On July 24, Ford (NYSE: F ) reported the worst quarterly loss in its history. Apparently still operating on the theory that bigger is better, GM (NYSE: GM ) trumped Ford's news with a loss nearly twice as big.
Across the Atlantic, Daimler's (NYSE: DAI ) profits are down 25%. On the far side of the Pacific, Nissan (Nasdaq: NSANY ) earned 43% less than a year ago. Toyota (NYSE: TM ) hasn't even reported yet, but it's nonetheless trading at a 52-week low. When you get right down to it, of the half-dozen really big, publicly traded car companies, only Honda (NYSE: HMC ) presents even the vaguest picture of near-term health, growing its profits in the single-digits.
In short, now's not a particularly good time to have anything to do with the auto industry.
... you're BorgWarner (NYSE: BWA ) . Last week, the Michigan-based powertrain specialist and Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation reported some earnings of its own, putting everyone named above to shame.
According to Borg, "strong demand for [its] fuel-efficient powertrain technologies in Europe and Asia ... more than offset declines in North America." Second-quarter sales grew 11%. Profits rose 16%. And even as the auto industry fell to shambles around it, Borg left its profit projections for the year basically intact. (Guidance now calls for 8% to 10% sales growth and $2.80 to $2.95 per share.)
Borg will assimilate you
A lot of companies say they look forward to recessions, because they're strong, their rivals are weak, and they expect to steal market share. But while talk is cheap, Borg's actions on this front are priceless. Within the U.S., industrywide car production declined 18% last quarter. Borg's sales were down only 17%. Abroad, car production was up 6% -- and Borg's sales rose 13%. So wherever you look, whether the market is contracting or expanding, Borg is grabbing market share.
Knocking and pinging
No company is perfect. There are a couple of knocks and pings audible in Borg's report that are worth listening for in future quarters. First, operating margins dipped about 30 basis points to 8%. Second, inventory is running a little hot -- up 17% year over year, on 11% sales growth.
Neither fact worries me seriously -- yet. But like the mechanic said: "You might want to get those looked at."
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