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Hyundai Mulls Adding To U.S. Production Capacity

Maker may tweak Alabama plant to build more vehicles.

by on Jun.24, 2013

Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik.

Despite a harried sales pace for the year featuring a record-setting performance in May, Hyundai is still pondering whether to add more assembly capacity in the United States.

Hyundai Motor America Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik said during a visit to Detroit that automaker isn’t sure it’s the right time to add more production capacity in the U.S.

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The maker’s U.S. plant in Montgomery, Ala. is running three shifts. Hyundai added the additional shift last September, which bulked up production by 20,000 units annually.

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GM Expanding China Operations

Maker building plants to keep up with demand.

by on Jun.20, 2013

GM CEO Dan Akerson during an earlier visit to China. The maker is opening two new plants there.

General Motors Co. continues to go big in China.

GM and its Chinese partners broke ground this week on not one but two new assembly plants as well as a major expansion of the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center.

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The new assembly plants are located in Shanghai in eastern China and Chongqing in the center of China. The expanded technical center will also be located in Shanghai, one the major hubs of China’s auto industry. China has become the world’s largest automotive market in the past decade.

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GM CEO Tells Shareholders Bailout A Success

Akerson: its clear that loans protected U.S. manufacturing.

by on Jun.06, 2013

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson addresses the 2013 General Motors annual meeting.

The facts show the bailout of American automobile industry has been a success, at least according to Dan Akerson, General Motors chairman and chief executive officer, who made the assertion to shareholders at the company’s annual stockholders meeting in Detroit.

“Four years on, it’s pretty hard to argue it wasn’t successful,” he said. “The American public has been well served. All three American companies are profitable and the American manufacturing base is still 50% larger than China’s.”

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Akerson acknowledged the decision to bailout Detroit carmakers was very controversial at the time. However, the decision by “two administrations with very different political perspectives” has proven its worth by helping protect the U.S. manufacturing base during the recession. The bailout also meant the U.S. government didn’t have to cover $26 billion in pension costs connected to the automakers.

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Mississippi Caught Up In Nissan-UAW Battle

UAW claims Nissan not living up to promises made to state for aid.

by on Jun.04, 2013

Nissan is not living up to its promises with the Canton, Miss. plant claims the UAW.

The state of Mississippi has found itself caught up in the increasingly contentious dispute between Nissan and the United Autoworkers Union.

The state improperly offered millions in aid to entice Nissan to build its big factory in Canton, Miss., while the maker is allegedly failing to meet the promises it made in return for a reported $1.33 billion in aid, according to a report by a pro-union, Washington-based think tank.

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Nissan and its supporters, however, dispute that claim as just another frantic effort by the UAW to prop up a faltering drive to organize the Canton plant’s workers. Despite an organizing drive that has the backing of Southern civil rights groups, the union has not called for an election, suggesting it is having a tougher go than it expected.

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U.S. Auto Sales Increase In May

Large trucks, utilities pushing monthly sales jump.

by on Jun.03, 2013

Ford posted a 14% sales increase in May with trucks leading the way.

Bolstered by strong sales of pickup trucks and luxury cars, sales of new vehicles rose again in May as carmakers continued to help keep the U.S. economy growing despite the continuing concerns about deficits and job creation.

The three domestic carmakers, General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group, all posted sales increases for May.

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Ford led the way as its sales increased 14% in May, with cars up 9%, utilities up 15% and trucks up 18%. Retail sales increased 17%, marking the best May retail sales results since 2005.

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Volkswagen Forges Deal With Union

Maker raises wages for IG Metall workers in Germany.

by on May.28, 2013

Volkswagen reached agreement on a new contract with its primary union, IG Metall.

Volkswagen AG agreed to a new labor contract with its principal German labor union, IG Metall, to raise wages by 5.7% over 20 months.

VW will increase base pay of its German workers by 3.4% as of Sept. 1, and another 2.2% as of July 1, 2014, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based maker said. In addition, the company will make a one-time payment of €300 to the company pension plan.

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Dr. Horst Neumann, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft Board of Management Member for Human Resources, noted, “Employees are receiving a good pay increase. In addition, Volkswagen is improving company pension arrangements for its workforce, particularly with reference to young employees.

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F-Type Ads Aimed At “Youth Minded”

Campaign supports Jag’s new sports car.

by on May.14, 2013

Jaguar is kicking off a new advertising campaign for the F-Type across a variety of media.

Jaguar is kicking off a new advertising campaign featuring its new F-Type that includes both television and a heavy dose of social media to help shape perceptions of Jag’s new sports car.

Dubbed “Your Turn,” the campaign supporting the launch of the all-new F-Type, Jaguar’s first new true sports car model in 50 years, which also represents a return to the company’s heartland, a two-seater, convertible sports car, focus on performance, agility and driver connection.

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“We have built on Jaguar’s sports car heritage which stretches over 75 years, and in the F-Type we have reignited the flame,” said Adrian Hallmark, global brand director of Jaguar.

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Acura Debuts Sporty 2014 ILX

Second version looks to improve on shortcomings.

by on May.14, 2013

The 2014 Acura ILX received a series of thorough upgrades from last year's model.

After Honda received a lukewarm response to its all-new Acura ILX last year, the Japanese maker elected to revise the luxury sports sedan again this year.

It marks the second time in as many years it has had to go back to the drawing board with a small car. It did the same with the Honda Civic.

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The second-edition Civic received rave reviews from critics when it came out. The company, which also disclosed it is planning a hybrid version of the compact sport sedan, is banking it can strike gold twice.

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Lamborghini Marks 50th With One-Seater

Egoista pushes design envelope to the extreme.

by on May.13, 2013

The Lamborghini Egoista concept seats only one person: the driver.

Lamborghini decided to celebrate its 50th anniversary by unveiling a new concept car, dubbed the Egoista, which even Volkswagen Group’s top designers describes as “extreme.”

However, unlike some concepts its shown in the past, this one won’t be hitting the pavement as it doesn’t meet many safety requirements, such as 5 mph bumpers.

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“It is designed purely for hyper-sophisticated people who want only the most extreme and special things in the world. It represents hedonism taken to the extreme, it is a car without compromises, in a word: egoista (selfish),” explained Walter De Silva, head of design for the Volkswagen Group.

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GM Opens Plant In Indonesia

Maker invests $150 million in facility in Asia.

by on May.13, 2013

Marcos Purty, president director, GM Indonesia, left, and U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel, right, drive a Chevy Spin off the line in Indonesia.

Another global automaker cemented its interest in Asia as General Motors kicked off production at a new assembly plant in Indonesia: potentially a major automotive market.

Frost & Sullivan predicts Indonesia’s automotive production in 2013 will grow 7.5% reaching 1.2 million units. The demand for the passenger vehicles segment in Indonesia is likely to increase 7.6% year-on-year to 840,000 units in 2013 from 780,500 units in 2012.

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The first Chevrolet Spin was led off the production line by Dr. Budi Darmadi, Indonesia’s director general for Leading Industry Based on High Technology, Ministry of Industry, and Tim Lee, GM vice president, Global Manufacturing and president, International Operations, who was on hand to help dedicate the GM Indonesia plant.

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