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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration selected former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater as an independent monitor over Fiat Chrysler Automobiles safety compliance, the automaker announced Friday.
Slater was transportation secretary under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. After his federal post, Slater has held a slew of automobile safety-related posts including his recent appointment as special counsel to Takata.
Slater was the first black director for the Federal Highway Administration and the second black transportation secretary.
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General Motors will lay off around 500 workers and eliminate one shift at its Orion Assembly due to sagging demand for small cars, the automaker announced Friday. Those workers may be sent to a nearby plant.
Automotive News first reported on the layoffs.
According to a statement from a GM spokesman, the automaker will “adjust plant production capacity to align with market demand” and eliminate one shift that builds the Sonic. Demand for the Sonic has largely remained flat since the subcompact’s introduction in 2011.
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Hyundai said Thursday that its quarterly profit fell 23 percent after slowing sales in China overshadowed gains made in Europe and North America, Bloomberg reported (via Automotive News).
The automaker reported a net income of $1 billion during the third quarter of 2015, which ended on Sept. 30. The loss is in contrast to automakers such as General Motors and Daimler, who both reported gains in China, despite that country’s slowing economy.
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Volkswagen is offering up to double the average amount of incentives on some of its cars to help dealers during its diesel crisis, Bloomberg reported (via Automotive News).
Dealers, who received no-strings-attached cash from Volkswagen at the beginning of this month, are offering up to 11 percent off their cars’ stickers to help weather the storm of its diesel cheating scandal. The industry average is roughly 6.2 percent according to TrueCar. Read More >
During the first three months of Honda HR-V availability, U.S. sales of the Honda Fit jumped 25 percent.
Yet as the public’s HR-V awareness increased – and sales of the Fit-based subcompact CUV decreased due to supply constraints – Fit sales fell through the floor in August and September of 2015. August sales of the Fit were cut in half; September Fit volume plunged 81 percent, falling 5,349 units from what was a 41-month high in September 2014 to only 1,279 sales in September 2015.
U.S. HR-V sales in September were nearly four times stronger than Fit sales, an astonishing figure for a number of reasons. Read More >
Almost three out of four electric cars on the road are leased — not purchased — according to data from Edmunds, which was compiled by CNBC. (The leasing data excludes Tesla, who does not report leasing rates.)
The overall lease penetration rate for electric cars, which is 74.9 percent, is much higher than the overall rate for all cars, which is 28 percent. The leasing rate for luxury cars is roughly 50 percent, according to Edmunds.
According to the report, EV drivers are more likely to be early adopters but are hesitant to own the vehicles due to increasing battery capacity and rapidly evolving technology. In other words, electric cars are becoming the new iPhones.
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Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you get it wrong. And sometimes you get it so wrong we all figure you were just playing a practical joke.
Launched just after the arrival of Volvo’s hugely anticipated second-generation XC90, Volvo’s S60 Cross Country is a Swedish/Chinese take on the failed Subaru Legacy Outback SUS. 17 years later.
Elevated wagons can be successful. Just look at the outrageous success of the Subaru Outback or the staying power of Volvo’s own XC70. Elevated sedans? Consumers aren’t really into the concept. Thus, after selling 50 copies of the S60 Cross Country in its abbreviated launch month of August, Volvo USA sold only 29 S60 Cross Countrys in September, one for every 1.7 states in the union.
That’s not a lot, a fact made all the more clear when you consider that Volvo sold 1,182 copies of the XC90 in September alone. Because sometimes you get it right. Read More >
Nearly 30 percent of buyers who purchase a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 or Prius car will keep that car for more than 10 years, according to data from iSeeCars.com.
Data from 400,000 car purchases was analyzed for the poll, according to the study group. The industry average for owners keeping their cars 10 years or longer was 13.5 percent.
Of those top 15 vehicles whose buyers keep them longer than a decade, nine of them were Toyotas; 5 were made by Honda. The Honda CR-V was tops at 28.6 percent of buyers who kept that car for 10 years or more.
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(Updated with comment from GoodCarBadCar’s Tim Cain)
Analysts at IHS Automotive says car sales may be nearing its peak and automakers may expect a downturn in sales by 2017 due to rising interest rates, Automotive News reported.
Strong demand for auto loans is starting to wane, banks are reporting, and a pending federal interest rate hike could push some buyers out of the market, the agency reported.
After 2017 “credit markets are going to be much more difficult,” Charles Chesbrough, IHS senior economist, told Automotive News. Most analysts predict that interest rates will remain where they are for the rest of this year but many anticipate a rate hike by March 2016.
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September 2015 was a massive month for the U.S. auto industry, as the SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate) shot past 18 million sales and year-over-year volume jumped 16 percent. The auto industry marked the end of the third quarter having produced five-percent growth compared with the same period one year ago, making possible the idea that American consumers, businesses, and governments will purchase and lease more than 17 million new vehicles in 2015 for the first time in 14 years.
That’s the overall theme. These are some of the more interesting numbers which help make it so.
2,630 Non-Golf Golfs: Even before Volkswagen’s dirty diesel scandal, the majority of Golf hatchbacks (ignoring the SportWagen for the moment) sold in the United States aren’t even available with a diesel engine. The gas-only GTI, gas-only Golf R, and electric-only e-Golf generated 69 percent of total Golf hatchback sales in September. Read More >