The Truth About Cars » History http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 22 May 2015 20:00:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » History http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/history-news-blog/ Jeep Returns To Tokyo Motor Show After Eight-Year Absence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/jeep-returns-to-tokyo-motor-show-after-eight-year-absence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/jeep-returns-to-tokyo-motor-show-after-eight-year-absence/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 20:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073146 The last time the Detroit Three turned up at the Tokyo Motor Show was in 2007. One recession later, Jeep returns to Tokyo to represent the Motor City. Jeep will join Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Fiat on FCA Japan’s stand when the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show kicks off in late October, Automotive News reports. Jeep […]

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2015 Jeep Renegade

The last time the Detroit Three turned up at the Tokyo Motor Show was in 2007. One recession later, Jeep returns to Tokyo to represent the Motor City.

Jeep will join Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Fiat on FCA Japan’s stand when the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show kicks off in late October, Automotive News reports. Jeep will also be sole representative for U.S.-born manufacturers, as Ford, General Motors and Tesla sit out of this year’s festivities.

The off-road brand is currently No. 7 in import sales in the Japanese Domestic Market, having rose 21 percent to 2,298 units between January and April of this year. Though still behind the likes of Mercedes, BMW and MINI, Jeep is outperforming fellow domestic competitors Ford (1,625 units through April 2015), Chevrolet (313) and Cadillac (297).

Jeep’s presence at the show is also a boon for the show’s organizers, seeking to standout against bigger shows across the sea in China; the 2013 edition overlapped the show in Guangzhou, as well as the Los Angeles Auto Show.

[Source: Jeep]

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American Motorists On Pace To Break 2007 Miles-Driven Record http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/american-motorists-on-pace-to-break-2007-miles-driven-record/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/american-motorists-on-pace-to-break-2007-miles-driven-record/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072290 Thanks to low fuel prices, American motorists drove a record 720.1 billion miles during the first quarter of 2015. The new record, reported by the United States Department of Transportation, moves ahead of the previous milestone in 2006, when 705.7 billion miles were driven over the period, and doubles the Q1 1982 figure of 345.5 […]

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Seattle Circa November 2010

Thanks to low fuel prices, American motorists drove a record 720.1 billion miles during the first quarter of 2015.

The new record, reported by the United States Department of Transportation, moves ahead of the previous milestone in 2006, when 705.7 billion miles were driven over the period, and doubles the Q1 1982 figure of 345.5 billion miles, The Detroit News writes.

In month-to-month figures, Americans drove 3.9 percent more in this March than they had in March 2014, netting 261.7 billion miles for the month since record collections began 79 years ago; March 2015 also marks the 13th consecutive month of an increase in miles driven.

Overall, the United States saw 3.02 trillion miles driven in 2014, the highest amount recorded since 2007. The increases are helped by lower fuel prices, currently standing at a national average of $2.731 as of this writing. At the current rate, Americans will surpass the 2007 peak of 3.03 trillion miles driven.

[Photo credit: Wonderlane/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Reborn Borgward Hires Walker As CEO, Debuting New Model In Frankfurt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/reborn-borgward-hires-walker-as-ceo-debuting-new-model-in-frankfort/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/reborn-borgward-hires-walker-as-ceo-debuting-new-model-in-frankfort/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 16:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071682 Fifty-four years ago, German automaker Borgward’s sun set. With former Daimler exec Ulrich Walker at the helm of the revival, its sun may yet rise again. Prior to becoming Borgward’s CEO, Walker was in charge of Daimler’s China operations for the Mercedes-Benz brand, USA Today reports, as well as CEO of smart between 2004 and […]

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1958 Borgward Isabella Coupe

Fifty-four years ago, German automaker Borgward’s sun set. With former Daimler exec Ulrich Walker at the helm of the revival, its sun may yet rise again.

Prior to becoming Borgward’s CEO, Walker was in charge of Daimler’s China operations for the Mercedes-Benz brand, USA Today reports, as well as CEO of smart between 2004 and 2006.

Christian Borgward, chairman and grandson of founder Carl Borgward, praised Walker’s “profound industrial background and broad knowledge of the premium automotive segment in Germany,” while Walker had this to say about his new role:

I’m honored to lead this respected German brand into the future. Borgward is a legendary global brand which has set industrial milestones and created brilliant stories in history. Several of its innovations and classic cars have been widely acclaimed in the industry and I am confident that Borgward will win back its place in the international automotive industry.

The historic automaker plans to unveil its first model in over five decades this September during the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show – the automaker itself returned to the scene at this year’s Geneva Auto Show – which is said to be an SUV meant to invoke “affordable luxury.” Power for the new model may either come from a hybrid or full-electric system, and production is set for 2016.

Borgward assembled over 1 million vehicles between 1919 and 1961, disappearing from the scene when financial issues forced it into liquidation. The revived automaker has financial backing from Chinese truck manufacturer Beiqi Foton, which produces trucks in a joint venture with Daimler.

[Photo credit: Steve Glover/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Müller: US-Bound Porsche Boxster, Cayman To Gain Four-Cylinder Engines Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-us-bound-porsche-boxster-cayman-to-gain-four-cylinder-engines-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/muller-us-bound-porsche-boxster-cayman-to-gain-four-cylinder-engines-next-year/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 18:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070170 Over 20 years ago, Porsche sold its last four-cylinder model in the United States. By the middle of 2016, this will all change. Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said the Cayman and Boxster will be the first U.S.-bound models to have flat-four engines, Automotive News reports. Müller also let it be known other models for the […]

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2014 Porsche Cayman S at 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

Over 20 years ago, Porsche sold its last four-cylinder model in the United States. By the middle of 2016, this will all change.

Porsche CEO Matthias Müller said the Cayman and Boxster will be the first U.S.-bound models to have flat-four engines, Automotive News reports. Müller also let it be known other models for the U.S. market could receive flat-fours if consumer demand calls for them.

The new four-pot is expected to be turbocharged, with 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines likely in the offing. Müller says maximum output could be as high as 395 horsepower, as well.

For now, the only four-cylinder model available is the Macan sold in China and the United Kingdom. Whether it will be among those heading over to the U.S. is undecided.

[Photo credit: Richard Cabrera/Flickr/CA BY-SA 2.0]

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Brothers Bid For Piece Of Father’s Legacy, Win Despite Losing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/brothers-bid-for-piece-of-fathers-legacy-win-despite-losing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/brothers-bid-for-piece-of-fathers-legacy-win-despite-losing/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 18:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069218 Five years after losing their father in the line of duty, Tanner and Chase Brownlee did their best to win his retired squad car at auction. Weld County, Colo. Deputy Sheriff Sam Brownlee was on duty when he lost his life in 2010 at the end of a police chase, KMGH-TV reports. Five years later, […]

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Weld County Dodge Charger Retired Squad Car Set For Auction Circa May 2015

Five years after losing their father in the line of duty, Tanner and Chase Brownlee did their best to win his retired squad car at auction.

Weld County, Colo. Deputy Sheriff Sam Brownlee was on duty when he lost his life in 2010 at the end of a police chase, KMGH-TV reports. Five years later, the Brownlee brothers set out to claim his father’s work vehicle, a Dodge Charger, at auction Wednesday evening.

At the time the auction began, Tanner planned to use funds from his GoFundMe page to bring the car home, only to find himself severely outbid as the auction wore on.

However, the winning bidder — Steve Wells — quickly handed over the keys to Tanner seconds after putting $60,000 on the car, catching him off-guard.

Both proceeds from the auction and the GoFundMe page will go to Concerns of Police Survivors, an organization providing services to survivors of LEOs killed in the line of duty.

[Photo credit: KMGH-TV]

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Ruling Frees General Motors Of $450M Obligation To UAW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ruling-frees-general-motors-of-450m-obligation-to-uaw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ruling-frees-general-motors-of-450m-obligation-to-uaw/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069154 The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday General Motors will not owe $450 million to the UAW for funding health care among Delphi retirees. The ruling affects a stipulation in the contract signed by “Old GM,” Delphi and the union in 2007, where the automaker would make a one-time contribution of $450 million, […]

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Delphi Audi Circa March 2015

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday General Motors will not owe $450 million to the UAW for funding health care among Delphi retirees.

The ruling affects a stipulation in the contract signed by “Old GM,” Delphi and the union in 2007, where the automaker would make a one-time contribution of $450 million, Detroit Free Press reports. Said stipulation remained in a revised 2008 agreement, but would not be included in a new contract when GM emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

However, the UAW sought to hold GM to its obligation, suing the company in April of 2010 after the “new” version of the company refused to pay the contribution.

While a spokesman for the automaker said it was “pleased with the outcome of the case,” the union remains silent as to whether it will appeal the ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court.

[Photo credit: Delphi/Facebook]

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Oil Bull Market Rally Could Soon Falter Without China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067698 Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time. During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in […]

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PetroChina-Station

Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time.

During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in the nation has slowed by half of what it was in the previous decade, following global trends of decreased consumption.

Global demand is expected to grow 1.3 million barrels/day to 94.58 million in 2016 according to the Energy Information Administration, with China taking 11.34 million barrels/day; the U.S. will use 19.44 million/day, lower than what was used in 2008. The figure is an increase of 3.1 percent over this year, yet pales when compared to the 11-percent jump in 2010. The spike delivered a boost to oil prices of 15 percent.

Combined with rising oil production pushing toward a glut in supply — to the tune of 1.8 million barrels/day in inventory currently, and 900,000/day during H2 2015 — China’s economic power faltering despite the government’s best efforts, and technological advancements reducing overall oil consumption, the global demand for oil will remain low for some time to come.

[Photo credit: Otebig/Wikimedia Commons/CC PD 1.0]

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BMW CEO Harald Krüger Overshadowed By Predecessor’s Success http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-ceo-harald-kruger-overshadowed-by-predecessors-success/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/bmw-ceo-harald-kruger-overshadowed-by-predecessors-success/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 17:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067418 As BMW AG’s newest CEO, Harald Krüger’s main challenge is to helm the company in the shadow of newly appointed chairman and former CEO, Norbert Reithofer. The concern comes amid Reithofer taking his place as the company’s chairman — succeeding Joachim Milberg in the role — without first stepping away from the company for two […]

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BMW 650i Grand Coupe

As BMW AG’s newest CEO, Harald Krüger’s main challenge is to helm the company in the shadow of newly appointed chairman and former CEO, Norbert Reithofer.

The concern comes amid Reithofer taking his place as the company’s chairman — succeeding Joachim Milberg in the role — without first stepping away from the company for two years as recommended by the German Corporate Governance Code, Bloomberg reports. The move leaves Krüger little room to move BMW toward his vision, especially as the industry itself is undergoing significant changes.

Krüger is also taking over as CEO at a time when the company’s fortunes in China are turning for the worst, following the nation’s own economic slowdown delivering a slump in profits for BMW’s joint venture during Q1 2015. Additionally, the new CEO will have to determine where to take Reithofer’s previous projects — mass-produced carbon fiber, i Series et al — especially when it comes to cost.

Finally, Krüger will be in charge of an automaker whose sales were boosted 55 percent from 1.4 million to 2.1 million vehicles annually, with an improved pretax margin of 9.2 percent from the 6.3 percent margin in 2006 when Reithofer became CEO. Bankhaus Metzler analyst Juergen Pieper said Krüger will have a tough act to follow with the new chairman, especially as Reithofer moves into his new role without delay, a move supported by majority shareholders the Quandt family.

[Photo credit: BMW]

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AAA: Memorial Day 2015 To See Highest Travel Volume In Ten Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aaa-memorial-day-2015-see-highest-travel-volume-ten-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/aaa-memorial-day-2015-see-highest-travel-volume-ten-years/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 19:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066930 Memorial Day 2015 will see the highest volume of travel in a decade as 37.2 million Americans hit the road to begin their summer season. The 2015 figure projected by AAA Travel is a 4.7 percent increase over 2014’s 35.5 million travellers during the same period, the highest growth rate projected since Independence Day back […]

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway Circa Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Memorial Day 2015 will see the highest volume of travel in a decade as 37.2 million Americans hit the road to begin their summer season.

The 2015 figure projected by AAA Travel is a 4.7 percent increase over 2014’s 35.5 million travellers during the same period, the highest growth rate projected since Independence Day back in 2012. The increase is fueled by various economic factors encouraging consumer confidence, and boosting disposable income.

As for how those millions of Americans will begin their summer, 33 million — 88 percent — will take to the highways, thanks in part to lower fuel prices at the pump. AAA says most motorists will pay the lowest price per gallon in five years during this year’s Memorial Day period; current national average is $2.66/gallon.

Meanwhile, 2.6 million will take to the skies with the help of lower fares, while 1.64 million choose other transportation options; the latter is a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to 2014.

In exchange for lower fares and fuel, travellers will be paying more for lodging. AAA’s Leisure Travel Index expects Two Diamond hotels to average $144/night and Three Diamonds to average $182/night, an increase of 16 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

[Photo credit: momentcaptured1/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Urmson: Google Involved In 11 Autonomous-Vehicle Accidents Over Six Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/urmson-google-involved-11-autonomous-vehicle-accidents-six-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/urmson-google-involved-11-autonomous-vehicle-accidents-six-years/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066282 Yesterday, Google said it was involved in three recent autonomous-vehicle accidents on California’s roads. The tech giant since admitted to eight more. The 11 total accidents occurred over the six-year period Google has been working on autonomous technology with its fleet of over 20 vehicles, Reuters reports, though project director Chris Urmson adds that none […]

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Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

Yesterday, Google said it was involved in three recent autonomous-vehicle accidents on California’s roads. The tech giant since admitted to eight more.

The 11 total accidents occurred over the six-year period Google has been working on autonomous technology with its fleet of over 20 vehicles, Reuters reports, though project director Chris Urmson adds that none of them occurred with the vehicle in a proactive role.

Urmson said seven of the 11 reports involved rear-end collisions mainly on city streets at a traffic light, as well as a couple of instances where the vehicle was side-swiped, and one where a car rolled through a stop sign before striking one of Google’s cars.

The explanation comes as the tech giant and supplier Delphi were found to have been involved in four recent accidents involving autonomous vehicles since California granted such vehicles permission to test on public roads last September, the details of which were kept private due to the state’s reporting laws. Urmson says none of the accidents involved injury, with all vehicles receiving only minor damage from each incident.

[Photo credit: Google]

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Riviera Tool’s Old Penny Stock Erupts After Tesla Purchase Announcement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/riviera-tools-old-penny-stock-erupts-tesla-purchase-announcement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/riviera-tools-old-penny-stock-erupts-tesla-purchase-announcement/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 18:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064322 Tesla’s announcement Thursday of its purchase of Riviera Tool LLC sent shares of the supplier’s old penny stock soaring, but it may have been for nothing. In over-the-counter “pink-sheet” trading, the penny stock for Riviera Tool Co. — the former name of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supplier — jumped 10,000 percent from less than a […]

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Perepetual Penny Calendar

Tesla’s announcement Thursday of its purchase of Riviera Tool LLC sent shares of the supplier’s old penny stock soaring, but it may have been for nothing.

In over-the-counter “pink-sheet” trading, the penny stock for Riviera Tool Co. — the former name of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supplier — jumped 10,000 percent from less than a penny to a peak of 60 cents a share, Detroit Free Press reports. The old stock would later close at 22 cents, an increase of 4,400 percent when compared to its worth hours earlier. The OTC trading saw 16 million shares exchange hands after a lull in activity lasting over a month.

However, the shares may not hold much value at all. In 2007, an investment into the supplier by Laurus Master Fund, Ltd. took Riviera Tool off the American Stock Exchange trading floor, though a number of public shares landed in the pink sheet market, where traders buy and sell low-value stocks. Riviera became an LLC once taken off the market, rendering the old shares as little more than keepsakes.

Riviera Tool is responsible for producing stamping parts for Tesla, and will be renamed Tesla Tool & Die by its new owner.

[Photo credit: Windell Oskay/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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US New-Car Average Fuel Economy Down To 25.2 MPG In April http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-new-car-average-fuel-economy-25-2-mpg-april/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-new-car-average-fuel-economy-25-2-mpg-april/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 18:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062314 According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the monthly average U.S. new-car fuel economy fell 0.2 mpg to 25.2 mpg in April. The drop in fuel economy was likely aided by the ongoing demand for SUVs and trucks fueled by lower prices at the pump, Edmunds reports. The current average was last seen […]

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EDI_mpg_April-2015

According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the monthly average U.S. new-car fuel economy fell 0.2 mpg to 25.2 mpg in April.

The drop in fuel economy was likely aided by the ongoing demand for SUVs and trucks fueled by lower prices at the pump, Edmunds reports. The current average was last seen February for much the same reason, and though still below the August 2014 peak of 25.8 mpg, the average is still 5.1 mpg higher than when UMTRI first began tracking new-car fuel economy in October 2007.

Meanwhile, the average price at the pump nationwide is $2.62/gallon, per AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. The current average is $1 less than it was a year ago, but around 30 cents higher than last month. The slight jump is due to increasing demand, seasonal maintenance, and production of summer-blend gasoline. The travel group adds that prices will remain below $3/gallon for the remainder of 2015, “barring any major supply disruptions.”

[Image credit: UMTRI]

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GM Gives Away 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, Invests $174 Million In Kansas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-gives-away-2016-chevrolet-malibu-invests-174-million-kansas/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/gm-gives-away-2016-chevrolet-malibu-invests-174-million-kansas/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 18:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060954 In celebration of a key milestone, General Motors CEO Mary Barra gave away a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Monday, a feat that could never happen with the old Malibu, even with Oprah’s help. The Malibu was given to retired U.S. Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient Trent Brining, who received his medal when a rocket-propelled grenade […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-007

In celebration of a key milestone, General Motors CEO Mary Barra gave away a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Monday, a feat that could never happen with the old Malibu, even with Oprah’s help.

The Malibu was given to retired U.S. Army corporal and Purple Heart recipient Trent Brining, who received his medal when a rocket-propelled grenade delivered severe injuries to his arms and legs while on patrol in Baghdad in 2005. Brining is currently a financial advisor for a local credit union near Overland Park, Kansas, 30 minutes south of where his new Malibu will be assembled later this year in nearby Fairfax.

Over the next two days, GM will select four other individuals to receive a new vehicle built in the region where they reside. The giveaways are in celebration of the automaker’s 500-millionth vehicle to leave the assembly line. Barra added her company expects to sell “more than 1,000 new vehicles per hour, 24 hours per day” during 2015, a figure that would deliver an estimated 10 million units in volume by the end of the year.

Speaking of Fairfax Assembly, Chevrolet global president Alan Batey announced the plant would receive a $174-million investment for new equipment and technology to help assemble the 2016 Malibu. The investment is part of GM’s overall $5.4-billion investment scheme to help improve its standing for years to come. Monday’s announcement follows the first one made last week in Michigan, where three facilities will split $783.5 million for similar improvements.

[Image credit: Chevrolet]

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De Tomaso Under Chinese Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/de-tomaso-chinese-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/de-tomaso-chinese-ownership/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056930 After being purchased over a month ago, De Tomaso once again finds itself with a new owner. The once-storied Italian automaker is now in the hands of Consolidated Ideal TeamVenture, a consortium of Chinese investors based out of Hong Kong with its legal headquarters in the Virgin Islands, Europe Online Magazine reports. The consortium paid […]

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DeTomaso Pantera

After being purchased over a month ago, De Tomaso once again finds itself with a new owner.

The once-storied Italian automaker is now in the hands of Consolidated Ideal TeamVenture, a consortium of Chinese investors based out of Hong Kong with its legal headquarters in the Virgin Islands, Europe Online Magazine reports. The consortium paid just over €1 million ($1.1 million USD) for De Tomaso at auction and has plans to build vehicles in China wearing the De Tomaso name.

The latest change in ownership comes after Swiss investment group L3 Holdings bought the name for €2 million ($2.2 million) last month, only to lose the rights when the group was investigated for failure to honor its financial commitments.

Other former De Tomaso owners include Gian Mario Rossignolo – who was arrested in 2012 for misuse of public funds in trying to revive the automaker – and Automobili Turismo e Sport, though the group later withdrew its bid.

[Photo credit: Jack Snell/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Wall Street Journal v. GM: A Public Battle For Editorial Independence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/wall-street-journal-v-gm-public-battle-editorial-independence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/wall-street-journal-v-gm-public-battle-editorial-independence/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053417 Once upon a time, The Wall Street Journal faced off against General Motors over editorial independence, and won. According to ProPublica president Richard Tofel, who wrote an entire chapter about the story for his book, “Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism,” the conflict between the two giants […]

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Renaissance Center

Once upon a time, The Wall Street Journal faced off against General Motors over editorial independence, and won.

According to ProPublica president Richard Tofel, who wrote an entire chapter about the story for his book, “Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism,” the conflict between the two giants began over 60 years ago this May.

The story goes that GM CEO Harlow “Red” Curtice happened upon a report in the WSJ about the tactic of selling excess inventory through smaller independent dealers at cut-rate prices – bootlegging – a tactic used by his company and his competitors in Detroit. The report also covered the editorial policies of the newspaper’s local competitors – which had banned advertising of non-franchise dealers involved in bootlegging – citing the Detroit Three’s influence in advertising departments had begun to creep into the newsroom.

As a result, Ward’s Automotive Reports had cut the WSJ off from its weekly newsletter subscription. However, an exclusive published in late May – styling renders of the 1955 models from the Detroit Three – was the straw that broke Curtice’s back.

Fearing that sales of 1954 models would crash as a result of the exclusive, GM cancelled all of its advertising with the newspaper that day and barred access to its weekly production figures; the Associated Press was also barred when GM learned the Journal had tried to go through the media organization to get the figures. Editor Barney Kilgore later told Time magazine his paper declined to attend the “off-the-record” new-model briefing that year, citing the Detroit Three’s tendency to go “off the record” nearly all the time as the reason for not playing the game.

What followed was two months of editorials defending its stance on the two stories, letters to the editor from readers who either weren’t happy with Kilgore’s decision or stood behind the newspaper, and a number of other publications, such as Ad Age and Tide magazine (an advertising trade journal, not to be confused with Time), calling out GM and Curtice’s behavior in the matter.

Speaking of the letters, Kilgore chose one from a reader to pass along with one of his own – calling for a way to settle the issue reasonably – to Curtice. The letter, by Roy Brenholts of Columbus, Ohio, stated that Brenholts would trade one of his two Cadillacs for a Ford instead of trading the Ford he owned for a Chevrolet, adding that he would avoid Cadillac until GM stopped their “Hitlerite attitude” toward the newspaper.

The meeting between Curtice and Kilgore led to two letters being published back-to-back in early July. Curtice wrote that breaking off relations with the WSJ was better than suing – though he wouldn’t hesitate to consider the latter next time – but that he never intended to interfere with editorial. Kilgore, in return, noted that the flow of information – weekly sales figures, news releases et al – had come back to normal, his paper had the right to publish news from authorized and unauthorized sources, and he, not the advertisers, would be the final arbiter in what was published in the first place. This established the WSJ as a newspaper with unflappable independence and integrity before the public in so doing.

[Photo credit: Robert Emperley/Flickr]

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Jeri Ward Appointed To Vacated CCO Role At Audi Of America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/jeri-ward-appointed-vacated-cco-role-audi-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/jeri-ward-appointed-vacated-cco-role-audi-america/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 09:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1047385 After serving as Audi of America’s customer experience director since 2011, Jeri Ward moves on up to the roles of CCO and vice president for the subsidiary. Ward originally came on with AoA in 2007 as its launch strategy general manager after spending time in the marketing department of Ford — including managing marketing efforts […]

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Jeri Ward
After serving as Audi of America’s customer experience director since 2011, Jeri Ward moves on up to the roles of CCO and vice president for the subsidiary.

Ward originally came on with AoA in 2007 as its launch strategy general manager after spending time in the marketing department of Ford — including managing marketing efforts for the then-new Edge — as well as a nine-year stint at General Motors in its powertrain engineering division. In between, she took a two-year break between 1999 and 2001 to obtain her master’s in engineering and business at Northwestern University, as well as interning at General Electric.

During Johan de Nysschen’s time at the helm of AoA, Ward became a member of the automaker’s executive management team in November 2011, where she was tasked with bettering the customer experience from every point of ownership, including development of Audi’s presence in the digital and social media spaces. The results led to a climb from 13th place to the customer experience podium as determined by J.D. Power and Associates’ CSI ranking system.

In her new role as CCO, Ward is set to lead AoA’s public relations efforts throughout all departments, with the long-term goal of continuous improvement of the customer experience. Her appointment follows former CCO Joseph Jacuzzi’s departure for General Motors last month, where he now heads up Chevrolet’s global communications efforts.

The appointment will go into effect May 1.

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Shanghai 2015: Chinese Domestic Market Ford Taurus Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-chinese-domestic-market-ford-taurus-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-chinese-domestic-market-ford-taurus-revealed/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 19:28:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1047689 Bowing at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the Ford Taurus’ arrival marks the sedan’s first-ever appearance in the Chinese market. The new Taurus is one of 15 new vehicles Ford intends to bring to China by 2015. It’s set to be assembled at the automaker’s recently opened Changan Ford Hangzhou factory, a flexible-assembly facility with […]

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Taurus_02

Bowing at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the Ford Taurus’ arrival marks the sedan’s first-ever appearance in the Chinese market.

The new Taurus is one of 15 new vehicles Ford intends to bring to China by 2015. It’s set to be assembled at the automaker’s recently opened Changan Ford Hangzhou factory, a flexible-assembly facility with an investment of $760 million and an annual production of 250,000 units.

Power for the sedan comes from a 2.7-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6, though power figures weren’t stated at this time. Meanwhile, rear passengers can enjoy power-reclining seats with optional adjustable lumbar support and massage function, fold-down center cushion that boasts a control panel for AC, seat functions and infotainment, and plenty of leg, shoulder, head and hip room thanks to the cabin design and 9.7 feet of length in the wheel base (16 feet overall).

Other features include: 25 different places to store items inside the cabin; cup holders that can adjust to different sizes of tea bottles; a panoramic sunroof whose front panel slides over the rear to ensure better rear-passenger headroom; leather seating and wood and chrome trim pieces; and extensive use of NVH-reducing materials and technologies.

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Hillary Clinton Throws Support Behind Ethanol While In Iowa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hillary-clinton-throws-support-behind-ethanol-iowa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hillary-clinton-throws-support-behind-ethanol-iowa/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046370 During a campaign tour stop in Iowa, Democrat hopeful Hillary Clinton threw her support behind corn ethanol. Autoblog reports Clinton met with a number of Democrats at a private affair in Marshalltown, Iowa Thursday, including America’s Renewable Future co-chair Patty Judge and Iowa Corn Growers board member Bruce Rohwer. Judge stated via a press release […]

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Hillary Clinton Boarding Chevrolet Scooby Van In New York

During a campaign tour stop in Iowa, Democrat hopeful Hillary Clinton threw her support behind corn ethanol.

Autoblog reports Clinton met with a number of Democrats at a private affair in Marshalltown, Iowa Thursday, including America’s Renewable Future co-chair Patty Judge and Iowa Corn Growers board member Bruce Rohwer. Judge stated via a press release that Clinton “was extremely receptive” about ethanol, and felt encouraged “by by her comments about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).” Rohwer added that he was able to thank Clinton for her support, and believed future conversations on the topic would be “just as positive.”

Clinton has supported RFS since at least 2007, when she first made a go for the presidency, though The Daily Beast found that in a 2002 joint letter with Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California and Barbara Boxer of California, then-Senator Clinton described legislation that would bring ethanol into the United States gasoline supply as being “the equivalent of a new gasoline tax” forced upon consumers; she would vote against ethanol 17 times during her time in the U.S. Senate.

Clinton’s re-enforcement of her current stance follows support of ethanol by most Republican hopefuls, as noted during a GOP candidate gathering during last month’s Iowa Ag Summit.

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General Motors Saved From Pre-Bankruptcy Ignition Lawsuits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-saved-pre-bankruptcy-ignition-lawsuits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/general-motors-saved-pre-bankruptcy-ignition-lawsuits/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045274 Per a bankruptcy court ruling Wednesday, General Motors won’t be on the hook for pre-bankruptcy claims linked to the February 2014 ignition recall. Reuters reports U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Gerber ruled that plaintiffs seeking damages from GM involving claims made prior to the automaker’s 2009 exit from bankruptcy would have to sue “Old GM” […]

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Recalled GM ignition switch

Per a bankruptcy court ruling Wednesday, General Motors won’t be on the hook for pre-bankruptcy claims linked to the February 2014 ignition recall.

Reuters reports U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Gerber ruled that plaintiffs seeking damages from GM involving claims made prior to the automaker’s 2009 exit from bankruptcy would have to sue “Old GM” for said damages. Though the claims come to $32 billion, Old GM’s assets in October 2014 totaled around $9.25 billion, a recovery of 29 cents on the dollar.

Gerber added that economic-loss plaintiffs could bring their claims against “New GM” based on the automaker’s behavior since leaving bankruptcy, and would certify the case for direct review by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He also said there were due process failures involved in GM’s exit, but that those failures weren’t enough to become violation-level issues due to lack of evidence by plaintiffs demonstrating that they were denied their day in court because they did not receive notice in time.

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Orders For Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition Now Being Taken In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043746 If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history. Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter […]

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If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history.

Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter 4B11T turbo-four and its 473 horses from the Final Concept shown at this January’s Tokyo Auto Salon; the Final Edition uses a 2-liter MIVEC turbo, instead.

Aside from the turbo-four and Mitsubishi’s S-AWC AWD system, Final Edition owners can expect sodium-filled exhaust valves, 18-inch BBS wheels, Recaro seats, Bilstein and Eibach suspension pieces, and Brembo brakes for their ¥4,298,400 (approximately $36,000 USD). Owners can also choose from red, white, blue, black or gray and a white- or black-painted roof panel.

Orders for the 1,000 Evos began last Friday, with deliveries set for August. After that, the Evo will be no more the world over.

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Fate Of Jeep In Toledo Rests On Supplier Park, Partnerships http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fate-jeep-toledo-rests-supplier-park-partnerships/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fate-jeep-toledo-rests-supplier-park-partnerships/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043698 The fate of Toledo, Ohio holding onto the Jeep factory may be decided not on incentives or land acquisition, but by what happens with the supplier park. The Detroit News reports the deciding factor on whether Jeep stays in Toledo involves the current business arrangement with the factory’s supplier park. Back in 2006, the park […]

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Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

The fate of Toledo, Ohio holding onto the Jeep factory may be decided not on incentives or land acquisition, but by what happens with the supplier park.

The Detroit News reports the deciding factor on whether Jeep stays in Toledo involves the current business arrangement with the factory’s supplier park. Back in 2006, the park came about when FCA US — then DaimlerChrysler — didn’t want to spend too much capital on building the then-new four-door Wrangler Unlimited. Thus, it struck a deal with suppliers Mobis North America and Kuka Systems to build the body and chassis, which would then be handed off to Magna International to be painted, and then onto Jeep for final assembly. FCA US bought the paint operations from Magna in 2012, and may wish to buy the rest of the process from Mobis and Kuka.

In the meantime, city officials have presented FCA US and its CEO Sergio Marchionne with a so-called “aggressive” incentive plan to keep the Wrangler in Toledo, which includes unspecified state and local tax credits and other financial incentives to expand or build a new facility on 100 acres of land purchased and cleaned by the city for over $7 million. The plan was presented in mid-March, and FCA US is expected to make the final decision on Toledo’s fate by June of this year.

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De Niro To Play Enzo Ferrari In Upcoming Biopic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/de-niro-play-enzo-ferrari-upcoming-biopic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/de-niro-play-enzo-ferrari-upcoming-biopic/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041689 Nearly three decades ago, Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari passed from this mortal coil. Now, actor Robert De Niro will play him in an upcoming biopic. Motorsport reports the film — titled “Ferrari” and produced in a collaboration between De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises and former photographer Gianni Bozzacchi’s Triworld Cinema — will be shot in Italy, […]

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Nearly three decades ago, Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari passed from this mortal coil. Now, actor Robert De Niro will play him in an upcoming biopic.

Motorsport reports the film — titled “Ferrari” and produced in a collaboration between De Niro’s Tribeca Enterprises and former photographer Gianni Bozzacchi’s Triworld Cinema — will be shot in Italy, and will hit theatres sometime in 2016.

When interviewed by Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, De Niro had this to say about playing the legendary founder:

For me it is an honour and a joy to tell the life of an extraordinary man who revolutionised the automotive world and across historical periods.

Bozzacchi, who is producing the film, adds that “Ferrari” would have a large budget, and would be based upon “an epic story” covering the period between 1945 and 1988. Actor/director Clint Eastwood was approached to direct the project, while “Nixon” writers Stephen J Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson have also been linked.

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AM/FM Radio Still High Among Consumers’ List Of Car Features http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/amfm-radio-still-high-among-consumers-list-car-features/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/amfm-radio-still-high-among-consumers-list-car-features/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041273 Though one can now connect their smartphones and iPods to their vehicle’s infotainment systems, consumers still go gaga for AM/FM radio. Forbes reports the demand for radio is as strong as ever, serving as one of the main drivers for a consumer looking for a new vehicle. A poll by market research firm IPSOS found […]

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05 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Though one can now connect their smartphones and iPods to their vehicle’s infotainment systems, consumers still go gaga for AM/FM radio.

Forbes reports the demand for radio is as strong as ever, serving as one of the main drivers for a consumer looking for a new vehicle. A poll by market research firm IPSOS found that while features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, touchscreens and apps are desirable, a majority of the 1,000 polled want radio at the center of it all, ranging from 91 percent when asked about radio versus apps, to 80 percent preferring radio over CDs.

As for why radio still holds a strong following in the United States, reasons range from wanting to listen to music and sporting events, to keeping up with the world via local news and traffic/weather reports. Advertisers, too, love radio listeners, mainly due to the size of the audience: 60 percent of Americans listen to the radio daily, while 85 percent listen at least once a week.

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Auditor, Others Ordered To Preserve General Motors Ignition Documents http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/auditor-others-ordered-preserve-general-motors-ignition-documents/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/auditor-others-ordered-preserve-general-motors-ignition-documents/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041185 Wednesday, a federal judge in Detroit ordered General Motors’ auditor and other parties to preserve documents related to the February 2014 recall. The Detroit News reports the parties include, auditor Deloitte & Touche, supplier Delphi, and IPO lead underwriters J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley, as well as rental companies with affected fleet vehicles and […]

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

Wednesday, a federal judge in Detroit ordered General Motors’ auditor and other parties to preserve documents related to the February 2014 recall.

The Detroit News reports the parties include, auditor Deloitte & Touche, supplier Delphi, and IPO lead underwriters J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley, as well as rental companies with affected fleet vehicles and eight Wall Street analysts.

The reason for the order from U.S. District Judge Linda Parker involves the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund, who is leading a securities fraud class-action lawsuit against GM on the claim that the “faulty ignition switches in GM vehicles caused loss to the value of their investments.” Parker said she allowed the order to maintain the status quo “until the court rules on defendants’ pending motions to dismiss.”

None of the parties have turned over said documents to those involved in the lawsuit thus far.

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Kia GT Concept Closer To Becoming Production-Ready http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/kia-gt-concept-closer-becoming-production-ready/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/kia-gt-concept-closer-becoming-production-ready/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039233 Over three years ago, the Kia GT concept made its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. Soon, however, the four-door coupe could hit the production line. According to Drive.com.au, Kia America product planning chief Orth Hedrick is very close to being production-ready, and would likely fare well in North America despite the distance in […]

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Over three years ago, the Kia GT concept made its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. Soon, however, the four-door coupe could hit the production line.

According to Drive.com.au, Kia America product planning chief Orth Hedrick is very close to being production-ready, and would likely fare well in North America despite the distance in time because it is a sedan, and because of its “younger, more emotional message to the market”:

I think for us the GT is a sedan so it has a lot broader appeal than a two-door coupe. They don’t do well here. They do really, really good for 18 months and then they really fall off. You can get just as much emotional experience in a sedan, a more practical car, than a coupe. But it communicates something very, very clear to market with a coupe in your line-up.

Hedrick adds that the announcement officially confirming the GT’s production would come soon. The concept is powered by a turbocharged V6, with the rear wheels doing the driving.

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