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Majority of Americans Have Had Sex in a Car

Now-gone Pontiac was a favorite for lovers.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Better to be in an Aztek than looking at one, especially when survey results show that more people who have been intimate in a car, did so in a Pontiac.

Passion can strike anywhere, and the automobile has often provided a quick and easy refuge for lovers, as so many Hollywood films have reminded us. But fantasy does reflect reality in this instance, a new survey of nearly 3,000 American adults revealing that nearly three out of five have had at least one intimate encounter inside a car.

But the brand of choice, it turns out, will no longer be around to give shelter to lovers, General Motors dropping the much-favored Pontiac after its emergence from bankruptcy five years ago, noted shopping site CouponCodesPro.com, which conducted the survey after experiencing a surge in demand for adult toys and lingerie.

Your Opinions Matter!

“Don’t Bother Knocking (If This Van’s Rocking)” was the name of a popular album by group Fu Manchu, picking up on an even more popular bumper sticker. For some, cars serve as mobile motel rooms, while for others to fill in when a more comfortable bedroom isn’t available, various studies have suggested. (more…)

Book Excerpt: Jim Dunne’s Car Spy

This sleuth trades his handgun for a Minox.

by on Dec.29, 2011

Jim Dunne pens a tell-all about the business of car spies.

His name is Dunne.  James Dunne.  And if Ian Fleming had written about the world of automotive espionage, this is the man who might have served as his role model.  But where some spies sleuth for competing car companies, this septuagenarian Grosse Pointer serves a more noble purpose.  Or so he’d prefer to think.  The fact is, you’ve probably seen some of his work over the years in the pages of monthly magazines, in countless newspapers around the world, or on various internet sites, including TheDetroitBureau.comJim Dunne is the undisputed king of automotive spy photographers.

Dunne insists he’s retired – though the spy shot of the 2013 Nissan Altima he provided us with yesterday suggests otherwise.  (Click Here for that story.) It’s a way of life and not something someone easily walks away from…especially if they still keep a camera close at hand. 

Subscribe for the Holidays!

As accomplished a story-teller as he is with the camera, Dunne is finally revealing some of the secrets of his successful career, captured in his new book, “Car Spy,” which you can find via Amazon.com.  (Here’s the link to buy a copy.) We’ve done a little spying of our own, however, and nabbed one of the more interesting chapters, the story of Dunne’s incursion into the top secret GM Design Dome.  Here’s the excerpt:

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The Top Ten Auto Stories of 2009

Bankruptcies, bailouts, recalls, oh what a bad year it was!

by on Dec.30, 2009

Brother, can you spare a dime? The jet-setting Detroit Three at hearings: left, fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner, ex Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli, middle, Ford's surviving CEO Alan Mulally, right.

Every December, a group of auto scribes gathers together to share some good cheer and see how we did at predicting the events of the unfolding year. To be honest, even the best of the group failed to come close to calling the big stories of 2009.

No surprise, really, when you consider the strange twists and turns the auto industry has taken during the last 12 months.  Even the best fiction writers would have had trouble scripting this plot.

Sure, there were signs that the auto industry was slumping, and that the Detroit’s Three were in trouble, but having both General Motors and Chrysler go bankrupt?  And the U.S. government become majority owner of GM, with Italian automaker Fiat controlling Chrysler?  And what about Toyota?  Twelve months ago, most of us were writing about the fact that the giant Japanese automaker seemed certain to become the world’s largest automaker, finally overtaking troubled GM.  So, who could have begun to suspect all the problems that would follow for Toyota in 2009?  And what about the unexpected rise of the Chinese?

Top Ten!

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The fact is, there were so many big stories in 2009 it may be impossible to come up with a fair, accurate and complete list of the 10 Top Auto Stories that everyone will agree on.  But I’ll try.

And TheDetroitBureau.com would like to encourage readers to come up with the stories they would add to the list.  Just go to the Comments section at the end of this story.

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GM Offering Big Incentives on Pontiacs and Saturns

Dealer discounts of up to $7,000 per vehicle are aimed at clearing out the lots as brands prepare to close.

by on Dec.29, 2009

GM is offering dealers up to $7,000 to clear out inventories of Pontiac and Saturn models.

Big sales are typical in the days after Christmas, especially if you’re looking for holiday cards, wrapping paper and ornaments.  But General Motors is offering some big deals of its own on two of the brands it will soon abandon, and they make the sales at the local discount malls seem paltry by comparison.

At Jim Causley Buick-Pontiac-GMC, in the Detroit suburb, shoppers are being offered $6,500 discounts on models such as the Pontiac G3 and Solstice roadster, “and they’re going fast,” says salesman Mike Smith before rushing off to deal with a line of waiting customers.

Free!

That’s a sharp turnaround from earlier in the month when Causley’s showroom was uncomfortably quiet, particularly for the Pontiac brand, one of four marques GM decided to abandon – along with Saturn, Saab and Hummer – as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.  Worried about being able to service or sell vehicles sold by those brands down the road, many potential customers were steering clear.    (more…)

GM and eBay Motors Go Online in California

Shoppers can ask questions, negotiate price and buy online.

by on Aug.10, 2009

eBay Promo

More than 225 GM dealers in California have agreed to the pilot program.

When General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson said that online shopping was coming during a press conference last month, it was before the details were agreed with eBay. Now they have been resolved and couple of hundred participating California Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Pontiac dealers will be open for business online.

The new car shopping website, gm.ebay.com, will be available to consumers from August 11 through September 8, 2009 will make online shopping a reality. It comes at a time when GM marketing is having trouble with sales; they are off 19% in July while the industry was off only 12%. It is not immediately clear, how the program differs from those of the many dealers who are already independently conducting business online, except that it offers easier access to many dealers at on web site.

Consumers will be able to browse hundreds of dealer online showrooms, ask questions, negotiate prices, and arrange financing and payment to purchase a new 2008, 2009 or “select” 2010 car, crossover or truck models.

More than 225 GM dealers in California have agreed to the pilot program. GM says that shoppers can at any given time expect to see a wide selection of up to 20,000 new GM vehicles at “very competitive prices.”

Vehicles will be offered through eBay Motors’ standard formats such as “Buy It Now,” where shoppers agree to pay the advertised price, and “Best Offer,” where buyers indicate the price they are willing to pay and can negotiate online with the dealer.

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Whither Buick, as GM Reinvents Itself?

A "dying" brand is now critical to the automaker's rebirth.

by on Jul.13, 2009

The launch of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse is critical to Buick's future - and GM's - but shouldn't the marque also be getting some small cars, as well, asks columnist Mike Davis.

The launch of the Buick LaCrosse is critical to Buick's and GM's future, but shouldn't the marque also be getting some small cars, as well?

This is what’s known as a speculative story, an effort by a long-time automotive journalist to polish the dust off the crystal ball and look into the future.

Everyone knows that crystal balls are notoriously fickle — ask any gambler — and I may look like a fool tomorrow or the next day as the New General Motors unreels various announcements, but I have been thinking about this for a couple of months, ever since GM announced it was canning Pontiac.

Of Pontiac’s 2,600 franchises in the U.S., fewer than 40 are single-point dealers handling only Pontiac.  Most of the rest are dualed with other GM brands, mostly in Pontiac-Buick-GMC combinations.  Pontiac has postured itself as a “sports car” brand in contrast to the boulevard Buicks and something-for-everyone Chevrolets.  In the first six months of 2009, Pontiac retailed 88,794 vehicles while Buick sold 47,223.  But in the first quarter, Pontiac’s sales were twice Buick’s, before the announcement of Pontiac’s imminent demise was announced — which no doubt scared some customers away, not to mention demoralizing dealers and sales forces.

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It’s true that Buick is considered by GM to be a “global” brand, especially with booming sales in China, whereas Pontiac has been relegated for some years to North America (Mexico, U.S. and Canada).  This is no doubt one of the reason that if one had to go, and despite substantial investments by GM in new Pontiac models like the G3 and G8, the Pontiac brand got tossed in the trash.

But the point of this speculative story is, “Whither Buick?”

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A Diesel Running on Gasoline is Just as Sweet

By using compression ignition, a gasoline-fueled engine can be as efficient as an oil burner, and maybe less expensive.

by on May.21, 2009

Members of the GM's HCCI team preparing a prototype engine for testing.

Members of the GM's HCCI team preparing a prototype engine for testing.

The battle between the Otto cycle and the Diesel cycle in auto engines goes back more than 100 years. Diesels have a fuel economy advantage, roughly 20%, compared to traditional gasoline engines largely because of a higher compression ratio needed to ignite the fuel and the elimination of “pumping losses” caused during the intake stroke of a gasoline engine when it is operating at partial throttle.

However, the fuel injection system of a diesel and the heavier components required to hold up to the higher pressures make it much more expensive – these days thousands of dollars more – than a gasoline engine. Tighter emissions laws on cancer-causing particulate matter are adding to the expense and reducing fuel economy. Also, diesel fuel doesn’t ignite as readily as gasoline, which makes cold starting problematic.

As automakers continue the unending quest for greater fuel efficiency, a hybrid combination of diesel and gasoline engines is being studied to see if the best characteristics of both can be obtained.

One such initiative is going on at General Motors where a homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine is under study. An HCCI engine, when combined with other advanced technologies, can provide up to 15% greater fuel economy than a comparable, non-HCCI engine by using the diesel combustion process.

“HCCI delivers enhanced fuel savings without sacrificing the performance consumers have come to expect,” said Dr. Uwe Grebe, executive director for GM Powertrain Advanced Engineering.    (more…)

GM Bankruptcy, Once Unthinkable, Now Seems Absolutely Unavoidable

Over the past four years, GM has tried all kinds of strategies to keep the wolf from the door. It has now been blown away.

by on May.07, 2009

Ray Young and Company Employees Close New York Stock Exchange

"Once you start losing revenues, you get into a vicious cycle that you can't get out of very easily."

General Motor lost money again in the first quarter of 2009 , and is just as certain to lose money again in the second quarter, given the company’s deep cuts in production now in the schedule.

Bankruptcy, once unthinkable, seems unavoidable in the wake of the $6 billion first-quarter loss — and a $10 billion cash burn — which only exacerbated the company’s already precarious financial situation. Worse, the company revenues plunged by nearly 50% in the first 90 days of this year, suggesting that the Obama Administration’s Auto Task Force really did have cause for recommending the dismissal of former GM chairman Rick Wagoner.

“Once you start losing revenues, you get into a vicious cycle that you can’t get out of very easily,” observed Ray Young, the company’s youthful chief financial officer who was plucked off the finance staff last summer to help guide GM through the grave and grave-digging crisis it is now facing.

Young also outlined another of GM’s serious problems. The drumbeat of bad news is drowning the company. “A lot of impact is already in the marketplace. We have anecdotal evidence that that spills over into places like Brazil. We can’t quantify the bankruptcy concerns, but there is an impact. If we have to go through a court process, it’s going to have to be quick,” he said.

Subscribe to TheDetroitBureau.comThe clear implication was that a long stay in bankruptcy court could very destructive to the company’s health. Perhaps any stay is fatal.  GM needs to get customers to focus on the company’s products, not the bad news, Young said during a conference call with reporters and analysts. How GM can do that, given the lack of significant new products and the plentiful supply of bad news is not at all clear, to put it kindly.    (more…)

Saturn Sale by GM Grows More Likely

Restructuring process goes forward, one small step at a time.

by on May.04, 2009

It may still fly if a buyer surfaces.

It may still fly, if a buyer surfaces.

General Motors Corporation is apparently growing more confident that it can sell its Saturn brand. GM said Monday morning that there are a number of competing bids for Saturn, and there is sufficient interest to complete a deal prior to the end of the year.

“The process to sell (Saturn) is moving ahead,” GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told TheDetroitBureau.com, saying it planned to move forward with the disposition of the Saturn distribution network, which is partially owned by the GM and Saturn dealers.

“A number of potential buyers have surfaced and expressed interest in the Saturn brand and retail network. GM will be reviewing expressions of interest from the potential buyers and will look to secure an agreement with a specific buyer later this year,” GM said in a statement.

GM said it had retained S.J. Girsky & Company of New York to act as an advisor for this transaction. Saturn will continue to keep its retailers updated on its progress throughout this process, GM said. (more…)

General Motors U.S. Sales Plunge 34% in April

The "Total Confidence" plan is extended into May, as sales continue to languish.

by on May.01, 2009

Tk

There was a glimmer, but just a glimmer of hope. Total sales were up 11% compared to March, as traditional spring selling season begins.

Declining sales continues to be the trend at General Motors in the United States, with sales off -34% in April. The company wholesaled 173,007 vehicles. GM total truck sales (including crossovers) of 102,032 were down 28% and car sales of 71,775 were off 41% compared with a year ago.

Year to date, GM sales have declined 45%, with cars, at -47%, leading the drop.

As a result of a continued weak market, GM’s 2009 second-quarter production forecast is set at 390,000 vehicles (172,000 cars and 218,000 trucks), which is down about 53% compared with a year ago, when GM North America built 834,000 vehicles (382,000 cars and 452,000 trucks) in the second-quarter of 2008. Virtually all of GM’s North American plants will be closed for this summer. 

There was a glimmer, but just a glimmer of hope. Total sales were up 11% compared to March, as traditional spring selling season begins. However the sales increase was largely attributed to an increase in fleet sales. GM’s car sales compared with March were up only 2,900 vehicles (4%), while truck sales increased more than 9,500 vehicles (16%), and crossover sales were up nearly 4,200 vehicles (14%).

Critics of GM, who say that it is too dependent on truck sales, apparently are not talking to buyers. And politicians and others who keep babbling on about the industry’s “green future” should also note the distinctive lack of customer greenbacks supporting hybrids. Only 1,534 hybrid vehicles were delivered in the month. This includes total sales from a wide range of GM hybrid products: the Chevrolet Malibu, Tahoe and Silverado, GMC Yukon and Sierra, Cadillac Escalade, Saturn Aura and Vue hybrids. So far, in 2009, GM has delivered 5,156 hybrid vehicles.

The company tried to put positive face on what remain disastrous results.

“From a retail standpoint, GM and the industry continued at about the same selling rate as February and March. We see that stabilization, along with a firming up of our fleet business and improvement in Silverado and Sierra sales, as an encouraging sign,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. (more…)