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Automakers Regain Momentum in April – Market Looking at Best in Decade

Power forecast sees industry making up ground after cold winter.

by on Apr.24, 2015

Trucks, like this Ford F-150 shown with CEO Mark Fields, continue to gain momentum in the US market.

Consumer demand for new vehicles during April is the best it’s been in 10 years, according to a new analysis by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

With the warmer, spring weather finally settling in across the U.S., total light-vehicle sales are projected to reach 1,463,700, a 5% increase compared with April 2014 and the highest level for the month since April 2005.  The total seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales, or SAAR, is expected to hit 16.6 million units.

The Last Word!

“The industry continues to outperform prior-year levels with respect to retail sales and transaction prices,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of the global automotive practice at J.D. Power. “The average new-vehicle transaction price so far in April is $30,680, on pace to achieve a new record for the month.” The current record was set in April 2014 when transaction prices averaged $29,948,” he said.

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American Dreaming: Exhibit Looks Back at the Golden Age of the U.S. Auto Industry

Rare finds often were smuggled out of Detroit’s design studios.

by on Apr.24, 2015

Bill Blogh's 1953 Ford concept sketch captured the sci-fi mood of the era.

In the optimistic post-War era, few things better defined the American lifestyle than the cars we drove. The ’57 Chevy and the finned Cadillac Eldorado were far more than mere transportation.

Drawings and sketches by designers who created the cars of the 1950s and 1960s are being honored with a unique display at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan through May 2.

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The exhibit, “American Dreaming: Detroit ’s Golden Age of Automotive Design,” is the first comprehensive exhibition to offer a look at the art work produced inside the design studios of Detroit ’s automakers between 1946 to 1973.

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First Drive: 2015 Ford Edge

Smoothing out the rough edges.

by on Mar.11, 2015

The 2015 Ford Edge.

Ford has been a leader in the utility vehicle segment for the better part of a quarter of a century, going all the way back to the introduction of the first Explorer in 1990, a much more modern alternative to the bucky old Bronco.

The Explorer was a much more roadworthy vehicle, lightyears removed from the rough off-roaders of the past. Still, it took another 16 years before the Blue Oval took the next big step, introducing its first crossover model in the form of the original Edge.

Family Car Reviews!

Like similar soft-roaders, it was intended more as a minivan alternative than something you’d take to the back woods. More refined looking, inside and out, with comfortable highway manners and plenty of family-friendly features. So, we were clearly curious to see how much the new 2015 Ford Edge would evolve considering the increasingly crowded and competitive nature of the midsize CUV segment.

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Google Has No Plans to Go into Carmaking Business

Tech giant hopes to find partner for autonomous vehicle technology.

by on Jan.15, 2015

Google would like to find a partner to help it put the technology in this prototype into production.

Google is on a mission to change the world with its autonomous vehicle technology. But it doesn’t plan to launch its own carmaking division, instead hoping to find partners to work with, the tech giant’s automotive guru said.

There’ve been a lot of questions raised about Google’s plans since it revealed last year it was building 100 autonomous vehicle prototypes with the help of Roush, an automotive engineering and racing company based in suburban Detroit. The first of those are just beginning fleet tests around Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

Automotive Insight!

But program director Chris Urmson stressed that, “We’re definitely not in the business of making cars,” during an appearance at the Automotive News World Congress, an industry confab in Detroit. Instead, he added, Google will be, be “looking for a partner to build entire vehicles….at some point.” (more…)

Tesla Won’t Deliver a Profit Until 2020, CEO Musk Warns

But founder also promises to push volume to 500,000 by 2020, and “a couple million” by 2025.

by on Jan.14, 2015

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has no plans to leave Tesla anytime soon.

Don’t expect to see a profit from Tesla Motors – at least not using generally accepted accounting rules – until at least 2020, CEO Elon Musk cautioned during an appearance in Detroit on Tuesday. That’s despite a big jump in sales the company founder is predicting.

By the end of the decade, Musk is promising to sell at least 500,000 vehicles annually – a nearly 3,000% increase over 2014’s total of 17,300 Model S sedans — as Tesla adds new products and works out the admitted kinks in its production system.

Electrifying!

In the meantime, Musk says he’ll be sticking around to oversee Tesla, at least until it gets its first mass market battery-car, the Model III, into production.  Musk suggested that he intends to stay at Tesla “until I die,” but opened the door to turning over the role of chief executive to someone else once he reaches his most immediate goal of bring an electric vehicle to the masses.

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Honda Admits Under-reporting Crash Deaths, Injuries

“We acknowledge the problem,” says senior executive.

by on Nov.25, 2014

Honda's safety problems mount.

The recall scandal continues to rock the auto industry with new and damaging revelations.

The latest company to have its reputation seriously smeared is Japanese automaker Honda, which admits it failed to file more than 1,700 accident reports with federal safety regulators as required by law.

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“At Honda, we acknowledge this problem as our management responsibility,” said Rick Schostek, executive vice president of Honda North America.

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Rearview Cameras Saving Lives, Says AAA

But some systems are better than others.

by on Oct.29, 2014

Backup cameras are already common - even before the new government mandate takes effect.

Advancing autumn darkness increases concerns about pedestrian safety and one innovation that does help reduce accidents is the back-up camera, according to studies by AAA.

On average, these rear-view systems improved visibility an average of 46%, the travel and safety organization found. That’s a significant improvement, and something that can save 100s of lives a year, which is why federal regulators will beginning mandating the technology a year from now.

Your Inside Source!

“Rear-view cameras are a great supplement for drivers,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering.

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No Room for Complacency, Says GM CEO Barra

Maker aiming to “annihilate the opposition,” she tells Detroit leaders.

by on Oct.28, 2014

GM intends to win, proclaims CEO Barra, during a speech to Detroit business leaders.

General Motors is no longer going to act a polite competitor, GM chief executive officer Mary Barra said during an appearance before the Detroit Economic Club.

“I want to win,” Barra said. Not get by. Not hold on. Not be competitive. But win.

“I want GM to excel. To build relationships with customers for life. To be the most valued automotive company in the world,” Barra added. “If we aren’t here to win, to lead, to excel, why are we here?”

A Winning News Source!

In her speech to the leaders of the Detroit business community, Barra made it clear she wasn’t chosen to be CEO just to put a friendly face on the once-bankrupt automaker. Already having walked through fire as she has had to steer GM through an embarrassing and costly recall crisis, Barra has shaken up the maker and is clearly planning more major changes.

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Ford F-150 Lassoes Truck of Texas Trophy

Ford, Jeep and Ram corral a hatful of victories.

by on Oct.13, 2014

Ford's new F-150 snags a welcome honor.

The Ford F-150 scooped up the first of what the company’s executives hope will be several awards over the weekend as it was named Truck of Texas at the 2014 Texas Auto Writers Association Truck Rodeo.

That’s particularly good news for Ford considering the growing concerns about whether the maker can pull off a smooth launch for the “aluminum-intensive” remake of what has long been the country’s best-selling motor vehicle.

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Ford actually got a triple-dose of good news from the Lone Star State’s automotive scribes who named the 2015 Lincoln MKC the crossover of Texas, while Ford also was named the Truck Line of Texas. But the Detroit carmaker couldn’t pull off a clean sweep, the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee capturing the SUV of Texas title for the fifth straight year.

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September Car Sales Hold Strong as Summer Fades Away

Sales likely the best since 2007.

by on Sep.26, 2014

If anything, Mercedes-Benz USA says it could double sales of the new CLA if it could get more.

Summer may be fading into fall, but the U.S. auto market continues to sizzle, industry analysts anticipating sales will be the best, when the final numbers are tallied, since before the recession began.

On a seasonally adjust annual rate, or SAAR, the industry is expected to report a 16.4 million pace, well above the initial forecast for all of 2014 — and a hint that the car market could show even more momentum in the months to come as fuel prices fall and the economy gains more momentum.

Auto Insight!

“We expect another strong month for the industry with the best September since 2007,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar.

Equally significant, the late-summer surge seems to have come without the hefty incentive push seen in the past to build market momentum.

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