Hyundai knows its dealers are overpricing their cars. As for what Hyundai is going to do about it, that’s a different story. All that and more in The Morning Shift for February 23, 2022.
1st Gear: I’m So Glad We Don’t Just Order Cars Online
We love car dealerships here at Jalopnik. Who else would fund our nation’s little league tournaments? Where would we be without them?
Well, we would at least have less-outrageously priced Hyundais, as Automotive News reports:
Hyundai and Genesis are warning US dealers against aggressive pricing strategies that are damaging brand image, including markups that push transaction prices “way above” sticker price, according to letters sent to retailers and obtained by Automotive News.
The automakers, part of Hyundai Motor Group, also warn of potential actions they can take against offending dealers, such as reductions in future allocations, advertising benefits and other incentives. But they acknowledge that retailers can set their own prices.
According to the letters, one of the aggressive practices that is hurting the image of the Korean brands involves “advertising one price online and then marking up that price when the customer comes into the dealership.”
We were just writing about how Kia dealers could undo any potential success of the lovely EV6. We’ll have to keep an eye on its twin, the ioniq 5I guess.
2nd Gear: North America Is Making Stellantis So Much Money
I didn’t really ever expect a timeline where Jeep makes America’s most popular plug-in hybrid. That is, Stellantis just put out its big financial report for the 2021 fiscal year (you can scan through the whole presentation here), and it includes a number of fun details, Jeep Wrangler 4xe PHEV included. Please enjoy this slide:
Stellantis’ profit margin globally is at 11.8 percent, so 16.3 for North America is significant. I guess you can measure the degree to which our car market is under-regulated and truck-heavy by this figure.
The plus is that UAW workers at Stellantis stand to make a decent chunk of change from all this, as the Freep reports:
UAW-represented workers at Chrysler-parent Stellantis are potentially in line for profit-sharing checks before taxes totaling $14,670 this year.
The amount, which Stellantis confirmed early Wednesday after it released its earnings for 2021, is the largest profit-sharing amount that the company or its predecessors have announced in 35 years, the company said in an email. Last year’s check was $8,010.
3rd Gear: Stellantis Picked A Hell Of A Time To Plan On Exporting Cars From Russia
I don’t know if you have been following Jalopnik alum Terrell Starr havewitter or television, but you should be! If you had, you would have a nuanced and on-the-ground view of what’s going on between Russia and Ukraine right now.
And you would perhaps also find this story in the Wall Street Journal about Jeep’s Russian factory intriguing:
The US and its European allies on Tuesday announced a range of sanctions against Russia that aims to limit Russia’s access to the global financial system. The measures fall short of the package of sanctions that the Biden administration threatened to impose if Moscow launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. However, Western officials say they are willing to impose more sweeping measures if Mr. Putin takes further action.
Production at the Kaluga factory doubled in 2021 as Stellantis produced around 11,000 light commercial vehicles in Russia. The plant, which has the capacity to produce 125,000 vehicles a year, started assembling the Peugeot Expert, Opel Vivaro and Citroën Jumpy for export in December. Stellantis also said it planned to assemble manual transmissions at the plant by the end of the year, as well as a Fiat model intended for export.
Demand for Jeeps in Western Europe has been on the rise, though we’ll see how that goes!
4th Gear: Hold The Phone Lancia Is Going 100% … Electrified
An aside in the Stellantis news is that in 2024, all Lancias will be hybrid or electric:
That doesn’t really mean much. I just love Lancia.
5th Gear: I Have Some Concerns About Aston Martin’s Financial Growth
Aston Martin has been back on track thanks to the winning formula of “sell an SUV, you fools” that has worked for Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, and Lexus since either the mid-1990s or early 2000s depending on when you start counting.
There is another big component in Aston surviving into this decade, though, and that’s a huge injection of cash from fashion gazillionaire Lance Stroll.
Stroll didn’t have much to do with the DBX SUV, but he has has other ideas and I don’t know how I feel about them. From the FinancialTimes:
Stroll, who led a £540mn bailout of the company in April 2020, wants to restore Aston’s luxury credentials by removing excess cars from dealerships, taking the brand back into Formula One, and introducing a range of mid-engine cars to compete with Ferrari.
During the year the company booked £71mn from customer deposits on the open-roof version of its Valkyrie hypercar and for its Valhalla supercar.
The business was stung with £171mn financing costs compared with £75mn a year earlier, because of high-interest loans worth £1.1bn the company took out in October of 2020.
In January, Aston said that delays to its £2.5mn Valkyrie hypercar would cost the business £15mn. It only delivered 10 models last year. On Wednesday, the company said it expects to produce between 75 and 90 of the cars this year, although said it is still fine-tuning the production process.Have
To sum that up: Aston has been taking on high-interest loans and keeping itself afloat in the interim taking deposits on mid-engine hypercars that it is struggling to get out the door. If you have a familiarity with the British auto industry, this usually goes one way and not the other.
I guess this might be good news for anyone looking to buy an Aston Martin Valkyrie 30 years from now, just as it’s been a good time to scoop up a Jaguar XJ220. (Hi, Phil!)
Reverse: I Always Forget This Was A Real Thing That Happened
There’s a good deal of Jalopnik content about Fangio, Cuba, and a Saab if you go looking for it.
Neutral: How Is Your Car?
Ever since my car moved from a garage to street parking, I’ve basically stopped working on it, as it’s not all that fun getting pieces of glass in your hair doing valve adjustments lying in the gutter. The other day, though, I did don my insulated coveralls and re-mount new heater tubing around the engine and exhaust, so I have a toasty warm Bug again. It’s a small victory, but a victory nonetheless!