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GM Rolls Out Another Six Recalls for 717,000 Vehicles

Maker's recall woes drag on.

by on Jul.23, 2014

The Chevy Camaro is one of the many vehicles targeted by the six new GM recalls.

After a brief reprieve – and hints that the worst of its safety problems had ended – General Motors has announced another six recalls collectively covering more than 700,000 cars, trucks and crossovers.

The latest move brings to more than 26 million the total number of vehicles GM has recalled since the beginning of the year. And when added to the service actions announced by competitors as varied as Ford, BMW and Toyota, the industry overall is fast approaching the 45 million mark, well surpassing the previous record, set in 2004, when 34.1 million vehicles were called back for safety problems.

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GM officials tried to put a positive spin on the latest action, global safety czar Jeff Boyer asserting that this goes to “signify how we’ve enhanced our approach to safety.”

But the seven new recalls also come as something of a setback for a company whose reputation had already taken a hammering during the first half of the year. By late June, GM officials had been dropping strong hints that they had largely addressed all the company’s outstanding safety problems.

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Opel Takes Over GM Europe Operations

New change brings focus on entry-level small cars.

by on Jul.22, 2014

GM folded its European operations in the newly branded Opel Group as part of its plans to return to profitability.

General Motors plans to make its European operations profitable are taking shape as the automaker has rebranded its European unit as the Opel Group and a renewed its focus on small, profitable cars.

The re-branding took effect July 1. The new organization is based in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and will also oversee Chevrolet’s operations in Russia and Cadillac in Europe.

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“Today, we are more than just Opel/Vauxhall,” Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of the management board of Opel Group, said in a statement. “With the Opel Group, we align our organizational and legal entity structure in Europe with the business operations. (more…)

GM Issues Stop Sale on Used Cadillac Models

Unusual move reflects slow pace of recall repairs.

by on Jul.21, 2014

The announcement covers Cadillac CTS sedans using key, rather than keyless, ignition systems.

It’s become something of a regular occurrence for manufacturers to issue so-called “stop sales” when they suspect a new model might have a problem that could lead to a recall. Volkswagen recently ordered one for its new Golf and GTI models, and General Motors has issued several this year, including one covering its popular Chevrolet Cruze sedan.

But GM has now issued another, more unusual stop sale, this one telling its dealers to park and sit on some older Cadillac models because of potential ignition switch problems. The order covers Caddy CTS models sold during the 2003 to 2013 model-years, as well as 2004 to 2006 Cadillac SRX sport-utility vehicles. A handful of 2014 Cadillac CTS models were also included.

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The move, however, does not affect vehicles sold by non-GM dealers, whether franchised or independents, so shoppers need be aware that the vehicles have not yet been repaired and could be subject to problems until GM comes up with the appropriate fix.

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Sen. McCaskill Blasts GM’s Top Attorney; Calls Millikin Incompetent

Blumenthal believes Justice Department will find a “cover up.”

by on Jul.17, 2014

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies before a Senate Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety & Insurance.

After praising GM CEO Mary Barra in her opening remarks, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) later took her to task for not firing the automaker’s top lawyer, Michael Millikin, during a senate hearing today.

McCaskill, who chairs the senate subcommittee holding the hearing, blasted Millikin calling him incompetent, then asked Barra why she didn’t fire him.

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She also questioned why Millikin didn’t inform the automaker’s board or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about possible punitive damages related to GM’s settling of previous cases. (more…)

GM Remains in Tight Race for Global Sales Leadership

VW holds tiny lead, but Toyota has yet to weigh in.

by on Jul.17, 2014

GM is hoping new product - such as the Chevy Colorado, shown here with product chief Mark Reuss - will help it regain global sales leadership.

Despite recalling millions of vehicles and watching billions of dollars in new legal claims pile up during the first half of the year, General Motors is still in a relatively close race for global sales leadership with rivals Volkswagen and Toyota.

GM has reported selling 2.5 million vehicles around the world during the second quarter of 2014, with year-over-year sales in the United States and China, the company’s two largest markets, growing by  7% and 8%, respectively. Globally, GM’s total sales were up 0.5% for the second quarter. In the first half, GM sold 4,921,928 vehicles, up 1.4%.

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Volkswagen AG, thanks to strong sales in China and a solid performance in Europe as well as gains by Audi and Porsche, held a whisker-thin lead with sales of 4.97 million vehicles worldwide during the first half of the year. VW is actively targeting global sales leadership – but the race likely won’t be determined until later this month when Toyota Motor Co. weighs in with its own figures.

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Insurance Institute Recommends Safest Cars for Teens

List includes more than 50 sedans, minivans and SUVs – puts emphasis on safety features.

by on Jul.16, 2014

The Chevrolet Malibu is one of a dozen GM models included on the IIHS list of safest cars for teens.

With teen drivers the group at risk for serious crashes, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has issued its first-ever list of the used vehicles it most recommends for young motorists.

The list puts a premium on such safety features as airbags, electronic stability control and anti-rollover systems, though teens might not like the fact that most of the recommended offerings are low on power. The IIHS recommendations also offer something for almost every pocketbook, the picks ranging in price from around $4,000 to $20,000.

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“A teenager’s first car is more than just a financial decision,” stresses IIHS President Adrian Lund. “These lists of recommended used vehicles can help consumers factor in safety, in addition to affordability.”

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Sales in a Slump, Cadillac Loses Another Key Executive

Global chief Ferguson returns to Washington as top lobbyist.

by on Jul.11, 2014

Cadillac's global chief Bob Ferguson with the 2015 Escalade during its NYC debut.

General Motors is looking for an executive to head up the Cadillac division, following the announcement that the luxury brand’s current leader Robert Ferguson has been named Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy.

It’s the latest in a string of top management departures for Cadillac, and comes at a critical time for the brand which is struggling to regain momentum as it rolls out key new products in a bid to reverse a sharp and unexpected sales dip.

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A veteran Washington hand who spent 10 years in the nation’s capital as AT&T’s top lobbyist, Ferguson had spent only two years as Cadillac’s global chief. But his departure isn’t entirely unexpected, as he has been splitting his time between the luxury brand and a key role as part of the management team responding to the recall crisis that has engulfed GM since February.

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GM Recall Blitz May Be Winding Down

Biggest issues already dealt with, maker hints.

by on Jul.07, 2014

There are signs that GM CEO Mary Barra may not have to answer more questions about the company's latest recall as GM may finally be done recalling vehicles.

It has so far recalled nearly 26 million vehicles in the U.S. alone, and almost 29 million worldwide – more than any other maker in a single year. But after announcing 54 separate service actions since just the beginning of the year, GM is signaling that its recall blitz finally might be over.

Even then, the maker’s recall headaches are far from over. GM last month announced details of a new victims’ compensation fund to cover the deaths and injuries linked to a faulty ignition switch, a plan that could top $1 billion, according to some analysts. The maker also faces an assortment of legal problems, including a class action lawsuit filed in Seattle that could seek as much as $10 billion in damages. There are separate investigations underway in both houses of Congress, as well as a probe by the Justice Department. And GM has already said it expects to spend about $2.4 billion to handle all those recall during just the first half of 2014.

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But the worst, in terms of new recalls could be over, wrote JP Morgan auto analyst Ryan Brinkman, in a report last week, noting that, “GM concluded its enhanced product safety review that has led to a significantly elevated pace of vehicle recalls.” (more…)

GM Reunites Stolen ’79 Corvette with Rightful Owner

Silver beast comes back from Mississippi largely intact.

by on Jul.02, 2014

George Talley, a GM retiree, celebrates the return of his 1979 Chevrolet Corvette: 33 years after it was stolen. GM brought the car back for him from Mississippi where it was found.

George Talley’s automotive world came full circle yesterday on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit with his 1979 Chevrolet Corvette.

He got it back.

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In 1981, the GM retiree’s car was stolen while parked on Jefferson – a large boulevard in Detroit that also runs in front of GM’s world headquarters – near his apartment. Yesterday, it was returned to him courtesy of the automaker, just a few miles from where he saw it last. (more…)

California DA Targets GM with New Lawsuit

Maker accused of hiding defects, engaged in false, unfair advertising.

by on Jul.02, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra is likely to have a number of legal battles on her hands over recalls.

The legal morass surrounding General Motors continues to get deeper despite this week’s announcement that it has established a special fund to compensate victims of crashes linked to a defective ignition switch.

In Orange County, in the heart of the intensely competitive Southern California new car market, the District Attorney’s office has brought a lawsuit against GM. The suit not only cites the defective ignition switch but also states GM has withheld information about nearly three dozen other defects. It also charges GM had engaged in unfair competition and false advertising in violation of California law when it failed to disclose those safety problems.

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The lawsuit was filed just weeks after a separate class action was initiated by a Seattle law firm claiming to represent owners of GM products who feel those vehicles have lost value because of GM’s recall blitz.

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