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Documents Reveal GM Waited Years on Another Recall

Maker finally recalled 330,000-plus vehicles for power steering issue.

by on Apr.21, 2014

GM failed to issue a recall for several years over a power steering motor problem on 2004-2007 Saturn Ions. It finally issued a recall March 31.

The hits keep coming for General Motors as it was revealed that the automaker waited for years to recall more than 330,000 Saturn Ions for a power steering issue.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released documents revealing that GM waited despite thousands of consumer complaints and more than 30,000 warranty repair claims.

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In 2004-2007 Saturn Ions, the power steering could fail without warning. The driver could control the car, but it required more effort and the driver is taken by surprise resulting in a loss of control of the vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »

Beijing Auto Show Swarmed by Makers’ Newest Designs

The 14th annual show reveals new vehicles, concepts, strategies.

by on Apr.21, 2014

The 14th annual Beijing Auto Show is underway, and it’s got plenty for everyone, from the return of the Ford Escort to the new Mercedes-Benz Coupe Concept, the plug-in Bentley Mulsanne to the 400 hp VW Golf R 400.

Here’s a handy guide to our complete coverage. Make sure to keep coming back as we add more stories! Read the rest of this entry »

Ford Escort Makes its Return in Beijing

No plans for U.S. revival.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Ford revives the Escort for the Chinese market.

One of Ford’s most familiar – and longest running – nameplates is about to make its return, the Detroit-based maker unveiling an all-new Escort during the Beijing Motor Show.

For those who might have already forgotten, Escort was Ford’s once-popular compact, introduced in 1968 in Europe and 1981 here in the States. It continued in production through 2002, when it was replaced in Europe by the Focus which followed across the Atlantic a year later.

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The new Chinese Ford Escort will serve to fill a gap in the compact, or C-segment of that country’s booming automotive market – which now accounts for 25% of Chinese car sales — and the automaker hopes Escort will deliver some added momentum in a bid to catch up to rivals like General Motors and Volkswagen. Ford was a latecomer to the Chinese market but has experienced spectacular growth there over the last couple years.

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GM Wants to Regain Sales Crown in China

Maker plans $12 billion investment; 4 new plants, 60 new vehicles.

by on Apr.21, 2014

The Chevrolet Trax makes its Beijing debut.

For General Motors, the Beijing Auto Show brings both some good news and bad: on the positive side, the Chinese market continues to defy skeptics who worry the country’s economy is cooling – but the downside is that the U.S. maker is now struggling in second place, behind German rival Volkswagen AG, after years as the sales leader in the world’s largest automotive market.

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That’s something GM doesn’t take lightly, the company’s second-in-command, President Dan Ammann, using the Beijing Auto Show to announce yet another major expansion plan.

Expect to see GM boost its capacity in China to 5 million new vehicles annually as it pushes ahead with an aggressive $12 billion expansion plan that includes the construction of four new assembly plants and a new engine plant over the next two years.

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Bentley Goes Electric at Beijing Show with Plug-In Mulsanne Concept

Luxury makers face pressure to go greener.

by on Apr.21, 2014

Bentley shows off its plug-in hybrid system.

China’s long economic expansion has made it one of the most promising markets for luxury carmakers, with demand for high-line vehicles soon expected to exceed that in U.S. Even the most expensive brands have been growing at a blinding rate, right along with the rest of the Chinese market.

But China’s central government is putting pressure on carmakers – particularly those producing the most powerful and fuel-inefficient products — to develop more electric and hybrid vehicles because of growing concerns about the country’s endemic air pollution problems.

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That’s encouraged Bentley to introduce its first-ever plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle, or PHEV, at this year’s Beijing Motor Show. The good news for potential buyers, stressed according to Wolfgang Schreilber, chairman and chief executive officer of Bentley Motors, is that the plug-in version of the flagship Mulsanne is both more powerful and even more efficient than the conventional, gas-powered model.

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Japanese Automakers Go All Out in Beijing

by on Apr.21, 2014

Lexus brings the production version of its NX crossover to the Beijing Auto Show.

Japanese carmakers came to the big auto show in Beijing this year determined to show they are prepared to fight for the hearts and minds of Chinese customers.

Struggling to regain momentum lost due to an ongoing debate between China and Japan over a chain of uninhabited, but strategically located, islands, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and other Japanese makers rolled out an assortment of new models they hope will help them close the gap with more established players in the huge Chinese car market, notably including Volkswagen AG and General Motors.

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One of the most significant introductions came from Lexus, which unveiled the new Lexus NX utility vehicle, the long-anticipated production version of a controversial concept vehicle, then called the LF-NX first unveiled during the Frankfurt Auto Show last autumn.

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Jeep Shows Off Four Beijing Concepts, Plans to Launch China Production

Fiat Chrysler aims to gain momentum in world’s largest car market.

by on Apr.20, 2014

The Jeep Cherokee Urbane, one of four concept vehicles the maker is showing in Beijing.

Beijing Auto Show-goers will get a look at four new Jeep concept vehicles this week, vehicles the maker said are “uniquely designed for China,” the world’s largest automotive market.

But perhaps more significant is the news that parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has finally locked down a long-sought joint venture that will allow it to begin producing Jeeps in China for the first time in nearly a decade. The SUV brand was the first foreign maker into China but lost that Beijing production base after the break-up of DaimlerChrysler AG.

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The tie-up with China’s Guangzhou Automobile Group is a critical step for Jeep which has been pushing to expand its presence abroad in recent years. The maker sold 731,000 vehicles worldwide in 2013 and brand CEO Michael Manley recently announced a target of 1 million for 2014, well ahead of earlier plans.

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BMW Concept Could Become New Super-Lux 8- or 9-Series

German maker turns to Beijing for unveiling.

by on Apr.20, 2014

BMW is showing off the new Vision Future Luxury Concept in Beijing this week.

BMW is pulling the wraps off a sleek new coupe-like sedan that could fill one of the few apparent gaps in its rapidly expanding line-up. The prototype on display at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show is considered quite likely to become the maker’s new 8- or 9-Series flagship.

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Precisely how close a production model might come to the show car remains to be seen, however. The concept, dubbed the BMW Vision Future Luxury, features some details that are often used to enhance the sex appeal of show cars – such as the rear-hinged, “suicide doors” – that are seldom actually carried over into production models.

Nonetheless, BMW has long been hinting at its desire to fill a niche left open when it dropped the older 8-Series line a few years back.

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VW Plugging Into Chinese EV Market

Maker promises to invest $27 bil over 5 years.

by on Apr.20, 2014

VW will launch the e-Golf and an assortment of other battery-based vehicles in China.

With Beijing’s traffic choked roads as a backdrop, Volkswagen announced a major initiative to put tens, perhaps 100s of thousands of electric vehicles on the road in China before the end of the current decade.

VW chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn said VW and its key Chinese partners were prepared to spend as much as $27 billion in the next five years on electric vehicles in China.

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“The Volkswagen Group is once again assuming a pioneering role in China and launching the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China’s automotive history”, s said. Martin Winterkorn,

The initiative gets underway with the launch this year of the Volkswagen brand’s electric Up! and e-Golf models in China.

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Chevrolet Makes Trax as it Cruzes into Beijing

Maker has twin intros for China's big auto show.

by on Apr.20, 2014

GM global design chief Ed Welburn helps reveal the new Chevrolet Cruze.

General Motors stages a Broadway Style extravaganza at one of Beijing’s newest landmarks – the Water Cube from the 2008 Olympics – for the debut of the new Chevrolet Cruze.

The new model, which will eventually make its journey to the U.S., as well, shared the spotlight with the new Chevrolet Trax introduced earlier in the week at the New York Auto Show.

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“China is a very important opportunity for the Chevrolet brand,” said Alan Batey, the head of the Chevrolet brand worldwide, as the Cruze rolled out.

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