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Marchionne Predicts SEC Will Clear FCA of Wrongdoing

CEO declined to comment on progress of Magneti Marelli sale.

by on Aug.26, 2016

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne predicted today that the SEC's investigation into FCA will find no wrongdoing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. will ultimately show that FCA has done nothing wrong, FCA chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said today.

The SEC is investigating whether FCA deliberately misstated its sales results during the past five years. Dealers have sued FCA over the sales reporting practices, including a Chicago area dealer claiming it amounted to fraud.

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FCA restated its sales totals for the five years and conceded its long string of monthly sales increases actually ended in 2013. (more…)

Texas Jury Finds in GM’s Favor on Ignition Switch Case

Automaker gets another victory in court.

by on Aug.26, 2016

A Texas jury to tossed out a lawsuit against GM involving its faulty ignition as the automaker claimed the plaintiffs fabricated evidence.

General Motors has won a significant legal victory as a Texas jury tossed out a case that claimed a defective ignition switch was the root cause of a fatal accident that killed one motorist.

A jury in Harris County, Texas, decided in favor of GM rather than plaintiff Zachary Stevens, who alleged that a defective switch caused him to lose control of his 2007 Saturn Sky and crash into another vehicle, killing the other driver. GM said Stevens’ reckless driving was at fault.

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The manslaughter charges initially filed against the plaintiff in the civil suit were dropped after GM recalled 2.6 million vehicles with the switch in 2014, according to his lawsuit. It was one of a number of cases in which criminal charges lodged against drivers were set aside after reports of the defective switches became public. (more…)

New Car Sales Slide in August

Decline comes as makers are spending big on incentives.

by on Aug.26, 2016

Analysts are expecting August new vehicle sales to dip despite the highest incentives on new cars in a year.

Sales of new vehicles have hit a speed bump during August, even as incentive spending increased, according to a new estimate by analysts.

A monthly sales forecast developed jointly by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive indicates that new-vehicle retail sales in August are expected to drop 6.5% from a year ago, and total new-vehicle sales are expected to slip 5.2%.

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The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of sales or SAAR is also expected to drop to 16.8 million units in August, according to the J.D.Power and LMC Automotive model, which leans heavily on sales data collected from new car dealers around the country. (more…)

Clinton or Trump: Change Coming to Auto Industry

Regardless of who wins election, industry facing new landscape.

by on Aug.25, 2016

Republican nominee Donald Trump wants to rip up NAFTA and doesn't favor the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The automobile industry will face changes with the departure of the Obama administration, regardless of whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump emerges as the next U.S. President in November.

A Clinton presidency would be the most stable in terms of the regulatory environment for the auto industry. The most likely changes would be to the terms of NAFTA, although we would expect less drastic proposals than those from Trump, according to a new analysis from BMI Research, Fitch Group’s research arm.

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The report noted that both presidential candidates elected to deliver speeches on the economy in Michigan highlighting the importance of the state, and the autos sector as its major industry, to the general election campaign. (more…)

Gas Prices Ticking Upward as Summer Ends

If demand drops after Labor Day, prices are expected to follow suit.

by on Aug.25, 2016

Gas prices rose for the first time in months in August; however, if demand drops after Labor Day, prices are likely to follow.

A rise in the price of crude oil has pushed up the price of gasoline at pumps across the United States for the first time in two months.

The increase follows a summer-long streak during which the national retail average price of gasoline dropped on 54 of 55 days. But prices at the pump have now increased steadily during the past three weeks, according to AAA.

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The national average price for regular unleaded is $2.16 per gallon, which is four cents more than one week ago, but is two cents less than a month ago and 46 cents less than the same date last year, and the lowest price for this date since 2004, AAA said. (more…)

Battle Lines Drawn in Fuel-Economy Showdown

Feds cut off public comment on new CAFE standards over automaker protests.

by on Aug.24, 2016

Automakers are unhappy that federal regulators declined to extend the public comment period about tougher fuel economy standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration have decided to cut off public comment on the federal fuel-efficiency regulations and denied a request by automakers to extend the comment period.

The decision sets up a showdown between federal regulators and automakers that argue the current regulations are too stringent given the prevailing drop in fuel prices and the shift in consumer demand towards larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles, such as trucks and sport utility vehicles.

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In a report released last month, EPA and NHTSA said that automakers have the technology to meet aggressive mandates to hike fuel efficiency, but fleet-wide improvement will not be as great as the Obama administration once forecast because buyers are switching to pickup trucks and SUVs. (more…)

GM Pushes for Dismissal of Texas Ignition Case

Automaker accuses plaintiffs, lawyers of fabricating evidence.

by on Aug.23, 2016

GM asked a Texas judge to dismiss a lawsuit involving its faulty ignition due to fabricated evidence.

General Motors Co. asked a Texas judge to dismiss a lawsuit about a fatal 2011 crash, which has been linked to the faulty ignition switch that already has cost the company more than $2 billion, because of fabricated evidence.

In its motion asking for a dismissal, GM accused the plaintiffs and their lawyers of fabricating evidence about the vehicle’s key during the ongoing trial. Plaintiffs Zachary Stevens, his parents and their lawyers showed jurors in Harris County court a key attached to a chain containing several other items, claiming it was the one used to drive the 2007 Saturn Sky involved in the crash.

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GM, however, said the key displayed in the courtroom did not in fact belong to that vehicle. The carmaker, which recalled 2.6 million vehicles in 2014 for defective ignition switches, has warned owners that added weight to key chains can cause the switches to slip out of position. (more…)

GM Expands Foothold in Promising African Market

Nairobi plant expanded to increase production.

by on Aug.22, 2016

GM is expanding production of its commercial trucks at its plant in Nairobi, Kenya.

In the continuing battle for an edge in global markets, General Motors has quietly staked out a position in East Africa, one of the world’s most promising emerging markets.

GM already holds a leading position in Kenya and recently announced plans to double production at a plant in Nairobi, which is used to re-assemble commercial trucks made by GM and its global partners.

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It is the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in the East African region and the Nairobi plant assembles a wide range of Isuzu trucks & buses and also retails fully built Chevrolet passenger vehicles and pickup trucks. (more…)

Roadkill Gives Dream Cruise a New Look

New event brings out younger car fans.

by on Aug.22, 2016

Roadkill Nights powered by Dodge attracted more than 20,000 racing fans to see the first-ever legal street racing on Woodward Avenue.

The first legal road races ever held on Woodward Avenue drew a huge crowd during the annual Woodward Dream Cruise as drivers with smoking tires and burned rubber on the pavement in dozens and dozens of two-car races that drew participants from all over the U.S. and an impressive range of vehicles.

“I’m here for the sheer fun of it,” said Tanner Sullivan of Huntington, Indiana, as he prepared to race a 1970 AMC Javelin for an eighth of a mile at the invitation of the “Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge.”

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“I don’t know if we will ever be able to do this again. It is special,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars for FCA, who noted that FCA, Dodge and Roadkill, the YouTube channel created by Motor Trend and Hot Rod magazines. (more…)

Kia Keys Growth Around New Cadenza

Automaker revamping line-up for 2021.

by on Aug.19, 2016

The new Kia Cadenza gets a makeover for 2017 with a significant upgrade in safety technologies.

Kia is preparing to maintain its momentum after a long, successful run that has carried it to the top ranking in J.D. Power’s closely watched Initial Quality Survey.

Michael Sprague, Kia Motor America’s chief operating officer, said this week that the South Korean company has new products coming to market fall, notably the 2017 Kia Cadenza, a full-size sedan, which continues the brand’s push into territory once dominated by luxury brands from around the globe.

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The first iteration of the Cadenza, which appeared in 2013, has earned a loyal following and while the sales numbers are modest, 28,000 units, so far, Kia believes it can build on the reputation the car has developed among owners, said Sprague. (more…)