Renault sees chip shortage hitting output and margin recovery - Automotive News Europe

PARIS -- Renault doubled its estimate for car production lost to the global chip shortage, saying the supply chain issue and rising raw material prices could curb further recovery in profitability this year.

The automaker swung to net income of 368 million euros ($437 million) during the first half, from a 7.4 billion-euro loss a year ago. Automotive operational free cash flow was close to breakeven at negative 70 million euros.

Renault now expects semiconductor constraints to cost the company about 200,000 vehicles this year, up from its previous forecast of a loss of 100,000 units.

Renault gave financial guidance for the first time in 2021, saying full-year operating margin will be roughly in line with the 2.8 percent achieved in the first half. That's just short of its 3 percent target for 2023 and well below competitors.

"I think the worst is behind us," CEO Luca de Meo told analysts on Friday. "The auto business operating margin is back in the black so we are making money on our core business again.

Renault almost returned to positive cash flow in the first half of the year, from negative cash flow of nearly 6.4 billion euros in the year-ago period.

Chief Finance Officer Clotilde Delbos said the company's improved liquidity position "allows us to pursue our recovery with serenity."

Renault sold 1.42 million vehicles worldwide in the first half, 19 percent more than last year but still down almost a quarter from the same period in 2019.

Inventories at the end of the latest quarter stood at 427,000 vehicles compared with 486,000 at the end of last year. Many carmakers have benefited from surging prices after the chip shortage reduced the amount of cars on dealer lots.

De Meo, a former Volkswagen Group executive who turned around the German automaker's Seat brand, has been tasked with helping Renault turn a new page after a troubled spell.

De Meo's recovery plan includes laying off thousands of workers, cutting the carmaker's model range, and improving cooperation on production with its alliance partners - Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Last month, Renault unveiled a more ambitious strategy for electric vehicles, betting on new, affordable versions of its iconic small cars of the past to catch up with Volkswagen in the fast-growing sector.

Renault said last month that by 2030 the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance will produce one million EVs globally a year, up from the 200,000 they made in 2020.

Renault has lagged rivals Volkswagen and Stellantis because of its reliance on the European market, which has recovered more slowly than China or the U.S. from the initial pandemic onslaught.

The French automaker's lineup of lower-returning mass-market vehicles also offers fewer options compared to competitors that have prioritized making more lucrative models with what chips they have available.

De Meo unveiled a turnaround plan in January that underwhelmed investors. The carmaker is targeting an operating margin of at least 5 percent by mid-decade compared with a 4.8 percent return in 2019.

Stellantis, formed from the merger of Renault arch rival PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler, wants to generate a double-digit adjusted operating income margin by around 2026.

Renault is working to eliminate about 14,600 jobs worldwide and lower production capacity by almost a fifth in a bid to cut costs by more than 2 billion euros.

The company has cut 1.8 billion euros of costs and said it now expects to reach a 2 billion-euro goal by year-end, ahead of schedule.

Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report

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I-Team Finds Vehicle Rollaway Danger in Some Cars With Keyless Ignitions - NBC Southern California

An I-Team investigation found a danger in some cars that have keyless ignitions -- they can roll away when the driver isn’t in the car, injuring and killing people in their path.

Shadi Askari-Farhat was leaving work on a Monday evening to join her family for dinner, but she never made it out of the parking lot.

It was a tragic incident caught on a security camera. Askari-Farhat had started her 2017 Range Rover HSE, but had stepped out of the car, and within seconds the car started moving backwards, eventually knocking her down and running over her.

Askara-Farhat was rushed to the hospital where doctors gave her husband Michael Farhat the devastating news.

“One of the chambers of her heart had burst, because of the pressure that had been placed on her chest,” said Farhat. “So she had massive internal bleeding.” And a brain injury. Askari-Farhat died.

“I don’t know how something like that happened,” said Farhat. “In a million years, I never would have thought that a car could do something like this.” Safety experts call it a “rollaway incident” -- it happens when a driver thinks the car is in park, but it’s not. In Askara-Farhat’s case, the family’s attorney, Dylan Ruga, thinks she was confused by the newer rotary dial gear shifter.

“Nobody would knowingly get out of a vehicle that’s in reverse,” said Ruga. “So for her to get out of the vehicle, she must have believed it was in park.” Ruga is suing Jaguar Land Rover, the maker of Range Rover.

In a statement to the I-Team, Land Rover said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but said it’s “committed to the safety of our customers and is saddened to hear of this incident.”

A nationwide I-Team investigation with six other NBC-owned stations found rollaway incidents happening with other makes and models of cars too, including ones that have a traditional gear shift in the center console.

Home video recorded another rollaway incident in Florida. Yolanda Ross’ 2017 Mazda CX-9 rolled away in her driveway, crushing her to death. According to a lawsuit filed by the family, Ross thought the car was in park.

“She was scooped under the car and pulled under the wheel of the driver and it rested on her chest, and it killed her,” said Randi Ross, Ross’ daughter. “I do my best every day to just try and make her proud.”

The lawsuit was resolved before trial.

Mazda told the I-Team there was “…no finding of responsibility or liability on the part of Mazda.” The company also said: “Our sympathies remain with the family and friends of Ms. Ross.”

So how exactly does a rollaway happen?

Pete Sullivan is a consultant and says he’s been investigating the issue for years. He used his own truck, with a traditional gear shift, to show the I-Team that if the gear shift isn’t firmly placed into park, it can slip into reverse and the car can roll away because of this driver mistake, injuring or killing people in its path.

Identity thieves run up a Northridge woman's credit card and buy a brand-new vehicle under her name. The I-Team's Randy Mac reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on June 24, 2021.

Sullivan says it can happen even when the car isn’t running.

So how big is the problem?

Good question. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t released any rollaway incident data for years. But at its last count, for years 2012 to 2014, it said 142 people had died and 2,000 more were injured.

And experts say it’s all preventable.

Sean Kane founded a safety research company and he’s also been investigating rollaway incidents. He says car makers can easily prevent rollaways with a simple software fix that tells the car to brake or shift to park when it detects the driver’s door is open and the seatbelt disengaged.

“What’s remarkable about the modern car today is that they have every means to do it for virtually nothing,” said Kane. “Because all the electronic controls, the sensors, the hardware is already in the car today. It is simply rewriting an algorithm.”

Kane says some cars have rollaway safety features, but many don't. Why not? He believes some manufacturers blame the driver for being distracted or careless. He disagrees.

“People are human, and you’re going to make a mistake,” said Kane. “We make mistakes all the time. And automakers protect us from those mistakes in all kinds of ways already. Why ‘rollaway’ is so different for them, I don’t understand.”

That’s why Kane and other safety experts are applauding proposed federal legislation - the PARK IT Act - that would require car makers to include rollaway safety features in their cars. Lawmakers behind the proposed legislation are optimistic they’ll get it passed.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a car manufacturer trade group, said safety is its top priority and the industry is committed to working with policymakers and lawmakers to save lives.

The victims’ families believe rollaway safety features would have saved their loved ones.

“Her loss was just so senseless,” said Ross.

“If this case or this interview can make it so there’s some awareness, and God willing a law, that makes car manufacturers have to put these safety features in their cars, then I think I've done well by her and I think she’d be proud of me,” said Farhat.

Ford Statement:

The truck used in the demonstration is made by Ford. The company said: “Safety is a top priority for Ford. All Ford vehicles meet or exceed industry safety standards and we are committed to designing vehicles that are safe for our customers.” How do you know if your car could roll away?

Safety experts say everyone is at potential risk for a rollaway.

Here’s their advice:

If your car starts to roll, don’t try to stop it or jump into it. People underestimate how quickly they can get hurt. Double check the gear shifter to ensure it’s in park. And use the emergency brake every time you get out of the car. Turn off the engine every time you get out of the car, no matter how quickly you intend to get back in. Read the owner's manual so you know what every beep or whistle means.
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VW's Skoda Auto raises deliveries to 515300 cars in H1 - Reuters

A logo is seen on a wheel of a Skoda Octavia car after a presentation of the company's annual results in Mlada Boleslav March 20, 2013. REUTERS/David W Cerny

PRAGUE, July 30 (Reuters) - Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) Skoda Auto raised its global deliveries to 515,300 cars in the first half of the year from 426,700 cars in the same period last year, the carmaker said on Friday.

Skoda said that its net cash flow was 678 million euros in the January-June period, compared to -25 million euros last year.

Reporting by Robert Muller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Classic cars to star at Packard | News, Sports, Jobs - Warren Tribune Chronicle

WARREN — After a year when it had to settle for an automotive parade, the annual car show hosted by the National Packard Museum returns Saturday.

“It’s so important we have this going on right now,” museum Executive Director Mary Ann Porinchak said. “After being off a year, people tend to think you’re not coming back. This shows we’re here, we’re strong and we’re moving forward.”

In recent years the museum, which is devoted to the history of the Packard family and the automotive company it started in Warren, has partnered with Mahoning Valley Corvettes for the event, which is now known as The Corvettes and Classics Car Show.

Part of that was out of necessity. As the Packard collectors have gotten older, fewer owners were bringing their vintage vehicles to Warren, Porinchak said. But the arrangement has been mutually beneficial to both groups.

“The Corvette club has an annual sanctioned event, so they judge the Corvettes here, which brings a lot more cars to the grounds,” Porinchak said. “And we open it up other cars as well. The club handles the awards and the judging, and we handle the grounds and the food and the entertainment. It’s a good partnership, a good collaboration, and everybody wins with this arrangement.”

This year’s event is expected to attract about 80 Corvettes and a comparable number of other vehicles.

“The car guys are itching to get out and do things,” she said. “Even the ones who only do one or two a year have been out to several this year, making up for lost time.”

The car show is free for spectators. Registration cost is $10 per vehicle, which includes two admissions to the museum. Registration is $20 for Corvette owners who want to be judged for the National Council of Corvettes Clubs-sanctioned event.

Food vendors will be on site, and the Packard Dixieland Band will perform at noon.

The show is a fundraiser for the museum, but that’s not the only reason it’s important, Porinchak said.

“It brings people to the grounds, to the museum who might not otherwise make this their destination,” she said. “Once they’re here, they realize what’s in the museum, the history of the cars, and they fall in love with the place.”

It has seen a resurgence in visitors this summer. Since June, travelers from 38 states visited the museum.

“Most days out-of-state visitors are outnumbering in-state,” Porinchak said. “That’s truly amazing. We haven’t seen that in past years.”

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New cars in short supply at local dealerships - messenger-inquirer

New cars in short supply at local dealerships  messenger-inquirer
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