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By on April 17, 2011

Rising prices at the pump make people do dumb things. Some buy a new car to save at all costs. Not only will they never recoup the cost of the new car, the tsunami in Japan turned fuel efficient Japanese cars into everything else than a bargain. Others do something particularly stupid: They drive their car until it runs out of gas. Read More >

By on April 16, 2011


The temperature dropped to freezing, the wind hit 50 MPH, and the rain turned to snow at the Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis 24 Hours of LeMons. Cars spun out in record numbers, and broken cars had to be repaired in frostbitten conditions that would have appalled the harshest Gulag commandant. The battle for the overall lead stayed close all day, with the lead changing hands at least a dozen times. Read More >

By on April 16, 2011

Checking dealer transactions for the first half of April, Edmunds sees cars selling at a fast clip. Dealers are all smiles: Average prices are going up, cars are flying off the lot, and the “average days to turn”  – industry speak for the time the dealer sits on a car until it moves – fell more than 10 percent since the beginning of April, from 58 days to 52. If the rest of April behaves similarly, Edmunds sees a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 14.1 million in April. Party time. The festivities could be premature, Edmunds warns. Read More >

By on April 16, 2011

Honda sources the vast majority of parts and materials needed for North American production in North America. “However, for global efficiency, a few critical parts continue to be supplied from Japan,” says Honda in a statement. Honda restarted production of component parts for North American plants Monday, April 4 at several Honda plants in Japan. However, those need their own parts and supplies. Therefore, Honda’s component production in Japan continues to run at approximately 50 percent of the original production plan.

This of course impacts North American production. Read More >

By on April 16, 2011

Some of Nissan’s Leaf cars were beset by the opposite of the alleged sudden unintended acceleration:  Sudden unintended arrest. Once started and turned off, the Leafs refused to start again. Which of course would turn the Leaf into a PR embarrassment: Who wants the first serious mass market EV to be a non-starter? After having received complaints both in Japan and the U.S., Nissan decided to do something about it. Read More >

By on April 16, 2011

After Iran last weekend and Russia two weekends ago, we continue on our whirlwind round the world adventure, and stop in India.

Car sales in India grew a massive 31 percent in 2010 to reach 1.87 million units. Itis expected to rise a further 20 percent in 2011. The Indian market is fascinating because:

  1. Market growth is not synonymous with increased fragmentation and therefore a lot of models beat their volume records month after month
  2. The car landscape is totally unique and mostly composed of cars designed specifically for that country, like the Tata Nano and Toyota Etios …
  3. They mostly speak (a kind of) English, so we understand them (if they speak slowly.)

Now if the thought of crazy Indian traffic is too much for you to bear, that’s ok because there are 153 more countries to explore in my blog. You will enjoy it as much as a long, happy, dancy Bollywood song, like this one.

But before we start, a must-see, the best (Indian) action movie ever? You be the judge.

Alright then, the Indian market since 1950 can be summarized in 3 models: Read More >

By on April 16, 2011

It’s promising to be a bit of a slow weekend, with the entire auto media preparing for a week of madness at either the New York Auto Show, or on the other side of the world, the Shanghai Auto Show. So here, to add to the building sense of anticipation, is yet another image of Chevy’s forthcoming 2013 Malibu. Enjoy… but just be sure to save some enthusiasm for next week.

By on April 15, 2011


The official weather report at Michigan’s Gingerman Raceway today was “butt cold and windy as hell,” but the LeMons Supreme Court slogged through the inspections of the 70 or so teams who won’t let a little miserable weather stop them from racing. Read More >

By on April 15, 2011

Ask an industry-watcher to name an automaker that seems to be doing things right, and chances are one of the top choices would be Ford Motor Company. And though Ford is enjoying favorable perceptions in the media, according to the company’s own internal goals, it’s actually underperforming. And in a key metric, no less: retail market share. Bloomerg reports: Read More >

By on April 15, 2011

That’s right folks, for the first (and likely only) time, Fiat will be putting cash on the table for Chrysler’s equity, as Reuters reports that Fiat’s new credit facility will include $1.5b with which to exercise the 16% call option in its agreement with the US Treasury. At that rate, Chrysler’s market value would be under $10b, considerably less than the nearly $13b spent on Chrysler’s rescue (not counting assistance to Chrysler Financial). But what is Chrysler actually worth? Hit the jump for a look at what Chrysler’s Shareholder Agreement says about valuation in a Fiat Call Option scenario.
Read More >

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