The Truth About Cars » Inside The Big Three http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 01 Sep 2015 18:20:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » Inside The Big Three http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/inside-the-big-3/ Fiat Chrysler Posts Sales Gains In August, Keeps 5-year Streak Alive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/fiat-chrysler-posts-sales-gains-august-keeps-5-year-streak-alive/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/fiat-chrysler-posts-sales-gains-august-keeps-5-year-streak-alive/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 17:15:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157906 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a 2-percent overall gain in sales for August, keeping its 65-month streak of increased sales alive, the automaker reported Tuesday. Jeep jumped the largest amount for the automaker; Jeep reported an 18-percent increase as a brand and four of its models posted sales gains. Sales of Dodge-branded vehicles slid 15 percent overall, and Chrysler-branded […]

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Jeep Compass. Photo courtesy wikipedia.org

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a 2-percent overall gain in sales for August, keeping its 65-month streak of increased sales alive, the automaker reported Tuesday.

Jeep jumped the largest amount for the automaker; Jeep reported an 18-percent increase as a brand and four of its models posted sales gains. Sales of Dodge-branded vehicles slid 15 percent overall, and Chrysler-branded cars fell 14 percent.

FCA reported it sold more than 200,000 vehicles in North America for the second month this year.

The Jeep Compass was the brand’s biggest gainer over August 2014 sales. Compass improved 58 percent over the same month a year ago. Jeep also reported that sales of its new Renegade were up 29 percent over July.

Chrysler-branded cars were down overall, but the automaker said sales of its Chrysler 200 were up 30 percent over last year.

FCA said Ram-branded trucks and vans posted a 6-percent increase, led by its full-size pickup.

(According to the automaker, Fiat 500L sales were up over last year and now I’ve seen everything.)

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Report: Toledo Plant Gains a Jeep Pickup, Loses a Cherokee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/report-toledo-plant-gains-jeep-pickup-loses-cherokee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/report-toledo-plant-gains-jeep-pickup-loses-cherokee/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1157850 Automotive News is reporting that Jeep will produce a Wrangler-based pickup at its Toledo, Ohio plant and shift production of its Cherokee to another site. The details were reported by the outlet as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ ongoing negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. Officials from FCA didn’t comment on the report.  According […]

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Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

Automotive News is reporting that Jeep will produce a Wrangler-based pickup at its Toledo, Ohio plant and shift production of its Cherokee to another site.

The details were reported by the outlet as part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ ongoing negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.

Officials from FCA didn’t comment on the report. 

According to the story, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne addressed the plan in vague details.

“We found a solution that accommodates a variety of other interests to us because of the way in which we can move some product around,” Marchionne told Automotive News. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (to know) that the only way I can move around the Wrangler is to move it into the other Toledo plant.”

Union officials said they would have liked to have kept Cherokee production in Ohio, however the plant’s unique supply structure, production requirements and Wrangler sales required Cherokee to move, according to the report.

Production of the Wrangler and its associated pickup could reach up to 350,000 units per year.

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Fiat Chrysler Reportedly Showing Dealers Impossibly Fun Cars That We May Never See http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/fiat-chrysler-reportedly-showing-dealers-impossibly-fun-cars-may-never-see/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/fiat-chrysler-reportedly-showing-dealers-impossibly-fun-cars-may-never-see/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153129 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may be showing off a Dodge Barracuda convertible, a next-generation Charger, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and a Grand Wagoneer — they probably put root beer in the fountains too — according to multiple media reports. At the dealer meeting in Las Vegas, FCA executives outlined the future for the brands (Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, […]

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior-014

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may be showing off a Dodge Barracuda convertible, a next-generation Charger, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and a Grand Wagoneer — they probably put root beer in the fountains too — according to multiple media reports.

At the dealer meeting in Las Vegas, FCA executives outlined the future for the brands (Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Fiat) that may include up to 30 new or refreshed products within two years.

According to reports, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne also addressed reports that the automaker was seeking a merger with another automaker, and any potential deal would be “to strengthen the competitive position of the companies involved,” he said according to Automotive News.

According to reports, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was shown with all-wheel drive and FCA’s 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat engine. It was unclear if the super SUV would be all-wheel or just rear-wheel drive.

According to reports, a next-generation Wrangler was shown, but not in truck form.

Future products for the Chrysler brand weren’t immediately clear. Aside from a new Town & Country minivan, Chrysler may not have much on its horizon aside from a redesigned 300, which could be based on the new rear-wheel drive Giulia/Charger/Challenger framework.

We reached out to an FCA spokesperson who predictably said that the automaker wouldn’t comment on confidential news from its dealer meeting.

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Automakers Using Chinese, Mexican Production As Leverage With UAW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-using-global-production-leverage-uaw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-using-global-production-leverage-uaw/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 20:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151673 As talks with the United Auto Workers continue, domestic automakers may be using global production strategies to leverage lower wages from the massive union, Automotive News is reporting. News that Buick may import most of its lineup from outside North America, or Ford shifting production from Michigan to Mexico, could be weighing on conversations to […]

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GM Arlington Plant

As talks with the United Auto Workers continue, domestic automakers may be using global production strategies to leverage lower wages from the massive union, Automotive News is reporting.

News that Buick may import most of its lineup from outside North America, or Ford shifting production from Michigan to Mexico, could be weighing on conversations to keep production in the U.S. and Canada at union plants.

“It’s a veiled threat to the workers,” Gary Chaison, a professor of labor relations at Clark University told Automotive News.

The automakers may be saying: “If you ask for too much, we can take the work out of the U.S. So, give us a reason not to shift more production overseas,” he added.

It was widely expected that the UAW would be looking to narrow the pay gap between its veteran workers and newer, Tier 2 workers who make considerably less during its talks with the automakers.

Automakers, for their part, have potentially looked to appease the UAW by announcing plant upgrades and more shifts for the cars it produces in North America. Already, General Motors in Canada said it would invest $12 million into its Oshawa Assembly Plant on top of larger investments in North American plants, including its Arlington and Flint Truck Assembly Plant. They were all announced after talks with the UAW started in July.

Those plant improvements may have be announced to leverage demands from the UAW to increase pay for its workers.

In North America, Tier 1 workers make about $28 per hour, and Tier 2 workers make around $15 an hour. According to the report, workers in Mexico make $8.24 an hour and Chinese auto workers make just $4.10 an hour.

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Ford May Offer 10-speed Mustang, Maybe With Mach 1 Name http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-may-offer-10-speed-mustang-maybe-mach-1-name/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-may-offer-10-speed-mustang-maybe-mach-1-name/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 21:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148945 Ford’s plans for the Mustang may include their 10-speed automatic transmission, jointly developed with General Motors, and a Mach 1 version, according to Automotive News (via Motor Authority). The amazingly engineered 10-speed, which will make an appearance on the new Ford F-150 Raptor, may be mated to Ford’s four-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the Mustang in the U.S. — […]

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2015 ford mustang ecoboost front side

Ford’s plans for the Mustang may include their 10-speed automatic transmission, jointly developed with General Motors, and a Mach 1 version, according to Automotive News (via Motor Authority).

The amazingly engineered 10-speed, which will make an appearance on the new Ford F-150 Raptor, may be mated to Ford’s four-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the Mustang in the U.S. — and only in the Mustang — which feels weird.

But Mach 1(!)

The report is fairly sketchy on whether Ford will revive the nameplate from the 1970s (and early 2000s, I guess) for this generation. According to the story, the Mach 1 may not arrive until 2018, which would be one to two years before the Mustang would be due for a major update.

It’s unclear what engine Ford may stuff into the future Mach 1. Every version up until now has included a V-8 strapped under the hood, but Ford’s upcoming GT hypercar will have a twin-turbocharged V-6, so things have clearly changed.

Any mention of the Mach 1 probably brings up more memories of this than this, so it could be a good move to help move more Mustangs toward the end of its lifecycle. But for now, I guess we’ll just have to deal with our flat-plane V-8 noises from the GT350.

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Report: Buick Will Import Most of its New Cars by 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-buick-will-import-new-cars-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-buick-will-import-new-cars-2016/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 19:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148865 Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan. Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come […]

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buick-verano-china-is-6-660x488

Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan.

Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come from Europe and China respectively. Production of the Verano would shift from Michigan to China, the next-generation Regal would come from Germany instead of Canada, and the Encore would continue to be assembled in Korea, but would eventually shift to China, Reuters reported from an unidentified source.

If true, executives would deliver a sizable blow to contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. Already, General Motors has announced substantial investments in North American plants during negotiations.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for Buick declined to comment on the report. A spokeswoman for the UAW said Buick would be unwise to import cars “after the sacrifices by U.S. taxpayers.”

Buick is expected to launch the China-built Envision in North America later this year.

Buick sells four times as many cars in China as they do in North America. 

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Could the Ford Taurus be Imported From China? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-taurus-imported-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-taurus-imported-china/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1144049 The Ford Taurus, once the flagship in Ford’s range, apparently has fallen on hard times. Sales are down 28 percent through July, it hasn’t done much to outrun its perception as a perennial fleet queen and police fleet buyers are picking the Explorer-based Interceptor over the sedan. Automotive News details the fall and rise and fall again […]

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New Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus, once the flagship in Ford’s range, apparently has fallen on hard times.

Sales are down 28 percent through July, it hasn’t done much to outrun its perception as a perennial fleet queen and police fleet buyers are picking the Explorer-based Interceptor over the sedan. Automotive News details the fall and rise and fall again of the Ford Taurus (thanks mostly to former Ford CEO Alan Mulally) and throws in a little tidbit in the middle:

If sales keep falling, analysts speculate Ford could eliminate U.S. production of it and … import the small volume it needs here from China …

Oh boy. 

It’s clear that Ford will have to make a decision about the Taurus soon. The current Taurus was last redesigned in 2009 and slightly updated in 2012. In April, Ford announced it would redesign the Taurus, but only in China.

Sales of the full-size Taurus peaked only a couple years ago, but the Taurus is on pace to sell 45,000 cars this year — including police cars — it’s lowest total ever.

In fact, the move to a full-size sedan — something Mulally pressed for early on in his tenure — may be what is killing the Taurus. By comparison, the Ford Fusion outsells the Taurus nearly four to one and is about $5,000 less for roughly the same car.

All that may be contributing to the tough time the Taurus is having in the States, and there’s always the Lincoln Continental right around the corner too.

So could the Taurus be Ford’s first import from China?

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Russian GM Dealers Want More Before Automaker Leaves Country http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/russian-gm-dealers-want-automaker-leaves-country/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/russian-gm-dealers-want-automaker-leaves-country/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 18:02:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1141410 General Motors dealers in Russia are unhappy at the compensation the automaker is offering as it pulls out of the country, Wards Auto is reporting. Russian dealers want more than it cost to start their dealerships, the report details. Negotiations stalled on how much GM would discount service contracts for thousands of GM cars currently on the […]

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opelrussia-autoworld.com_General Motors dealers in Russia are unhappy at the compensation the automaker is offering as it pulls out of the country, Wards Auto is reporting.

Russian dealers want more than it cost to start their dealerships, the report details. Negotiations stalled on how much GM would discount service contracts for thousands of GM cars currently on the road, and how much GM would offer dealers who need to change their businesses after GM leaves the country. The latest round of negotiations stalled in July.

GM sold more than 247,000 Chevrolet, Daewoo, Opel and Cadillac cars in Russia in 2014, which was down more than 24 percent from the prior year. This week, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen said the luxury automaker would focus on sales in Russia — and also China and the Middle East — even after GM announced it would be leaving that country.

According to the report, the biggest issue between GM and its dealers in Russia may be the service contracts for the hundreds of thousands of cars on the road. GM has asked that Russian dealers provide half of the 20 percent off of spare parts that its offering consumers for service.

Russian dealers are hesitant to take GM to court because that may void the service agreement in place and leave service centers on the hook for thousands of cars that may need future repairs.

GM said it will still import Cadillac, Corvette, Camaro and Tahoes into Russia after it pulls out of the country.

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Could Cadillac Leave General Motors to Be on Its Own? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cadillac-leave-general-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cadillac-leave-general-motors/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 19:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1139346 According to Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen, it probably could. According to Automotive News, de Nysschen told analysts that Cadillac would have a “a far higher degree of autonomy and self sufficiency” within two years, and the company could report its own profits and losses, separate from GM. Already, Cadillac contributes “a very sizeable contribution to the overall profit […]

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2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport front

According to Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen, it probably could.

According to Automotive News, de Nysschen told analysts that Cadillac would have a “a far higher degree of autonomy and self sufficiency” within two years, and the company could report its own profits and losses, separate from GM.

Already, Cadillac contributes “a very sizeable contribution to the overall profit at General Motors” de Nysschen said, so let’s cut the dead weight already and keep the ugly sorority sisters in the basement?

Not so fast.

The Cadillac CEO admitted that the brand’s narrow portfolio and fledgling dealer overhaul could keep it under the GM umbrella — at least until 2018. The company is planning on several new models, including crossovers and sedans to help steady its financial base, that would begin arriving around 2018.

The company will sell 500,000 cars globally by 2020, de Nysschen reiterated to analysts yesterday. Last year, Cadillac sold 263,697 cars — more than 170,000 of those in the U.S. alone.

Chief engineer Dave Leone said that in the interim Cadillac needs to offer more than its German competitors for less money to gain traction in the luxury market — unlike it had in previous years.

Already, Cadillac has changed substantially its relationship with its dealers. The automaker said it would begin focusing its incentives on dealer experience and not necessarily sales, and it’s encouraging dealers to build standalone, boutique showrooms.

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Automakers Are Taking a Beating Over China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-taking-beating-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-taking-beating-china/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1139322 Stocks for automakers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford took a pounding Tuesday after China devalued its currency in an effort to boost exports from the country, stemming the economic slowdown already underway. In a statement released Tuesday, GM said it had enough of a local supply chain within China to offset its […]

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buick-verano-china-is-5-660x345

Stocks for automakers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford took a pounding Tuesday after China devalued its currency in an effort to boost exports from the country, stemming the economic slowdown already underway.

In a statement released Tuesday, GM said it had enough of a local supply chain within China to offset its exposure to international currency fluctuations.

“We believe that our exposure is limited and manageable, and do not expect that the devaluation will have a material impact on the company’s financial performance,” the company wrote.

According to the New York Times, China’s currency swing of nearly 2 percent yesterday is historic for the country. Typically the Yuan would fluctuate hundredths of a percent against the dollar. The largest move up until yesterday was 0.16 percent.

Still, the 2 percent dip isn’t considered a big enough swing to warrant a huge reaction. By comparison, the Euro and Yen have fallen 18 and 22 percent against the dollar in the last year, and China’s economy is ranging out of double-digit growth — but still growing.

Nonetheless, automakers with heavy ties to China — notably GM and FCA — took a shot in the pocketbooks yesterday on expectations of what could be around the corner for China.

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GM Will Settle with 124 Families Over Ignition Switch Deaths http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-will-settle-124-families-ignition-switch-deaths/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-will-settle-124-families-ignition-switch-deaths/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133969 General Motors announced Tuesday that it’ll settle with at least 124 families who claimed that faulty ignition switches killed family members, Car and Driver is reporting. The settlement comes after a long review to identify victims and people injured by the defective car part that could shut off and disable airbags in the process. The switches […]

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GMIgnitionAndSwitchAssembly02(1)

General Motors announced Tuesday that it’ll settle with at least 124 families who claimed that faulty ignition switches killed family members, Car and Driver is reporting. The settlement comes after a long review to identify victims and people injured by the defective car part that could shut off and disable airbags in the process.

The switches were part of a 2014 recall that involved 2.6 million cars, including the Chevrolet HHR and Cobalt, Saturn Sky and Ion, and Pontiac Solstice and G5. The reported number of dead people was revised as part of a year-long investigation after GM initially acknowledged only 13 fatalities.

The settlement may cost GM up to $625 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In all, 124 fatalities and 274 injuries have filed claims against the automaker. In addition to federal lawsuits, the automaker faces investigations by 50 state attorneys general.

The settlement may very well be the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end for a sad chapter in the automaker’s history where it initially covered up, failed to contact families, then failed to acknowledge the scope of the tragic problem.

As a result of the botched recall, the federal government has taken a tougher stance on the automakers and how it handles recalls, which could dramatically change the oversight bureau that handles automotive safety.

Nonetheless, the historical significance of the tragically bad recall will be noted as such: 124 deaths have been attributed to the faulty switch that would have cost $1 to fix in each car.

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For $58 You May Pass the IIHS Small-overlap Crash http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/58-may-pass-iihs-small-overlap-crash/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/58-may-pass-iihs-small-overlap-crash/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 17:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1132489 Metal bars welded to the Ford F-150 Super Crew in front and behind its front wheels that helped it pass the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s notoriously difficult small-overlap crash cost roughly $58, Automotive News is reporting. It was revealed last week that the low-cost part was left off of regular- and extended-cab models, prompting the […]

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2015 F-150 Crash Test

Metal bars welded to the Ford F-150 Super Crew in front and behind its front wheels that helped it pass the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s notoriously difficult small-overlap crash cost roughly $58, Automotive News is reporting.

It was revealed last week that the low-cost part was left off of regular- and extended-cab models, prompting the insurance organization to retest the F-150 models and revise their ratings much lower than the original test.

According to Automotive News, Ford stopped short of saying that it would include the low-cost parts on the regular- and extended-cab versions of the truck, but said it would install “countermeasures” to improve crash performance. The regular and extended cab comprise about 5 and 25 percent of overall F-150 sales respectively.

Ram has said it would include the bars, which engineers have dubbed “wheel blockers,” in its pickups this year going forward.

overlap-overheadThe effectiveness of the relatively inexpensive part underscores the auto industry’s evolution to the small-overlap crash, which has been incredibly difficult for automakers since it was introduced three years ago. In 2012, only 3 out of 11 midsize luxury or near-luxury cars received “good” or “acceptable” ratings on the crash. In 2015, many of those ratings had improved to “good,” but when optional crash avoidance systems were installed on the car. For instance, the front crash mitigation package on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which scored a “good” rating when equipped with that option, costs $2,800.

Safety officials at the IIHS said they would begin testing the top two bestselling models of pickup trucks to avoid truckmakers testing only their most-popular models and applying the rating to the rest of its lineup without having the same equipment.

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Car Building in Ontario Could Die, and They Probably Can’t Save It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/car-building-ontario-die-probably-cant-save/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/car-building-ontario-die-probably-cant-save/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125985 Ontario’s debt is swelling and as home to eight manufacturing plants — the largest complex in North America — automakers may have a tough time keeping plants open in Canada’s most-populous province. According to a story by the Financial Post, Ontario is moving forward with an ambitious plan to revamp roads and mass transit systems despite its debt being downgraded […]

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Chrysler Brampton Assembly Plant

Ontario’s debt is swelling and as home to eight manufacturing plants — the largest complex in North America — automakers may have a tough time keeping plants open in Canada’s most-populous province.

According to a story by the Financial Post, Ontario is moving forward with an ambitious plan to revamp roads and mass transit systems despite its debt being downgraded by Standard & Poor’s bond index. The broad public spending plan also extends to other sectors, despite high unemployment numbers and slumping manufacturing jobs.

Automakers such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have called on the provincial government to cut back on public programs and reduce costs on utilities in an effort to keep car building in the province profitable. This year, Chevrolet will shift production of its Camaro to Michigan. On the whole, Oshawa GM production has a dark cloud lingering overhead until the company decides what to do with the facility in 2016.

Ontario’s debt is twice that of California’s with only half the population, the Financial Post reported.

Last month the province reported that 5,200 manufacturing jobs left the region, which prompted local business leaders to sign a petition asking the government to reconsider its proposed pension plan that FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said this month could hamper growth.

“We’re fully aware of the fact that this proposal on pensions and cap and trade and all this stuff … these are all things that add cost to the running of operations, they don’t come for free,” Marchionne said, according to the Toronto Sun.

Already, automakers such as Volvo and Land Rover have turned down Ontario in favor of operations in the United States and it’s unclear if swelling debt and rising costs of operation will cost the province more jobs in the future.

Other automakers that already have facilities in Ontario are making changes. Honda and Ford are both positioning their plants to manufacture vehicles for export markets. Toyota, on the other hand, will end Corolla production in Ontario in favor of Mexico. The company stated it will “switch from producing Corollas to mid-sized, higher-value vehicles” at their Canadian plant. The replacement product has not yet been announced.

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Fiat Chrysler May Have to Take Back 1.5M Defective Jeeps, Rams http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125729 In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps . The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million […]

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FCA US LLC HQ WTFBBQ

In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps .

The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million penalty, $20 million set aside for meeting safety standards dictated by the federal bureau and an additional $15 million in penalties if an independent monitor discovers further safety violations.

The record ruling comes after the agency said FCA botched recalls of more than 11 million vehicles for wide ranging issues, including Jeep models with rear gas tanks that could catch fire in rear collisions. The issue has been linked to more than 50 deaths. 

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind scolded the automaker in a statement Monday announcing the fine.

“Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance put millions of its customers, and the driving public, at risk,” he said. “This action will provide relief to owners of defective vehicles, will help improve recall performance throughout the auto industry, and gives Fiat Chrysler the opportunity to embrace a proactive safety culture.”

According to a statement by the automaker, Jeep owners who haven’t yet complied with their recall could get a $100 gift card to bring their vehicle into a dealer. Owners of defective Jeep models would also be eligible to trade in their vehicle for $1,000 above fair market value.

In addition to the Jeep fix, FCA will attempt to purchase or fix for free Ram trucks or Chrysler SUVs with a suspension defect that could cause the car to lose control. FCA could resell those fixed cars.

The automaker will have to submit to independent monitoring of its recalls for the next three years, with NHTSA being able to extend that agreement further for an additional year.

Last week, FCA announced it would be recalling 1.4 million cars for a security vulnerability that could allow hackers to remotely take control of a vehicle.

Read the ruling here.

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

• 2008-2012 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, Ram 2500 4×4, 3500 4×4, 4500 4×4, 4500 4×4

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

The vehicles that may be eligible for a $100 gift card for dealer inspection or $1,000 over market value for trade-in are:

• 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

• 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty

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Mid-size XT5, Full-size CT6 Highlight 2016 for Cadillac http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mid-size-xt5-full-size-ct6-highlight-2016-for-cadillac/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mid-size-xt5-full-size-ct6-highlight-2016-for-cadillac/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 15:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125097 There will be big things for Cadillac next year, but they may not come in small packages, Automotive  News is speculating. In their series of what could be coming up for automakers, writer Mark Colias details a few models to be expected for Cadillac in the coming year. There may be not be a subcompact […]

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2016 Cadillac XT5

There will be big things for Cadillac next year, but they may not come in small packages, Automotive  News is speculating.

In their series of what could be coming up for automakers, writer Mark Colias details a few models to be expected for Cadillac in the coming year. There may be not be a subcompact crossover next year, but there could be refresh for the ATS, including a Vsport variant.

Next year for Cadillac could be marked by its more traditional entries with new names.

On top of the all-new XT5, which will serve as Cadillac’s mid-size crossover, the new CT6 will be the brand’s large sedan — but not its flagship.

Colias writes that Cadillac’s BMW 7-Series/Mercedes S-Class fighter will come toward the end of the decade and be called the CT7 (maybe?)

A small compact sedan and subcompact crossover aren’t expected until 2018, at the earliest. The ELR, Cadillac’s slow-selling plug-in hybrid may have life until 2018 despite sluggish sales.

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Instead of Mid-engined ‘Vette, Expect a New Malibu in 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/instead-mid-engined-vette-expect-new-malibu-2016/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 22:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123513 Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department. The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Malibu-007

Next year for General Motors could be defined by a new lower, longer Spark, production starting on the Bolt and a convertible Camaro, according to Automotive News’ facts and factoids department.

The automotive publication posted a speculative timeline of cars that may or may not be in GM’s future, including fuzzy details on a mid-engined Corvette that may or may not happen in or around the year 2020.

In case you’re wondering, we don’t know either.

The timeline includes tantalizing details that GMC may be looking at adapting the Chevrolet Trax — which could be called the “GMC Granite” — and that the Colorado/Canyon may finally get an off-road ZR2 edition next year.

The story also summarizes their earlier claim that GM will be shrinking the Equinox and offering a new, mid-size crossover based on the current Traverse. Cadillac wasn’t included in their analysis, but the automotive publication spelled the death for the Chevrolet SS. We can’t have nice things.

A redesigned Malibu will see the light of day next year, and the curtain may fall on the Spark EV.

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General Motors Investing $1.4B into Texas SUV Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-investing-1-4b-texas-suv-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/general-motors-investing-1-4b-texas-suv-plant/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 21:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1116713 General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest $1.4 billion into its Arlington Assembly Plant, which produces SUVs. The investment will create a new paint shop, body shop and “general assembly area upgrades” for the plant that produces Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs and Cadillac Escalades. Construction will take three years and plant […]

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GM Arlington Plant

General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest $1.4 billion into its Arlington Assembly Plant, which produces SUVs.

The investment will create a new paint shop, body shop and “general assembly area upgrades” for the plant that produces Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans, GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs and Cadillac Escalades.

Construction will take three years and plant operations won’t be impacted, GM said.

GM received tax incentives from Arlington for the plant expansion in April. According to minutes from the Arlington City Council, the plant will add 589 new jobs as a result of the expansion.

The announced $1.4 billion for the Arlington plant comes ahead of GM’s negotiations with the United Auto Workers, which will focus on pay raises for “second-tier” workers hired after the recession.

GM said it will invest $5.4 billion in U.S. manufacturing over the next three years. GM says it has identified $4.5 billion in improvements so far.

 

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FCA Awaits NHTSA’s Wrath After Recall Hearings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fca-awaits-nhtsas-wrath-recall-hearings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fca-awaits-nhtsas-wrath-recall-hearings/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107233 Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took the unusual step of hauling a single automaker to the Capitol to scold Fiat Chrysler for delays in recalls and repairs. The hearing is ahead of anticipated fines NHTSA may deal later this month, possibly as high as $700 million. Attention was focused on Jeep Liberties and Grand […]

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1999 Grand Cherokee Launch-12

Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took the unusual step of hauling a single automaker to the Capitol to scold Fiat Chrysler for delays in recalls and repairs. The hearing is ahead of anticipated fines NHTSA may deal later this month, possibly as high as $700 million.

Attention was focused on Jeep Liberties and Grand Cherokees with rear-mounted gas tanks that could leak fuel if struck in a high-speed rear collision and potentially catch fire. Also of importance is the rate at which Jeep notified its owners of the recall.

FCA’s Senior Vice President for Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance Scott Kunselman said at the hearing that FCA “could have done better in carrying out the campaigns.”


Owners of Grand Cherokees and Liberty SUVs had trailer hitches installed on their cars that could protect in low- to moderate-speed impact collisions. Eric Mayne, a spokesman for FCA, said that NHTSA tested the trailer hitches and found them to perform similarly to their peers.

A Massachusetts father testified at the hearing, saying his 17-year-old son was killed when the Grand Cherokee he was driving was struck and ignited. The issue has been linked to more than 50 deaths.

A second recall was recently issued for faulty wiring that could disable airbags.

NHTSA “tentatively concluded” FCA didn’t address the recalls in time, or adequately. Despite issuing a recall in June 2013, NHTSA said only 23 percent of the cars had been fixed by the end of April. FCA said that figure is now around 33 percent.

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FCA Defects from Takata, Finds Solace with TRW for Airbag Inflators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-defects-from-takata-finds-solace-with-trw-for-airbag-inflators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-defects-from-takata-finds-solace-with-trw-for-airbag-inflators/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097793 FCA, looking a 4.1 million unit recall in the face thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, will source replacements from a rival, ZF-owned TRW Automotive. The Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram parent will be the first company to refuse to toe the line. While the announcement has not yet been made official, The Detroit News obtained “copies of the written […]

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FCA US HQ

FCA, looking a 4.1 million unit recall in the face thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, will source replacements from a rival, ZF-owned TRW Automotive.

The Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram parent will be the first company to refuse to toe the line.

While the announcement has not yet been made official, The Detroit News obtained “copies of the written testimony from the executives ahead of Tuesday’s hearing” before the Senate Commerce Committee.

Scott G. Kunselman, FCA U.S. senior vice president and head of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance, said in written testimony the company is “replacing all driver-side inflators involved in the recall with an alternate and permanent design provided by TRW,” effective June 8.

That does not mean FCA is leaving Takata full stop. The two companies are working together to improve passenger airbag inflators, says the report.

A total of eleven automakers have been affected by the recalls.

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Too Big To Fail, Too Confused To Operate: Analysis Of 619 Pages Of Cobalt Engineering Documents [w/ Full Text] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/too-big-to-fail-too-confused-to-operate-analysis-of-619-pages-of-cobalt-engineering-documents-w-full-text/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/too-big-to-fail-too-confused-to-operate-analysis-of-619-pages-of-cobalt-engineering-documents-w-full-text/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=799138   The House Energy & Commerce Committee recently released the documents GM submitted for investigation, which includes emails and internal reports documenting GM’s response to reports of their early Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion models inadvertently shutting the car “off” while driving due to an ignition cylinder that was, simply, too easy to turn out […]

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DSC_9144
The House Energy & Commerce Committee recently released the documents GM submitted for investigation, which includes emails and internal reports documenting GM’s response to reports of their early Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion models inadvertently shutting the car “off” while driving due to an ignition cylinder that was, simply, too easy to turn out of the “run” position; and in the case of several accidents, allowed the ignition cylinder to rotate out of the run condition before or during accidents, causing the airbags to not deploy when required.

The documents, totaling 619 pages (some with repeat info), reveal just how deep seated “old GM” was in their cost cutting ways (Driving down supplier costs to the point of sacrificing quality, admittedly poorly designed ignition cylinder, and removing internal quality control on the parts), and just how blind sided “new GM” was during their investigations. It also confirms how suspended engineers Ray DeGiorgio and Gary Altman were involved in the ignition switch response, and fuzzy problem solving. Full text and an analysis of key documents below.

We already know the basics of how this happened, but it’s still surprising just how ingrained GM was in putting the issue aside. The key issues are these:

  • GM became aware of the ignition issue in the 2001 preproduction Saturn Ion and the 2005 preproduction Chevrolet Cobalt.
  • Gary Altman initiated the report that lead to the insert, and Ray DeGiorgio consulted on the fix and argued against ignition switch changes.
  • Many different options were proposed, including suggestions from Delphi.
  • Cost played a major role in the decision to not recall the ignition switch early on.
  • The later key insert was the result, and was seen not as a fix, but as a “containment.”
  • GM also had very little oversight on parts from Delphi, only relying on Delphi’s incomplete testing.
  • GM’s engineers knowingly put the cars to market with a defective ignition switch.
  • This lead to ISB #05-02-35-007.
  • In 2006, DeGiorgio eventually signed off on design changes for Delphi, that included a stronger spring and plunger for the detent mechanism in the ignition cylinder, which provides a physical resistance between the different key positions.
  • When implemented in 2007, the new ignition cylinders cost less than a dollar per unit more than the original design; $400,000 to retool the production lines. These are the same changes that were deemed “not an acceptable business case” in 2005
  • As company, however, no one knew who signed off on the change until the Melton family lawsuit.
  • In court, DeGiorgio testified that he was unaware of changes to the ignition cylinder that would have effected the detents, only mentioning the key change..
  • Later investigations showed that the Cobalt had a substantial number of airbag warranty claims.
  • Higher level GM representatives broadsided by NHTSA’s investigations and disapproval of their slow reaction to other recent recalls.

First up, Gary Altman’s and Ray Giorgio’s role in the ignition cylinder issue is a problem. In court, Altman claimed that he did not feel that the Melton’s car was “unsafe.” This coming after submitting the initial mechanical complaint about the ignition falling out of run, in 2004:

docs.house.gov meetings IF IF02 20140401 102033 HHRG-113-IF02-20140401-SD017.pdf
During the investigation, several different approaches to modify the ignition cylinder were brought up to DeGiorgio. All of which were quickly dismissed by DeGiorgio, because the switch was already “very fragile,”

docs.house.gov meetings IF IF02 20140401 102033 HHRG-113-IF02-20140401-SD017.pdf (1)
Later on, all fixes were dropped, as it wasn’t deemed necessary. With a tight deadline and budget, the engineers could not justify any of the fixes at the time, as it wasn’t an “acceptable business case.”

docs.house.gov meetings IF IF02 20140401 102033 HHRG-113-IF02-20140401-SD017.pdf (2) docs.house.gov meetings IF IF02 20140401 102033 HHRG-113-IF02-20140401-SD017.pdf (3) docs.house.gov meetings IF IF02 20140401 102033 HHRG-113-IF02-20140401-SD017.pdf (4)

In 2006, DeGiorgio finally signed off on a design change for Delphi. The design change included  a stronger spring and longer detent plunger to increase the force needed to switch the key between different positions, along with an unrelated electrical upgrade. In an unexplained move, DeGiorgio did not assign a new part number to the improved switch design. The design change added 90 cents to the parts cost, and about $400,000 in tooling costs.

 

cobalt report 3
docs.house.gov meetings IF IF02 20140401 102033 HHRG-113-IF02-20140401-SD047.pdf (1)

But, with this large of a role in the decision to delay the redesigned ignition switch, DeGiorgio claimed that he was not aware of any mechanical changes to the switches during his testimony in the Melton family suit against GM:

docs.house.gov meetings IF IF02 20140401 102033 HHRG-113-IF02-20140401-SD056.pdf
Though, he did sign off on the changes, and worked with Delphi to test batches of ignition cylinders that contained an upgraded PCB (Printed Circuit Board), and detent plunger:

cobalt report 14

democrats.energycommerce.house.gov sites default files documents GM-Commodity-Validation-Sign-Off-2006-4-26.pdf

 

Curiously enough, though, is that GM had very little oversight on Delphi’s quality control, and Delphi did not check the rotational torque needed to turn past the switches detents. GM simply accepted Delphi’s parts and trusted their QC. But with rumored tensions between GM and Delphi, it’s said that cost cutting measures might be to blame as GM forced Delphi to push prices down, sacrificing parts quality. If this were true, GM’s choice to outsource QC to the supplier left them in the dark for too long, preventing them from seeing the immediate effects of their problems with Delphi:

cobalt report 4cobalt report 18

While this was going on, GM released the key insert as a “containment solution;” it would be the minimum needed to alleviate the problem for effected customers. This was chosen over two other modifications to the ignition cylinder, which were seen as a “partial solution” in the case of adding an additional detent mechanism to add more resistance to rotating the key out of “run,” and a “sure solution” involving moving the ignition switch higher up on the column, using a gear drive system to reach the rotary switch responsible for selecting which electrical circuit to run on. The added gearing would also increase rotational torque, the design stated.
cobalt report 11
cobalt report 12cobalt report 13
In 2007, the NHTSA began to probe into the surprising number of airbag-related complaints, despite “GM’s indications that they see no specific pattern.”
cobalt report 15

The issue was set aside, for the most part, until GM was informed by the Melton suit that there was a possible design change in the switch, based on an investigation into junkyard-found switches from the effected models. The testing showed that there was a noticeable change in detent torque, but no documentation from GM to show the changes. The GM engineers and representatives in the case were caught off guard by this design change, and began an internal investigation. This investigation lead GM engineer Brian Stouffer to find the documents that showed DeGiorgio signing off on design changes with no part number change.

cobalt report 5cobalt report 16
Finally, the most impressive point of this story comes from GM’s reactions to the NHTSA’s investigations. The NHTSA emailed GM asking for clarification on several other recalls, documenting GM’s reactions to other product issues with a disdain for GM’s penchant for doing the least amout possible to avoid full recalls; ie: regional recalls for parts failures in the rust-belt states. Saying that some were broadsided by this information would be an understatement:

cobalt report 19[…]
cobalt report 19

The response by Mike Robinson, VP for environment, energy and safety policy, sums up GM’s perception and confusion over their responses to the Cobalt issue, and several other poor recall responses in the past. “This note from NHTsA, both the content and tone, comes like a bolt out of the blue,” he states, “We worked way too hard to earn a reputation as the best and we are not going to let this slide.”

cobalt report 19
To summarize, GM is its own worst enemy. They responded poorly to incredibly early reports, dismissing the issue too quickly as a casual problem. With reports going back to 2001, during the Saturn Ion development, there is no reason why the switch should have come unmodified to the Cobalt development; never mind the dismissal of the problem before the car was produced. Ray DeGiorgio’s role in this problem is larger than he initially lead on in the Melton case, though his motive in this discrepancy is unknown at this time.

Full text to all 619 pages can be find here.

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US Justice Dept, House Panel To Investigate GM Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/us-justice-dept-house-panel-to-investigate-gm-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/us-justice-dept-house-panel-to-investigate-gm-ignition-recall/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:12:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=770273 Things are going from bad to worse for General Motors amid the fallout related to the long-delayed recall of 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over a faulty ignition switch installed between 2003 and 2007, as both the U.S. Justice Department and a House panel plan to conduct separate investigations into the matter. Automotive News and Bloomberg […]

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GM-building-US-Flag

Things are going from bad to worse for General Motors amid the fallout related to the long-delayed recall of 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over a faulty ignition switch installed between 2003 and 2007, as both the U.S. Justice Department and a House panel plan to conduct separate investigations into the matter.

Automotive News and Bloomberg report the Justice Department’s investigation will focus on whether or not GM violated criminal or civil laws in failing to alert regulatory bodies sooner than they had about the switch, with lawyers in the U.S. Attorney’s Southern District of New York office leading the charge.

Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will determine if either the automaker or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — who is also conducting an investigation into the recall via a 107-question survey due April 3 — missed anything “that could have flagged [the] problems sooner,” according to Representative Fred Upton, who also added:

If the answer is yes, we must learn how and why this happened, and then determine whether this system of reporting and analyzing complaints that Congress created to save lives is being implemented and working as the law intended.

On top of the aforementioned inquiries, GM itself has hired Jenner & Block LLP chairman Anton Valukas to head an internal investigation into the handling of the recall. Valukas was the appointed examiner for the Justice Department in the inquiry of Lehman Brothers over the financial institution’s downfall in the run-up to the Great Recession in late 2008.

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U.S. Government Sells Remaining General Motors Stock http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/u-s-government-sells-remaining-general-motors-stock/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/u-s-government-sells-remaining-general-motors-stock/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:30:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=676634 It’s official: the United States government has sold off its remaining $49.5 billion investment in General Motors. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that of the aforementioned investment — made during the fallout of the Great Recession — $39 billion came back to the government’s coffers while the taxpayer lost $10.5 billion on the deal. […]

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RenCen GM HQ Circa June 2008

It’s official: the United States government has sold off its remaining $49.5 billion investment in General Motors.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that of the aforementioned investment — made during the fallout of the Great Recession — $39 billion came back to the government’s coffers while the taxpayer lost $10.5 billion on the deal. The government originally received 912 million shares — or 60.8 percent total ownership — in exchange for saving the automaker from certain doom in 2008. Once the company regained its footing in November 2010, the government began selling shares in a divestiture that lasted until this afternoon, when only 2 percent remained of GM remained in the federal investment portfolio.

On the other side, GM’s stock rose to $41.17 during regular trading hours, the highest peak the stock has seen since their IPO debuted in 2010. The automaker currently sits upon a nest egg of $26.8 billion in cash, and is considering bringing back dividends to their stockholders. Most of the nest egg was built during 15 consecutive months of profitability based on the strength of their brand and rising sales in North America and China.

Photo credit: Ray Dumas/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

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The Legend of Ford’s Truck Czar’s Rule Over Truck Mountain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/the-legend-of-fords-truck-czars-rule-over-truck-mountain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/the-legend-of-fords-truck-czars-rule-over-truck-mountain/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 07:59:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=648954 Once upon a time, one man rose from the realm of sales to helm Ford’s truck division. With his iron fist, he divided the F-150 range into several specialized units, reaping the rewards as his dominion over the light truck market expanded. That man is Doug Scott, and this is the tale of how he […]

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Doug Scott

Once upon a time, one man rose from the realm of sales to helm Ford’s truck division. With his iron fist, he divided the F-150 range into several specialized units, reaping the rewards as his dominion over the light truck market expanded.

That man is Doug Scott, and this is the tale of how he came to be the Sovereign of Truck Mountain.

Though his title is humble, Ford’s Truck Group marketing manager has brought in $22 billion in revenue over the years, bettering his competitors through offering an F-150 for everyone. For example, contractors and landscapers just starting out could have the STX for just over $26,000, while businessmen making the big bucks off the Bakken could opt for the top-of-the-line Limited for around $54,000, and hardcore off-road prerunners can feel like a reptile in their Raptor beginning at $45,000.

This strategy has not only paid off for Ford, but has inspired General Motors and Chrysler to play follow the leader, with the Italo-American alliance spinning off the Ram brand from Dodge for greater focus while GM’s bowtie has unveiled their own luxury pickup to go up against the F-150 Platinum Edition. Meanwhile, the F-150 has lived at the summit of Truck Mountain since 2010, picking up $4,000 per truck than GM per Kelley Blue Book.

With 2013 sales on track to hit 700,000 units, and recording the best October since 2004, Scott aims to keep his competitors on their toes. His latest from the F-Series is a sport truck dubbed the Tremor, whose 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 will push the superbeast from zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds, just over one second slower than the V6 version of the Mustang.

The Tremor, like the King Ranch, the Raptor and all of the other F-150s, were born from the collaboration between the marketers and engineers within the truck group, who, in turn, gathered their information on what customers want from the customer relationships built through events and organizations, such as the Professional Bull Riders Association and the Future Farmers of America. The result: a 34.6 percent share of the truck market through September 2013, with the Chevy/GMC tag team a close second at 30.7 percent, and Ram a distant third with just 16.3 percent.

Photo credit: Ford

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Chevrolet In Duel With Volkswagen For The Heart of China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/chevrolet-in-duel-with-volkswagen-for-the-heart-of-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/chevrolet-in-duel-with-volkswagen-for-the-heart-of-china/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 17:53:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=636369 When one thinks of General Motors’ relationship with China, Buick flashes into the mind like a brake light in the Beijing smog. Sometimes, Cadillac comes up, as well. However, with Volkswagen preparing to slingshot past them in a manner akin to Danica Patrick being flung toward the front of the pack with help from Tony […]

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#8 Chevrolet Cruze. Picture courtesy globaltimes.cn

When one thinks of General Motors’ relationship with China, Buick flashes into the mind like a brake light in the Beijing smog. Sometimes, Cadillac comes up, as well. However, with Volkswagen preparing to slingshot past them in a manner akin to Danica Patrick being flung toward the front of the pack with help from Tony Stewart, CEO Dan Akerson is planning to aggressively push Chevrolet through the choking air, and into as many Chinese garages as he can find.

As Automotive News reports, the push will be directed by GM China’s chairman Tim Lee, who will also add SUV sales goals to the maturing market:

We got still a lot of mother brand-building to do for Chevrolet and we will resource that appropriately and get that job done… It’s a brand that has a total history in the country of about seven or eight years, so based on that relatively short time in the marketplace, our brand awareness is good, our product consideration is good. But can it be better? I guess.

The first volley fired in the upcoming battle for Chinese automotive supremacy will be the introduction of the second-generation Cruze to spur demand in the country’s burgeoning western sector, as well as smaller — and, one hopes, fully occupied — cities. GM aims to add 1,000 dealerships to this area by 2017, backed by an $11 billion investment through 2016 that promises to establish four new assembly plants manufacturing locally around 5 million units per year. GM also plans to bulk up Cadillac’s presence in China with a locally built version of the ATS come 2014.

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Ford’s Transit Taxi To Connect Passengers Worldwide http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/fords-transit-taxi-to-connect-passengers-worldwide/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/fords-transit-taxi-to-connect-passengers-worldwide/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 17:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=631698 With a few successes under Ford’s strap with the American buckle, the Blue Oval made be known its aspirations to go for the world championship belt in ferrying drunk revelers and harried air travelers with their Transit Connect Taxi in its debut in Hong Kong. “Ford Transit Connect Taxi has proven itself in taxi fleets […]

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Ford Transit Connect Taxi in Hong Kong Circa October 2013

With a few successes under Ford’s strap with the American buckle, the Blue Oval made be known its aspirations to go for the world championship belt in ferrying drunk revelers and harried air travelers with their Transit Connect Taxi in its debut in Hong Kong.

“Ford Transit Connect Taxi has proven itself in taxi fleets across the U.S.,” said Ford’s head of global product development Raj Nair in a statement. “Now, we are building on that success, offering the vehicle for sale in even more markets, including global cities like Hong Kong.” The taxi, set to go on sale in 2014 globally, will run off of Hong Kong’s liquefied petroleum gas infrastructure, an option that has been available since 2010 in the U.S. domestic market alongside compressed natural gas and gasoline.

Under the hood, a 2.5-liter engine attached to a six-speed automatic will keep things moving smoothly, or as smooth as driving (or riding in) a taxi can be, at least. The new taxi is longer than the previous domestic-only models, with seating for up to five and more room for the myriad of baggage travelers will be dragging tiredly behind them. The taxi is also shorter for more clearance for strip club adverts on the roof, with a lower floor allowing for easier access, especially if converted for wheelchair use.

In exchange for spreading the love of the Transit Connect Taxi around the world, Ford has plans to bring the Transit Connect Wagon from Europe to the United States for the 2014 model year. The people carrier holds seven, and sips down a gallon of fuel every 30 miles on the highway. Ford truck communications manager Mike Levine has high hopes for the newest addition to the family:

We believe there’s an opportunity. The Transit Connect Wagon is virtually the same size as seven-passenger minvans were when they were introduced in the 1980s. Since then, they’ve gotten too big, too expensive and consume too much fuel.

The Transit Connect Taxi currently serves markets in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, with the Blue Oval owning 60 percent of the taxi market. Ford offers the C-MAX Hybrid for taxi service, as well.

Photo credit: Ford

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