticipating the overhaul of the technical regulations next year, leaving it to try and maximise its current package. Ocon said that the competitive order in the fight for fifth was “pretty much how it is now”, but made clear Alpine would not back down and keep battling hard. “I think our strength is going to be probably our fighting spirit, because we are not always the fastest of that group,” Ocon acknowledged. “AlphaTauri have been a little bit faster than we were. Aston Martin are also quite fast and giving us a hard time in most places. “But we are going to fight them until the end. And it’s going to be only the one that scores consistently throughout the year, little points by little points, who are going to finish in that fifth position. “There’s still a long way to go. So we’re ready to fight.” Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1 Photo by: FIA Pool Alpine has scored points in all but one race so far this year, but has failed to finish any higher than sixth, recorded by Fernando Alonso in Azerbaijan. The team heads into this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix looking to build on its first double-score of the season at Silverstone earlier this month, when Alonso and Ocon finished P7 and P9. Read Also: Ocon was upbeat about his chances of a good result in Budapest, calling the Hungaroring “one of my favourite circuits.” “It’s one track that I really enjoy,” Ocon said. “There’s a lot of combination of corners. Tyres are going to be quite important to get right. And yeah, tyre usage, good confidence in the car, all of this is gonna be mega important. “So hopefully we can get the maximum out of it there as well and get some more points.” shares comments
Source: AutoSport.com

UK Rappers Santan Dave And Stormzy Invade Aston Martin HQ

The video features Stormzy taking the wheel of the limited edition V12 Speedster, and a shot of the two artists walking down the customer inspection line where 20 of Aston Martin’s latest models are lined up.”It is an honor for Aston Martin to be involved in this creative collaboration with music industry giants like Santan Dave and Stormzy. As a British ultra-luxury brand, we are proud to work with homegrown talent and these two guys coming together to create ‘Clash’ is a real cultural moment that will bring our brand to a new and younger audience. In a film full of icons we are extremely proud to have been involved in,” said Aston Martin Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman.
Source: carbuzz.com

Aston Martin Sales Rose By 224 Percent In H1 2021 And You Know Why

About a year ago, Aston Martin posted serious financial losses for the first half of 2020. That wasn’t a surprise given the global pandemic situation at the time, and we are happy to report the British exotic car maker is slowly recovering from the crisis. The sales report of the brand for the first six months of 2021 show sales increased by 224 percent and a single model contributed for more than half of those sales.

With a total of 2,901 deliveries during the first half of this year, Aston Martin is up 2,006 sales over the same period in 2020. The revenue of the company increased from £146 million to £498.8 million, or 242 percent more. As a result, pretax loss fell from £227 million last year to $91 million from January to the end of June this year.

Aston Martin happily explains more than 1,500 DBX examples have been delivered in H1 of 2021 representing more than half of the marque’s overall sales. As a reminder, the luxury performance SUV entered production in July last year and it’s already proving to be Aston’s absolute bestseller.

“The demand we see for our products, the new product pipeline and the quality of the team we have in place to execute, gives me great confidence in our continued success,” Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin chairman, commented in an official statement, quoted by Automotive News. “Building on the success of DBX, our first SUV, we have since delivered two more new vehicles and with more exciting product launches to come we are well positioned for growth.”

The two new products Stroll is referring to are the recently launched Valhalla and the Valkyrie hypercar. The latter could turn out to be a trouble for the brand, though with a starting price of more than £600,000, it should quickly pay off.

Source: motor1.com

Ford posts surprise profit as prices surge for scarce vehicles

Ford Motor Co. overcame a critical parts shortage and managed to post a surprise profit in the second quarter, thanks to surging prices on models that have become harder to find on dealer lots.

The automaker on Wednesday also raised its full-year forecast for adjusted earnings to a range of $9 billion to $10 billion before interest and taxes. That’s an increase of about $3.5 billion from its previous projection and at least triple what it made last year. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company expects sales volume to increase by about 30% in the year’s second half.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley said Ford now has more than 120,000 $100 reservations for its electric F-150 Lightning pickup coming next spring and that demand is similarly high for a revived Bronco sport utility vehicle.

“We are now spring-loaded for growth in the second half, and beyond because of those red-hot products, pent-up demand and improving chip supply,” Farley told analysts on a conference call.

Ford has suffered more than rivals from a shortage of semiconductors because it sourced so many chips from a Japanese factory hit by a fire in the spring. Despite that, the company posted second-quarter earnings of $1.1 billion before interest and taxes, which was well above the $167 million analysts predicted. Adjusted earnings per share came in at 13 cents, beating the 5-cent loss that analysts had forecast.

Shares of the carmaker rose as much as 4% to $14.42 in extended trading after the results were announced. Investors have rallied behind the automaker, lifting the shares 58% this year as of Wednesday’s close.

New model blitz

Well-received new models, such as the F-150 Lightning, the compact Maverick truck and the Bronco SUV, as well as a plan to spend $30 billion to electrify the entire lineup, have buoyed Ford shares.

Despite the expected increase in volume in the year’s second half, Ford forecast that its earnings before interest and taxes will decline from the first six months of the year.

Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said rising commodity costs will take a $2 billion bite out of earnings in the second half. Ford Credit, the automaker’s lending arm, also will see profit fall by about $1 billion as sky-high used vehicle prices come down to earth. At the same time, Ford will be spending heavily on electrification and automation.

The scarcity of chips has triggered prolonged factory shutdowns and cut inventory on dealer lots by more than half. But that lack of supply drove up the average price of a new Ford model to a record $47,446, according to researcher Cox Automotive.

Farley said last month that even after the chip crisis subsides at some point next year, lean inventory on dealer lots will be the “new normal” in order to keep prices high. He told analysts Wednesday that Ford is moving to an order-bank system rather than flooding dealer lots with multiple versions of every model.

The automaker had seven times more orders at the end of the second quarter than it did a year ago, he said. Switching to orders will help Ford rein in the thousands of dollar per vehicle it spends on incentives to move the metal off dealer lots.

“I know we’re wasting money on incentives, I just don’t know where,” Farley said. “With an order-based system, we’ll have much less risk of that.”

Market share drops

U.S. vehicle sales rose 9% in the quarter, but fell sharply in June as inventory dried up. Ford’s gains in the quarter were far short of the 50% rise in the U.S. overall, which caused the automaker’s share in its home market to plummet to a six-year-low of 10.7%, down from 14.7% a year earlier, Cox said.

Revenue rose 38% to $26.8 billion in the second quarter, more than the $23 billion analysts expected, driven by strong sales in its home market.

Ford Credit earned $1.6 billion before taxes, thanks to high resale prices on used vehicles. That was the biggest contributor to the bottom line in the second quarter.

North American operations drove Ford’s earnings, with income before interest and taxes of $194 million. That compares with a loss of $974 million a year ago when the pandemic hit and factories closed for two months.

The automaker continued to lose money in most of its other key regional markets, including Europe, China and South America.

In Europe, Ford posted a loss of $284 million, an improvement from the $664 million it lost there a year earlier. Sales in the 20 key European markets rose 44% over the previous year, but were down significantly from 2019.

Ford also saw more red ink in China, the world’s largest auto market. It reported a loss of $123 million, slightly better than the $136 million it lost a year ago. Sales in the Chinese market rose 24% in the quarter, as deliveries more than doubled for its Lincoln luxury line. Ford sold nearly twice as many Lincolns in China in the quarter as it did in the U.S.

In South America, where Ford is ceasing manufacturing in Brazil after more than 100 years, the company lost $86 million, compared with a loss of $165 million a year earlier.

Source: AutoBlog.com