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Ford, GM Continue Torrid Sales Pace in China

Makers set May record; Ford expects to hit 1 million units in 2014.

by on Jun.09, 2014

With cars like the Focus selling well, Ford expects to surpass 1 million in sales in China this year.

General Motors and Ford continue to roll up big sales totals in China, setting sales records during May.

Ford China sales grew 32% in May with 93,323 and Ford now expects to sell more than 1 million vehicles in China for the first time ever during 2014. Year-to-date sales were up 39%, with 461,473 wholesales sold compared to 332,308 wholesales sold in the first five months of 2013, Ford said.

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“Our sales are a direct reflection of our continued commitment to bring the best of Ford to China with a great lineup of Ford cars and utilities that offer high quality, great fuel efficiency, world class safety and smart technologies,” said John Lawler, chairman and chief executive officer, Ford Motor China. (more…)

Death Toll from GM Defect Expected to Rise

Critics claim fatalities exceed 50, not the 13 claimed.

by on May.30, 2014

GM is expected to face even more claims related to its faulty ignition switch, including a rise in the number of deaths from 13 to more than 50.

Warnings have already been issued to expect the number of recalls from General Motors to rise this summer. Now, critics are claiming the number of fatalities blamed on an ignition-switch defect that forced General Motors to recall 2.6 million small cars will also rise dramatically in the coming weeks.

An attorney for a group claiming to have been injured in a GM vehicle with an ignition switch that turned off suddenly killing the engine and disabling the air bag claims to have evidence that at least the defect has contributed to the deaths of 60 motorists.

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Clarence Ditlow, the head of the Center for Auto Safety and a long-time GM critic, said this week that his review of complaints filed with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that the defect has contributed to at least 50 deaths and he expects the total to rise as investigators uncover more cases where air bags failed to deploy in GM cars because the engine had switched off. (more…)

GM, Ford Leading Automotive Innovation Pack

Makers secure patents for vehicles, drivetrains and fuel cells.

by on May.28, 2014

GM secured more than two dozen patents for the eight-speed transmission for the Corvette Stingray.

While a number of automakers claim they are leaders in innovation, General Motors and Ford can bask in the glory of knowing they can back those claims with hard data.

GM led all automakers for the 11th consecutive quarter in filing for patents while Ford’s new F-150 has more patents filed than any pickup truck in history.

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GM’s patents cover a number of areas and include patents for fuel cells and technology that reduces energy consumption and phone apps that make life more convenient for motorists, according to the Patent Board and Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. (more…)

Buffett, Soros Sell GM Shares – But JPMorgan Bank Calls Maker’s Stock “Very Inexpensive”

by on May.16, 2014

GM's stock price has bouced a bit but largely been stuck in neutral over the past three months as the maker copes with its recall crisis.

Investors generally don’t like turmoil or uncertainty – something in abundant supply at General Motors these days, which may explain why the makers share price has been performing so poorly.

Yet even after expressing high hopes for the maker’s new CEO Mary Barra, mega-investor Warren Buffett has sold off a quarter of the GM shares held by his investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway. And he’s not alone. Other major investors, including George Soros’ Soros Fund Management, and David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital, have abandoned the maker in recent months, selling part or all of their holdings.

Insight!

Yet even while cautioning that GM will be taking an earnings hit for its latest series of recalls – six separate service actions covering nearly 3 million vehicles announced this week alone – influential JPMorgan’s auto analyst may have sent the sort of positive signal other investors are looking for.

“We note the recalls are very proactive in nature,” Brinkman wrote in a report to investors. “We see GM stock as very inexpensive.”

(more…)

Ignition Switch Victim’s Family Re-files Suit Against GM

Suit alleges engineer lied under oath.

by on May.12, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra's congressional committee testimony may have led to the most recent lawsuit filed against the maker.

The family of perhaps the best-known of the victims General Motors’ faulty ignition switch, Brooke Melton, is refiling its civil liability suit against the automaker – after agreeing to a settlement earlier.

The filing alleges a GM representative lied about his knowledge of the problem. Lance Cooper and Jere Beasley, attorneys for Ken and Beth Melton, parents of Brooke Melton who died behind the wheel of a 2005 Chevy Cobalt, claim that GM CEO Mary Barra’s assertion that one of the engineers involved in the case may have lied under oath gives them the green light to refile their lawsuit. Barra’s claim came during her testimony in congressional hearings in early April.

In the Know!

“The Meltons would not have settled their case if they had known of the perjury and concealment of critical evidence,” said Cooper, founding partner of the Cooper Firm in Marietta, Ga., in a statement. (more…)

GM, Ford Enjoy April Sales Jump in China

Ford sees biggest jump of the two with a 29% increase.

by on May.09, 2014

With vehicles like the Kuga, Ford China saw sales jump 29% in April.

General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. increased their sales in China during April: GM climbed 6.3% to a record 278,263 units, while Ford’s sales increased by 29% to 96,829 units.

GM reported Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, as well as their Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Wuling brands, all reached new highs for April sales, GM said.

Beyond the Headlines!

Overall, GM’s sales for the first four months of 2014 to a record 1,197,375 units, an increase of 11% on an annual basis. This is the eighth consecutive year and the earliest ever that GM has sold more than a million vehicles in a calendar year in China. (more…)

Federal Safety Agency Won’t Force GM to Park Cars

Foxx tells Senators action isn’t necessary.

by on May.08, 2014

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told two U.S. Senators that his department would not force GM to issue a park-it-now order for 2.6 million recalled vehicles.

Despite the persistent efforts of two U.S. Senators, the federal government will not force General Motors to issue a “park-it-now” order for the 2.6 million small cars subject to recall for faulty ignition switches.

“Such an action is not necessary at this time,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in letters to Senators Edward Markey (D., Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.). The two had asked last month for that warning.

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It marked the second time in two months that GM has dodged an order to park the vehicles immediately. A federal judge in Texas denied a request in April for an emergency order that GM tell owners to quit driving the cars, saying that only the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had the power to issue such a mandate. (more…)

GM Engineer Involved in Switch Recall Retires

Federico’s departure not related to investigations.

by on May.05, 2014

Jim Federico, executive director of global vehicle integration, retired today. He was involved in the investigation of the maker's faulty ignition switches.

One of the General Motors engineers tied to the faulty ignition switch involved in the recall 2.6 million vehicles and the deaths of 13 people retired today.

Jim Federico, 56, was executive director of global vehicle integration since September 2013, according to GM. Before that he was executive chief engineer for global subcompact cars and SUVs, and electric vehicles, and he had worked at GM for almost 36 years.

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GM spokesman Jim Cain several media outlets Federico’s retirement was voluntary and was not related to the recall. (more…)

Senators Ramping Up Pressure on GM

Letter asks feds to issue Park-It-Now advisory.

by on Apr.28, 2014

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, above, and Sen. Edward Markey sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx asking him to issue a "park-it-now" order for the 2.6 million vehicles recalled by GM.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey continue to beat the drum to force General Motors to ask owners of the 2.6 million small cars it recalled to stop driving them immediately.

Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Markey (D-Mass.) jointly penned a letter asking Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to force the automaker to make history and issue a “park-it-now advisory.”

Global Outlook!

“Every day that unrepaired vehicles remain on the road increases the risk of more injuries, deaths, and damage,” the pair wrote. (more…)

UAW Likely to Get Seat on GM Board of Directors

Union’s health care trust nominates UAW VP Ashton.

by on Apr.28, 2014

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton was nominated to the General Motors' Board of Directors.

Change is in the air at General Motors as the company’s board will likely have a top official from the United Auto Workers for the first time in history. If elected, it will be the second union-influenced nominee on the board.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton has been nominated to fill a seat on the company’s board of directors, GM said in a proxy statement for its 2014 annual meeting of stockholders with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, also known as the VEBA, put Ashton on the ballot. He is scheduled to give up his post as head of the UAW’s GM Department in June following the UAW constitutional convention. If elected, Ashton will begin his board term in August. (more…)