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Fisker’s Back! Makes Return at L.A. Auto Show

Galpin Auto Sports teams with Danish designer for new muscle car.

by on Oct.23, 2014

Fisker founder Henrik Fisker is debuting a new muscle car at the L.A. Auto Show next month.

Less than two years after stepping down from his namesake company, Henrik Fisker is stepping back onto the automotive stage by joining forces with a California-based mega-dealer to produce the “Ultimate American Muscle Car.”

Danish designer Fisker is teaming with Galpin Motors in a pair of back-to-back vehicle debuts at the L.A. Auto Show next month, but aside from rumors about a new muscle car, details of what’s coming aren’t readily available.

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The preliminary schedule for the show reveals that Fisker has consecutive press conferences for “vehicle debuts,” but lists Galpin Motors and Galpin Auto Sports as the co-presenter for the slots. Read the rest of this entry »

New Ford Crash System “May” Spare Pedestrians

Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise in recent years.

by on Oct.23, 2014

Ford workers prepare a mannequin for testing the maker's new pedestrian alert system.

Ford Motor Co. will launch a new collision warning system that it says “may” prevent the pedestrian crashes that have become a growing problem on U.S. roads.

While overall highway fatalities have been on a sharp decline in recent years, the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes actually has been on the increase over the last half decade, reaching more than 4,700 annual fatalities, according to federal data, or about one death every two minutes.

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Ford’s new pedestrian alert technology is part of an upgrade to the collision avoidance system it first introduced in 2009, and will be renamed “pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection.” It will first debut on the 2015 Ford Mondeo about to go on sale in Europe, but Ford plans to expand its use to other models, including those sold in the States – where a version of the Mondeo is sold as the midsize Fusion sedan.

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Daimler Reports Mercedes Expected to Hit Sales Record

Company turns profits despite sluggish global economy.

by on Oct.23, 2014

Dieter Zetsche said Daimler's Q3 profits were due in large measure to strong sales by Mercedes-Benz.

Daimler AG used a surge in sales of new Mercedes-Benz models to boost its revenue by 10% in the third quarter despite the soft global economy, which the company expects to slow further by the end of the year.

Daimler Group AG net earnings also increased significantly to 2.82 billion euros compared with 1.89 billion euros in the third quarter of last year and Mercedes-Benz cars is on its way to record sales this year.

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The group’s third-quarter revenue of 33.1 billion euros was 10% above the prior-year level; adjusted for exchange-rate effects, revenue increased by 11%. Read the rest of this entry »

NHTSA’s Friedman Apologizes for Takata Snafu

Deputy chief acknowledges errors in Monday warning.

by on Oct.23, 2014

David Friedman, NHTSA's deputy administrator, apologized for underreporting the number of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags by 3.1 million cars.

The nation’s top automotive safety official issued an apology late yesterday regarding the issuance of incorrect information about the number of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags.

David Friedman, deputy administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, offered up the apology in a statement after the agency shorted the total number of vehicles with the airbags by 3.1 million vehicles.

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NHTSA also forgot to include two automakers – Ford and Subaru – in the tally, used incorrect figures for others, including counting vehicles from General Motors that didn’t actually use the airbags. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Earnings Beat Expectations

Recall crisis shows little impact.

by on Oct.23, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra is offering a positive assessment of the maker's third-quarter earnings.

Battered by recalls and facing challenges in markets as diverse as China, Russia and South America, General Motors nonetheless managed to beat expectations with its third-quarter earnings report, though revenues fell short.

The maker delivered net income of $1.4 billion, or 81 cents a share after factoring in one-time special items that had a $300 million, or 16-cent per share, impact on the bottom line. Factoring in those one-time costs, GM would have earned 97 cents a share, up slightly from 96 cents a year earlier – and two cents above the consensus estimate of industry analysts, according to Thomson Reuters.

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“Strong global sales and growing margins in North America and China helped GM deliver very solid third quarter results,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a prepared statement accompanying the July to September earnings results. “Despite industry challenges in Russia and South America, our earnings were on plan as we continue to execute our customer-focused strategy.”

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Mini Latest to Admit Mislabeling MPG

EPA to revise testing procedures, make numbers more accurate.

by on Oct.23, 2014

The Mini Cooper's mileage numbers have gotten a downgrade from the EPA.

Mini has become the latest in a line of automakers who have had to admit they were overstating their fuel economy numbers.

The British marque’s 2014 Mini Cooper actually gets anywhere from one to four miles per gallon less than originally claimed. The BMW subsidiary’s error follows in the tire tracks of Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Hyundai and Kia, all of which also have had to roll back their mileage claims.

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Meanwhile, many consumers groups continue to complain that they’re routinely seeing real world numbers that lag what manufacturers post on their Munroney window stickers and use in their advertising. That’s leading to stricter enforcement and likely changes to testing procedures by the Environmental Protection Agency which oversees fuel economy regulations.

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Pumped Up Mustangs Roaring into SEMA

Ford stand featuring a dozen tweaked pony cars.

by on Oct.22, 2014

Galpin Auto Sports is celebrating 50 years of the Mustang by putting a 5.0-liter V8 developing 725 horsepower into its SEMA show car.

The 50th anniversary of the debut of the Ford Mustang is in full swing and perhaps no where will be more evident at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas as the maker will have a dozen pony cars on display.

While the show is home to best and sometimes most insane custom cars, an event like this is a license to thrill and Ford is certainly trying to give visitors something, or things, to gawk over. Among the 12 ‘Stangs, two custom builders are going all out: Pettys Garage and Galpin Auto Sports.

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Petty’s Garage races into the show with a Roush supercharged V8 model wearing Richard Petty’s famous blue paint and a discrete No. 43, Petty’s car number in his NASCAR days. Not only will evoke some NASCAR memories, it’ll also do some good as the car will be auctioned by Barrett-Jackson with proceeds benefiting Victory Junction, which is dedicated to helping chronically ill children attend summer camp. Read the rest of this entry »

GM Goes Solar

Installing major solar array at Lordstown plant.

by on Oct.22, 2014

GM continues adding solar arrays at plants around the world. The maker announced it's adding an array at its Lordstown, Ohio, facility.

General Motors is aiming to bolster its green credentials by installing a huge solar array that will be visible from the well-traveled Ohio Turnpike outside the company’s big assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

GM’s new 2.2 megawatt, ground-mounted solar array will be complete by the end of the year. When the last of more than 8,500 solar panels are in place, it will be GM’s largest solar installation in the Western Hemisphere, the maker claims – but not necessarily the largest sun-power system, producing just a fraction of the output of the solar park in use at Volkswagen’s Tennessee plant.

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GM has been adding solar arrays and waste-burning power generators at its assembly plants in the U.S. as part of a concerted effort to reduce costs and clean up the environment by eliminating waste and limiting the use of carbon-based fuel such as oil and coal. Read the rest of this entry »

Scion Teases New Concept for LA Auto Show

Youth-oriented brand looks to recapture lost audience.

by on Oct.22, 2014

Scion is bringing a new concept to the L.A. Auto Show next month and this is just a small peek at it.

Looking to rebuild its once formidable image among younger buyers, Scion is planning to roll out an assortment of new models over the next few years, and we’ll be getting a sense of what’s to come at next month’s Los Angeles Motor Show.

What exactly it has in store, Scion isn’t saying, but it’s giving a bit of a hint with two closely cropped teaser images of what apparently will be called the new iM Concept car.

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“The iM Concept car reflects the evolution of Scion as the needs and desires of its youthful customers also evolve,” says a terse statement from Scion. Read the rest of this entry »

Jaguar Land Rover Opens First Overseas Plant – in China, of Course

China already JLR's biggest market.

by on Oct.22, 2014

A Range Rover Evoq moves down the assembly land at JLR's new assembly plant near Shanghai.

That “veddy” British automaker, Jaguar Land Rover, is looking a little less Anglo-Saxon every day. First, it was acquired by American maker Ford, then sold to Indian upstart Tata Motors. And now, JLR has opened up its first foreign manufacturing plant. In China, of course.

The Asian nation is already the world’s largest automotive market and, by most accounts, is expected to top the global luxury sales charts, as well, by the end of the decade. It is, in fact, already Jaguar Land Rover’s single-largest market.

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And the maker is expecting to see that grow significantly, in part, because localizing production will eliminate the hefty Chinese tariff on automotive imports. Read the rest of this entry »