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First Drive: 2016 Mazda CX-9

Next-gen crossover highlights Kodo design influence.

by on May.24, 2016

The CX-9 looks smart and offers ample horsepower and features technologies needed to compete with the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

Mazda always has had a reputation for building great quick, nimble, sporty cars.

But perceptions about the other vehicles in product have been less precise, which is a challenge in a world where small sporty cars are being left in the garage in favor of utility vehicles that seem more suited to today’s harried lifestyles.

Product News!

However, Mazda now has an answer and with the CX-9, it has developed a utility vehicle that looks smart and offers ample horsepower. It also delivers the kind of solid dynamics that enhances a motorist’s driving experience and features technology, such as a forward collision braking system to compete with the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. (more…)

Car Loans Top $1 Trillion for First Time Ever in Q1

Buyers out in force during first quarter of 2016.

by on May.23, 2016

Auto loans topped $1 trillion in the Q1 this year. It's the first time it's hit that mark in that period ever.

Experian, which tracks auto loans as well as consumer credit scores, reported the total amount of auto loans in the first quarter of 2016 exceeded $1 trillion for the first time ever.

In all, the total volume of auto loans, which includes leases, is up 10% from the same period a year ago, according to the latest data from Experian

News Now!

“We’re still seeing strong sales projections which will help fuel this growth,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian senior director of automotive finance. (more…)

GM Car-Sharing Service Expanding Operations

Maven adds locations in Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C.

by on May.20, 2016

GM's new car-sharing service, Maven, is expanding its operations to three new locations: Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C.

Maven, General Motors’ personal mobility brand, is expanding, adding Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C. to the original operations in New York City and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Overall, members of the fledgling service have already driven more than 1 million miles.

Subscribe Now!

“Whether it’s driving to land the perfect job, meeting friends for a fun weekend or exploring the city, Maven enables our members to access transportation how they want it, when they want it,” said Julia Steyn, GM vice president of urban mobility and Maven. (more…)

UAW Eyes Tesla for Organization Movement

Union leader Williams reiterates desire to help Mexican workers.

by on May.20, 2016

UAW President Dennis Williams said the union intends to organize workers at Tesla's plant in California.

The United Auto Workers will attempt to organize workers at Tesla, UAW President Dennis Williams told reporters during a recent roundtable discussion at union headquarters in Detroit.

“We have contacts there. We know that plant very well. It’s the old NUMMI plant. We’re very interested in Tesla,” Williams said.

Union News!

The Tesla factory is in Fremont, California, just outside San Francisco. The electric car company builds its Model S and new Model X there and it once belonged to the New United Motors Manufacturing Inc., a General Motors and Toyota joint venture that employed 5,000 UAW members. The NUMMI plant closed in 2010 and Tesla now has about 1,000 employees at the site. (more…)

Strong Holiday Weekend Needed to Eclipse Sales from Last May

Analysts warning that auto sales are flattening out.

by on May.20, 2016

Ford's SUV sales in April were red hot with the Explorer up 13%. They'll need a repeat performance in May to keep sales predictions on track for 2016.

Automakers are counting on strong new-vehicle sales over the Memorial Day holiday weekend to give May sales the boost needed for a moderate increase over 2015 results, according to a monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

New-vehicle retail sales in May are expected to increase by a modest 2% from a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis, but the actual sales totals will drop year over year, according to the forecast.

Sales News!

The final figures for the month will depend on the Memorial Day weekend, which historically is one of the best sales weekends of the year at car dealerships across the country, Power’s analysts noted. However, there are two fewer selling days than there were in 2015 when strong sales in May led to strong sales through the summer and fall. (more…)

Mazda Expects New CX-9 to Maintain Brand’s Sales Momentum

Automaker enjoys best April ever last month.

by on May.19, 2016

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 picks up on the latest take on the Kodo design language.

With the launch of the all-new version of CX-9 at hand, Mazda North American Operations is poised for rebound after a slow winter that saw its sales drop by double digits through the first four months of the year.

Last month, however, Mazda achieved its best April since 1995 with 26,195 vehicles sold, an increase of 8.6% year-over-year and Mazda now expects strong sales through the balance of the year, said Robert Davis, MNAO vice president of operations.

Product News!

The the compact Mazda3 posted its best April performance ever with 10,722 vehicles sold, an increase of 33.9% year-over-year. This is the first time Mazda3 has ever had more than 10,000 vehicles sold in April. (more…)

GM Slapped with Class Action Suit Over Misstated Mileage

Consumer Reports suggests company’s been overstating for years.

by on May.18, 2016

GM's put a stop-sale order on its 2016 large crossovers due to incorrect mileage figures on the window sticker.

General Motors has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit over changes to its fuel economy calculations for three different vehicles as questions about its mileage claims continue to grow to nearly 2 million vehicles.

The expansion comes, in part, as Consumer Reports magazine suggests that the automaker has been incorrectly stating the mileage in these vehicles for several years. GM’s problems come on the heels of recent admissions by Suzuki, a former manufacturing partner of GM, and Mitsubishi that they had been skirting the system as well.

The Journal of Record!

The plaintiffs in the suit against GM, which was filed in Southern California, claim the apparently “fudged” numbers ding their wallets not only at the gas pump, but also in the value the vehicles. (more…)

LA Auto Show Launching New Technology Expo

Event designed to meet growing demand for tech news.

by on May.17, 2016

General Motors' $500 million investment in ride-share company Lyft occurred the two sides met at CCE, according to show organizers.

With the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas getting more attention than ever before from carmakers, the Los Angeles Auto Show is adapting to that demand by adding a new four-day preview aimed at the news media that blends cars and technology.

AutoMobility LA will run from Nov. 14-17, at the Los Angeles Convention Center and includes the Technology Pavilion – a new 50,000-square-foot building being constructed to accommodate the auto-tech exhibits. The space is double the size of the area devoted to the Connected Car Exposition or CCE that preceded the LA show for the past couple of years.

Tech Talk!

The new event the result of a five-year effort to evolve the show’s press and trade days into trade show for the “new” automotive industry and feature a mix of automakers, tech companies, designers, developers, startups, investors, dealers, government officials and analysts, organizers said. (more…)

EV Industry Expected to Hit Nearly $60B by 2021

Businesses related to electric vehicles in growth mode.

by on May.17, 2016

The electric vehicle industry is expected to grow to nearly $60 billion by 2021 as large cities choked by pollution look for ways to resolve that issue.

A new study suggests that with traffic-clogged urban areas leading the way, the amount of money spent on electric vehicles is poised to jump to nearly $60 billion by end of the decade.

ABI Research, which tracks the adoption of innovative technology, is predicting an imminent rise in smart electric mobility as extreme pollution and congestion in urban areas coupled with limited transportation options continues to challenge major cities across the globe. Data analysis forecasts global electric vehicle revenue will hit $58 billion in 2021, more than five times its market value in 2015, ABI said in its new report.

Plug In Now!

“The role of vehicle electrification in urban areas is part of a broader smart mobility model that includes shared vehicles, charging options, and driverless electric vehicle fleets of cars, buses, trams, and light rail,” said Susan Beardslee, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. (more…)

Automakers Still Need to Foster Better Supplier Relations

New survey shows GM made biggest leap in improved ties to suppliers.

by on May.16, 2016

If automakers hope to keep their assembly lines moving, shoring up the relationships they have with their suppliers is the first order of business.

Despite a long-history of mutual antagonism, General Motors has succeeded in improving its relations with suppliers, while Nissan and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have seen their relations with suppliers worsen over the past years.

The improvement in GM’s relations with suppliers is one of the highlights of the North American OEM- Supplier Working Relations Index prepared annually by Planning Perspectives.

Supplier News!

The 16th edition of the annual study showed that of the six major automakers building vehicles in the United States only General Motors posted “significant improvement,” adding 26 points to its score and moving up to fourth place overall as Nissan slipped to fifth. (more…)