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Chevy Hopes Buyers Will Rally Around New Silverado Rally Editions

Adding spice to a solid work truck.

by on Aug.21, 2014

Chevrolet is looking to jump start Silverado sales with a new Rally edition of the full-size pickup.

A decade back, “urban cowboys” made up a sizable slice of the pickup market. That niche largely vanished as the nation fell back into recession, and though truck sales are bouncing back big right now, the bulk of the buyers need their vehicles for work and chores, rather than to show off in a suburban driveway.

But Chevrolet is hoping to expand the appeal of its big Silverado line with the launch of a new series of Rally Editions that, it promises, will give the truck a “new attitude.” It can use the help. Despite getting rave reviews – and winning the coveted North American Truck of the Year trophy in January, the recently redesigned Chevy Silverado’s sales haven’t gained the same level of momentum as rival products like the Ford F-150 and Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500.

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“Silverado won more awards in 2014 than any other pickup,” notes John Fitzpatrick, Silverado senior marketing manager, adding his hope that “The Rally Edition packages will let customers add an aggressive new look to this great all-around performer.” (more…)

Lincoln Adds Sizzle with New Pitchman: Matthew McConaughey

Texan gets multi-year deal to extol virtues of luxury brand.

by on Aug.21, 2014

Lincoln is hoping a new series of ads featuring actor Matthew McConaughey will raise the company's profile and boost sales.

That easy-going twang Americans have heard telling us that beef is what’s for dinner is now hitting the road with Lincoln. Actor Matthew McConaughey inked a multi-year deal to lead a new ad campaign for the struggling luxury brand.

The Texas-born actor known for his good looks and physique leads a new style of advertising for Ford’s luxury unit that focuses on his folksy storytelling style about Lincoln’s attributes. The first set of ads features the new 2015 Lincoln MKC small crossover.

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“Authenticity is a word that kept coming up in our initial meetings. It was clear from the start they appreciated me as an individual first and foremost, and I would be able to be myself in this collaboration,” said McConaughey in a statement. (more…)

Ford Worker Files Charges against UAW

Claims union collects for non-core activities despite opting out.

by on Aug.21, 2014

A Ford hourly employee filed charges against the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board.

The UAW may be getting an early look at possible changes in the dues it collects from its members as a Ford hourly worker filed charges against the union with the National Labor Relations Board over how much it collects from him.

Todd Lemire, a tool-and-die maker in Dearborn, wants the UAW to collect enough to cover only expenses related to the organization’s core activities, such as collective bargaining, grievances, etc. He doesn’t want to pay for the union’s participation in political activities, specifically its support of the Democratic Party.

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He opted out of paying dues for those activities through his Beck rights, a 1988 Supreme Court decision allowing union members to exempt themselves from paying for those activities. Lemire opted out in early April. (more…)

BMW’s i8 Elevates Maker’s Image in Germany

Hybrid electric improves company’s cool factor.

by on Aug.21, 2014

BMW's new i8 is raising the company's profile among new car buyers in Germany.

BMW’s new i8 is a cutting edge vehicle using new technologies to make it the among the most impressive hybrid electrics on the road. However, few vehicles capture the public’s imagination without great advertising campaigns and, in Germany, the maker seems to be making an impact with the i8.

According to a study by Pulse, a German market research agency, 44% of German car buyers were aware of BMW’s i8 advertising campaign in Germany and that it reinforced the future competence and “coolness” of the BMW brand.

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That number rises to 58% when only BMW owners are polled. Additionally, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota drivers came in above the 44% mark, which indicates that the i8 campaign is BMW is impacting drivers of competing brands. (more…)

Honda Taking Six Specially Fitted Cars to SEMA Show

Project Fit gives early look at customized Fits on Tumblr.

by on Aug.20, 2014

Six 2015 Honda Fits will be customized for the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas and the projects will be tracked on Tumblr.

Honda is looking to strengthen the bond between young buyers and its subcompact Fit: a demographic that wants to personalize its vehicles. The Japanese maker is going to show them what can be done and give them a running look at process via social media.

Honda enlisted six groups to produce customized cars for the 2014 SEMA show in Las Vegas. They’re going to post updates on Tumblr between Aug. 21 and Oct. 22 to allow some early glimpses at what will show up in Sin City in November.

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Followers of the project will get to vote on their favorites during the process. (more…)

Feds Unveil Online Recall Info Tool

Owners need only VIN number to find information.

by on Aug.20, 2014

Anyone seeking vehicle recall information, can now go to the NHTSA's or manufacturer's website, like GM's, and enter the VIN to get the information.

In the United States this year, recalls are coming faster than Kim Kardashian selfies – about 40 million thus far, and 70 million in the last two years – and that can make it tough to know if your car, truck or SUV is involved in one.

Until now.

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After suffering through some criticism regarding the difficulty in determining is a vehicle is subject to recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today unveiled its new online search tool that allows the public to easily discover if they’re vehicle needs to take a trip to the dealer. (more…)

Hondas Top the Most Stolen Vehicle List in 2013

Older vehicles typically targeted by thieves.

by on Aug.20, 2014

The 1994 Honda Accord is still popular among car thieves. It topped the 2013 list of most stolen vehicles.

Not only do people buy a lot Honda Accords and Civics each year, apparently thieves also steal a lot of them too as the pair topped this year’s most stolen vehicle list.

The vehicles are consistently among the top five vehicles stolen each year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and its annual “Hot Wheels” report. Last year, 53,995 Accords and 45,001 Civic sedans were stolen.

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If you just bought a new Accord, do not panic: it’s primarily models built before 1997, according to statistics, that are stolen. (more…)

Ford Heeds Call for Right-Hand Drive Mustang

Truly a global vehicle, pony car goes on sale in 120 countries.

by on Aug.19, 2014

Ford will being selling right-hand drive Mustangs next year in selected markets.

Ford Motor Co. has been churning out Mustangs continuously for a half century half a century now. During that time, the fabled pony car has seen many changes ranging from body styles to engine offerings and even the ill-fated Mustang II.

However, the iconic machine will see a new first with the sixth-gen version: right-hand drive. Ford is finally catering to the demand for the pony car in foreign lands and will make the right-hand driver version available for sale in markets, such the United Kingdom, Japan and Thailand.

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The Mustang goes on sale this fall in the U.S. and globally in more than 120 countries next year, including a total of 25 right-hand drive markets, such as Ireland, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa and Kenya. (more…)

Feds Mull New Rules to Make Cars Talk to Each Other

Technology could be used to warn drivers of possible crashes.

by on Aug.19, 2014

Collision avoidance systems improve safety for individual vehicles, but potential new rules might use similar technology to make roads safer for all.

Black boxes in vehicles already track a variety of bits of information that is used by safety officials, automakers and others to determine what a car or truck does after it does it. However, the Obama administration is looking to use that information in real time to save more than 1,000 lives annually.

Using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology that allows vehicles to talk to one another and warn drivers of a potential collision could save an estimated 1,083 lives prevent 592,000 crashes annually, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Power to the People!

Using V2V technology could provide drivers an advanced warning of a possible accident Left Turn Assist (LTA) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA) scenarios. The systems use radio waves to send out signals that are received and interpreted by other vehicles. Depending upon the data sent, the systems could provide drivers with warnings. (more…)

Marchionne Puts Bigland in Charge of Alfa Romeo

Appointment reflects CEO’s desire to see brand succeed.

by on Aug.18, 2014

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne put Reid Bigland, right, in charge of Alfa Romeo today.

Sergio Marchionne has been telling everyone who will listen for several months now that he’s serious about Alfa Romeo’s success. Today he proved it by putting Reid Bigland, formerly head of Ram Trucks, in charge of the brand.

He will continue as Head of U.S. Sales and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Chrysler Canada and the Fiat Chrysler Group Executive Council. Bigland will be replaced at Ram Trucks by Robert Hegbloom, who will also become a member of the NAFTA Leadership Team. Both appointments are effective immediately.

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Bigland’s appointment underscores the importance Chrysler CEO Marchionne places on expanding the reach of the Alfa Romeo brand in the luxury segment around the world, which is expected to expand in the years to come. However, Alfa Romeo has only a limited presence in the U.S. now. (more…)