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Posts Tagged ‘Detroit automakers’

Motor City Gains an Edge on Silicon Valley

Detroit evolving from Rust Belt relic to high-tech hub.

by on Sep.22, 2016

As the Detroit automakers rebound, so too is the city, region and other business. Many, like FCA, are re-establishing a presence in the city.

Like the city that helped give it life, Detroit’s auto industry is often seen as a Rust Belt relic, a perception underscored by moves by manufacturers like Ford, which is rapidly expanding its new tech center in Silicon Valley.

But just as the Motor City itself begins to revive after decades of disinvestment and so-called “white flight,” so is the local auto industry gaining new momentum. But it’s not just the traditional Detroit Big Three bouncing back after the Great Recession. The Southeast Michigan region is seeing a flood of new investment from traditional foreign rivals such as Toyota and Nissan, as well as from new, high-tech players including Uber and Google.

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“What we’re realizing is there is a huge critical mass of talent in the Detroit area,” said Sherif Marakby, a long-time Ford veteran who joined Uber as its head of vehicle development earlier this year. At a news conference in the suburb of Novi, he announced this week plans to build a new autonomous vehicle development facility in the region. (more…)

Lincoln Nabs Top Spot in Customer Satisfaction Survey

Detroit automakers gaining ground on Japanese, Korean counterparts.

by on Aug.24, 2016

Lincoln is tops on the latest ACSI survey of new vehicle buyers in 2016.

New car buyers are happier with their purchases this year than they were last year and Lincoln is the leader of the pack, according to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The annual survey shows Lincoln’s approval rating this year – 87 out of 100 – is a 5% improvement over last year’s result. Honda was second with an 86, marking an 8% jump, while Toyota and BMW tied for third at 85. It was a 4% increase for both brands.

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Often in these types of surveys, luxury brands, such as Lincoln and BMW, sweep the top spots, but this wasn’t the case this year. Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder, said the figures show the gap in consumer perception may be closing between mass-market and luxury brands. (more…)

Biden Praises Resurgence of Detroit Automakers

Vice President tours show floor after speech at auto show.

by on Jan.16, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra shows Vice President Joe Biden the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Joe Biden heralded the U.S. auto industry’s recent success as the pay off on a bet made by two presidential administrations during a speech at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“We bet on American ingenuity, we bet on you and we won,” Biden said. “How could we possibly walk away from the iconic industry of America?”

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During the speech Biden noted that by the collective actions of the Obama Administration, automakers and their workers saved the industry that accounts for more than 4% of the company’s gross domestic product. Biden lauded the makers for their vehicles. (more…)

“Imports” Planning Major Boost in North American Production

But Detroit marques also planning to up output.

by on Dec.20, 2013

Nissan, Honda and several foreign automakers are increasing the number of vehicles they produce in North America.

With the upcoming start of production at its new plant in Celaya, Mexico, Honda expects that as much as 90% of the vehicles it sells in North America will soon be produced locally. And it’s not alone. Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen and other so-called “imports” are steadily expanding their own production bases in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, ramping up regional production just three decades after Honda opened the first Asian-owned “transplant” assembly line in Marysville, Ohio.

In fact, a new study says foreign makers will account for well over half of all added vehicle production in North America by the end of the decade, primarily from new Japanese plants like Honda Celaya and the recently opened Nissan manufacturing complex in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

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While that may be worrisome for Detroit makers, it’s good news for those who want to see the U.S. – along with Canada and Mexico – bring back manufacturing that has, in recent decades, migrated offshore, said Mike Jackson, a senior manager at the consulting firm IHS Automotive, who said that, “At no time in recent years has the North American market been better positioned.” (more…)

Parts Shortages Could Cripple Auto Market Rebound

After recession, suppliers racing to rebuild capacity.

by on Aug.12, 2013

The 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali gets a new face, upgraded interior and more power and it's one of many new vehicles buyers are flocking to showrooms to buy.

The good news is that American motorists are racing back to showrooms at a far faster pace than even industry optimists had anticipated at the beginning of the year. The bad news is that automakers are struggling to keep up with that burgeoning demand – and part of the problem is that after years of cutbacks and bankruptcies, industry suppliers can barely keep up.

That could be particularly troubling for Detroit makers who made some of the biggest cutbacks in capacity during the Great Recession only to find that they can’t keep up with consumers as they return to showrooms.

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“It’s amazing if you look at the change,” says Mustafa Mohatarem, General Motors’ chief economist. “At the beginning of the year people were asking do you have too many truck. Now we’re being asked are you sure you are going to have enough?” (more…)

U.S. Auto Sales Surge in March

Vehicle sales outpacing the rest of the economy.

by on Apr.02, 2013

March car sales hit a five-year high led by compacts and trucks.

March U.S. auto sales surged to their highest level in more than five years – with several makers reporting all-time records for the month.

But the overall increase was smaller than the double-digit gains of recent months, raising concerns about whether the unexpectedly strong pace of the automotive recovery will continue – especially in the light of continuing concerns about the impact of Washington gridlock on the overall economy.

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Analysts noted that sales incentives have been declining in recent months, even as average transaction prices – what motorists actually pay after adding options and subtracting discounts – has continued rising. On the other hand, pent-up demand appears to be just one of the positive factors likely to keep momentum going after the industry’s worst downturn since the Great Recession.


March Auto Sales Tracking at Best Rate in Nearly Six Years

Incentives flat, transaction prices rise.

by on Apr.02, 2013

U.S. vehicle sales were up in March led by, in part, truck sales.

While a number of key automakers have yet to formally release their sales numbers, preliminary data suggest that March will see the highest level of U.S. car and truck sales in nearly six years.

Preliminary indications suggest that sales will average out to an annualized rate of as much as 15.6 million – well above current industry forecasts for all of 2013 – and the best total since December 2007, just before the U.S. auto market plunged into its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

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The strong March performance appears to reflect a variety of factors, including the availability of a number of new and well-reviewed products, pent-up demand, low interest rates and even tax-refund checks. At the same time, analysts suggest that makers continue reeling buyers into their showrooms despite cutting back on incentives and boosting prices on many models.


Canadian Strike Looms; Could Cripple Detroit’s Big Three

Makers demanding additional concessions.

by on Sep.11, 2012

Workers at the Chrysler minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario could soon be out on strike.

Detroit’s Big Three automakers appear to be heading for a showdown with Canadian workers that could cripple their entire North American production network.

Claiming Canada is now the industry’s high-cost manufacturing base, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are each demanding concessions from the Canadian Auto Workers Union – including a two-tier wage structure like one the makers have set up in the States. But the CAW is digging in its heels and workers have authorized their leaders to call a strike if negotiations deadlock when the current Big Three contracts expire next week.

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“With only a week until the collective agreement expires, the demands facing the CAW have not relented, with all three companies calling for dramatic changes to the contract,” a flier distributed to workers by the union warned.

A walkout could lead to shortages of key products, such as the new Cadillac XTS and Chrysler’s 300 sedan and its two minivan models. And the loss of parts produced at Canadian facilities could create havoc on American assembly plants, as well, industry analysts warn.


California Woman Aims to Sink Honda Class Action Settlement

Heather Peters fought and won in small claims court.

by on Mar.16, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid prior to last month's small claims trial..

After taking on Honda and winning a judgment over the inflated mileage claims for her Honda Civic Hybrid, a Southern California woman now hopes to derail a class action suit that would provide other owners just a fraction of the compensation she was awarded in small claims court.

Honda has been under fire for advertising significantly better fuel economy than it allegedly knew motorists would get with the Civic Hybrid sold between 2003 and 2009.  A proposed settlement covering 200,000 owners is now waiting for a final decision by Superior Court Judge Timothy Peters.  Until recently, it appeared likely the agreement would be accepted, but Peters shook things up last month when she decided to go it alone using the small claims process.

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The former corporate attorney – one of 1,700 Honda hybrid who opted out of the class action process — was awarded $9,867.  By comparison, the proposed settlement would provide owners $100 to $200 and a coupon good for a discount if they returned to buy another Honda.


Domestic Brands Dominate in New Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

Lincoln named top premium brand, though Mercedes S-Class still top car.

by on May.19, 2011

Caddy's big Escalade is named the most satisfying truck model in the 2011 VSA.

Long written off by much of the American public, Detroit’s Big Three automakers have been gaining sales and market share in recent months, in part due to the accolades the makers are receiving for their newest products.  So, the results of the 2011 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards will likely contribute to that momentum.

Domestic brands dominated the annual study by California-based research firm AutoPacific, Inc. which looks to find which vehicles do the best job of pleasing their owners.

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The study found that two brands often described as “struggling” actually led the list: Lincoln being named the Top Premium Brand, Chrysler ranked Top Popular Brand by the motorists who participated in the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, or VSA.

Ford Motor Co. captured seven awards overall, the most of any maker in individual product segments.  The Cadillac Escalade, meanwhile, was the overall highest-ranked light truck model in the 2011 study, though an import, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, did top the list when it came to most satisfying passenger car.