Here's what we have our eye on today:
- GM filed its ninth consecutive quarter of profits, announcing first-quarter net earnings of $1 billion today. Still, that's about 69% less than first-quarter profits a year ago, The Detroit News reports. The automaker's earnings before interest and taxes — $2.2 billion — were hammered by losses in Europe, where economic instability caused auto sales to dip 7.7% in the first three months. GM's European units, including Opel/Vauxhall, lost $256 million before taxes and interest.
- Despite the situation across the pond, BMW followed fellow German automakers Volkswagen and Daimler (which owns Mercedes-Benz) in announcing an increase in first-quarter profits, Bloomberg News reports. On strong demand for the 1 Series, BMW outpaced analysts' expectations with a 19% increase in year-over-year profits.
- Mitsubishi is "on the fence" as to whether it will introduce its new Mirage to the United States, a company spokesman tells Automotive News. The subcompact reprises a nameplate we haven't seen since 2002, and Mitsubishi plans to sell the car in Canada in early 2013. Automotive News says strained marketing budgets and uncertainty over U.S. buyers' reception to the Thailand-built car, which is about the same size as a Chevrolet Spark, may contribute to the hesitance.
- With sales up 33% in the first four months of 2012, Chrysler will skip a customary two-week retooling shutdown at four plants this summer, according to Bloomberg News. Three plants that assemble eight vehicles — among them are the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Journey, Fiat 500 and forthcoming Dodge Dart — will work through the summer. So will a parts factory in Ohio. Two more assembly plants are shutting down for one week instead of two.
- Rising fuel efficiency will save drivers money at the pump, but it will cost Uncle Sam some $57 billion in gas-tax revenue through 2025, the Congressional Budget Office said yesterday. The Detroit News reports that rising fuel economy will cost the federal government in gas taxes, which have remained at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. The shortfall would leave the government without $48 billion to maintain roads, or 12% of maintenance revenue, and $9 billion to fund mass transit, or 16% of transit revenue. Nonetheless, the Congressional Budget Office said a 5-cent-per-gallon tax increase could make up for the shortfall.
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