The Truth About Cars » Customer Relations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:06:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Customer Relations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/customer-relations/ Honda To Replace Takata Airbags Nationwide If Consumers Complain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-replace-takata-airbags-nationwide-consumers-complain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-replace-takata-airbags-nationwide-consumers-complain/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946634 Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question. In a statement made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month, The Detroit News reports Honda will replace units nationwide if its customer base complains, […]

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Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question.

In a statement made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month, The Detroit News reports Honda will replace units nationwide if its customer base complains, despite being limited at the moment to the 2.8 million under recall in high-humidity states, whose Takata airbag modules are at-risk for catastrophic failure:

It is our practice to repair these vehicles outside of these regions at the request of concerned customers. Additionally, we have a customer service procedure that addresses our individual customer needs and concerns and encompasses, as appropriate, the replacement of air bag inflators and the provision of or reimbursement for temporary alternative transportation.

Representative Chris Martin explained the move wasn’t made to bring in vehicles that were “secretly included” in the recall, but give peace of mind to those who own vehicles outside the recall effort. He added that a similar statement was posted on the automaker’s owner’s website, explaining to consumers of “certain” vehicles could bring in their cars for new airbags “as appropriate,” along with reimbursement for temporary transportation needs. Martin closed by stating Honda had “no reason to believe that there is a concern” for similar issues with the airbags outside of the recall area.

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GM Victim Compensation Program Deadline Extended http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-victim-compensation-program-deadline-extended/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-victim-compensation-program-deadline-extended/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946618 The victims and families affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall can breathe a little easier, as the deadline to file a claim with the victim compensation program administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg has been extended. Autoblog reports the deadline is now January 31, 2015, per a recommendation to GM by Feinberg. […]

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The victims and families affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall can breathe a little easier, as the deadline to file a claim with the victim compensation program administered by attorney Kenneth Feinberg has been extended.

Autoblog reports the deadline is now January 31, 2015, per a recommendation to GM by Feinberg. The move would allow both parties to be able to reach “every eligible person impacted” by the switch at the center of the February 2014 recall.

Since the window for accepting claims opened in August, a total of 2,105 were filed through last Friday, including 217 fatality, 128 severe injury and 1,760 less-severe injury claims. Among them, 72 claims were found eligible for compensation (33 fatality, 5 severe injury, 34 less-severe), while 292 claims (27 fatality, 30 severe injury, 235 less-severe) were under review.

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Expanding Portfolios Overwhelm Automakers, Consumers Alike http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/expanding-portfolios-overwhelm-automakers-consumers-alike/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946586 With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few. Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may […]

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With as many plentiful lineups as the eye can see, consumers are beginning to feel overwhelmed, as are the manufacturers who are coming to realize that too many choices are just as bad as offering too few.

Yahoo Finance reports automakers like Porsche, Audi and BMW are reaching a point where their respective lineups may soon — if not already — overlap themselves, prompting consumers to go as far as to use Excel just to find the exact model and array of features they desire.

Auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers forecast the growth among German automakers would peak at 230 total models in 2018, then begin to flatten out as they cut production costs and improve differentiation among their portfolios, while also injecting what they sell with the latest technologies available at the time.

However, while automakers like Porsche and PSA Peugeot Citroën are implementing caps or drastically cutting down their offerings, others, such as Mercedes-Benz and Opel, plan to add more vehicles to their lineups. The expansions could lead to situations where models can only be seen in virtual showrooms — such as what has happened for BMW — as well as most consumers walking away from buying any vehicle or feeling less satisfied with the one they do buy, due to feeling overwhelmed.

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Tesla Fights Georgia Dealers Over Direct Sales Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946194 Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales. Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia […]

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Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association in late August of 2014, demands Tesla sell its Model S and other models through a franchise network, the automaker’s alleged violation of the Georgia Motor Vehicles Franchise Practices Act serving as the foundation for said petition. Tesla, of course, said that wasn’t the case:

GADA’s arguments rely on a wholesale misapplication of the FPA. The FPA only regulates conduct between franchisors and their affiliated franchisees, and does not apply to Tesla, which has no franchisees.

GADA also asserts that Tesla cannot directly sell to the public because of another cited statute — one that allows direct sales only if a given vehicle is “manufactured or assembled in accordance with custom-design specifications of the customer” — proclaiming Tesla offers no such thing to its customers. Representative Derrick Dickey stated that his employer is eager for Tesla to follow the letter of the law, “just like every other automobile manufacturer that sells new vehicles in Georgia.

The case is expected to be heard in court early next month. Until then, Tesla will continue to sell directly to the public under an exemption for ZEV models, which currently limits a given automaker to just 150 per year.

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Mercedes-Benz Tops In J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-tops-j-d-power-satisfaction-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-tops-j-d-power-satisfaction-survey/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945105 Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium. AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the […]

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 front

Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium.

AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the mainstream brands, MINI scored 727 out of 1,000, marking the fifth straight year the BMW brand took the top spot on the podium.

Infiniti, Jaguar — last year’s top finisher — Lexus and Porsche round out the premium top five, while Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Fiat did the same among mass-market brands.

As far as the overall car-buying experience is concerned, J.D. Power found an improvement of 12 points among mass-market brands, and a 16-point improvement among premium brands. The main factor for both sides was a knowledgeable sales representative who could understand a customer’s needs, especially with more “tech-heavy” offerings on the lot and in the showroom, per vice president of the automotive retail practice, Chris Sutton.

This year’s survey collected 29,805 responses from those who bought or leased a new vehicle between April and May of this year.

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Takata Chairman In Hiding, Mexican Plant Increasing Airbag Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-chairman-hiding-mexican-plant-increasing-airbag-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-chairman-hiding-mexican-plant-increasing-airbag-production/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945033 Takata’s chairman goes missing amid the company’s airbag recall crisis; the company boosts production of replacement modules at its Mexico plant; and the United States Senate plans to hold hearings regarding the airbag recalls, while also demanding a full reform of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the agency’s role in both Takata’s and […]

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Takata Car Seats

Takata’s chairman goes missing amid the company’s airbag recall crisis; the company boosts production of replacement modules at its Mexico plant; and the United States Senate plans to hold hearings regarding the airbag recalls, while also demanding a full reform of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the agency’s role in both Takata’s and General Motors’ respective recalls.

Autoblog reports Takata chairman and CEO Shigesha Takada — whose grandfather founded the company he currently helms — has not been seen since June of this year, giving only a published statement that Takata would work with authorities regarding the defective airbags. Takada won’t be turning up anytime soon, either; the company plans to send COO and president Stefan Stocker to an upcoming analyst briefing in place of the missing chair.

South of the border, Automotive News reports the supplier is adding two new production lines at its Monclova, Mexico facility to help boost supplies of replacement modules. The new lines are expected to go online in January, contributing to the 1.47 million units expected to ship out by February. Takata recently called upon competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive to help with the production, though that could take months while the suppliers build, test and validate their respective contributions for use by Takata’s client base.

Over in the Beltway, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold its first Takata hearing next Thursday, which will include testimony by the supplier, Honda and the NHTSA. The supplier also stated that it had received a subpoena from a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ordering it to produce documents related to the airbag recalls. This is in addition to the NHTSA’s own request for documents, which must be answered by December 1.

Speaking of the NHTSA, Edmunds reports Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Bill Nelson of Florida sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday, urging him to initiate a full reform of the agency:

NHTSA must alter its practices to require automakers to publicly release more information about accidents that could be caused by safety defects, upgrade its own safety databases, and do a better job of enforcing compliance with transparency measures intended to provide early warnings about potentially danger defects to the public.

The senators are calling for an end to regional recalls in light of the Takata action, citing that affected vehicles could move into and out of regions where high humidity — the condition needed for catastrophic failure to occur — is prevalent, as well as for safety regulators to pull potentially dangerous vehicles “off the road,” such as those affected by the respective recalls by Toyota, General Motors and Takata.

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Merrill Lynch: Tesla Sitting On 3K Cars Despite Alleged Scarcity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/merrill-lynch-tesla-sitting-3k-cars-despite-alleged-scarcity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/merrill-lynch-tesla-sitting-3k-cars-despite-alleged-scarcity/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945017 If you’re still waiting for your Model S to arrive in your driveway, you might not be too pleased to learn there could be 3,000 cars hiding in the back room, thanks to one man seeking knowledge about Tesla’s famed scarcity. The Daily Kanban reports Merrill Lynch research analyst John Lovallo found that while the […]

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If you’re still waiting for your Model S to arrive in your driveway, you might not be too pleased to learn there could be 3,000 cars hiding in the back room, thanks to one man seeking knowledge about Tesla’s famed scarcity.

The Daily Kanban reports Merrill Lynch research analyst John Lovallo found that while the hype held up for the Model X — for obvious reasons — the same couldn’t be said for the Model S. Despite Tesla’s claim that they sold every car they had in Q3 2014 — even the ones in the showrooms — Lovallo saw a different story with the finished goods inventory. In short: Some 3,000 vehicles were either in transit or in a warehouse.

Merrill Lynch — who told its clients in its research note about Tesla that the automaker’s stock will remain labelled “underperform” for the foreseeable future — also noted that Tesla is facing difficulties in penetrating the Chinese market, “coupled with seemingly tepid European demand for the Model S.” Despite the Chinese government creating a separate pool for EV license plates, 70 percent of plate winners failed to cash-in by the end of last month, and even if everything worked out, lower-cost EVs like the Nissan-Venucia r30 and the 20-some models set to leave Volkswagen’s factories would hardly leave any money for a higher-end EV like those sold by Tesla.

The note concludes by pointing out that the automaker barely makes money from selling regulatory credits to other automakers, while not making a dime off of its vehicles, the latter an issue that “could ultimately prove to be the biggest risk for the company and the pure electric vehicle market at large.”

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Ditlow To Feinberg: Seek More Claimants, Speed Up Processing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ditlow-feinberg-seek-claimants-speed-processing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/ditlow-feinberg-seek-claimants-speed-processing/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944769 Per a suggestion by Center for Auto Safety’s executive directory, Clarence Ditlow, attorney Kenneth Feinberg may seek claimants for the compensation plan set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall by pouring trhough regulators’ files. Bloomberg reports Feinberg has taken the suggestion “under advisement,” wanting to be sure […]

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Per a suggestion by Center for Auto Safety’s executive directory, Clarence Ditlow, attorney Kenneth Feinberg may seek claimants for the compensation plan set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall by pouring trhough regulators’ files.

Bloomberg reports Feinberg has taken the suggestion “under advisement,” wanting to be sure “the notice program and… outreach efforts reach the right people.” However, another suggestion by Ditlow — to speed up claim processing — has been passed over:

We have processed every single claim that has been submitted to us with documentation. All remaining claims –- in the hundreds -– have absolutely no documentation whatsoever.

Thus far, over 800 claims out of 1,851 received since August have been processed, with 67 found eligible for payout under the compensation plan’s protocol. Thirty-two fatalities linked to the ignition switch recall have been confirmed thus far, with 150 currently under review.

As for Ditlow’s letter to Feinberg, he says the plan, which has $600 million reserved for payouts, could become a “public relations ploy” for GM unless Feinberg et al do everything in their power to find victims, going so far as to contact all who filed a claim and employ investigators to go through policy reports linked to vehicles affected by the recall.

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GM Discloses More Fatalities, Faces Questions Amid Email Revelation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-discloses-fatalities-faces-questions-amid-email-revelation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-discloses-fatalities-faces-questions-amid-email-revelation/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944553 General Motors disclosed more deaths linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall in its quarterly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but more headaches await the automaker as the spotlight focuses on CEO Mary Barra’s actual role in the recall in the first place. According to Automotive News, GM reported 47 deaths […]

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General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

General Motors disclosed more deaths linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall in its quarterly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but more headaches await the automaker as the spotlight focuses on CEO Mary Barra’s actual role in the recall in the first place.

According to Automotive News, GM reported 47 deaths and 614 injuries linked to the ignition switch at the center of the recall. The breakdown this quarter is as follows:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt: 302 injuries, 26 deaths
  • Chevrolet HHR: 122 injuries, five deaths
  • Saturn Ion: 56 injuries, seven deaths

The overall total linked to the ignition issue thus far comes to 975 crashes, 1,101 injuries and 69 deaths, most occurring within the past several years.

As for the recall, the recently revealed email exchange between GM and supplier Delphi in December 2013 over a parts order of 500,000 switches — two months prior to the recall action — further showed the communication breakdown that has kept the automaker and those affected by its actions in the spotlight for most of this year. The emails weren’t a part of the Valukas report, and would have remained unknown to all but the attorneys fighting the automaker in class-action cases if a judge ruled in favor of keeping the documents confidential.

Regarding where Barra was, she and other senior GM brass all maintain that they didn’t know about the seriousness at-hand until the end of January. Barra had been the company’s executive vice president of product development, purchasing and supply chain prior to becoming CEO January 15. Further, the exchange was between mid-level employees — specifically a contract employee named Sarah Missentzis — and the supplier, suggesting that Barra still wasn’t told about the problem due to where she was in the chain of command.

That said, the automaker still had a responsibility to alert consumers to, at minimum, unload their keyrings to prevent the slipping issues affecting the switches, according to attorney Robert Hilliard, the attorney who fought to have the emails go public:

Part of the recall was to tell customers to take weight off the key chain. Why delay telling customers that?

For its part, GM said the emails were “further confirmation” that its reporting system “needed reform,” an issue that the automaker has gone to great pains to correct, per representative Alan Adler.

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Lexus Europe Boss: Teutonic Trinity “Impossible” To Beat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/uyttenhoven-teutonic-trinity-impossible-beat/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944057 While American premium brands Cadillac and Lincoln look to the Germans for inspiration — and their places on the podium — Lexus Europe chief Alain Uyttenhoven proclaimed that the Teutonic Trinity — BMW, Mercedes and Audi — were “impossible” to beat on a global scale, settling for fourth if possible. According to Just-Auto, Uyttenhoven says […]

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2014 Lexus CT200

While American premium brands Cadillac and Lincoln look to the Germans for inspiration — and their places on the podium — Lexus Europe chief Alain Uyttenhoven proclaimed that the Teutonic Trinity — BMW, Mercedes and Audi — were “impossible” to beat on a global scale, settling for fourth if possible.

According to Just-Auto, Uyttenhoven says the parent company is “out of its adolescence,” a turbulent time that included taking a one-two combo from the Great Recession and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Global sales prior to the occurrences topped out at 518,000 in 2007, with 2013 sales hitting a new peak of 523,000 units sold. That figure is just a quarter of what Audi aims to sell by 2020.

He adds that after establishing a reputation for high quality, customer service and environmental responsibility, Lexus will now focus on “emotion.” Thus, more high-performance vehicles with better driving dynamics, and likely more Predator grills. Diesels in Europe, on the other hand, will need more work:

The next big discussion will be about particulates. CO2 is not behind us, but we have to go to 99g/km by 2020. So, diesel has been growing because that CO2 average is easier to achieve with diesel. But the cost of purifying a diesel car is going to rise, so in the future, these engines are going to cost a lot more… For us, [petrol] hybrid is the answer.

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Study: Most Drivers Addicted To Texting While Driving http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/study-drivers-addicted-texting-driving/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/study-drivers-addicted-texting-driving/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944025 Add one more reason for Greg to have missed that stop sign: He was likely addicted to texting while driving, per a study commissioned by AT&T. Edmunds reports the study, conducted by Dr. David Greenfield of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, noted that three out of four individuals surveyed — from a sample […]

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Add one more reason for Greg to have missed that stop sign: He was likely addicted to texting while driving, per a study commissioned by AT&T.

Edmunds reports the study, conducted by Dr. David Greenfield of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, noted that three out of four individuals surveyed — from a sample size of 1,004 between the ages of 16 and 65 — simply couldn’t put the phone down to change lanes safely, look out for that semi-trailer et al.

The reason: Dopamine. According to Greenfield, those who check their cell phones every time an update blinks into existence — Facebook, Instagram, texting, etc. — receive a lift in mood thanks to the neurochemical. This could then lead into a feedback loop that could get in the way of driving to the detriment of all on the road.

Further, 90 percent of those surveyed knew it was wrong to do so, but kept texting away through the power of rationalization, with 30 percent placing said power in the belief that they can multitask like their laptops and tablets at home.

As this is a study commissioned by AT&T, the telecom giant is in the midst of a campaign promoting safe driving by putting away the phone (of which the study plays a part). The campaign, It Can Wait, includes an app available to Android and iOS users — sorry BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users — named DriveMode, which can silence text alerts once it senses speeds greater than 15 mph, shutting down once the driver comes to a stop. Over 1.8 million users have downloaded the app thus far.

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GM Parts Order Center Of New Evidence Surrounding Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-parts-order-center-new-evidence-surrounding-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-parts-order-center-new-evidence-surrounding-ignition-recall/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943945 Just when you thought the meat of the story had long since been consumed, a lovely roast was just delivered courtesy of an email chain between General Motors and Delphi regarding a large order of parts months ahead of the February 2014 ignition switch recall. According to The Wall Street Journal, the chain occurred nearly […]

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A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

Just when you thought the meat of the story had long since been consumed, a lovely roast was just delivered courtesy of an email chain between General Motors and Delphi regarding a large order of parts months ahead of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the chain occurred nearly a year ago in mid-December 2013, when GM ordered 500,000 replacement switches from its supplier a day after senior execs discussed the issue surrounding the Chevrolet Cobalt. The automaker also asked for an aggressive timetable between production and delivery.

The emails come from a discovery order linked to a case currently being heard in New York, led by attorney Bob Hilliard. While Delphi and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both declined to talk about them, GM representative Alan Adler said his company followed protocol in submitting a complete timeline regarding the recall, and “wasn’t required to disclose details of a parts order.”

The emails also don’t appear in the 315-page Valukas report, the results of the independent investigation led by attorney Anton Valukas. Valukas stated that he was hired by GM to only look for why the recall didn’t happen sooner than it had, Adler adding that the automaker did not attempt to influence the investigation. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut thinks GM might as well have done as much:

This order for 500,000 parts raises deeply disturbing questions about the validity of the Valukas report, but more important, the timeline of GM’s effort to protect its car owners. The question is why the delay and how many lives were put at risk since GM waited at least two months before issuing a recall even though it had already decided to order parts?

The emails surrounding the parts order will likely be used by a number of attorneys representing numerous class-action suits, seeking damages for everything from injury and death, to loss of resale value.

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Acura May Unleash New Integra As Early As 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943465 The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall. Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an […]

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Honda Integra Type R DC2

The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall.

Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an accessible sport car. Not a sports car, but a sport car.” While the flagship — the NSX — is set to leave Ohio beginning next year, the reincarnated Integra/RSX would likely begin its return to the showroom floor in 2017 at the earliest.

Though Marek couldn’t be more specific regarding the supporting actor, he did acknowledge that Honda went the wrong way in making Acura too upscale, not at all helped by the Great Recession that turned what would have been the next NSX into a non-homologated Super GT combatant.

Meanwhile, Acura will debut a refreshed ILX next week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, which he says is a harbinger of things to come:

There are changes coming, and then there are more changes coming. It’s not what our direction is going to be, but it’s a step in that direction. There are lots of resources and activity going into making Acura back into what it was.

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Farley, Odell Exchange Roles In Ford Exec Shuffle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/farley-odell-exchange-roles-ford-exec-shuffle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/farley-odell-exchange-roles-ford-exec-shuffle/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943409 Two Ford execs are about to have their passports stamped, as marketing chief Jim Farley and Ford of Europe general Stephen Odell are switching roles and addresses, effective on New Year’s Day 2015. Both execs will continue to report to Ford CEO Mark Fields, who had this to say on this exchanging of executives: We […]

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Jim Farley, Ford Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Sa

Two Ford execs are about to have their passports stamped, as marketing chief Jim Farley and Ford of Europe general Stephen Odell are switching roles and addresses, effective on New Year’s Day 2015.

Both execs will continue to report to Ford CEO Mark Fields, who had this to say on this exchanging of executives:

We are excited to see Jim and Stephen take on these new roles as they bring unique skills, experience and fresh perspectives to these critical positions. These moves also underscore our commitment to develop our senior leaders through deep experience within both our business units and our global skill teams.

Farley has been in his current role since 2007, having come over to the Blue Oval after a decade of leading Toyota’s marketing efforts. Come January, he’ll be tasked with executing the One Ford plan in Europe “to achieve profitable growth through an unprecedented focus on new products, a strong brand and increased cost efficiency.”

Odell held down the fort since 2010, and was Volvo’s CEO and president from 2008 to 2010. He’s also been with the company for 34 years, and will work on building Ford’s and Lincoln’s global presence “through innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers.”

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Jackson: Michigan’s Anti-Tesla Legislation “Unnecessary Protectionism” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/jackson-michigans-anti-tesla-legislation-unnecessary-protectionism/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/jackson-michigans-anti-tesla-legislation-unnecessary-protectionism/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942489 Though the anti-Tesla legislation recently signed into Michigan law is only a clarification of a previous anti-direct sales law, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson finds the whole thing as “unnecessary protectionism.” The Detroit News reports Jackson said the bill couldn’t protect Tesla, as the EV automaker had no franchises that needed protection, further proclaiming CEO Elon […]

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AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson

Though the anti-Tesla legislation recently signed into Michigan law is only a clarification of a previous anti-direct sales law, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson finds the whole thing as “unnecessary protectionism.”

The Detroit News reports Jackson said the bill couldn’t protect Tesla, as the EV automaker had no franchises that needed protection, further proclaiming CEO Elon Musk could sell his cars as he saw fit:

If Elon Musk wants to make a mistake and go with an inefficient distribution system, that’s his right as an American. Let him do it. I’m not afraid… my phone will ring someday when he really wants to sell some cars.

On the other hand, Jackson — whose franchise network consists of over 220 stores nationwide and 500,000 units sold annually — took Tesla to task for lobbying against “government intervention… and protectionism,” as the automaker’s foundation was built upon state and federal incentives all around.

Other targets in his meeting with the Detroit Economic Club Thursday included fracking, the Obama administration, and the two-pronged recall parade led by General Motors and supplier Takata. Regarding the recalls, Jackson said more government intervention is needed to better handle current and future actions.

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Takata Issues Newer, Wider Annual Loss Forecast For FY 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-issues-newer-wider-annual-loss-forecast-fy-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-issues-newer-wider-annual-loss-forecast-fy-2014/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942449 The hits keep coming for Takata as its airbag debacle moves forward, this time with announcement that its annual loss forecast will grow wider than previously stated. Automotive News reports the new forecast calls for a loss of ¥25 billion ($218 million USD) during FY 2014, a ¥1 billion ($8.7 million) difference compared to the […]

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A sign board of Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp's Annual General Meeting is seen on a street near the venue in Tokyo

The hits keep coming for Takata as its airbag debacle moves forward, this time with announcement that its annual loss forecast will grow wider than previously stated.

Automotive News reports the new forecast calls for a loss of ¥25 billion ($218 million USD) during FY 2014, a ¥1 billion ($8.7 million) difference compared to the forecast made in August; both figures are record losses for the automotive supplier.

Additionally, Takata will skip a dividend this year, the first time in eight years it has done so. The company took a ¥45 billion ($390 million) charge in Q1 2014 as a result of the airbag recalls, and has said future charges would be limited.

CFO Yoichiro Nomura apologized before the Tokyo Stock Exchange, saying his company hadn’t meant to worry its customers, automakers and investors who were all affected by its products. Takata shares declined 1.4 percent in trading, falling from ¥1,579 ($13.69) to ¥1,527 ($13.23) by the closing bell Thursday afternoon.

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General Motors Stands To Lose $2B If Bankruptcy Protections Collapse http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/general-motors-stands-to-lose-2b-if-bankruptcy-protections-collapse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/general-motors-stands-to-lose-2b-if-bankruptcy-protections-collapse/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942057 Remember all of those bankruptcy protections sought by General Motors that were made against any and all future lawsuits linked to ignition-related accidents and fatalities that occurred prior to the automaker’s exit from said bankruptcy in July 2009? Guess how much it would owe if the shield collapsed? Bloomberg reports GM could be on the […]

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GM First Day as a Public Company Celebration

Remember all of those bankruptcy protections sought by General Motors that were made against any and all future lawsuits linked to ignition-related accidents and fatalities that occurred prior to the automaker’s exit from said bankruptcy in July 2009? Guess how much it would owe if the shield collapsed?

Bloomberg reports GM could be on the hook for as much as $2 billion if federal bankruptcy judge Robert Gerber of Manhattan rules in favor of the plaintiffs of a class action aimed at bringing said shield down.

The suit calls for damages to be paid due to lost resale value as a result of the February 2014 ignition switch recall, citing alleged fraud committed by the company during the proceedings, claiming executives knew of the issues affecting a handful of models made between 2003 and 2011. Bankruptcy attorney Chip Bowles explains:

In bankruptcy, you have to disclose your assets and liabilities. Those are basic requirements — and GM didn’t do it. It would be very easy for Gerber to say, “Guess what? If you know someone is a creditor you have to give them notice. If you fail to do so, they aren’t constitutionally bound by my orders.”

The collapse would only be the beginning: Aside from the 2.2 million vehicles that could be affected, another 9.6 million vehicles suffering similar ignition woes — 90 percent of which were made prior to the July 2009 reorganization — would likely see their owners wanting a part of GM.

A ruling could be made as early as late February of 2015.

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GM Offers Gift Cards To 700K Affected By Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-offers-gift-cards-700k-affected-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-offers-gift-cards-700k-affected-ignition-recall/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=941017 Just in time for Black Friday or Black Thanksgiving (for those heathens who really want Alex from Target to scan their cheap HDTV, instead of giving him the day off by voting with their wallets), General Motors will be giving their customers a $25 gift card if they bring in their vehicles affected by the […]

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Gift Cards Woo-Hoo

Just in time for Black Friday or Black Thanksgiving (for those heathens who really want Alex from Target to scan their cheap HDTV, instead of giving him the day off by voting with their wallets), General Motors will be giving their customers a $25 gift card if they bring in their vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall by December 1.

The Detroit News reports brochures about the gift card incentive began landing last week in the mailboxes of those who have yet to bring in their affected vehicle for a 30-minute part swap. Per GM representative Ryndee Carney, the promo went out to around 700,000 who haven’t ordered parts; those who did, but haven’t come in, weren’t eligible for the offer.

After said owners have their vehicles repaired, they will be given a code to redeem online for a $25 card from either Amazon, AMC, Applebee’s, Bass Pro Shops, Red Robin, Starbucks or Walmart, with delivery due between two to four weeks. Were all 700,000 to turn up, a total of $17.5 million would be given away in the promotion.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is on-board with the initiative, encouraging GM to do everything it can to repair those affected vehicles. A similar program was offered by Toyota in 2010 during its unintended acceleration recall drive, one that made a huge splash with response rates, according to vice president of corporate communications, Mike Michels.

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Suppliers Come To Takata’s Aid Amid Airbag Recall Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/suppliers-come-takatas-aid-amid-airbag-recall-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/suppliers-come-takatas-aid-amid-airbag-recall-crisis/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940985 Takata may not being doing so hot amid its airbag crisis, but it is providing an opportunity for at least two other airbag suppliers. Detroit Free Press reports TRW Automotive and Autoliv have received calls from Takata for new inflators to replace the 7.8 million units under recall due to the likelihood of catastrophic detonation […]

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Takata Sign

Takata may not being doing so hot amid its airbag crisis, but it is providing an opportunity for at least two other airbag suppliers.

Detroit Free Press reports TRW Automotive and Autoliv have received calls from Takata for new inflators to replace the 7.8 million units under recall due to the likelihood of catastrophic detonation in high-humid locales. Takata itself informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it expected to produce 1.47 million replacement units by February 2015, a low number that likely led to the call to the bullpen.

TRW CEO John Plant stated his company was willing to help the supplier and the industry as a whole, proclaiming his customers “would welcome that support.” Autoliv CEO Jan Carlson added that the situation was “a very difficult issue for the industry,” and noted the increased business as a result.

The Takata recall affects 7.8 million vehicles, split-up among 50 models from 10 automakers, that were sold between 2001 and 2011, with Honda responsible for 5 million of those affected.

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Honda Ordered To Answer For Its Role In Takata Airbag Recall By November 24 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-ordered-answer-role-takata-airbag-recall-november-24/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-ordered-answer-role-takata-airbag-recall-november-24/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940321 Takata is no longer alone in facing an intense federal investigation over in its airbag recall action: Honda, too, has been ordered to answer under oath for its role in the recall. Automotive News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a special order to the automaker on Monday to “investigate the extent and […]

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2013 Honda Civic sedan

Takata is no longer alone in facing an intense federal investigation over in its airbag recall action: Honda, too, has been ordered to answer under oath for its role in the recall.

Automotive News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a special order to the automaker on Monday to “investigate the extent and scope” of its failure to report fatalities and injuries linked to the supplier’s airbags, as required by the TREAD Act. Deputy administrator David Friedman explains:

Our focus is keeping the American public and their vehicles safe. Early Warning Reporting information is one of many data sources we rely on to spot potential defects. Honda and the other automakers are legally obligated to report this information to us and failure to do so will not be tolerated.

Honda has until November 24 to submit written responses to a questionnaire, as well as requested documents, explaining how it handles safety warning reports. Third-party information and all death and injury claims submitted to the automaker since 2000 are also under request by the NHTSA. Failure to comply would net Honda a $35 million fine.

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Dodge: Over 5,000 Challenger Hellcats Ordered Since October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dodge-5000-challenger-hellcats-ordered-since-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dodge-5000-challenger-hellcats-ordered-since-october/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940297 Since the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat roared at the 2014 New York Auto Show, enthusiasts have been waiting for the day the big cats would enter the showroom. When ordering opened in October, so did the floodgates. According to Allpar, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis reported over 4,000 orders for the $60,000 707-horsepower musclecar were taken […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Since the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat roared at the 2014 New York Auto Show, enthusiasts have been waiting for the day the big cats would enter the showroom.

When ordering opened in October, so did the floodgates.

According to Allpar, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis reported over 4,000 orders for the $60,000 707-horsepower musclecar were taken as soon as ordering came online, with an additional 1,000-plus entered since then.

The brand knew demand would be strong, but it had no idea it would come in hot, too; Dodge initially planned to build just 1,200 units annually. There’s also a dealer incentive to get the Challenger Hellcat into customers’ hands as soon as possible so that more can be delivered to the showroom as production moves forward.

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Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S Ranked “Average” In Reliability Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/consumer-reports-tesla-model-s-ranked-average-reliability-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/consumer-reports-tesla-model-s-ranked-average-reliability-survey/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940281 Think your Tesla Model S is all that and a bag of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Doritos? That it says to the world that you’ve arrived? That you’re standing on the edge of a silver future? Consumer Reports says your car’s just “average.” The publication took information from its recent Annual Reliabilty Survey — which […]

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Tesla Model S Burnout

Think your Tesla Model S is all that and a bag of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Doritos? That it says to the world that you’ve arrived? That you’re standing on the edge of a silver future? Consumer Reports says your car’s just “average.”

The publication took information from its recent Annual Reliabilty Survey — which Tesla cannot partake in full until it has a second model in the lineup, per the survey’s criteria — and found that the 1,353 Model S owners surveyed had similar service experiences as Consumer Reports had in its long-term tester. The comparison with other vehicles the same age as the premium EV helped it earn the “Average” ranking.

The majority of the reports focused on small problems, such as slow-retracting door handles and body-component issues. That said, the publication will continue to recommend the Model S to its readership, noting it was in good company with other high-end vehicles rated as such, including the Acura RLX.

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Hyundai, Kia Fined $300M By State, Federal Agencies Over Erroneous Fuel Economy Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940209 Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups. Autoblog reports the […]

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2015 Kia K900

Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups.

Autoblog reports the two alone will pay a total of $100 million to the EPA, the highest such fine in the agency’s history. Hyundai’s part of the bill comes to $56.8 million, while Kia will foot the remaining $43.2 million. The brands will also forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse emissions credits, worth approximately $200 million, and contribute a requested $50 million in investments “to prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act” by automakers.

In-house, parent company Hyundai is establishing “an independent certification test group” to handle future fuel economy testing and reporting, along with training proctors on the proper methods. The company maintains the erroneous reporting was due to the methodology used in the EPA’s test schedule, as well as errors from the coastdown portion of the test.

Hyundai and Kia are also auditing 2015 and 2016 models for accurate fuel economy numbers in light of the previous errors.

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Daimler, Volkswagen Urge Independence From Google Data Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/daimler-volkswagen-urge-independence-google-data-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/daimler-volkswagen-urge-independence-google-data-platform/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939705 Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.” Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s […]

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Google-Android-KitKat

Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.”

Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s ability, urging its fellow automakers to develop automotive data platforms that would secure sensitive customer information from the Mountain View, Calif. tech giant.

According to Bloomberg, VW boss Martin Winterkorn says that while his company seeks a connection with Google’s data systems, it still wants to have dominion over its own vehicles, citing “potential conflict” rising from making consumer data available to Google. Daimler’s CEO Dieter Zetsche stated similar concerns with Google:

Google tries to accompany people throughout their day, to generate data and then use that data for economic gain. It’s at that point where a conflict with Google seems pre-programmed. That’s where we need to negotiate.

Zetsche also found the discussion of in-house data systems among automakers like his company and Volkswagen encouraging, proclaiming the move would maintain independence against the rising tide of “third parties,” such as Google’s Android Auto, Apple’s CarPlay and BlackBerry’s QNX OS, as it would “boost” Daimler’s position “when working with Google.”

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Low Fuel Prices, Strong New-Car Sales Boost US Economy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/low-fuel-prices-strong-new-car-sales-boost-us-economy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/low-fuel-prices-strong-new-car-sales-boost-us-economy/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938937 What happens when $2.99 for a gallon of regular fuels demand for new vehicles? The U.S. economy feels its VTEC kick in, of course. According to The Detroit News, the U.S. Commerce Department reported the economy grew 3.5 percent in Q3 2014, with 0.59 percentage points contributed by auto sales. Said sales also delivered an […]

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HISTORY_God-Guns-Automobiles_4_A-Very-Brady-Cadillac_SF_HD_still_624x352

What happens when $2.99 for a gallon of regular fuels demand for new vehicles? The U.S. economy feels its VTEC kick in, of course.

According to The Detroit News, the U.S. Commerce Department reported the economy grew 3.5 percent in Q3 2014, with 0.59 percentage points contributed by auto sales. Said sales also delivered an 0.55 percent boost in Q2 2014, helping the GDP climb to 4.6 percent.

Spending is up, as well: 9.5 percent increase in automotive spending through September 30, resulting in a SAAR of $457.1 billion.

Meanwhile, October’s sales are expected to rise 6.4 percent in comparison to the same time last year, with more to come according to Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell:

Car and truck sales have settled into a groove. Dealers are welcoming a consistent flow of shoppers into their showrooms, and the pace will likely remain steady through the end of the year. With declining gas prices and strong truck and SUV sales, the industry is poised for a very busy holiday season.

Forecasters are predicting 2014 sales will hit 16.4 million units, the best performance since 2006, with LMC Automotive projecting 17 million sold by 2018, 17.5 million by 2020. The figure would just best the previous high of 17.4 million SAAR, achieved in 2000.

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