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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Hyundai Issues Third Recall in One Week

Korean maker recalls 420,000 vehicles.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Hyundai is recalling 61,000 Veracruz models from 2007-2012 for electrical issues.

After recalling 889,000 Sonatas a few days ago, the company added another 420,000 vehicles to its recall list, including the Sonata again, for brake, electrical and rust issues.

The South Korean maker is taking back 225,000 Santa Fe crossovers in 20 cold weather states. The 2001 to 2006 model year vehicles may have rusted coil springs that could fracture and puncture a tire. The springs impacted are in states that use salt on their roads in the winter.

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For the third time, the company is recalling Sonatas. This time, 133,000 2011 Sonatas may be leaking brake fluid, which could cause the car to take longer to stop and perhaps end up in a collision. (more…)

Automakers Report Robust Results for July Sales

Despite impressive results, makers fall short of predictions.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Ford sales were led, once again, by the F-150, but supported by the Fusion and Escape. The maker reported a 10% increase in July.

U.S. automakers enjoyed a strong sales month in July, but fell short of lofty analyst expectations. Toyota and Ford were the only makers to surpass predictions with increases of 11.6% and 10% respectively.

New car sales got a lift during July thanks to an improving economy, ample financing and the appeal of new products. Several companies posted double-digit sales increases, including Chrysler (20%), Nissan (11.4%), Subaru (27%), Mazda (17.1%), Audi (11.9%), Porsche (12.6%), Mitsubishi (21.4%), Land Rover (15%) and last, but not least, Maserati, which was up 315%.

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“Incentive spending in July was above this year’s average, taking transaction prices down about one percent,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Other than GM and Nissan, every full-line automaker increased incentive spending over last year. With growing discounts and low-interest financing readily available, it’s a great time to buy a car.” (more…)

Majority of Americans Have Had Sex in a Car

Now-gone Pontiac was a favorite for lovers.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Better to be in an Aztek than looking at one, especially when survey results show that more people who have been intimate in a car, did so in a Pontiac.

Passion can strike anywhere, and the automobile has often provided a quick and easy refuge for lovers, as so many Hollywood films have reminded us. But fantasy does reflect reality in this instance, a new survey of nearly 3,000 American adults revealing that nearly three out of five have had at least one intimate encounter inside a car.

But the brand of choice, it turns out, will no longer be around to give shelter to lovers, General Motors dropping the much-favored Pontiac after its emergence from bankruptcy five years ago, noted shopping site, which conducted the survey after experiencing a surge in demand for adult toys and lingerie.

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“Don’t Bother Knocking (If This Van’s Rocking)” was the name of a popular album by group Fu Manchu, picking up on an even more popular bumper sticker. For some, cars serve as mobile motel rooms, while for others to fill in when a more comfortable bedroom isn’t available, various studies have suggested. (more…)

Fiat Shareholders Approve Chrysler Merger

Deal passes final hurdle after five years.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Fiat SpA shareholder overwhelmingly approved the merger with Chrysler creating Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Just over five years after the Italian automaker effectively took control of bankrupt American manufacturer, Chrysler, shareholders at Fiat SpA have voted their approval of merging the two companies into what they hope is a much more powerful, global automotive firm.

The vote, which came a day after Fiat reported a sharp decline in second-quarter earnings, now triggers several additional steps. The newly formed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hopes to complete a goal of CEO Sergio Marchionne’s, listing its stock on the NYSE, starting by mid-October.

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“With today’s meeting begins the future of our company,” John Elkann, the grandson of late Fiat patriarch Gianni Agnelli and now its chairman, said at the start of the shareholders meeting, likely the last that will be held in Italy. (more…)

Detroit Automakers Lead July Sales Increases

Chrysler and Ford hit double-digit gains; GM just misses.

by on Aug.01, 2014

The new Jeep Wrangler posted a 14% increase last month for its best-ever July sales result.

With Detroit’s automakers leading the way, new car sales remained very strong during July thanks to an improving economy, ample financing and the appeal of new products that have given automakers a major lift.

Transaction prices also continued to exceed $32,000 per unit as consumers and automakers remained willing to take on more debt for a new vehicle and carmakers and banks remained more than willing to underwrite it. Analysts said.

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Chrysler Group continued to roll last month reporting a 20% increase compared with sales in July 2013. The Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and Fiat brands each posted year-over-year sales gains in July compared with the same month a year ago. (more…)

Lexus Counts on F Sport to Improve Sales

Line-up competes against luxury sport models.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Based on the success of its IS F Sport line-up, Lexus is expanding the portfolio to the NX and RX models.

The F Sport models will play a bigger role at Lexus going forward.

The F Sport version of the new Lexus IS 250 and Lexus IS 350 has been a major success, accounting for roughly half of all sales of the new IS Lexus last year according to Owen Peacock, Lexus’ national marketing manager.

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“The F Sport makes up 50% of the IS sales mix and the average buyer is five to 12 years younger for the than standard model,” he added. (more…)

Lexus Won’t Take on the Mercedes CLA or Audi A3

No sub-$30,000 cars, says Japanese brand’s leader.

by on Aug.01, 2014

The Lexus CT200h - the F-Sport version shown here - is the Japanese brand's entry model.

A new generation of low-cost luxury cars from manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Audi have clearly clicked with consumers, generating a flood of new buyers, many of them entering the upscale market for the first time.

But despite that growth in demand, don’t expect to see a sub-$30,000 car coming from Lexus, the highline division of Toyota Motor Co., says the brand’s global chief executive.

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Describing products like the Mercedes CLA and Audi A3 as “cheap luxury,” Lexus International boss Mark Templin told Automotive News that for his money, “You can’t build a Lexus with the quality, the durability the reliability, the craftsmanship, the content that we put in a Lexus and sell it profitability under $30,000. You just can’t do it.”


Tesla Delivers Stronger than Anticipated Earnings

Model X production to begin within a week.

by on Jul.31, 2014

Tesla aim to ramp up production of the Model X battery-SUV faster than with the original Model S.

Hours after confirming it had signed a formal agreement with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic to build its new, $5 billion “Gigafactory,” battery-electric automaker Tesla Motors revealed it earned a modest $16 million during the second quarter of the year, or 11 cents a share.

That figure was nonetheless well ahead of the Wall Street consensus which had anticipated earnings of just 4 cents a share. The start-up automaker also noted that it had boosted production for the April-june period to 8,763 of its Model S sedans, with sales reaching 7,759. That drove a 55% jump in revenues, to $858 million.

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Tesla’s profit is a matter of perspective. It was in the black – but only by using non-traditional accounting methods. According to the generally accepted “GAAP” methods, however, the maker lost $62 million, or 50 cents a share.


Rental Car Companies Warned GM about Airbag Problems

Agencies asked maker to investigate strange crashes.

by on Jul.31, 2014

GM may have been told about its faulty ignition switches by rental car companies seven years ago after several unusual accidents.

One of the questions surrounding the faulty ignition switch controversy at General Motors is when did the automaker know there was a problem? It may have been at least seven years ago and the death toll related to those vehicles may rise as a result.

Two rental car companies sent notices to GM suggesting the automaker investigate fatal crashes where the airbags in the vehicles did not deploy – vehicles recalled by the maker this February, according to Bloomberg News.

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Seven years ago, an investigator for the parent of Alamo Rent A Car, Vanguard Car Rental USA, contacted GM to inquire about a fatal rollover accident in California. The driver was killed and the airbag failed to deploy in the Chevy Cobalt he was driving. (more…)

Auto Sales Jumping as Banks Loosen Credit Reins

Despite rise in subprime lending, defaults at near-record lows.

by on Jul.31, 2014

Banks have loosened the credit lines and as a result auto sales are booming in 2014.

It’s becoming clear that one of the primary reasons that new car sales are booming this year is that Americans are able to more easily get credit to finance their purchases. The total amount of outstanding auto loans has increased by 10% in 2014.

According to Equifax and its National Consumer Credit Trends Report, there is $902.2 billion in outstanding auto loans, which is a new record.

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“Auto lending continues to thrive, accounting for more than 50% of all new non-mortgage lending through April of 2014,” said Dennis Carlson, Deputy Chief Economist at Equifax. (more…)