The Truth About Cars » Dealer News http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 » Dealer News http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/dealer-news/ Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers Face Stiff Competition From New-Car Dealers’ Cheap Credit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buy-here-pay-here-dealers-face-stiff-competition-from-new-car-dealers-cheap-credit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/buy-here-pay-here-dealers-face-stiff-competition-from-new-car-dealers-cheap-credit/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862945 buy here pay here

Buy-here, pay-here lots, traditionally the place to find a vehicle with little, bad or no credit, are facing some stiff competition as of late from new-car dealers offering cheap financing.

Automotive News reports in a conference call this spring by America’s Car-Mart CEO Hank Henderson, he said new-car dealerships were making finance offers on both low-end new vehicles and high-end used units his group are unable to counter:

Some of the offerings are zero percent down, no payments for 90 days. We’ve even seen no payments for a year — and then those are getting financed at 72 months, sometimes even longer.

Lenders are fueling the demand for cheap credit at new-car dealers, as well, forcing the buy-here, pay-here dealers to turn down business from consumers hoping to find as much with the latter party. That said, the approach said dealers promote — including substantial down payments and shorter terms — claims to be more economically healthy for subprime consumers than the competitive approach that could leave a consumer upside-down in the long run.

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Mitsubishi: U.S.-Bound 2016 Outlander PHEV “Will Be Completely Different” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mitsubishi-u-s-bound-2016-outlander-phev-will-be-completely-different/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/mitsubishi-u-s-bound-2016-outlander-phev-will-be-completely-different/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 11:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862137 03-2014-mitsubishi-outlander-fd

Perhaps as a result of what Mitsubishi had learned thus far since the introduction of the Outlander PHEV in Europe, Japan and Australia — as well as a MY 2016 redesign — the United States-bound PHEV “will be completely different,” according to both Mitsubishi Motors North America Executive Vice President Don Swearingen and U.S. PR boss Alex Fedorak.

Autoblog reports the SUV — now set to arrive in November 2015 — will have an interior with materials that look and feel “less value-oriented,” while its battery monitor can look each cell along with the overall pack. It will also likely take its styling cues from the GC-PHEV and XR-PHEV concepts, both debuting at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show last November.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Outlander Sport may soon possess a 2.4-liter I4 to go with its 2-liter variant as Fedorak and his employer’s dealer network discuss what needs to be done to make the bigger engine a better sell; early results point to stronger highway overtaking ability.

Finally, although Mitsubishi’s long-term goal is to evolve into “an SUV/crossover-type company,” cars will still have a role in the near-term, especially the Mirage compact. Despite most publications giving the Mirage a good thrashing — though our rising superstar managing editor had a different sort of thrashing in mind — Fedorak claims the compact is outselling both the Mazda2 and Toyota Yaris; the latter is ahead of the Mitsubishi by 265 units through the end of June.

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General Motors Digest: July 8, 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-8-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-8-2014/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861585 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In today’s General Motors Digest: Replacement ignition switches are shipping to dealership service bays in boxes that may not reflect the contents inside; GM hands over 2 million documents to the United States House of Representatives; and certain truck owners are on their own as far as rusty brake lines are concerned.

Automotive News reports in a June 24, 2014 memo by the automaker to its 4,300-strong dealership network, GM would be shipping the ignition switches related to the February 2014 recalls in ACDelco boxes “due to the unprecedented volume of parts being shipped and the resulting shortage of GM Parts boxes.” The memo was composed to allay doubts of authenticity that might arise when the shipments arrive. As of June 25, 2014, 296,462 of the 2.6 million vehicles affected by the recall have been repaired, while GM expects to have the parts ready for the majority of the affected by October.

Over in the Beltway, The Detroit News says the automaker has turned over 2 million pages of records in relation to the February 2014 recall to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of the latter’s ongoing investigation. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, who is in the early stages of planning an auto safety overhaul bill, states that he wants to wrap up the investigation prior to making such a bill available for consideration. In an interview with WJR-AM, Upton is considering a national registry to easily track recalled vehicles in the repair stage, as well as when affected vehicles pass into the used car market.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that while General Motors has issued recalls left and right, it has not done so with 1.8 million light trucks and SUVs made between 1999 and 2003 affected by rusting brake lines. Further, the automaker says it’s the owner’s responsibility to prevent rusting and, if need be, replace the lines with a $500 MSRP kit. The defect has hit Salt Belt owners the hardest, where failed brake lines make up 43 out of 100,000 units sold, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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2015 Audi A3 Sedan Sales Outpacing Supply, Stealing From Honda, Toyota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-audi-a3-sedan-sales-outpacing-supply-stealing-from-honda-toyota/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 11:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860769 Audi S3 Limousine

The 2015 Audi A3 Sedan is doing quite well for itself in the United States since its arrival back in April of this year, even if the hipster parties during the sedan’s U.S. unveiling more than likely just amused the automaker’s traditional clientele instead of attracting younger buyers as the party plan intended.

Autoblog reports Audi of America sold 2,452 A3 Sedans in June alone, with just over 25 percent of consumers under the age of 30. That particular group of young Audi drivers are new to the automaker, brand conquests over Honda and Toyota.

As for buying one right now, there may be a line ahead of you: Audi is still stocking its dealer network with the $30,795 sedan, with a wait as long as 30 days for those wanting specific features for their A3. The line may grow longer, however, when the automaker’s A3 E-tron arrives in Q2 2015, with every one of Audi’s U.S. dealerships being granted the opportunity to sell the PHEV.

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Reuters: GM Ignition Woes Came As Early As 1997 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/reuters-gm-ignition-woes-came-as-early-as-1997/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/reuters-gm-ignition-woes-came-as-early-as-1997/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=858601 GM RenCen Downtown Detroit

It may have taken nearly 14 years for one ignition switch issue to finally find attention, but General Motors’ ignition woes go as far back as 1997, when Chevrolet Malibu owners had their own switch problems.

Reuters reports one of the earliest complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was in April of that year, when a New Jersey woman said she had been stuck on the road seven times with her new Malibu due to the switch’s inability to turn and the key stuck in place. The defective part was replaced twice, but to no avail. Other complaints include the key being easily removable while the power was still on, and power suddenly cutting out.

By 2001, when the 2000 Chevrolet Impala experienced its own ignition issues similar to those in the Malibu and, further on, the Cobalt and Saturn Ion, GM sent a pair of service bulletins to its dealership network, offering potential solutions to remedy the problems in both vehicles. However, no recall would be issued until Monday’s order of 8.4 million vehicles.

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General Motors Digest: July 3, 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-3-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/general-motors-digest-july-3-2014/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=858049 General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

In today’s General Motors digest: GM recalls a recall; the automaker gains market share in spite of itself; its bankruptcy judge believes it may have committed fraud; the U.S. Senate gets ready for a second February 2014 recall hearing; and Anthony Foxx vows to keep the heat turned up on GM.

Detroit Free Press reports the automaker’s recall of the 2013 – 2014 Cadillac CTS over an ignition switch issue similar to the one affecting the 2010 – 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, as well as the issue that kicked off GM’s recall parade back in February, only affected 264 coupes and wagons assembled before the redesigned sedan left the factory floor; the sedan was incorrectly listed among the 8.4 million vehicles recalled worldwide Monday.

In spite of said recall parade, Automotive News says GM gained market shared in the first six months of 2014, jumping from 16.9 percent in January to 18.8 percent in June. Further, June 2014 sales climbed 1.2 percent to 1.42 million units — instead of falling 2.6 percent as some analysts had predicted — fueled by new models entering the showroom and more lease deals. In turn, the annualized selling rate rose to 16.98 million, the highest rate seen since July 2006, and one higher than 2013′s 15.9 million in the same period. GM hopes to keep up the pace by offering Cobalt owners and owners of other recalled vehicles a $500 incentive to trade-in for a certified used vehicle, and employee pricing on new models; so far, 21 percent of Cobalt owners have taken the automaker up on its offer between March and May 2014.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber, who presided over the automaker’s bankruptcy proceedings in 2009, may have to haul GM back in on fraud charges if evidence is found, pointing to then-CEO Fritz Henderson’s possible knowledge — and obfuscation — of the ignition switch problem. Should the evidence be there, Judge Gerber could force the automaker to pay billions of dollars to any of the plaintiffs in the 90-plus lawsuits now waiting for his approval to proceed, which could come as soon as September 15.

Over in the Beltway, Reuters says a consumer protection and product safety subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee will hold a second hearing on the February 2014 recall July 17, though no announcement has been made as to who will be invited to testify as of this writing.

Finally, The Detroit News reports U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both vow to “keep putting the screws on [GM's safety efforts] until it gets right.” The agency, who is monitoring the automaker for the next three years as part of the latter’s settlement with the federal government, will look into the newest recalls to determine if GM issued them in a timely manner, though Foxx thinks the automaker is acting in good faith.

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GM Issues Chevy Cruze Stop-Sale Over Defective Airbag Units http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gm-issues-chevy-cruze-stop-sale-over-defective-airbag-units/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gm-issues-chevy-cruze-stop-sale-over-defective-airbag-units/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852937 2014-chevrolet-cruze-model-overview-diesel-cnt-well-1-980x476-01

Airbag supplier Takata’s woes continue as General Motors has issued a stop-sale of 33,000 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruzes equipped with the supplier’s airbag units.

Automotive News reports the driver’s side inflator module “may have been assembled with an incorrect part,” according to a notice sent out by GM to Canadian and U.S. dealerships. Unlike the Takata inflators recently recalled by Honda, Toyota et al, the Cruze’s units may fail to inflate the airbag in a crash. Those affected are either in the showroom or already in customer possession.

The stop-sale comes at an inopportune time for dealers as the end-of-the-month sales push kicks into high gear, especially since the Cruze is GM’s best-selling car. Cumulative 2014 sales of the compact total 119,330 through May, and are currently backed by $2,500 in incentives through July 30. Meanwhile, dealers are in pursuit of big wins this quarter under the automaker’s Standards of Excellence program, where small dealerships can receive a $10,000 bonus and $150,000 for the biggest stores.

The stop-sale order may be just the beginning: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesman Jim Cain says GM will file an official recall notice with the agency “soon,” piling onto the 44 recalls already affecting a total of 20 million units globally since the start of this year.

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Google Debuts Android Auto During I/O Keynote http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/google-debuts-android-auto-during-io-keynote/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/google-debuts-android-auto-during-io-keynote/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852889 Android Auto + Honda Civic

Google’s entry into the connected-car game stepped up to the next level this week when Android Auto was unveiled before the developers in attendance at the 2014 Google I/O Keynote Address.

Automotive News reports Android Auto — formerly known as Google Auto Link — will not be an embedded system, but “projected” from Android-powered smartphones through USB into the head unit. Its main feature is its voice-enabled operation, allowing the driver to receive and respond to texts, get directions to the nearest restaurant or fuel station, and dictate to-do lists for later reference, all without having to take their eyes off the road.

Android Auto was also designed for app developers in mind, simplifying the process of creating, distributing and updating their work without worrying if the embedded system will play nice with them by centralizing everything around the smartphone or tablet.

Though players such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen Group and Honda are among those on-board with Android Auto, Google did not say which of the members of the Open Automotive Alliance would be the first to bring the technology to the showroom. However, Hyundai product planning manager John Shon says his employer will be the first out of the gate when newer models of the 2015 Sonata arrive with both Android Auto and competitor Apple’s own CarPlay by the end of 2014; current 2015 models will receive both systems upon release.

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GM Offers Incentives To Speed Up Ignition Recall Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gm-offers-incentives-to-speed-up-ignition-recall-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gm-offers-incentives-to-speed-up-ignition-recall-repairs/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850106 ChevyDealership03.jpg

With 2.6 million vehicles needing new ignition switches fueling service bay backlogs, General Motors is offering its dealership network incentives to speed up the process.

Automotive News reports dealership service and parts managers who install 90 percent or more of the ignition-switch replacement kits by July 7 will receive a $250 credit for use at an unnamed online gift shop. The credit carrot/stick combo is part of GM’s Ignition Switch Recall Completion Initiative, which will also offer $4,000 in credit to 50 qualifying dealerships chosen at random, while one dealership will receive $10,000; both credit incentives are meant to be split between service and parts managers.

Meanwhile, 199,457 vehicles have undergone the 70-minute surgery through June 16 according to the automaker, while 400,000 kits have arrived at dealership service bays thus far. GM holds that enough kits will be made to repair the majority of the affected vehicles by October. Customers will also receive new keys to go with the new switches.

Made in supplier Delphi’s plant in Mexico, the kits can also be applied to vehicles other than the ones they were meant to fix, but only if the affected customers aren’t able to have their vehicle repaired “in a reasonable time.” To ensure customers don’t miss out, GM will also conduct an outreach program via email in the next few weeks to those who haven’t begun the process of repairing their affected vehicles.

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Maserati Sells As Many Units Through June 2014 As It Had For All Of 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/maserati-sells-as-many-units-through-june-2014-as-it-had-for-all-of-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/maserati-sells-as-many-units-through-june-2014-as-it-had-for-all-of-2013/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=847945 Maserati-Alfieri-Concept-01

Maserati may have had a slow 2013 as far as sales go, but the Italian brand is on pace to sell within the first half of 2014 as many cars as it had in the last year.

Reuters reports CEO Harald Wester said that while the United States was Maserati’s biggest market, China, Italy and Europe as a whole were making big sales waves for the brand, likely helping it move 15,400 units both in 2013 and the first six months of this year. He added that Maserati was on pace to hit its mark of 50,000 units sold annually by 2015, and 75,000 by 2018 as part of parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year plan.

In product news, Wester proclaimed the Levante SUV would head for the showroom late next year or sometime in 2016, followed by the Alfieri in hardtop and convertible forms. Meanwhile, no new factories would be built, with an effort on filling current plants to full capacity in its fight to best the Germans in the sales game.

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NJ Assembly, NY Governor Pass Direct Auto Sales Legislation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nj-assembly-ny-governor-pass-direct-auto-sales-legislation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/nj-assembly-ny-governor-pass-direct-auto-sales-legislation/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=845817 Tesla Roadster and Model S

Tesla is one step closer to resuming direct sales of its electric vehicles in New Jersey after the N.J. Assembly passes a bill that would allow it and other ZEV manufacturers to bypass the independent franchise system in selling electric vehicles.

Automotive News reports the bill comes after the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission banned the automaker from using its business model within the state earlier this year. Once passed in the N.J. Senate and signed by Governor Chris Christie, Tesla and any other ZEV manufacturer who sold direct to the public prior to January 1, 2014 could now return to business in full.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed similar legislation that had already been approved, allowing Tesla to continue direct sales in its five stores. However, no other manufacturer is allowed to use the EV automaker’s business model for their own, and Tesla’s stores must be transferred to an independent dealer should things change for it. Cuomo said the bill would ensure “that both sides will thrive to be able to grow the market for cutting edge zero emission vehicles.”

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Alfa 4C Arrives In 86 North American Showrooms, Brings 342 Pounds Of Luggage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/alfa-4c-arrives-in-86-north-american-showrooms-brings-342-pounds-of-luggage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/alfa-4c-arrives-in-86-north-american-showrooms-brings-342-pounds-of-luggage/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=841969 Alfa-Romeo-4C-17

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has just released their initial list of dealerships who will have the right to sell the Alfa Romeo 4C to North American customers, while the sports car will bring 342 pounds of luggage for the trip from Modena to the selected showrooms.

Autoblog reports all but four dealerships will be in the United States — the remaining four are in Canada — and the majority of those will be concentrated in three of the 33 states on the initial list: California, Florida and Texas. The chosen ones were drawn from a list of existing Fiat and Maserati dealerships, and though expected cities like Los Angeles, Orlando and Austin will be among the chosen, a few big names didn’t make the first cut, including New York, Seattle and Louisville, Ky.

Meanwhile, the chosen dealerships “will have a unique staff dedicated to the brand’s premium market clientele,” per the words of Chrysler Group vice president of network development Peter Grady. The dealerships are undergoing “an intensive curriculum” to ensure the success of the 4C and limited-edition 4C Launch Edition as FCA presses forward toward its goal of over 300 Alfa dealerships in North America.

As for the 4C itself, Jalopnik says the sports car packed on an additional 342 pounds to its 2,153-pound Euro-spec frame for the U.S. market, coming into port at 2,495 pounds. Aside from the usual federalization mandates, some of the weight comes from the standard air-con and radio equipped in the U.S.-spec model.

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New Jersey Assembly Committee Approves Tesla Direct-Sales Bill http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/new-jersey-assembly-committee-approves-tesla-direct-sales-bill/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/new-jersey-assembly-committee-approves-tesla-direct-sales-bill/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840458 tesla-model-x

Earlier this spring, Tesla ceased direct-sales at its two New Jersey showrooms due to enforcement of state law that prohibited such sales from auto manufacturers. That may soon change once a bill that would allow direct-sales to begin again comes to a vote before the New Jersey Assembly.

The Star-Ledger reports the bill — which would also allow Tesla to open two new stores — was drafted and passed by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee in a 4 to 0 vote. A3216 isn’t limited to the Californian EV automaker, however, as the bill’s language welcomes any ZEV manufacturer to sell directly to the public at as many as four stores, and requires all to have at least one service facility for the vehicles sold.

Though no one testified against the bill, both the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers wanted the status quo of franchise dealership sales maintained. AAM director of state affairs Amy Brink called for language to bring direct-sales to an end if a ZEV automaker is sold to another automaker, while NJCAR president Jim Appleton held out hope that Tesla would be forced to enter the franchise game once operations have fully ramped up.

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Feinberg: Report On GM Victims Compensation “Weeks Away” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/feinberg-report-on-gm-victims-compensation-weeks-away/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/feinberg-report-on-gm-victims-compensation-weeks-away/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=836746 Kenneth Feinberg

The Detroit News reports Kenneth Feinberg, whose services were retained by General Motors regarding compensation for victims of the out-of-spec ignition switch linked to 47 accidents and at least 13 fatalities, stated an announcement regarding compensation is “a few weeks away.” Feinberg adds that while his client may be making its own statement on the matter, “it will not include any details about a compensation plan since no such plan yet exists.” The attorney has worked on similar programs in the past, including those affected by the 2011 BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster, Agent Orange, asbestos and the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. in early September of 2001.

The Detroit Free Presswho has a comprehensive timeline of surrounding the issues that has placed GM under the spotlightcombed through an organization chart and other findings obtained from the Associated Press to illustrate how a small problem became the ongoing headache currently experienced by the automaker. Of note, until earlier this year, safety came in fourth to finance, sales and PR, reflecting CEO Mary Barra’s statement before Congress in April that GM’s corporate culture valued cost savings over the safety of its consumer base. The corporate structure could come under more fire once independent investigator Anton Valukas presents his findings to Barra this week, with a potential recommendation to tear down the “communication silos” so that future issues — and the ability to act upon them — are allowed faster access to the top.

Over in the Beltway, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is facing its own time under the spotlight for its part in handling the February 2014 GM ignition switch recall. Though consumer advocacy groups and the federal government have suggested ways to help the agency better do its job — from boosting its maximum fine to $300 million from $35 million, to increasing manpower and oversight over the automotive industry — the main sticking point is the NHTSA’s reliance on self-reporting of recalls et al by the automakers, which is partly the result of the former’s focus on driver safety over safety defects. The self-reporting protocol broke down between both GM and the agency, leading to the recall parade being led by the former, and future improvements of the reporting process and beyond for the latter.

Finally, Automotive News reports Nettleton Auto Sales Inc., a used car dealership in Jonesboro, Ark., is suing GM for being stuck with inventory it cannot sell because said inventory contains “highly dangerous vehicles” that may or may not be affected by the main February 2014 recall. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Little Rock over a week ago and disclosed by GM in bankruptcy court this week, says the automaker “actively” concealed the out-of-spec part until this year. The vehicles named in the suit total three thus far — all Chevrolet HHRs — with additional vehicles to be named later.

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Jeep’s Nine-Speed Undergoes Second Reflash For 100k Cherokees http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/jeeps-nine-speed-undergoes-second-reflash-for-100k-cherokees/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/jeeps-nine-speed-undergoes-second-reflash-for-100k-cherokees/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834313 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-002

Remember the nine-speed transmission in the new Jeep Cherokee that gave our rising superstar managing editor a hard time, followed by everyone else giving him a hard time about the truth of this car before walking back their statements in light of their seeing the light? More than 100,000 of the crossovers built before May 5 will need theirs readjusted.

Automotive News reports the software in the affected units will be subject to a five-minute software reflash, followed by a 78-minute test drive to ensure the transmission’s ability to learn how its owner drives is no longer hindered by digital bugs. While all owners will not need to bring their vehicles in for the work, those who do feel their transmission is lacking will have the fix covered for free under warranty.

The nine-speed, which also feeds power to the front and/or all four corners of the 2015 Chrysler 200, has been reflashed once before, and problems early on led to a delay in the introduction of the new Cherokee to sort out the kinks. For what it’s worth, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t concerned about what may be dinging the quality of the new transmission:

There are always teething issues with every transmission I’ve ever built, and I mean that literally. We keep tuning the transmission more and more as we get more familiar with it.

I’m never satisfied, but I think I’m OK with its application in the current car. It will get better six months from now, trust me.

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FTC Launches Investigation Into Deceptive Marketing Of Biweekly Payments http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ftc-launches-investigation-into-deceptive-marketing-of-biweekly-payments/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/ftc-launches-investigation-into-deceptive-marketing-of-biweekly-payments/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=829377 PA also 225

The Federal Trade Commission is launching an investigation into biweekly payments sold as a product by dealership finance departments on the basis that consumers may not be getting their money’s worth with such payments.

Automotive News reports the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Legal and Regulatory Affairs unit “received a number of questions and comments about biweekly payment F&I products,” and that the FTC recently issued civil investigative demands — requests for documents and/or testimonies — to dealerships regarding how biweekly payments are marketed by the latter’s finance departments. The organization emphasized to its members that finance employees are aware of and are properly trained “to accurately and adequately disclose all fees and costs, and not to overstate any potential benefits.”

Though biweekly payments are meant to bring consumers out of negative equity and the overall loan debt faster than other methods, NADA delivered an example where the fees associated with such payments ultimately hinder any savings on interest. The example given has a consumer save $656.61 on interest for a $27,342.96 loan on a vehicle, but pays $613.50 in total fees over 110 payments, providing little value for the consumer.

NADA concludes by warning dealers that deceptive marketing of savings allegedly offered by biweekly payments would land the dealers and their finance managers under the gun of the FTC.

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Barclays: GM Recall Parade To Last Into Mid-Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/barclays-gm-recall-parade-to-last-into-mid-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/barclays-gm-recall-parade-to-last-into-mid-summer/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 10:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=829313 Blurry Renaissance Center

Automotive News reports General Motors’ recall parade could, according to Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson, last well into the middle of the summer season. The data mining conducted by the automaker’s team of 60 safety investigators on 10 sources reporting potential problems — including consumer complaints and reports from its dealership network — will likely bring more recall requests before GM’s senior executives. Johnson adds that the investigators are working on likely defects on a per-issue basis instead of per-vehicle, which may mean a number of vehicles will be called back multiple times as the recall parade marches on; he also notes that its hard to discern if recalls of past vehicles have already peaked.

Detroit Free Press says GM product chief Mark Reuss will be leading a new team of five execs in choosing who all will be on the parade route, determining when and if a recall should be issued on any given vehicle with a potential problem. The team’s creation aims to accelerate the automaker’s response to said safety concerns, as well as better enable communication with its consumer base and the federal government. In addition, the 60 investigators, led by global safety boss Jeff Boyer, will comb social media to gather evidence of problems that haven’t been found from within.

Over in Canada, Reuters reports government officials are investigating GM Canada over the possibility that, much like the mothership across the border, it, too, delayed product recalls. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt instructed her group of officials to ask GM Canada “when did they find out” about the out-of-spec ignition switch, proclaiming that if they knew before the recall was issued, the Canadian subsidiary “could be in violation of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.” If found guilty, GM Canada could be fined anywhere between $100,000 and $1 million CAN depending on the conviction issued, far less than the $35 million levied against GM by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month.

The Detroit News reports those affected by the recalls of newer vehicles, including the 2014 Cadillac CTS and 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, are receiving free loaner vehicles much like those affected by the February 2014 ignition switch recall. In the case of Cadillac, however, the free loaners are standard practice for recalls related to the brand’s products, as they fall under warranty. Meanwhile, the Chevrolet and GMC loaner programs, according to spokeswoman Ryndee Carney, was at the automaker’s discretion; as the recall involves tie-rod defects — including a park-it-now notice — GM made the decision “to offer owners of those trucks courtesy transportation.”

Finally, Automotive News says those who purchase a 2015 Chevrolet Impala with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder will include stop-start technology as standard equipment, which aims to boost the engine’s fuel efficiency by 5 percent. According to spokesman Chad Lyons, the stop-start tech “will become more prevalent in GM vehicles” as time goes on; the 2.5-liter Impala is the second to have the tech standard, after the 2014 Malibu. Those who prefer their Impala to come with more power via the 3.6-liter V6, stop-start won’t be available standard due the engine’s heavier weight negating potential fuel savings.

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Endless GM Recall Parade Sign Of Industry-Wide Action To Come http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/endless-gm-recall-parade-sign-of-industry-wide-action-to-come/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/endless-gm-recall-parade-sign-of-industry-wide-action-to-come/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 10:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=828562 GM RenCen Storm Clouds

Detroit Free Press posits the endless recall parade General Motors has been leading since late February 2014 may be doing more harm than good for public perception or its bottom line. Though spokesman Greg Martin claimed the recalls were an effort to make his employer “a first-class safety organization” by focusing hard upon the consumer, a survey by AutoTrader found 51 percent of auto consumers were less confident in the industry’s overall safety record as a result of the actions by GM, up from 44 percent who thought the same five days’ earlier. In addition, the automaker will take a $400 million charge in Q2 2014 for the recalls since April 1 as of this writing, while its current stock price of $33.07 per share is a few cents above its IPO price from November 2010.

Autoblog continues on this thread, proclaiming what GM is doing is the beginning of an industry-wide shift toward issuing full recalls for any flaw in a given product, all under heightened scrutiny from the public and government regulators. For the first months of this year alone, all automakers have recalled a total of 22.4 million vehicles, the bulk of which belong to GM. Kelly Blue Book analyst Akshay Anand says the parade is a double-edge sword, particularly for the General; while such recalls are a sign automakers are being proactive in ensuring their products are as safe as they can be, consumers may perceive the effort as a sign automakers are failing to do their job well in the first place.

Automotive News follows with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who stated in a panel discussion at the Brookings Institute this week what else might occur when the GM-led parade becomes a permanent fixture in the industry:

If effectively this frequency of recalls becomes a norm, if everybody starts doing this, then I think you will see this cost being shifted to the consumer. It will transfer itself over onto the selling price of the vehicle.

Marchionne adds automakers, in turn, will act more sensibly in handling potential defects in product, noting punitive actions — such as paying $35 million in fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — will have little in the way of such handling when reputation is the bigger issue for the industry as a whole.

Speaking of the main parade itself, Autoblog reports 218,000 2004 through 2008 Chevrolet Aveos have been recalled due to the daytime running light module in the instrument panel possibly overheating, melting and setting the vehicle ablaze. According to spokesman Alan Adler, the automaker is “aware of some fires” so far, and is working on a fix for the module. Adler adds that while he doesn’t know when the fix will come, GM will send a second notice to owners when the time comes to schedule repair work.

Detroit Free Press concludes by explaining why GM continues to issue recalls as it combs through its records to avoid another decade-long delay in taking such action:

  • The government has ordered the automaker to meet with the NHTSA monthly on investigations and recalls as part of the former’s $35 million settlement with the latter
  • GM CEO Mary Barra’s appointment of Jeff Boyer to global quality chief — with the mandate to report directly to her if necessary — means anything deemed dangerous or otherwise unknown, including previously unreported defects — are up for attention
  • The automaker’s investors prefer to get the bad news out of the way and accept whatever potential pain awaits in as few quarters as possible, even if no one is happy about swallowing such medicine in the first place

The Freep also provided a list of every recall from January through this week, minus the latest recall issued Wednesday; total recall to date is 18,666,842.

GM

On the sales front, Automotive News reports dealers won’t be able to sell any of the 2009 through 2014 Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia crossovers thanks to a stop-sale order issued in a recall involving the front seat belt cable in the vehicles. The order comes during one of the biggest sales weekends of the year, putting a damper on potential Memorial Day promotions. Though dealers could still close on sales without actually allowing the vehicle to leave the lot, no test drives can be carried out in affected demonstrators, making such sales more difficult. GM is offering an end-of-month incentive to maintain May sales momentum, but that may not be enough to offset the extra floorplanning costs if few vehicles can be sold until the affected units are repaired.

Back in the Beltway, Barra met with U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and other members of Congress to discuss recent findings in the February 2014 ignition switch recall. Though spokesman Greg Martin confirmed the meetings did take place, he did not give details on all that was said between Congress and the CEO.

Meanwhile, members of the Obama administration who helped assemble the rescue packages for both Chrysler and GM said they knew nothing about the out-of-spec switch at the heart of the recall maelstrom when said packages were crafted between them and the automaker’s senior execs. One member, Harry Wilson, stated that even if the task force asked GM point-blank about the switch, he doubted they would ever get a straight answer. Lead adviser Steven Rattner added that as far as he knew, the execs before him then didn’t know about the problem; therefore, neither could his task force.

Over in Texas, Bloomberg both GM and supplier Delphi have asked the Texas Supreme Court to combine four suits linked to the switch into one state case. The claim is fighting each one separately would cost the duo time and money, while combining the four and rolling subsequent cases going forward into a single case would “eliminate duplicative discovery, void conflicting pretrial rulings, conserve judicial resources, be more convenient for the parties and witnesses and otherwise promote a more just and efficient conduct of this litigation.” The cases mention involve wrongful injury and death.

With GM’s cadre of lawyers coming under the gun now, Detroit Free Press reports the automaker’s general counsel Michael Millikin has named attorney Lucy Clark Doughtery to advise Boyer and product development chief Mark Reuss. Millikin is also working with independent lawyer Anton Valukas on the internal investigation into why GM handled the recall the way it had. The general counsel’s own future with the company has been called into question, though GM claims Millikin has no “current plans to retire” at this time.

In financial news, Automotive News says GM Financial is preparing to go under its own test of scrutiny of loans originated by its dealership network in an effort to avoid punitive action by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau based on allegations of discrimination in lending rates among minority consumers. The lender’s chief compliance officer, Dan Bickmore, says his role is to help reorganize the company into compliance with the CFPB, going as far as to establish a new compliance department and boosting the lender’s complaint management process and fair lending areas. He also aims to help educate dealerships on appropriate lending policies to prevent discrimination of protected classes when drafting a loan or lease contract.

On the design front, global design chief Ed Welburn says that with GM’s line of vehicles sharing the same technology and functionality with each other, styling will be needed to help differentiate each unit. He goes on to say the automaker has committed a few design sins in the past, favoring functionality over style and charm, as well as decontenting interiors when a product was overbudget. Welburn concludes that the new guard leading GM “really cares about interiors now, and it shows,” such as the interiors in the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac ELR.

Finally, The Detroit News says the 2015 GMC Sierra All Terrain HD will go on sale this summer. The pickup will be available in 2500 and 3500 weight classes with double and crew cab options, with trim lines to include SLE, SLT and Z71. Power is expected to come from a standard 6-liter gasoline engine, with a twin-turbo Duramax diesel on the options list.

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GM Adds 2.4M To 2014 Recall Total, Recalls More Than Sold In Five Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/gm-adds-2-4m-to-2014-recall-total-recalls-more-than-sold-in-five-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/gm-adds-2-4m-to-2014-recall-total-recalls-more-than-sold-in-five-years/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 22:35:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=827474 2014 Buick Enclave Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Autoblog reports General Motors has issued four new recalls affecting a total of 2.42 million vehicles. As of this writing, a total of 15 million units have been recalled by GM since February, a number Jalopnik says exceeds the total number of vehicles sold by the automaker in the past five years.

The affected models are:

  • 1,339,355 2009 – 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and 2009 – 2010 Saturn Outlook: front safety lap belt cable fatigue
  • 1,075,102 2004 – 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and 2005 – 2008 Pontiac G6: transmission shift cable fracturing
  • 1,402 2015 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV: insufficient plastic welding leading to partial deployment of front passenger air bag in event of crash; stop-sale, safety notice issued
  • 58 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD: retention clips holding 220-amp generator could become loose, moving generator out of place with potential for fire

The latest round contributes to the total of approximately 15 million vehicles recalled globally, which is more than the 12.18 million vehicles sold from 2009 through 2013, though there is overlap in some of the vehicles as a result of more than one recall affecting them.

Financially, GM will be taking a $400 million charge for the recalls in Q2 2014, which includes the previously announced $200 million for the same quarter.

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Former GM PR Exec Steve Harris Returns Under Ignition Recall Fallout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/former-gm-pr-exec-steve-harris-returns-under-ignition-recall-fallout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/former-gm-pr-exec-steve-harris-returns-under-ignition-recall-fallout/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 10:20:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=818458 harris

(Note: header image changed based on whim of E-I-C pro tem, some will understand why — JB)

Detroit Free Press reports former General Motors vice president of communications Steve Harris has been called out of retirement to help guide his former employer through the fallout of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis “for a limited time.” According to spokesman Greg Martin, Harris’ “deep background with GM and proven experience” will be of great benefit to the company. His second return the company — the first in 2006 at the request of then-CEO Rick Wagoner after leaving in 2003 — comes on the heels of successor Selim Bingol’s resignation in April of this year.

Regarding the switch itself, Autoblog reports testing of the recommended temporary fix — using the key with nothing attached — conducted by both the automaker and the U.S. Department of Transportation have shown the cars can be driven safely as-is. In addition, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx responded to the call by Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to order GM to pull the 2.6 million affected vehicles off the road until they are repaired, stating that “such an action is not necessary at this time,” and that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “is satisfied” with the temporary solution proposed by GM.

In lawsuit news, Automotive News reports the automaker is seeking shelter from a group of customers seeking information on its handling of the ongoing recall in a federal court in Texas. The judge reviewing the 60 suits against the company has stated he would consider such requests from the plaintiffs while deciding if their demands are lawful, while GM says such evidence should be “scheduled in a coordinated fashion” after consolidation of all suits pending.

Finally, GM, its dealers, and its customer base may have to traverse a long, hard road out of hell before everything settles down around the main recall and subsequent recalls that have come over the past few months. Detroit Free Press says the automaker will need 9 million parts from its suppliers — from new ignitions to power steering motors — and several months to repair all affected vehicles dropped off at its 4,300-strong dealership network. The wait alone for parts to arrive may take as much as four weeks to arrive for some dealers, as Delphi and other suppliers are ramping up production to meet demand.

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Study: Connecticut EV Dealer Incentive Program Could Improve Technology Adoption Rates http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/study-connecticut-ev-dealer-incentive-program-could-improve-technology-adoption-rates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/study-connecticut-ev-dealer-incentive-program-could-improve-technology-adoption-rates/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 12:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=816985 tesla courtesy nicholas fleury via flickr

While most states and the United States government offer tax credits to consumers for purchasing an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid, Connecticut instead offers dealers the incentive to sell EVs and PHEVs, a move research group Navigant Research claims could be more effective at bringing about greater adoption of the new technology.

Autoblog Green reports the Connecticut Revolutionary Dealer Award program offered by the state’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection — or DEEP — which will bestow an award upon the dealership who moves the most EVs in a six-month period ending July 31st, as well as for the dealership whose sales and leases account for a significant percentage of overall sales, could help push non-Tesla dealers normally reluctant to sell an EV to learn about their offerings, thereby leading to more sales.

In addition, Navigant suggests Connecticut offer incentives to those who do purchase an EV, as well as offer EV HOV lane access; the state already provides grants to agencies purchasing EV charging stations, totaling $175,000 divided by 50 towns, businesses and schools for 75 such units thus far.

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GM Issues ECM Recall, Bids Farewell To Federico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/gm-issues-ecm-recall-bids-farewell-to-federico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/gm-issues-ecm-recall-bids-farewell-to-federico/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 10:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=815930 2014 Buick Enclave Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Autoblog reports another recall has been issued by General Motors, this time concerning 51,640 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia crossovers screwed together between March 26 and August 15 of last year. The affected vehicles possess an engine control module whose software may provide an inaccurate fuel gauge reading, forcing the driver to pull to the side of the road should the tank prove empty instead of a quarter to empty. Owners have been asked to bring their affected crossover for a reflashing of the ECM to correct the issue.

As for the original recall, Automotive News reports GM engineering executive Jim Federico has retired from the company. Federico led a team of engineers in a 2012 investigation of the out-of-spec switch at the heart of the recall, specifically on whether an increase in the switch’s torque would prevent it from slipping out of the “on” position, as well as why the switch prevented sensors in affected vehicles from deploying during a crash. The engineer, who reported directly to current CEO Mary Barra in 2011 when she was global product development chief, had a hand in the development of a handful of vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt, Opel Adam and Buick Regal. A GM spokesman said Federico’s immediate retirement is not related to the ongoing recall crisis.

Meanwhile, the publication put forth a timeline involving engineer Ray DeGiorgio’s original decision to make no changes to the switch, and his subsequent about-face months later that ultimately led to the introduction of the redesigned switch in late April 2006. In short, the atmosphere tied to the company’s “cost culture,” when paired with the financial downward spiral that led to both GM and supplier Delphi seeking emergency funding from the federal government in 2008, gave rise to DeGiorgio — responsible for the switch’s design since 1999 — originally seeing the upgrade as impossible due to the design’s fragility possibly leading to more problems in a redesign. Other proposed solutions were deemed as an unacceptable business case by Chevrolet Cobalt engineering manager Gary Altman, who discovered the problem by accidentally bumping his knee against the switch in testing. Later on, DeGiorgio sought more data into the problem despite his original verdict, working with Delphi to create the upgraded part.

The Detroit News reports the law firms of Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles P.C. in Montgomery, Ala. and the Cooper Firm in Marietta, Ga. are joining forces to handle 200 product liability lawsuits against GM in addition to the lawsuits already filed by the firms separately. Founding shareholder of Beasley Allen et al, Jere Beasley, proclaimed the unification necessary in order to “help GM’s victims take on the powerful automaker.” Cooper’s namesake Lance Cooper added that not only will the joint venture benefit their clients, but it will also “allow us to continue in our efforts to get at the truth of what GM knew and when they knew it, so that the American public gets answers to their questions.”

Over in Korea, Automotive News reports GM Korea is devising strategies in the wake of Chevrolet’s 2016 European and Holden’s 2017 manufacturing exits. Aside from its newly expanded design studio, the subsidiary has reduced total daily work hours from 20 to 16, which would cut annual production by 100,000 units while offsetting 150,000 lost annual sales from Europe. Other cuts include early retirement for salaried employees — 200 of 6,000 eligible having accepted thus far — and 60,000 units at GM Korea’s Gunsan plant, where the Cruze and Orlando are assembled. In return, more vehicles could be sent to Australia and other markets from Korea in place of those once manufactured in Australia come 2017 and beyond.

Finally, GM has opted to simplify its customer satisfaction survey in order to gain knowledge from its base faster. The new survey, currently in the pilot phase, is comprised of less than 10 questions, and will ask consumers to rate their dealership experience on a scale of one to five stars, as well as write an online review. If successful, the original 22-question survey would be replaced by the shorter version, both of which are used to award quarterly payouts for dealers under the GM Standards for Excellence program.

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Former Hyundai NA CEO Krafcik Now TrueCar President http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/former-hyundai-na-ceo-krafcik-now-truecar-president/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/former-hyundai-na-ceo-krafcik-now-truecar-president/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 13:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=814081 John Krafcik + Hyundai Sonata

TrueCar founder Scott Painter and former Hyundai North America CEO John Krafcik both announced that Krafcik is now president of the online automotive shopping company.

Automotive News reports Krafcik, who left Hyundai in 2013, joined TrueCar’s board of directors early last month, and has been in meetings with the company’s TrueCar Dealer Advisory Board and various dealers in its 7,500 franchise network.

Though Krafcik is barred from announcing new products until the quiet period for TrueCar’s IPO ends, the company’s stock registration revealed the company would introduce TrueTrade, TrueLease and TrueLoan as ancillary products to its established vehicle-buying service. The IPO aims to bring TrueCar $125 million to finance its services and future growth, though the number of shares available and initial price have yet to be sorted out.

With Krafcik in charges of day-to-day operations, Painter plans to focus on investor and consumer relations, though he says he will remain hands-on with new product development. Painter adds Krafcik will retain his seat on TrueCar’s board.

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Japanese Auto Market Takes Sales Hit As Consumption Tax Increases http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/japanese-auto-market-takes-sales-hit-as-consumption-tax-increases/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/japanese-auto-market-takes-sales-hit-as-consumption-tax-increases/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 10:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=813657 2014 Honda Freed Spike

The Japanese auto market took a hit in sales last month, falling 5.5 percent to 345,226 units as an increased consumption tax of 8 percent took hold in a sign of a slow year in sales.

Bloomberg reports the drop comes at the end of a seven-month-long sales surge of over 783,000 vehicles through March 2014 ahead of the levy issued by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to help fight the ongoing financial issues plaguing Japan for two decades. As a result, economists believe Q2 2014 will see the biggest retraction since the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

As for the outgoing month, Toyota and Mazda both posted their lowest number of deliveries since 2011, while Subaru saw a 41 percent drop to a record low number. Meanwhile, Nissan, Suzuki and Mitsubishi all saw gains in April, with Mitsubishi taking the biggest slice of the market at 27 percent.

The consumption tax will be mitigated somewhat for automotive consumers through a 5 percent vehicle-purchase tax, and will give way in 2015 for a 10 percent national sales tax. In the meantime, the next year could play out like it had in 1997, when the tax jumped from 3 percent to 5 percent and auto sales dropped 15 percent with a 21-month decline in the industry.

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GM Changes Mind About Airbag Recall, Ignition Switches http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/gm-changes-mind-about-airbag-recall-ignition-switches/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/gm-changes-mind-about-airbag-recall-ignition-switches/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 13:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=812898 2013-Chevy-Traverse-Low-Angle

Automotive News reports General Motors, already being hammered from all sides from its delayed recall of 2.59 million vehicles affected by a defect in the ignition switch, issued a customer-satisfaction campaign in mid-March of this year for 1.2 million crossovers whose airbags may fail to deploy in a side-impact crash, an issue known to the automaker since 2008. Once the National Highway Traffic Safety learned of the decision, however, GM did an about-face and upgraded the campaign to a full recall. In addition, its Executive Field Action Decision Committee considered a full recall as early as November 2010, opting to issue service bulletins four times between then and 2012 instead, which spokesman Alan Adler claims satisfied the issue thoroughly without the need for increased action.

Bloomberg says GM is tying its executive incentive packages based on earnings, global market share and quality. The plan was originally announced in February as a work-in-progress during a statement about a proposed pay package of $14.4 million with $10 million in long-term compensation for CEO Mary Barra, which will be decided upon during the automaker’s annual stockholders meeting in June. In the current announcement, GM believes that linking executive pay “to the achievement of both short- and long-term goals” will serve as “an important cornerstone of employee engagement.”

As for the switch itself, its time may have finally come as GM considers dropping the ignition key for push-button start throughout the automaker’s entire range, a technology found in 72 percent of all 2014 vehicles sold in the United States. The move would put it in line with consumers who view the button “as a convenience and a luxury feature” according to Edmunds.com senior editor Bill Visnic, adding that the ignition switch “is a very fussy, electro-mechanical part that’s seen [by consumers] as less reliable.” Potential issues surround the push-button start, however, including length of time between action and reaction, as well as drivers remembering to shut the engine down prior to departing the vehicle.

Finally, Automotive News reports most dealers may never see a recalled vehicle enter their service bays, as many affected owners either never receive the recall notice or receive the document, but end up tossing or otherwise forgetting about the recall. Further, even with a recall in the headlines like the one GM is still working through, some owners may not have the inclination to go through with repairs, whether due to time, other priorities or apathy.

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