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GM Buries Avalanche

Pickup/SUV blend a victim of weak demand.

by on Apr.13, 2012

Buried under. The Chevrolet Avalanche Black Diamond edition.

Chevrolet is about to bury its once-popular Avalanche – but not without a fitting farewell.

The Avalanche, for those who might have forgotten, was Chevy’s attempt to blend the best attributes of a pickup and it ever-popular Silverado pickup.  Launched a decade ago, it was a significant seller.  But with few changes over the years as the maker moved on to other things, Avalanche fell off the public’s radar and rather than invest in a questionable redesign Chevrolet will send the crossover into retirement.

Your Source!

But first, the automaker will offer one last special package, dubbed the 2013 Chevrolet Black Diamond Avalanche, subtle body tweaks including body-colored bed surrounds and special badging, as well as a range of additional features.

The LS, for example, will get power-adjustable pedals, park assist, a rearview camera and remote start, among other things. Pricing will start at $36,975, including delivery charges.  That’s a $2,500 discount.

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Ford to Use Cash to Fund UAW VEBA Payment

Retiree Medical Benefits Trust to get $3.8 billion.

by on Jun.30, 2010

Happier days for all back in 2007.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) today is reducing its debt by more than $4 billion by retiring debt owed to the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust ahead of schedule. The company said it is taking the action to strengthen its balance sheet.

Analysts have noted that although Ford escaped bankruptcy during the Global Great Recession, it still has a relatively large amount of debt.

Moreover, Ford is increasingly returning to fleet sales in the U.S. this year to keep momentum going, and it is losing ground in Europe to stronger French competitors, notably Renault,  due to pricing and quality issues. The stock has been under selling pressure recently and is currently trading on the $10 range. (See European Auto Market Tanks in May)

Nonetheless,  Ford says it will post a profit and positive automotive operating-related cash flow this year, which means the stock price could be caught in forces beyond Ford’s control.

Ford is making scheduled payments in cash totaling about $860 million on Notes A and B held by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust – including about $250 million due under Note A, and $610 million due under Note B. Ford had the option to pay Note B with cash or Ford stock but agreed to pay with cash.

In addition, Ford and its subsidiary, Ford Motor Credit Company, are paying a combined $2.9 billion to retire the remaining obligation on Note A at an agreed upon discount of 2%.

Separately, Ford is making a $255 million cash payment to bring current previously deferred quarterly distributions on the 6.50% Cumulative Trust Preferred Securities of Ford Motor Company Capital Trust II.

With today’s actions and an April payment of $3 billion on its 2013 revolving credit facility, Ford will have reduced its debt by more than $7 billion in the second quarter. The second quarter debt reduction will save Ford more than $470 million in annual interest expense.

Debt Free!

“We expect to continue to improve our balance sheet as we deliver on our plan,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally.

“Importantly, our business results make it possible to take these actions while still accelerating the investments we are making in our business to serve our customers with the very best cars and trucks,” Mulally claimed.

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