The first half of 2019 has been unusually turbulent for the world’s car makers, and coming off the back of a solid 2018, the reverse into financial losses for some firms has been a surprise.
Of the eight firms we looked at, five – BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Nissan and PSA – made a profit in the second quarter or half year. But six of the eight recorded reduced profits, in some cases by a dramatic margin, such as Ford, Mercedes and Nissan.
It is worth noting that the April to June trading period for Japanese companies is called Q1, because their financial year ends in March, making their Q1 the equivalent of Q2 in the US and Europe.
Aston Martin’s woes are outlined here, but here’s our rundown of a selection of winners and losers.
Profit £1.86bn (-28.4%) | Revenue £23.4bn (+2.9%) | Sales 647,504 (+1.5%) (Second quarter figures)
Provisions for Dieselgate-related ‘anti-trust’ legal costs put a significant drag on profits at BMW, despite production hitting a record. The company also highlighted increased competition, launch costs for new models and higher R&D expenditure on electrification and autonomous driving. BMW still produced a significant profit in the quarter, but it “dropped sharply” in the company’s own words, and its margin reduced to 6.5% – lower than volume car maker PSA. BMW delivered 566k units (up 2.7%), Mini 89k (down 5.8%) and Rolls-Royce 1328 (up 36%). Although most car makers struggled in China, BMW Group sales increased 24% there. Europe remains difficult, though, with sales down 4%.
Profit £3.01bn (+10.6%) | Revenue £34.9bn (-0.7%) | Sales 1.903m (-12.8%) (First-half figures)
PSA is a bright light for the industry, having increased first-half profit, boosted by new model launches and a contribution from Opel-Vauxhall, and despite a drop in global sales volume. PSA’s operating margin is now 8.7% – impressive for a volume car maker. PSA says cost saving from platform-sharing with Opel-Vauxhall boosted profitability, offsetting £275m of extra costs in China. The group’s best-seller remained the Peugeot 208.