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Sandy Taking Steam Out of Strong Oct. Sales

But November demand could surge as the Eastern Seaboard dries out.

by on Oct.30, 2012

Mother Nature overwhelms what had been a strong October for the US auto industry.

Hurricane Sandy is taking the steam out of what was on track to be a strong October for U.S. car sales.

The still-massive storm shut dealerships across New England and the mid-Atlantic states, including major metropolitan areas such as New York, Washington D.C. Baltimore and Philadelphia. And heavy winds, rain and storm continue impacting business as far west as Ohio, Michigan and beyond.

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Prior to the wicked and deadly storm, analysts had expected October sales to increase by roughly 11.5 % from October 2011. Before the storm warnings went up, True Car.com, a source of pricing information for new car buyers, estimated October 2012 would see a Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Rate, or SAAR, of 14.9 million new vehicles, up from 13.3 million in October 2011 — though down very slightly from the 14.94-million-unit SAAR of September 2012.

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Volvo Set on Shift to 4-Cylinders

Maker betting fewer cylinders will equal more sales.

by on Feb.09, 2012

The Volvo Concept You hints at the direction the maker plans to take, including its shift to small 4-cylinder and battery-based powertrains.

Volvo is committed to using only four-cylinder engines across its entire model line but it could take as long as five years to implement the strategy completely, according to John Maloney, the Chinese-owned Swedish maker’s U.S. president and chief executive officer.

During a keynote speech at the Chicago Auto Show, Maloney pointed to ongoing market trends and the likelihood that fuel prices will ultimately go up again to explain why Volvo is moving to an exclusive four-cylinder strategy even while key competitors emphasize sixes, eights and even 12-cylinder powertrains.

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“It just makes sense,” he said, noting that not only are fours more fuel-efficient but today able to match the power and performance of traditional, larger engines.  The technology also will make Volvo’s operations more efficient but simplifying the company’s purchasing and manufacturing operations.

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Fire Risk Forces Ford to Recall 1.2 Mil Pickups

Rusty straps could cause trucks to drop fuel tanks, leak, burn.

by on Aug.01, 2011

The 2002 Ford F-150 is among 1.1 million pickups targeted for recall due to a potential fire risk.

Ford is recalling more than a million full-size pickups in the U.S. and Canada due to a possible fire risk.  But federal regulators are continuing to investigate and may add another 1.6 million more trucks to the recall list.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration upgraded its investigation into the problem, in May, after receiving 243 reports involving fuel tank problems that could lead to a leak and fire.

“Our investigation is still open until NHTSA can fully evaluate the steps Ford has taken today,” said NHTSA spokeswoman Lynda Tran.

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Those steps include the recall of 1.1 million pickups produced between 1997 and 2004.  An additional 120,000 face recall in Canada.  The affected vehicles include F-150 pickups built between 1997 and 2003, as well as the 2004 F-150 Heritage model.  Also on the list: 1997 to 1999 F-250 models weighing in under 8,500 pounds, as well as the 2002-03 Lincoln Blackwood pickup.

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