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General Motors Poised for Profitability

Executives claim maker ready to earn big money.

by on Oct.02, 2015

GM executives Mary Barra and Mark Reuss announced the automaker is poised for double-digit earnings growth during the next several years.

General Motors is poised to post hefty profits over the next several years, GM executives said as they outlined their future plans during the company’s annual Global Business Conference at the company’s Milford Proving Ground

“We expect double-digit earnings per share growth for the next number of years,” GM Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said during his afternoon presentation.

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“Let me repeat that,” he added for emphasis. (more…)

GM Wants to Profitably Redefine Personal Mobility

CEO Barra outlines $5 bil investment in autonomous vehicles, carsharing and other game-changers.

by on Oct.01, 2015

GM is "working to redefine our relationship with customers and personal mobility," says CEO Barra.

With autonomous vehicles, car-sharing programs and alternative powertrains reshaping the auto industry, some manufacturers have begun referring to themselves as “personal mobility companies.” The challenge is finding a way to profit from that transformation, said General Motors CEO Mary Barra, as she opened the maker’s “Global Business Conference” with investors and financial analysts.

General Motors is exploring ways to expand the services it offers customers around the world and expects to invest $5 billion in the effort as part of an effort to meet the competition from new challengers such as Apple, Google and Tesla,  Barra said, during the conference at the GM Proving Grounds an hour outside Detroit.


“We’re working to redefine our relationship with customers and personal mobility,” Barry explained, adding that “We want to own that relationship inside and outside the vehicle.”


Makers Basking in Glow of White Hot September Sales

Despite diesel scandal, VW ekes out small gain.

by on Oct.01, 2015

Ford F-150 sales are back on track posting a 16% gain in September, including a 28% jump in retail sales.

With American and Asian carmakers posting double-digit gains, demand for new vehicles continued to expand at a healthy pace during September.

Ford, General Motors, FCA U.S., Toyota, Nissan and Audi reported significant sales increases last month. Somewhat surprising, Volkswagen of America, which suspended sales of its diesel-powered cars after being caught cheating on emission tests, managed a small jump – less than 1% – through the use of incentives.

Sales news!

Ford’s U.S. sales increased 23% in September, providing the company with its best September performance in 11 years. Retail sales increases were broad-based with passenger car sales up 15%, SUVs up 23% and trucks up 29%. (more…)

Jaguar Land Rover Sticking to Diesel Guns

VW controversy won’t change brand’s plans.

by on Oct.01, 2015

Volkswagen's diesel scandal won't impact the plans of Janguar Land Rover, which expects to have diesel options for all models by 2017.

Jaguar Land Rover, which is eager to grow, is moving forward with its plans to introduce more vehicles with diesel engines in the U.S. despite the scandal that has surrounded Volkswagen AG since it was found to have used special software to defeat emission tests for diesel-powered cars.

“We’re not going to change our strategy,” Jaguar Land Rover North America President Joe Eberhardt said after speech to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. “You have to deal with the situation as it arises.”

Diesel News!

Eberhardt, noted that even before Volkswagen was discovered to have cheated on tests required by the U.S. Clean Air Act, diesel fuel was more expensive than gasoline so there was always at least one downside to diesel. (more…)

UAW Workers Reject Fiat Chrysler Contract

Strike could be looming for both FCA and for Ford.

by on Oct.01, 2015

FCA CEO Marchionne and UAW Pres. Williams were all smiles as they began contract talks.

A strike could be looming in the near future for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now that 40,000 workers represented by the United Auto Workers Union have rejected the carmaker’s tentative contract.

The UAW announced the results after the last major FCA assembly plant, in Sterling Heights, Michigan, turned thumbs down on the controversial agreement, which had generated widespread criticism by union activists. Almost 70% of the workers in Sterling Heights rejected the four-year proposal, according to a website run by the union local.

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The announcement comes as a major setback for UAW leaders, especially new President Dennis Williams who was overseeing his first round of national contract talks. The question now is whether the UAW can go back and renegotiate improvements to the agreement without a confrontation. Going into this year’s auto talks, Williams had said he would be willing to strike, if necessary, but said he would consider that possibility a “failure.”


Mandating New Safety Technology Could Save $900 Bil

Active safety innovations could save 33,000 lives annually, report claims.

by on Sep.30, 2015

A full conversion to autonomous driving technology could eliminate 90% of traffic fatalities, according to a new report.

New active safety technologies could reduce road accidents in the United States by more than one third, saving thousands of lives and billions in societal costs for medical care, vehicle repairs and lost productivity, according to a new study released this week by the Boston Consulting Group.

The study said available systems like automatic braking and lane control assistance technology could reduce the number of accidents by 28%. In addition, wider use of the new technologies could pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles and lead to a 90% reduction in fatal accidents over time.

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“Because the vast majority of crashes in the United States are caused by driver error, the lack of adoption of these technologies within the vehicle fleet in the United States is a significant missed opportunity,” said BCG’s Xavier Mosquet, who co-authored the report funded by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association. (more…)

Ford Faces Strike Deadline at Key Plant

Kansas City truck plant ready to walk.

by on Sep.30, 2015

Talks between the UAW and Ford just got a little tenser as the union informed the automaker it plans to strike if key issues don't get resolved next week.

The United Auto Workers has targeted the one of Ford Motor Co.’s key assembly plants in Kansas City, Missouri, for a strike if bargaining doesn’t resolve key issues by early next week.

The Kansas City plant builds a number of variations of Ford’s F-150 pickup trucks, which is one of the most profitable vehicles built by the company in the United States. After a slow start, production of the new, aluminum F-150 is running at top speed now and a strike would quickly reduce inventories of new vehicles.

Union News!

Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president in charge of negotiations with Ford, said the company had left the union with little choice but to intensify the dispute in a bid for a fair and acceptable agreement. The strike warning should not have any impact on the other negotiations at Ford, including the ongoing discussion for a new master agreement covering wages and benefits. (more…)

UAW-FCA Tentative Pact Faces Critical Vote

Toledo plant result makes or breaks the deal.

by on Sep.29, 2015

Workers at FCA's Toledo, Ohio, plant are key to the tentative deal between Fiat Chrysler and the UAW getting approved.

The fate of the United Auto Workers contract with the FCA U.S. may hinge on voting at the assembly complex in Toledo, Ohio, where workers are uneasy about the pending changes in the product plan outlined by the company’s CEO Sergio Marchionne.

The FCA employees have been concerned that the company could shift production to another plant within the manufacturing system built by the old Chrysler Group. However, Toledo now stands to lose its other key product, the Jeep Cherokee, according to Marchionne, who let the information out during an interview with the trade publication.

Union News!

UAW president Dennis Williams has tried to re-assure workers that no product placement decisions have been made yet but workers at the big assembly complex, the largest in FCA U.S., remain deeply skeptical of both the pact and of Marchionne, who, in the past, has promised to do what he could to keep jobs in Toledo in return for the loyal and dedicated service of the employees that build Jeep products. (more…)

Analysts Revising Auto Sales Predictions Upward

Consumer confidence helps keeps sales pace strong.

by on Sep.28, 2015

Analysts have revised their new vehicle sales estimates for 2015 upward as consumer confidence remains high.

Despite uncertainty in the global economy, the U.S. auto industry continues to motor along at a steady clip.

As a result of the vigorous selling pace during the spring and summer months — the selling rate from May through August averaged 17.5 million units — LMC Automotive is raising its 2015 total light-vehicle sales forecast to 17.2 million units from 17.1 million units and its retail light-vehicle forecast to 14.1 million units from 14 million units.

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In addition, analysts at Moody’s now predict sales of new cars and trucks will increase by 2.4% in 2016 after growing by 2.8% in 2015. (more…)

Automakers Expected to Enjoy Robust September Sales

Holiday weekend helped push buyers to showrooms.

by on Sep.25, 2015

September auto sales are expected to be strong with a long holiday weekend luring new car buyers into dealer showrooms.

September is promising to be a very good month for the auto industry as a long holiday weekend at the beginning helped pump up sales, according to Santa Monica, California-based True Car Inc.

True Car, a consumer-oriented buying services, is predicting that the seasonally adjusted annualized rate or SAAR for total light vehicle sales should reach 17.7 million unit in September, which will be the best total in more than a decade, versus the very respectable total of 16.5 million units a year ago.

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With a number of car makers, among them Subaru, Kia, Hyundai, Ford and Honda, expected to post substantial gains, total new vehicle sales, including fleet deliveries, may rise 12.6% to 1,403,200 compared to 1,246,006 a year ago. (more…)