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GM’s Tab for Takata May be $870 Million

Company doesn't believe it will have to make Takata-related repairs.

by on Jul.22, 2016

General Motors faces an $870 million liability related to Takata airbags in 6.8 million vehicles.

General Motors Co. faces potential liabilities of $870 million if it has to replace 6.8 million Takata airbags in cars, full-size trucks and sport-utility vehicles, according to documents filed by the company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company doesn’t believe there is a safety defect at this time in any of its vehicles related to the airbags it has filed reports with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, covering 2.5 million full-size pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles.

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“As a result of discussions with NHTSA and as described in the Preliminary DIR, GM will have an opportunity to prove to NHTSA that the inflators in these vehicles do not pose an unreasonable risk to safety,” the company noted in the filing. (more…)

Diversity of Daimler AG Board Growing

Company puts Seeger in charge Mercedes-Benz marketing and sales.

by on Jul.22, 2016

Daimler AG Chief Dieter Zetsche is working to find the next generation of Daimler executives, ideally a more diverse group of leaders.

Daimler AG’s top board appointed Britta Seeger to the company’s board of management, responsible for marketing and sales at Mercedes-Benz cars to replace Ola Kallenius.

The 46-year old Seeger, one of the few women to hold a senior executive post within Daimler AG, is one of a group of younger executives being groomed by Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s CEO, for leadership roles with in the German industrial giant.

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Seeger’s appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2017. She is currently head of Mercedes-Benz operations in Turkey and previously was in charge of Mercedes-Benz operations in South Korea. (more…)

US Truck Sales Battle Begins Heating Up

GM tagged for higher incentives, Ford called out for towing claims.

by on Jul.21, 2016

GM's competitors are wondering if supply levels are low then why do they need spend more on incentives.

(This story has been updated with additional information.)

Sales of pickup trucks have boomed this year, but so too has the competition for sales, which is heating up across the board.

General Motors, for example, has been called out for raising incentives recently, according to a widely circulated piece from Bloomberg News.

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Incentives averaged $7,962 on the Chevrolet Silverado, up 76% from June levels, and $9,457 on the GMC Sierra, an increase of 147%, according to J.D. Power data obtained by Bloomberg. (more…)

GM’s Legal Problems Continue to Grow

Automaker likely to be center of Presidential campaign this fall.

by on Jul.20, 2016

Donald Trump's selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is likely to keep GM as well as Fiat Chrysler in the news. Pence was a critic of the auto baillout.

If you listen to General Motors executives, the company’s 2009 bankruptcy is an event from the company’s distant history. For GM’s lawyers, however, the bankruptcy and its aftermath is still very much alive.

Many of the creditors have never given up trying to recover the money they say is owed to them by what has come to be known as “Old GM,” and the trust that has liquidated assets, primarily real estate that the company abandoned, during its short trip through bankruptcy court back seven years ago.

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Earlier this week, the dissatisfied creditors won the right from bankruptcy judge in Manhattan to pursue a $1.5 billion claim, stemming from the bankruptcy. (more…)

Europeans Enjoying Sales Renaissance

Britain's sales dip ahead of Brexit vote.

by on Jul.19, 2016

European makers enjoyed another strong sales month in June, except for Great Britain where sales dipped slightly ahead of the Brexit vote.

The overall growth of new car sales in Europe Union, which have been a plus for global automakers this year, continued during June.

Passenger car registrations in the European Union during June have maintained momentum, helping towards a strong first half of 2016, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

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Registrations have increased by 6.9% year over year during the month to 1,459,508 units. Boosting the region towards an increase of 9.4% to 7,842,965 units during the first half of the year, IHS Automotive said in a new report. (more…)

“New” GM Scores Small Court Victory

Judge claims car owners can't sue for lost value.

by on Jul.18, 2016

GM scored a small victory in court today when a judge dismissed a large chunk of potential claims against the automaker related to its faulty ignitions.

A New York federal judge dismissed a portion of the claims lodged by a proposed class of car owners within the General Motors Co. – “New” GM – ignition switch multi-district litigation, saying they exaggerated their claim.

The group argues the automaker’s alleged cover-up of dozens of defects devalued their vehicles, suggesting the damages run as high as $10 billion, but in a ruling certain to be appealed, a federal district judge in Manhattan has ruled the drivers’ “unprecedented” damages theory was flawed.

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The plaintiffs’ pursuit of damages based purely on perceived harm to GM’s brand following more than 70 recalls in 2014 was “unprecedented and unsound,” U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman wrote in his opinion, adding to the complex legal thicket surrounding the ignition switch controversy. (more…)

FCA Investing $1 Bil to Retool for New Jeeps

Company provides details on product, plant line-ups.

by on Jul.15, 2016

Jeep will continue to build the Wrangler in Toledo, Ohio, according to the company's retooling plan.

(This story has been updated.)

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans for a sweeping overhaul of its North American operations took another step forward with the announcement that the company will invest more than $1 billion to retool assembly plants in Illinois and Ohio.

The retooling investment supports the future growth of the Jeep brand and creates 1,000 new jobs, the company said in its announcement, which also underscores the urgency behind FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne’s plans to build more Jeeps.

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At the same time, FCA U.S. is pushing ahead with a broad strategy to expand the company’s line of trucks and utility vehicles while relegating passenger car production to a secondary position. (more…)

Gas Prices Expected to Keep Falling

Production levels around the globe remain high.

by on Jul.14, 2016

Despite Americans racking up the miles, gas prices continue to fall as production remains high.

The price of gasoline has now fallen for more than a month, according to a new report from AAA, as American motorists plunge ahead with the busiest summer for driving in nearly a decade.

At the beginning of the week, the average price of a gallon of gas has dropped for 30 consecutive days after a mini-surge in the spring, AAA said. It is the longest streak of falling prices since August/September of 2015. Moreover, gasoline prices are now at their lowest mark for mid-July since 2004.

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The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.23 per gallon, which is four cents per gallon less than a week ago, fifteen cents less than a month ago and 53 cents less than one year ago. (more…)

Appeals Court Deals GM Major Setback in Ignition Case

"New" GM back on hook for financial harm done to owners.

by on Jul.14, 2016

After faring well in a series of bellwether cases, General Motors suffered a serious legal setback related to its faulty ignitions.

General Motors Co. just suffered a major setback in the long-running litigation over the defective ignition switch in GM vehicles linked to more than 120 deaths and hundreds more injuries.

A federal appeals court reversed part of a bankruptcy court ruling that protected the automaker from some lawsuits over the defect that prompted the recall of 2.6 million vehicles in 2014.

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The court found that “New” GM is not immune to lawsuits from owners claiming they have been financially harmed due to the loss in value of their recalled vehicles. (more…)

Mazda Rebooting as a Premium Brand

Maker moving away from focus on volume sales.

by on Jul.13, 2016

Mazda's new 2016 CX-9 is the first entry in the company's next generation of vehicles born out of a new strategy.

Mazda has watched its sales in the U.S. decline this year, which has put substantial pressure on one of the world’s smallest international companies.

But a key executive, Masahiro Moro, who is both the chief executive of Mazda North America and the company’s chief marketing officer, told a group of reporters in Detroit that the decline reflects the company’s efforts to shift its strategy 180 degrees to focus not on building volume, an old strategy that in theory builds profitability by lowering piece costs, rather it is zeroed in on building relationships with customers.

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Building volume is no longer effective for a relatively small company, such as Mazda. (more…)