Tesla sold 5,150 Model S EVs in Q2, future $35k model will have 200-mile range

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors

Finally, we know the number. Tesla Motors announced today that it sold 5,150 Model S electric vehicles in North America last quarter. Divide by three and you see that the California company sold around 1,700 cars a month, which puts it right up there with the current plug-in vehicle champions, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. That’s despite the fact that the cheapest Model S, which starts at $69,900 but often sells for a lot more with better options, costs at least twice as much as the sales leaders. Tesla said it was making “almost 500 vehicles per week” in the second quarter of this year.

Tesla says its “financial position and balance sheet have never been stronger.”

The sales contributed to an overall increase in net income (non-GAAP) of 70 percent compared to the first quarter, up to $26 million. Tesla said it achieved a gross margin of 22 percent (non-GAAP), “despite significant reduction in ZEV credits” (which was no surprise) and should hit 25 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013. That number is simply a company’s sales revenue with the cost of goods sold taken out, divided by total sales revenue. Put it all together and you get the following statement: “Our financial position and balance sheet have never been stronger.” Still, there was no talk in today’s conference call of an overall profitable quarter, as there was three months ago.

With all of the good financial news, Tesla and CEO Elon Musk said the primary focus now is on “expanding production to meet worldwide demand.” Tesla started delivering the Model S to Europe this week (the first lucky countries were Norway, Switzerland and the Netherlands) and if demand there matches North America, which Musk said is likely, then the company predicts “annualized sales for Model S could exceed 40,000 units per year by late 2014.”

In China, the Model S will have an “executive back seat” instead of the current “family back seat.”

Musk said the upcoming new-market Model S versions (right-hand-drive for Japan and the Chinese model) are taking up most of Tesla’s resources at the current moment. In China, for example, the company is trying to improve the comfort level of the rear seat, because it is common for people in The People’s Republic to be driven around. The Model S was designed to be the perfect driver’s car, Musk said, but in China it will have an “executive back seat” instead of the “family back seat” the car has now. Things like this mean that work on the Model X won’t really start to ramp up until the end of this year. Deliveries of that car should start at the end of 2014.

Looking further down the road, Musk said that the next-gen Tesla vehicle, the long-rumored $35,000 (without any subsidies) EV, should be a compelling option with a 200-mile range. That vehicle is still quite far away – he wondered aloud how his company might need more battery cells than the laptop industry does if it’s making a half-million cars a year – but at least his automotive competition now has targets to shoot for if they want to beat Tesla in the longer-range EV game.

Tesla sold 5,150 Model S EVs in Q2, future $35k model will have 200-mile range originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 07 Aug 2013 18:50:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Supercars seized from African dictator’s son sold for over $4M in Paris auction

Filed under: Government/Legal, Earnings/Financials

Corruption is a big problem around the world, but perhaps nowhere more than in African dictatorships. Proof? Despite living in one of the wealthiest countries on the African continent, the citizens of Equatorial Guinea live in abject poverty. Clean drinking water is available to less than half the populous, and one in five children is dead before their fifth birthday.

As so often seems the case with dictatorships, while the citizenry suffers, the rulers of EG live in the lap of luxury. With any luck, though, justice might be catching up to “President” Teodor Obiang’s son, Teodorin, according to a report from the International Business Times.

Obiang was subject to a raid by French law enforcement in 2011 that lasted two weeks. Why did it last two weeks? Because authorities had to search the his 80 million Euro, 101-room mansion on the Champs Elysees. Naturally, the house and everything in it was found to have been purchased using state funds. If this blatant display of wealth doesn’t outrage you, let us point you back to that stat about 20 percent of this country’s citizens dying before age five.

The seizure included a fleet of luxury and sports cars, including models from Bugatti, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati and Maybach. The kicker is, most of the cars had little to no mileage on them. Fine art, vintage wine, and antiques were also seized. Now, French auction house Drouot has sold several of the cars, racking up over $4 million in profits. We can only hope the funds go back to the citizens of Equatorial Guinea, but we aren’t holding our breath.

There’s more at the IBT. Give it a read if you’re interested in making yourself sick.

Supercars seized from African dictator’s son sold for over $4M in Paris auction originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Jul 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: The 100,000th EV sold in the US is… a Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Filed under: Hatchback, Mitsubishi, Electric

The news here isn’t that 100,000 EVs have been sold in the US, although that’s quite the accomplishment. It’s that the 100,000th car is a Mitsubishi i-MiEV – a car that takes nearly a full day to recharge on a standard outlet and can only travel about 62 miles per charge (according to the car’s Monroney).

Jabs at the Mitsubishi aside, the fact that US dealers have moved 100,000 electric cars is made more impressive in that it’s only been done since the latest generation of EVs arrived, typified by the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric and aforementioned i-MiEV. Chronologically, that means roughly the last two years. It’s a number that we can only expect to climb, as EVs gain a stronger foothold among manufacturers and consumers.

Plug In America, an EV advocacy group, crunched the numbers for a contest called #PIA100K, to find the lucky buyer, who would be given a ClipperCreek Level 2 charger (which takes the i-MiEV’s recharge time down to just seven hours). The winner, Rich Salmon of Grand Bay, Alabama, picked up his i-MiEV from Pete Moore Mitsubishi.

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The 100,000th EV sold in the US is… a Mitsubishi i-MiEV originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Jul 2013 18:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: GM CEO Akerson wishes Opel Cascada, Adam were sold in Buick showrooms [w/poll]

Filed under: Convertible, Etc., Hatchback, Buick, Opel

‚Äč2013 Opel Cascada - dynamic top-down motoring shot

2013 Opel Adam - front three-quarter view, maroonAccording to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has his eye on a couple of overseas models for Buick. The General’s funky Opel Adam subcompact and Cascada four-place convertible are apparently on the executive’s wish list, as he openly expressed regret that they weren’t developed for the US during an investor conference earlier this month.

The distribution plans for both models were decided ahead of GM’s 2009 bankruptcy (prior to Akerson’s tenure), and they were apparently not designed with North America in mind. Whether Akerson and Co. are still looking to pursue versions for our market with the TriShield brand isn’t clear, in part because it isn’t known what modifications would need to be executed to make them suitable for sale. Automotive News cites GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky as having previously stated that the “expensive” Cascada “would have to be amalgamated for the US, which adds cost and complexity,” but it also quotes GM North America boss Mark Reuss as saying that Buick “is ready for ‘something special,’ citing a convertible, a coupe or a flagship sedan as possibilities.”

By our reckoning, the rakish Cascada droptop would seem to be the most natural fit for the Buick brand, as the idea of a comfortable four-place convertible doesn’t seem as boundary-stretching as a Fiat 500-sized supermini. Then again, the new Encore crossover is tiny and seems to be receiving a warm welcome from buyers in its first months on sale, and GM is looking to redefine Buick and court younger buyers. Stylistically, though, the Cascada would probably be the easier conversion to Buick branding, and the biggest factor in its favor would seem to be that it rides atop GM’s Delta II architecture, as does the Verano sedan, a North American model. At present, GM only has one four-seat convertible in its entire US lineup, the Chevrolet Camaro, and today’s Buick/GMC sales channel does not offer any droptops at all.

View Poll

GM CEO Akerson wishes Opel Cascada, Adam were sold in Buick showrooms [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Jun 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hyundai announces 5 million units sold in Europe

Filed under: Budget, Europe, Hyundai

Hyundai i30

The UK-market Hyundai i30 – Click above to enlarge

It’s official: five million Hyundai vehicles have been paired with paying customers in Europe since 1977. It began with a Hyundai Pony sent home with a UK buyer, and the latest milestone was achieved with the sale of an i30 (pictured). Although it works out to roughly 147,000 cars per year over those 34 years, the Korean firm didn’t hit the million-sales mark until 1996. The second million came in 2001, the third million in 2005, and it’s been another million every three years since.

More than half of those sales are accounted for by just five European countries, with Germany in the lead at 714,260 units. There’s a press release after the jump with all the info.

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Hyundai announces 5 million units sold in Europe originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 28 May 2011 15:36:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Share of trucks being sold in U.S. at 31-year low

Filed under: Car Buying, Truck, Chevrolet, Ford, GM

New Chevrolet pickups being delivered to dealer

Auto sales were up sharply in April, but trucks continue to make up less of the overall pie. Ward’s Automotive reports that light-duty pickups accounted for only 11.8 percent of overall vehicle deliveries; the lowest total since Ward’s began collecting data back in 1980. Back in 2005, when the auto industry and the economy at large was far healthier, light trucks accounted for 22.9 percent of all vehicles sold.

There are a lot of reasons truck sales are flagging as of late, not the least of which is gasoline prices that are currently at about $4 per gallon nationwide. But truck sales are also being hurt by unemployment rates and continued weakness in the housing sector.

Trucks are no longer such a large portion of over all car sales, but the utilitarian vehicles are still selling far better than they were in 2010. Truck sales are up 17.9 percent year-over-year, but that number has been outpaced by overall growth of 19.4 percent.

While trucks aren’t quite as popular as they were a few years ago, we suspect that this trend may lose steam as the economy improves. After all, light trucks continue to outsell cars even with high gas prices and a poor housing market, though the advantage is down to 5,000 units so far in 2011.

Share of trucks being sold in U.S. at 31-year low originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 May 2011 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Subaru 2.5-liter coffee table makes excellent Christmas gift, turbo sold separately

Filed under: Etc., Videos, Subaru, Humor

Subaru EJ25 Coffee Table

Subaru flat-four coffee table has better ‘Ring time than IKEA version – Click above to watch video after the jump

Using an engine as the base for a table isn’t new. Gearheads have been turning four, six, eight and even 12 cylinder mills into furniture for a long time. However, someone has taken the engine-table idea a step further though by affixing a glass top onto the flywheel and allowing the table to rotate. The fact that you can watch the pistons turn as it rotates only serves to up the cool factor.

The power source of choice for this application? An EJ25 workhorse from a Subaru. Hopefully its not an early EJ25D though – the head gaskets could leak and ruin the carpet. Check it out in action after the jump.

[Source: Youtube]

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Video: Subaru 2.5-liter coffee table makes excellent Christmas gift, turbo sold separately originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Dec 2010 09:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog Podcast #197 – F-150 powertrains, GM diesel car, hatchbacks, Mahindra, Bugatti Galibier and Nissan’s sold-out Leaf

Filed under: Podcasts, Bugatti, Cadillac, Ford, GM, Jaguar, Kia, Volkswagen, Electric

Click above for the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes, RSS or listen now!

Steven Ewing joins podcast regulars Dan and Chris for Episode #197 of the Autoblog Podcast. Items we cover are the newly expanded powertrain selections for the Ford F-150, a potential diesel-powered car from General Motors, the apparently heating-up American love affair with hatchbacks, the just-out-of-reach Mahindra Pik-Up, the definitely unattainable Bugatti Galibier and the rush to pre-order the Nissan Leaf. At one hour, twenty-two minutes, it’s not quite as epic as last week’s extravaganza, and we wrap up by responding to some of your feedback. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #197 – F-150 powertrains, GM diesel car, hatchbacks, Mahindra, Bugatti Galibier and Nissan’s sold-out Leaf

In the Autoblog Garage:

Cadillac CTS
Volkswagen Tiguan
Jaguar XKR Convertible

News:

  • F-150 Ecoboost Drive
  • GM will sell a diesel car in the U.S.
  • Hatchbacks: Who says Americans don’t buy ’em?
  • Despite uproar, Global Vehicles places its initial order from Mahindra
  • Bugatti Galibier coming for 2013
  • Nissan full up with Leaf pre-orders

Hosts:
Dan Roth, Chris Shunk, Steven Ewing

Runtime: 1:22:14


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Feedback:

Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com
Voicemail: 734-288-8POD (734-288-8763)

Review the show in iTunes and take our survey

Autoblog Podcast #197 – F-150 powertrains, GM diesel car, hatchbacks, Mahindra, Bugatti Galibier and Nissan’s sold-out Leaf originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Sep 2010 16:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Nardelli almost sold Chrysler to U.S. for $1

Filed under: Government/Legal, Chrysler, Earnings/Financials

Robert Nardelli Chrysler

Even more terrifying tales of the automotive bailout are emerging from Steven Rattner’s new book. CNN Money reports that, according to the text, Chrysler had an even rougher go of things than General Motors. Rattner, who served as the head of the automotive task force, writes that after congress failed to give Chrysler the $7 billion in funding that the company originally asked for, executives began to scramble to find other ways to keep the operation afloat. That includes Pentastar boss Bob Nardelli asking the United States Treasury to force General Motors to buy Chrysler. After it was determined that the vast amounts of overlap between the two companies would make a merger impossible, things got even more bizarre.

According to Rattner’s book, Steve Feinberg of Chrysler parent company Cerberus Capital offered the carmaker to the treasury department for $1. The treasury thought the offer was a joke, partially because Feinberg made the suggestion to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson during a 2:00 AM phone call. Less than a month later, President Bush signed off on $17.4 billion in TARP money for GM and Chrysler. Thanks for the tip, Ollie!

[Source: CNN Money | Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty]

Report: Nardelli almost sold Chrysler to U.S. for $1 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 10 Sep 2010 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Volkswagen Touareg R will be sold in U.S. with a diesel by 2012

Filed under: Performance, SUV, Europe, Volkswagen

2011 Volkswagen Touareg

2011 Volkswagen Touareg – Click above for high-res image gallery

Last time we talked about the next-generation Volkswagen Touareg R it was to relay rumors that the high-performance SUV might drop the automaker’s venerable 5.0-liter diesel V10 TDI engine in favor of a V8 hybrid powertrain. Car and Driver is kicking the ball the other way with a report that the next version of the Toureg R will indeed still be a diesel, although carrying over the V10 probably isn’t in the cards.

Instead, C/D reports that VW will be using its new 4.2-liter diesel V8 already available in the European Touareg. For Touareg R duty, the oil burner will likely be pumped up from its current 340-horsepower output to 380, along with delivering enough torque to move the SUV with irresponsible abandon. That’s more power than the V10 TDI produced in the old Touareg R at 350, and probably enough for the new Touareg R to keep pace with other high-performance SUVs in the segment.

The bigger news is that C/D claims the next-gen Touareg R will actually be available for sale in the U.S in 2012 as a 2013 model. The new 4.2-liter diesel V8 will apparently meet current U.S. emissions standards, at least when installed under the hood of a Touareg R.

To date, the only R model ever offered by VW in the States was the Golf-based R32. We’ve never had a shot at a Touareg R, though VW did intermittently sell a version of the last-generation Touareg here with the same diesel V10 TDI as the R model in Europe (also called the R50), though tuned for less power and minus the performance goodies.

Gallery: First Drive: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

[Source: Car and Driver]

Report: Volkswagen Touareg R will be sold in U.S. with a diesel by 2012 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 01 Sep 2010 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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