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 |  Apr 22 2012, 11:02 AM

While many businesses had been hurt badly by the tough economic times, some of which have never recovered, British luxury and sports car manufacturer Aston Martin is thriving.

The company just released its full year results for the 12-months ending on December 31, 2011 and are happy to report that the numbers are in the black.

Aston Martin’s revenues increased by 7 percent, to $817.3-million, its highest since 2008. Aston’s earnings before interest,taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) works out to be $112.8-million.

Aston Martin managed to make this profit by shifting 4200 vehicles in these 12-months, which also included selling all 77-examples of the One-77 supercar.

“Our 2011 results demonstrate the energy, passion and ongoing resilience of Aston Martin – a truly unique, independent manufacturer. We are on track with our expansion plans around the world, especially in China, and are investing in new models,” said Aston Martin’s CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez.

The Aston Martin brand is stronger than ever. This is demonstrated by intense interest in the new V12 Zagato, recently shown at the Geneva Motor Show, and our $1.93-million One-77 supercar – all 77 of which are now sold.”

Aston Martin has also accrued $122-million in projected sales since last months Geneva Motor Show, so the future is looking very bright indeed.

While many car enthusiasts have complained in recent years that Aston Martin has not come out with an all-new car in quite some time (apart from the mega-bucks One-77), it seems those who can afford such high-priced items are buying them and the people running the company know what they are doing.

 |  Jul 18 2011, 1:44 PM

German auto giant BMW wants to become a bigger giant, as it looks to expand its annual production volume from 1.5-million vehicles/year to 2-million vehicles by 2020.

Herbert Diess, BMW’s board member in charge of purchasing said in a recent interview that this expansion will come by the way of reducing purchasing costs, while keeping a keen eye on quality. BMW has already cut its annual parts purchasing costs by $5.5-billion, but thanks to good quality parts, their warranty costs have also decreased. Currently, BMW spends $37-billion on parts purchasing alone. Diess says this number will grow with the increase in production numbers.

Diess also said that the type of purchasing will also change. Engines with fewer cylinders are becoming more popular and the electrification of the auto industry is only going to grow over the coming years. To prepare itself for this change, BMW is starting their own sub-brand called “i” which will cater to electric and hybrid vehicles.

The industry is also changing its preferences in materials. Instead of steel, more and more parts are being made from lighter aluminum, and soon carbon-fiber will become available on normal cars, not just high-end exotics.

In order to move forward with its plan, China is an important factor, as 75% of the foreign purchasing BMW does is with the Chinese. America is another benefactor, as the new X3 will also be produced in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Jan 31 2011, 12:15 PM

Hit by fewer fleet sales and high interest on government loans, Chrysler posted a $199 million operating loss in it’s fourth quarter of 2010, despite generating earnings of $10.76 billion.

However, not factoring the interest on the loans from the US and Canadian governments , the company actually recorded an operating profit of $198 million in the same period.

During the course of 2010 Chrysler produced some 1.5 million vehicles, thanks to multiple new or revised product introductions and generated $42 billion in revenue, including $763 million in operating profit, in line with projected estimates for the year.

In 2011, the company hopes to go public once again, though CEO Sergio Marchionne has stated that Chrysler, which is 25 percent owned by Fiat; must report at least a ‘couple’ of quarters of net income before an Initial Public Offering of shares can be issued.  In addition, in order to issue an IPO, the company has to refinance its government loans to reduce interest on the debt owned.

Chrysler has said it expects 2011 revenue to increase by nearly a third, to $55 billion, with projected net income between $200 and $500. If those targets are met, then it’s highly likely, Chrysler stock will become publicly traded once again before the end of the year.

The company also said that it plans to achieve more 13 percent US market share by 2014; currently it stands at 9.2 percent, up from 8.8 in 2009.


 |  Nov 17 2010, 7:15 PM

When GM announced an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of common stock back in August, investors sat up and took notice.

The mere fact that the automaker was considering to trade shares on the markets once again was a sign that perhaps, things were gathering steam once again. Now, the General has upped the size of its stock offering from 365 million to 478 million shares, which will be sold for between $32 and $34 each (this is up from the  $26-29 a share that was originally forecast). In addition the company will also sell $4 billion worth of preferred shares, largely in response to buoyant demand.

If the underwriters of the deal decide to exercise an overallotment provision, the IPO has the potential to raise as much as $18 billion in common stock and $4.6 billion in dividend paying shares for GM.

However, with the US Treasury having acquired 61 percent of General Motors as part of the bailout and restructuring agreement, the company would need to achieve a market value of approximately $66 billion, for the amount of investment by the US government, on the backs of taxpayers to break even.  However with today’s IPO it’s hoped that the amount of money generated  from the share offering will allow GM’s CEO Dan Ackerson to return a healthy portion of the $49.5 billion in bailout funds GM received last year. It will also likely reduce the US government’s stake in the company to around 26 percent, though the Treasury will still be taking a hit on the deal, unless the shares climb to more than 50 percent of their projected value.

However, despite the apparent good news, GM has cautioned that despite making a third quarter net profit of some $2.16 billion this year, it’s fourth quarter earnings will likely be lower because of the costs of launching new vehicles and ongoing struggles with its European operations.

[Source: Automotive News]