The Truth About Cars » general motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:10:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » general motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com GM Retreats From Indonesia In Major Blow To Emerging Markets Strategy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/gm-retreats-indonesia-major-blow-emerging-markets-strategy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/gm-retreats-indonesia-major-blow-emerging-markets-strategy/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:29:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008714 Indonesia has long been touted as one of the next major emerging markets, and only four years ago, GM was set to make a major push in the Southeast Asian nation. But in a major about face, GM is essentially giving up on Indonesia, ending an 80 year manufacturing presence and transitioning solely to a sales […]

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Chevrolet-Spin-1

Indonesia has long been touted as one of the next major emerging markets, and only four years ago, GM was set to make a major push in the Southeast Asian nation. But in a major about face, GM is essentially giving up on Indonesia, ending an 80 year manufacturing presence and transitioning solely to a sales and marketing arm.

According to Reuters, GM will shutter its Bekasi factory which was producing the Chevrolet Spin minivan, a product that GM intended to go up against market leader Toyota and its Avanza minivan. Toyota dominates 90 percent of the Indonesia market and the Avanza is Indonesia’s most popular car. Of the top ten selling vehicles in Indonesia, the Spin ranked in 8th place last year, with brands like Toyota, Honda and Daihatsu (another Toyota brand) dominating the market.

Indonesia is a particularly enticing market for many auto makers. It is the most populous nation in Southeast Asia and the largest economy in the region as well. It also has one of the lowest rates of car ownership, with 32 vehicles per 1,000 people, compared to 132 per 1,000 people in Thailand and 300 per 1,000 people in Malaysia. The locally built Spin was supposed to give GM a leg up in Indonesia, but as another Reuters piece notes, GM only advanced seven tenths of a percent in market share during their 80 year run in Indonesia.

Reuters claims that GM will pivot to a more SUV and truck focused brand, along with establishing a foothold for its Chinese affiliate brands like SAIC’s Wuling. But the minivan is Indonesia’s most popular vehicle, since it allows for carrying multiple passengers in comfort while the high ground clearance is suited for the frequent floods and rough terrain of the island nation. While Wuling offers some low cost vans, offerings like Chevrolet’s Trailblazer and Captiva will likely be more expensive while offering qualitative disadvantages.

GM’s Stefan Jacoby told the news service

“We could not ramp up Spin production to boost the volume as we had expected … although the product was really good. The logistics chain of the Spin was too complex; we had low volume so we could not localize the car accordingly, and from the cost point of view we were just not competitive.”

While the Spin is popular in Brazil and other markets, it was unable to dethrone the Avanza, which uses crude but cost-effective body on frame construction which means it can be manufactured in a relatively easy, inexpensive fashion. Jacoby claims that the end goal is to turn Indonesia “into a sustainable business model.” If the last 80 years are any indication, it’s not looking good.

 

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General Motors Cutting Production To Relieve Inventory Glut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-cutting-production-relieve-inventory-glut/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1008274 Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand. Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is […]

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2015-buick-verano-model-overview-exterior-938x528-splash-guards_2

Facing growing dealer inventories, General Motors is cutting back production at two of its plants to adjust supply and demand.

Automotive News reports Orion Assembly in Detroit and the Flex line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Canada will be idled in March and April, respectively, each plant to idle for four days. Orion is responsible for the Chevrolet Sonic and Buick Verano, while the Flex line handles the Chevrolet Camaro and Impala, Buick Regal, and Cadillac XTS.

The reduction in production comes amid consumer demand for trucks and crossovers over said vehicles, of which the Sonic and Regal hold the highest inventory levels at 216 and 213 days as of February 1, 2015. The Sonic’s inventory level is the highest since the subcompact’s August 2011 debut, while the Regal jumped to its level from just 96 days back on January 1.

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Williams: UAW Must Balance Member, Corporate Demands In Detroit Three Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/williams-uaw-must-balance-member-corporate-demands-detroit-three-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/williams-uaw-must-balance-member-corporate-demands-detroit-three-talks/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006346 Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive. UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes […]

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UAW-logo-outside-Union-Solidarity-House

Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive.

UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes time to sit down with the management at Ford, FCA US and General Motors this summer.

The main issue will be the two-tier wage system that has been in place since 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. The policy has been applied at varying rates since the division took hold, with 42 percent of FCA US’ UAW workers — 35,720 — being paid at the second-tier rate of $15.78 to $19.28 an hour; second-tier workers at Ford and GM make up 28 and 20 percent of their respective 50,700 and 49,900 represented employees.

While the union is facing pressure to get as much for its membership as it can, it also has to make sure the Detroit Three remains viable over the long-term. With GM in particular, the UAW has a major political and institutional stake in the automaker’s well-being, as the union is its largest shareholder via its retiree health care trusts.

That said, should push come to shove, Williams says his membership is ready to strike, following in the footsteps of workers at oil refineries and those along the West Coast ports. The UAW hasn’t conducted a major industrial action since the 1990s, and were barred from striking at all at GM and Chrysler as a result of the agreements made in 2009.

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MIT: Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication A Breakthrough Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 15:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004570 In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine […]

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V2V

In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine and society.” The publication cites General Motors as one of the key players in promoting V2V, and mentions the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s efforts to bring the technology online by 2017 at the earliest.

That said, MIT cautions that the first vehicles to have V2V — such as the 2017 Cadillac CTS — won’t have too many vehicles to talk to about location, speed, brake status et al, and that it could take up to a decade before V2V is as common as the cold. Audi, Ford and Toyota are among some of the other manufacturers looking into V2V.

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General Motors Compensation Fund Adds 75 Claims To Tally http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-compensation-fund-adds-75-claims-tally/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-compensation-fund-adds-75-claims-tally/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004466 As of this Monday, the compensation fund set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall received 75 more claims. Reuters reports the new overall total comes to 4,312. Of those, 3,546 were related to less-serious injuries, 288 were for catastrophic injuries, and 478 were tied to fatalities. Claims […]

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2007 Saturn Ion Red Line

As of this Monday, the compensation fund set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall received 75 more claims.

Reuters reports the new overall total comes to 4,312. Of those, 3,546 were related to less-serious injuries, 288 were for catastrophic injuries, and 478 were tied to fatalities.

Claims eligible for compensation stand at 143: 56 fatality claims, nine severe-injury claims, and 78 less-severe-injury claims. As for the rest, 513 were found ineligible, 1,388 are under review, and 1,198 lacked documentation.

The final received tally will come in the near future, once every claim postmarked by the January 31, 2015 deadline has been processed. GM has set aside $400 million to cover all payouts for eligible claims.

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Buffett, Soros Boost Stakes In General Motors In Q4 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/buffett-soros-boost-stakes-general-motors-q4-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/buffett-soros-boost-stakes-general-motors-q4-2014/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004058 While Harry J. Wilson wants General Motors to buy-back $8 billion in shares, Warren Buffett and George Soros have boosted their stakes in the company. The Wall Street Journal reports Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in GM 1 million shares to a total of 41 million during Q4 2014. Meanwhile, Soros Fund Management added […]

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GM First Day as a Public Company Celebration

While Harry J. Wilson wants General Motors to buy-back $8 billion in shares, Warren Buffett and George Soros have boosted their stakes in the company.

The Wall Street Journal reports Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in GM 1 million shares to a total of 41 million during Q4 2014. Meanwhile, Soros Fund Management added 728,938 shares in the same period, boosting overall holdings to 4.9 million.

Both purchases were made prior to Wilson’s announcement that he would not only call for the buyback — citing concerns about how the automaker isn’t spending its $25-billion “fortress balance sheet” — but to also push for a seat on its board to help further the cause. Wilson was hired by President Barack Obama to help GM in its bankruptcy proceedings in 2009.

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Escalade To The Rescue: Cadillac’s Numbers Are Awful Without The Big SUV http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/escalade-rescue-cadillacs-numbers-awful-without-big-suv/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/escalade-rescue-cadillacs-numbers-awful-without-big-suv/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 13:45:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003938 At this very moment, imagine if you will, Cadillac without the Escalade. It’s not a difficult task. Let’s just do the Cadillac maths as if the Escalade no longer exists. It does, and it surely will, but let’s exclude it for the sake of establishing a different perspective. • Cadillac cars down 7% in January […]

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2015 Cadillac Escalade & ESVAt this very moment, imagine if you will, Cadillac without the Escalade.

It’s not a difficult task. Let’s just do the Cadillac maths as if the Escalade no longer exists. It does, and it surely will, but let’s exclude it for the sake of establishing a different perspective.


• Cadillac cars down 7% in January

• Escalade up 136%; ESV up 189%

• Cadillac brand up 2.6% in January


In the U.S. last month, Cadillac’s car division was down 7%. The ATS slid 8%, the ninth consecutive year-over-year monthly decline for the small Cadillac.

The CTS, which is still a recently introduced model, fell 24%, a loss of 534 units. We knew Cadillac was repositioning this car in a smaller, less affordable corner of the luxury market. But CTS declines are nothing new. After sliding 15% in 2012, CTS volume fell 31% in 2013, then suffered a slight 4% drop in 2014. On a monthly basis, CTS volume has fallen on 30 occasions in the last 37 months.

XTS volume increased in January, however, rising 14% (or 234 units) to 1882 U.S. sales. But that year-over-year comparison takes us back to a month in which XTS sales fell 13%. Compared with January 2013, the XTS didn’t quite make it back to that level. In 2014, the XTS’s second full year on sale, U.S. volume plunged 25%.

Cadillac
January
2015
January
2014
% Change
SRX
3,485 4,446 -21.6%
XTS
1,882 1,648 14.2%
ATS
1,757 1,909 -8.0%
CTS
1,698 2,232 -23.9%
Escalade
1,664 704 136%
Escalade ESV
1,100 381 189%
ELR
92 41 124%
Escalade EXT
2 25 -92.0%
Total
11,680 11,386 2.6%

Cadillac also reported a 124% ELR uptick, but at just 92 units sold, the ELR only forms 1.7% of Cadillac’s passenger car volume.

Thus, in a U.S. car market which climbed 8% in January, Cadillac car volume was down by 401 units to 5429.

In other words, the whole Cadillac car line was outsold by individual nameplates such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Lexus RX, and the BMW 3-Series/4-Series.

As for the SRX, an aging crossover which resides at the heart of the premium utility vehicle market, January volume dropped 22%. After witnessing impressive U.S. SRX sales growth in 2010, 2011, 2012, and the first half of 2014, second-half volume last year tumbled 25%.

Fortunately, the Escalade still exists, and the weak performance of other Cadillac allowed the Escalade family to showcase the Cadillac’s real strength in January. Combined, the Escalade and the SRX – which, while slowing, is not yet an unpopular luxury utility vehicle – accounted for 54% of Cadillac’s January sales.

The regular-wheelbase Escalade jumped 136% to 1664 units, nearly as many sales as the CTS managed. The long-wheelbase Escalade ESV was up 189% to 1100 units. (Cadillac also reported two EXT sales.)

Without Escalade, Cadillac was down 13% to 8914 January sales.

With Escalade, Cadillac was up 3% to 11,680 January sales.

True, the overall brand’s slight 294-unit increase involves a year-over-year comparison with January 2014, when auto sales were not at their healthiest. In comparison with January 2013, total Cadillac volume was actually down 11% last month. Moreover, Cadillac’s growth was far outpaced by the industry as a whole, which shot up 14% in January 2015.

The fact remains, no imagination is required to realize that the Escalade is the beacon of hope for Cadillac at this moment.

And yet even the Escalade isn’t selling like it did in the glory days of yore. Take your mind back to January 2007, when the Escalade, ESV, and EXT combined for 3710 total U.S. sales.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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General Motors’ Bankruptcy Protections Could Narrow Pending Ruling http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-bankruptcy-protections-narrow-pending-ruling/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-bankruptcy-protections-narrow-pending-ruling/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003706 Should a federal judge decide General Motors acted in the wrong during bankruptcy proceedings, the automaker may see its protections considerably narrowed. According to Reuters, the point of contention is whether or not GM purposely hid the defects linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall during proceedings in 2009. Judge Robert Gerber of the […]

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Should a federal judge decide General Motors acted in the wrong during bankruptcy proceedings, the automaker may see its protections considerably narrowed.

According to Reuters, the point of contention is whether or not GM purposely hid the defects linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall during proceedings in 2009. Judge Robert Gerber of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York said that he would reassess the terms that carved Old GM from New GM if the latter violated due process, allowing affected consumers to go after the automaker for defects it knew of after the exit from bankruptcy.

Gerber’s potential decision won’t sit well with those filing lawsuits over issues of lost value, injury and death as a result of those defects. The plaintiffs are asking for GM to pay compensation in the billions of dollars for its pre-bankruptcy actions, which a modified sale order would mitigate. Gerber is expected to make his decision sometime in the coming weeks at the earliest.

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Chevrolet SS May Gain Camaro 1LE Package If The Suit Abides http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chevrolet-ss-may-gain-camaro-1le-package-suit-abides/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chevrolet-ss-may-gain-camaro-1le-package-suit-abides/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003626 You can row your own and enjoy its magnetic ride these days, but more fun may be coming for the Chevrolet SS if the suits allow it. Motor Trend says the brand’s engineers want to bring the Camaro 1LE package to the performance sedan. The reinterpreted package would include a retuned suspension, new dampers, and […]

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2014 Chevrolet SS in Red

You can row your own and enjoy its magnetic ride these days, but more fun may be coming for the Chevrolet SS if the suits allow it.

Motor Trend says the brand’s engineers want to bring the Camaro 1LE package to the performance sedan. The reinterpreted package would include a retuned suspension, new dampers, and different tires sized equally fore and aft instead of the standard staggered SS setup.

Given the green light, the engineers could bring the option onboard within three to six months. The only concern is whether those higher up in command — and the beancounters they employ — believe such a project is worth doing.

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Not Aussiely Influenced: Big Chevrolet Sedans Struggle All The More In January 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/not-aussiely-influenced-big-chevrolet-sedans-struggle-january-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/not-aussiely-influenced-big-chevrolet-sedans-struggle-january-2015/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:22:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1002890 In September, we told you the Chevrolet SS didn’t sell as often as the dreadfully unpopular Cadillac ELR in August, the first time the SS failed to do so during the period of coexistence. They tied in September before the ELR outsold the SS again in each of the following months. In December, we told you […]

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2015 Chevrolet SS rear redIn September, we told you the Chevrolet SS didn’t sell as often as the dreadfully unpopular Cadillac ELR in August, the first time the SS failed to do so during the period of coexistence.

They tied in September before the ELR outsold the SS again in each of the following months.

In December, we told you that Chevrolet SS volume slid to a new low in November. With only 105 sales, the SS was outsold by ultra-rare cars like the BMW i8, Nissan GT-R, Volkswagen e-Golf, and yes, the Cadillac ELR.

Yet during the month of December, SS volume fell to yet another new low. Only 93 were sold, a 61% drop.

Surely this was a darkest-before–the-dawn kind of month, right? Surely with an available manual transmission (which is still not at all readily available, according to Cars.com inventory results) and a 168-day supply of cars overall at the beginning of the new year (according to Automotive News) the SS was about to shoot through the roof, matching or exceeding its peak of 350 sales in March of last year? Or at least the 232 SS sedans sold in January of last year?

No. Not quite. GM reported 115 SS sales in January 2015, a 50% cut compared with January 2014 results.

GM sales chart G8 SS Caprice CamaroOver the last six months, Chevrolet only sold 691 SSs in the United States, down 59% from 1671 over the course of the previous six months. Year-over-year comparisons are only valid in the last three months, but during that period, SS volume has tumbled 52%.

2015 Chevrolet Caprice PPVPut it this way, agencies responsible for purchasing big Chevy sedans are far more keen on the Caprice PPV than consumers are on the SS. 1762 Caprices were sold in the last six months.

Granted, year-over-year volume slid 19% to 700 units over the last three months. With just 124 sales last month, January was the lowest-volume Caprice sales month since March 2012. Ford sold 2041 Explorer Police Interceptors and 678 Taurus Police Interceptors in January.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Wilson: $8B Stock Buyback Would Boost General Motors’ Value http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wilson-8b-stock-buyback-boost-general-motors-value/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/wilson-8b-stock-buyback-boost-general-motors-value/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996682 The man who helped General Motors restructure in 2009 now wants the automaker to buy back $8 billion in shares to help boost its value. Bloomberg reports Harry J. Wilson is asking to not only for a seat on GM’s board, but for the automaker to also agree to said buyback in June, with execution […]

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Maeva Advisors LLC Founder and CEO Harry Wilson Interview

The man who helped General Motors restructure in 2009 now wants the automaker to buy back $8 billion in shares to help boost its value.

Bloomberg reports Harry J. Wilson is asking to not only for a seat on GM’s board, but for the automaker to also agree to said buyback in June, with execution to take place the following year. The move is meant to provide more value for its shareholders, who are frustrated with the automaker’s reluctance to spend some of the $25 billion it has to withstand another recession if necessary.

Wilson believes the automaker could part with $8 billion and still withstand an economic blow like the one that landed it in bankruptcy court six years prior, and is working with four investment funds that hold a total of 34.4 million shares to help make it so. Wilson was tapped by President Barack Obama to help with GM’s restructuring during said bankruptcy.

That said, GM may still be reluctant to spend that much money. Per Morningstar senior equity analyst David Whiston, the company has to be careful amid a weak industry outside of North America. GM also faces the spectre of a large fine paid to the U.S. Department of Justice due to the former’s handling of the February 2014 ignition switch recall, as well as building up its lending arm GM Financial to boost the automaker’s credit rating.

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January 2015 Sales: Buick’s Cars Bring The Brand Down http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/january-2015-sales-buicks-cars-bring-brand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/january-2015-sales-buicks-cars-bring-brand/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 14:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993906 Rough starts do not invariably lend credence to the belief that 2015 will be full of doom and gloom. Although January accounts for 8.5% of a calendar year, the month was responsible for just 6.7% of all new vehicle sales in 2013; only 6.1% of all new vehicle sales in 2014. For a number of […]

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2015 Buick Regal GS redRough starts do not invariably lend credence to the belief that 2015 will be full of doom and gloom. Although January accounts for 8.5% of a calendar year, the month was responsible for just 6.7% of all new vehicle sales in 2013; only 6.1% of all new vehicle sales in 2014.

For a number of auto brands, however, 2015 could be difficult. At Scion, for example, sales fell 7% in 2013 and 15% in 2013, decreasing in 19 consecutive months before January 2015’s 8% year-over-year decline.


• Encore sales up 46.5% in January

• Regal falls into three-digit territory

• GM car sales down 7.3%


Jaguar volume slid 6% in January, a poor follow-up to 2014’s 7% drop. Although the XE will help, it’ll be a while before the brand’s new entry-level model actually lands. Smart is entering a transition phase, and the 6% drop in January to just 492 sales translated to the brand’s lowest-volume month since January 2013 and the second-lowest since November 2011.

Meanwhile, the 20% and 50% drops at Maserati and Bentley, respectively, equal slight volume decreases which could easily be made up in a single month at some point down the road.

But after 2014’s 11% increase – the fifth consecutive year in which annual volume has improved – and ten monthly YOY improvements in 2014, Buick sales slid 5.5% in January 2015.

Cause for concern? Likely not: Buick sales decreased slightly in January of last year, as well, and the year turned out to be one of significant growth. However, the specific areas in which the Buick lineup struggled are slightly more worrying.

January 2015 winners losers auto sales chartAlthough it was made clear yesterday that TTAC is no fan, Encore volume predictably jumped 46.5% to 3465 units in January. It was the brand’s second-best-selling model behind the Enclave, which attracted only 32 more sales than its baby brother. Enclave sales were basically flat, down just 12 units compared with January 2014.

Buick car volume, however, tumbled by more than 1800 units, a 24.5% loss created by declines at all three car nameplates.

LaCrosse sales in America were down 29% to 2023 units in January.

At first glance, one might assume that big LaCrosse months at the end of 2014 (more than 10,000 LaCrosses were sold in November and December) downgraded inventory levels. But Automotive News reported more than 17,000 LaCrosses in stock at the beginning of January. It is entirely possible, however, that deal-making at the end of 2014 brought forward sales that might otherwise have occurred in the first-quarter of 2015.

Regal sales in America were down 45% to 792 units in January.

This was the first time monthly U.S. Regal sales fell below four digits since June 2010, the reborn Regal’s first full month on sale. GM possessed a 96-day stock of Regals at the beginning of January.

Verano sales in America were down 11% to 2776 units in January.

The Verano accounted for half of all Buick car sales in January 2015, down from 42% in January 2014. There was no shortage of available Veranos on dealer lots. Calendar year 2014 Verano volume was down 4%.

America’s car market hardly expanded in 2014, but there were signs of life in January. Eight of America’s ten best-selling cars reported improved sales in January. Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen all generated improved January car sales, in addition to gains made by a number of premium brands.

Yet car sales trouble wasn’t a Buick-exclusive issue at General Motors last month. Although Buick was the most sorely impacted overall, Cadillac car sales slid 7%, but the brand was rescued by strong Escalade sales. Chevrolet car sales slid 5%, but light truck Chevys jumped 43%, propelling the brand to a 20% overall improvement. (GMC, remember, doesn’t sell any cars.) As a result, GM car volume was down 7% in January 2015, a month in which U.S. car sales jumped 8%.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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General Motors Suspends Russian Production Amid Weak Ruble http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-suspends-russian-production-amid-weak-ruble/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-suspends-russian-production-amid-weak-ruble/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992914 Amid a weakening, unstable ruble, General Motors will suspend production at its St. Petersburg, Russia plant from mid-March through mid-May 2015. Automotive News reports the automaker will also raise prices in response to the currency challenge. Per Russian daily publication Kommersant, GM has already begun to do so, with models like the Opel Astra and […]

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gm-avtovaz-500000th-chevrolet-niva

Amid a weakening, unstable ruble, General Motors will suspend production at its St. Petersburg, Russia plant from mid-March through mid-May 2015.

Automotive News reports the automaker will also raise prices in response to the currency challenge. Per Russian daily publication Kommersant, GM has already begun to do so, with models like the Opel Astra and Chevrolet Cruze — both built in St. Petersburg — seeing a 20 percent increase in pricing.

Meanwhile, Ford lowered expectations for its European business in 2015 as a result of the ruble, forecasting a loss wider than the $250 million the automaker thought it would lose this year.

Overall, sales in Russia are projected to fall to 1.89 million this year, down from 2.49 million in 2014. That said, most automakers see the 2015 figure as overly optimistic at best.

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General Motors Compensation Fund Sees 51st Eligible Death Claim http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-51st-eligible-death-claim/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-51st-eligible-death-claim/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992898 The compensation fund set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall confirmed its 51st eligible death claim Monday. Reuters reports that 4,180 claims were received as of February 1, with the final number expected to rise when all claims submitted with a timestamp of January 31 — the […]

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2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Kia Store

The compensation fund set up by General Motors in the wake of the February 2014 ignition switch recall confirmed its 51st eligible death claim Monday.

Reuters reports that 4,180 claims were received as of February 1, with the final number expected to rise when all claims submitted with a timestamp of January 31 — the deadline for filing said claims — have been accounted. Of those, fund deputy administrator Camille Biros says over 1,600 claims were filed in January, 700 alone filed between Thursday and the deadline.

Among the claims found eligible for an offer, 51 were linked to deaths, 8 had ties to severe injuries, and 69 were for less-severe injuries. Between $400 million and $600 million has been set aside by General Motors for the offers, the last of which will likely be made late into the spring of this year.

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General Motors Undercuts Competition With Lower Starting Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-undercuts-competition-lower-starting-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/general-motors-undercuts-competition-lower-starting-prices/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992402 Looking for a new Cruze, LaCrosse or Terrain? You might have a bit more money left thanks to some undercutting by General Motors. CarsDirect reports GM has dropped the base MSRP on a handful of models by as much as $2,750. As a result, some of those models are lower in price than their competitors. […]

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2015 Chevrolet Cruze

Looking for a new Cruze, LaCrosse or Terrain? You might have a bit more money left thanks to some undercutting by General Motors.

CarsDirect reports GM has dropped the base MSRP on a handful of models by as much as $2,750. As a result, some of those models are lower in price than their competitors. The aforementioned GMC Terrain gained the greatest undercut, falling $4,030 under the Ford Edge with the crossover’s new base of $24,070.

However, to be able to undercut the competition without removing key features, GM has sliced dealer margins on the cheapest trims, such as the Terrain SL, Buick LaCrosse 1SV, and the newly introduced Chevrolet Cruze L. Profit margins on such vehicles being as thin as they are already — the difference between MSRP and invoice on the Cruze LS is $600, but only $81 on the L — the economy models may see or are seeing now incentive inclusions.

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Feinberg: No Offers From GM Comp Fund Have Been Rejected So Far http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/feinberg-no-offers-gm-comp-fund-rejected-far/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/feinberg-no-offers-gm-comp-fund-rejected-far/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992354 The deadline for filing a claim with General Motors victim compensation fund now passed, Kenneth Feinberg says no offer has been rejected thus far. Bloomberg reports 125 offers have been made between August 1 of last year through last Friday, split between 75 injury and 50 fatality claims linked to the February 2014 GM ignition […]

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The deadline for filing a claim with General Motors victim compensation fund now passed, Kenneth Feinberg says no offer has been rejected thus far.

Bloomberg reports 125 offers have been made between August 1 of last year through last Friday, split between 75 injury and 50 fatality claims linked to the February 2014 GM ignition switch recall. According to Feinberg, who is the administrator for the fund, “every single eligible claimant awarded compensation has elected voluntarily to take it… no eligible claimant has rejected the compensation and voluntarily decided to litigate.”

However, he adds that even with his help in mitigating potential lawsuits, the automaker will still have to fend off quite a few; around 150 cases involving owners of over 27 million affected vehicles have been filed in court as of this writing. On the other hand, Feinberg explains that if his office couldn’t find a claim eligible for an offer, “no litigation will do otherwise. Our program is much more generous to claimants than a court would be.”

As of Thursday, over 3,350 claims were filed; the final total is expected to be released later today.

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General Motors Sticking To Filing Deadline Despite Calls For Extension http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-sticking-filing-deadline-despite-calls-extension/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-sticking-filing-deadline-despite-calls-extension/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989986 Despite a request from two senators to extend the deadline for its compensation fund, General Motors will still close the filing window this Saturday. Automotive News reports Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra urging her to extend the deadline for filing claims linked […]

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GM ignition diagram

Despite a request from two senators to extend the deadline for its compensation fund, General Motors will still close the filing window this Saturday.

Automotive News reports Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts sent a letter to GM CEO Mary Barra urging her to extend the deadline for filing claims linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall, citing a Justice Department investigation into whether or not the automaker broke any laws in handling the issue, as well as a pending federal court decision that could strip GM of its bankruptcy protections established in 2009.

The senators add that notification problems are also an issue, with some claimants never hearing about the fund until another source informs them, such as when the family of Jean Averill — one of the first 13 fatalities linked to the defective part — were notified by The New York Times while working on the story about her last November.

GM, however, says it “conducted extensive outreach about the program,” having contacted over 5 million past and present owners of vehicles affected by the recall, including the Saturn Ion, Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac Solstice:

Our goal is to be just and timely in compensating the families who lost loved ones and those who suffered physical injury. We previously extended the deadline until January 31, and we do not plan another extension.

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General Motors Discussing Jeep Wrangler Challenger For GMC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-discussing-jeep-wrangler-challenger-gmc/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989898 Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too. The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has […]

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2015 GMC Sierra

Remember when we told you about GMC’s Duncan Aldred wanting a “professional-grade” Jeep Wrangler? General Motors thinks it’s a good idea, too.

The Wall Street Journal reports GM recently sought feedback from its dealers regarding the market viability of a Wrangler challenger joining GMC’s lineup of trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the idea of which has been “kicked around real hard” according to one insider. The automaker’s growing interest comes as 150,000 units of the iconic vehicle left for the Rubicon or college in 2014, some of them going for as much as $50,000 fresh out of Ohio. The Wrangler also boasts one of the highest resale values around, second only to the Toyota Tacoma in 2015 per Kelley Blue Book.

As for what a GMC Wrangler would look like, GM said its Jeep would take cues from Hummer’s orphaned offerings; Hummer joined Pontiac, Saturn and Saab in the afterlife back in 2009 during the dark days of the Great Recession. The new model — still in the discussion phase without a name or a green light — would also help GMC capitalize on the brand’s own success, with sales rising 11 percent on the backs of the Sierra and Yukon in 2014 to 501,853.

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Dispatches do Brasil: Volkswagen’s Inferno and the Gol’s Fall from Grace http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dispatches-brasil-volkswagens-inferno-gols-fall-grace/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dispatches-brasil-volkswagens-inferno-gols-fall-grace/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 18:27:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989258 How much is first place worth? How much difference would it make to you as an automaker to see a decades old tradition die? How much would you do to try to keep first place and how much would it hurt to see it all go away? Those are the questions Volkswagen do Brasil is […]

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How much is first place worth? How much difference would it make to you as an automaker to see a decades old tradition die? How much would you do to try to keep first place and how much would it hurt to see it all go away?

Those are the questions Volkswagen do Brasil is facing. Not being Brazilians’ favorite brand for 13 years now, falling away to third place, watching General Motors taking second and Fiat pulling away ever more in first, VW must now confront the reality it cannot even claim the most sold car title either. Costing them it is, after all the Brazilian press is having a field day analyzing Volkswagen’s fall from grace. It must also smart that the Palio edged the Gol by a little under 400 cars, while GM managed just 2,000 more sales overall than the Germans.

After 27 years as the most sold car in Brazil, the Volkswagen Gol ceded the crown to its main rival, the Fiat Palio. Not only that, the German company saw its participation shrink more than the others who make up the Brazilian Big 4 (Fiat, GM, VW and Ford). In traditional fashion, not recognizing their mistakes, Volkswagen do Brasil released a statement trying to explain:

“the Gol is a winner, having been the favorite of Brazilians for 27 years in a row. It is the most produced (more then 7.5 million units), sold and exported (more than 1.2 million units to 66 countries) car in the history of Brazil. Even in 2014, the model was chosen by 183,367 clients, a difference of only 0.2% (even with the exit of the G4 version from the market) in relation to its competitor (that is still maintains two versions of the car under the same name in its line: the old and the new one.”

This statement hides as much as it reveals. With the beginning of 2014, all cars in Brazil had to be sold with double frontal airbags and ABS. As such, all companies had to revise their strategies and Volkswagen started the year confident that the new up! would be more than enough to buoy the brand and take sales from the Uno, while the Gol would go head-to-head with the Palio. Fiat meanwhile took a different route, being that the old Palio Fire was a much more modern car than the its own old Uno Mille and VW’s Gol G4, it decided to go on building the old Palio with the mandated equipment, dressed it up in it pseudo-off road aventureiro decorations. It also revamped the new Uno, especially in its interior.

While both companies lost sales in a declining market, Volkswagen lost market faster than Fiat. While critically acclaimed, including by yours truly, the up! could not maintain the same fleet sales as the old G4. Fleet buyers became increasingly interested in the Palio Fire as it sported the same basic architecture as it always had and made use of time honored engines. VW meanwhile was launching a new three-cylinder engine with the up! and fleet buyers showed hesitation to fully embrace the new engine, as recent VW engine launches have been fraught with trouble.

Private buyers also balked at the new VW launch. The up!’s design was deigned to dainty for a Volkswagen and while it brought some conquest sales surely, VW-loyalists rejected the car.

Just as importantly, Volkswagen, making use again of their own time-honored tradition of not heeding to the market and not learning from the mistakes of the past, refused to acknowledge the emergence of the new Brazilian consumer who rejects entry-level cars. Aiming straight at that new figure, Chevy’s Onix and Ford’s Ka had a very big year and seemingly took more sales from the Gol than the Palio. They did so by offering more equipment for the same price and putting in some wow-me technology, equipment and better finished interiors (all of which is optional on ups!).

Fiat was quick to acknowledge this new reality. The Uno got a pretty thorough re-design on the outside and a completely new and better interior, not to mention new equipment and technologies as standard, leading the model to have a year of growth. The Palio did likewise, and in the new Palio line, extra equipment was added without raised prices, while the old Palio Fire got a new interior, some new exterior touches, and the all-important aventureiro dressing (plastic cladding, an extra inch or two of height, bigger wheels and tires, stickers, etc.).

As the year of 2014 progressed, the market increasingly saw Volkswagen in trouble. The up! was off to a slow start. The Gol’s redesign seemingly didn’t work (as VW should have known it wouldn’t if they were paying attention) because what the market was buying was equipment. The Palio was growing month over month. The Uno reclaiming its traditional top spots. Even better for Fiat the Strada was having a banner year taking the sales crown in February (the first time ever a pickup achieved this in Brazil) and finished the year in third place, the highest place a pickup has ever managed in the history of Brazil.

After the middle of the year the race between Gol and Palio reached a fevered pitch, with the Palio winning every month and outpacing the Gol’s sales by ever larger margins. As November ended, the Palio had managed a YTD advantage over the Gol of over 1,800 units. In a desperate measure and going against previously revealed plans for the nameplate, VW launched the Gol Special, special in its 2-door nothingness. Stripped to its utter bare bones to entice back fleet buyers, the Gol Special is in effect VW’s Palio Fire model.

In December, an orgiastic climax was reached. Volkswagen pulled no stops. As the first fortnight of that month ended, sales numbers revealed the Gol was edging out the Palio again. This was done with non-stop production at VW factories, writing off cars to dealerships as sold, huge discounts for fleet buyers of Gol G6 and Special models, exceptional financing opportunities to consumers and cash on the hood offers. Fiat reacted, and made use of much of the same tactics to defend the Palio’s lead. Both Fiat and Volkswagen have huge distribution channels in Brazil and both pumped out the cars in ever increasing numbers, saturating the market with officially sold cars that languished at dealers.

On December 31, 2014, the race ended. When the numbers were tallied a couple of days later, December went down into the history books as the third best selling month in the history of the automobile in Brazil. So much so that in a market that was plummeting by a little over 9% throughout the year, finished with a softer loss of 6%. More importantly, the Palio, old and new, had sold 183,744 cars. Volkswagen’s Gol moved 183,366. A difference of 378 cars. 378.

Overall, Fiat finished in first with 21% of the market and a total of 698,255 sales. Volkswagen had a participation of 17.3% and 576,635 units moved, which was good for only third place. General Motors managed second place on the strength of it almost all knew GM Korea line and sold 2,167 more cars than VW and had a market participation 0.1% greater than the Germans’.

As 2015 begins, January’s first fortnight numbers are available. The Palio, now that the market is cleansing itself of the dirty tactics of the last month of the previous year is kicking the Gol’s ass. It outsold the Gol by a large margin (7,600 to 4,500 in a very bad month), as did the Onix, second this month, the Strada in third, even Hyundai’s HB20 beat the Gol and is in fourth. The mighty, 27-years-in-a-row-leader Gol managed just fifth this month.

The week started off with Fiat announcing that the Uno and Palio will all offer air-conditioning in all versions, besides power steering, power locks and of course the mandated equipment, making them even more attractive to the more discerning Brazilian consumer. General Motors is pumping out the Onix and Onix-derived Prisma sedan in high number and is enjoying seeing its sedan outselling both Fiat’s Siena and VW’s Voyage. Ford is tweaking the Ka and watching its sales grow, planning for extra production capacity as the Ka gains more and more participation. Volkswagen is busy explaining the Gol’s demise and claiming no errors.

2015 will surely be fun. Except maybe for the Germans.

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General Motors Compensation Fund Sees 50th Eligible Fatality Claim http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-50th-eligible-fatality-claim/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-compensation-fund-sees-50th-eligible-fatality-claim/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989042 With the deadline to submit claims coming this Saturday, the General Motors compensation fund has confirmed its 50th fatality. Detroit Free Press reports 338 fatality claims were filed between August 1 of last year and January 23, according to fund administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg. Of those, 230 are now under review or awaiting documentation, […]

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GM Ignition Recall Safety Information

With the deadline to submit claims coming this Saturday, the General Motors compensation fund has confirmed its 50th fatality.

Detroit Free Press reports 338 fatality claims were filed between August 1 of last year and January 23, according to fund administrator and attorney Kenneth Feinberg. Of those, 230 are now under review or awaiting documentation, the aforementioned 50 were found eligible, and 58 were rejected for failing to meet the standards set by the fund for payout.

Over the same period, 2,730 injury claims were submitted to the compensation fund — established in the wake of the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall — of which a total of 75 claims have been found eligible, and 328 were rejected.

The payout for each fatality claim begins $1 million, depending on what lifetime wages and salaries were lost with the life at the time of a given accident. GM has reserved $600 million to pay all claims, a figure Feinberg believes to be “adequate.” Processing of claims will continue into the spring, and possibly into the summer, as well.

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Next-Gen Honda Accord Foregoing Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/next-gen-honda-accord-foregoing-takata-airbags/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988450 When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system. Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the […]

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2014 Honda Accord Hybrid Exterior-012

When the next-gen Honda Accord arrives in U.S. showrooms in August 2017, no Takata airbags will be used in the sedan’s safety system.

Reuters reports the automaker has chosen competitor Toyoda Gosei to supply driver-side, knee and curtain airbags for the North American version of the Accord. Additionally, Toyoda Gosei will supply units for the CR-V and Odyssey starting in 2016.

As for the airbags currently in play, Honda signed an agreement with another airbag competitor, Autoliv, to start production of replacement units for the 13 million-plus vehicles recalled by the automaker due to Takata-supplied airbags since 2008. Honda is also in discussions with Daicel Corporation for more replacement parts, as well.

The move toward Toyoda Gosei from Takata follows a request from General Motors for the supplier to share specs with both TRW Automotive and Autoliv in the event the automaker needs to replace airbags in its own vehicles. Over 21 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers around the world have been recalled due to the potential for catastrophic failure of airbags made by Takata, resulting in five fatalities and several dozen injuries thus far.

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General Motors Developing CVT In-House For Global Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-developing-cvt-house-global-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/general-motors-developing-cvt-house-global-lineup/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987842 Not content with using CVTs from other manufacturers, General Motors is working on a CVT in-house for use in its global lineup. Per Ward’s Auto, details on the new transmission are scant at best, though the publication’s sources state the in-house unit will be installed in several “high-volume” models by 2019, paired up with the […]

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2015 Chevrolet Spark

Not content with using CVTs from other manufacturers, General Motors is working on a CVT in-house for use in its global lineup.

Per Ward’s Auto, details on the new transmission are scant at best, though the publication’s sources state the in-house unit will be installed in several “high-volume” models by 2019, paired up with the automaker’s new line of three- and four-cylinder engines set to see production this year. The sources added that GM is taking bids from suppliers to build parts for the CVT.

Though the automaker uses CVTs already, including the 2015 Spark and Nissan NV-based City Express, it hasn’t had much luck with using units designed and assembled in-house. In the early 2000s, GM ran a program that saw such a product installed in the Saturn Vue and Ion, as well as the Opel Vectra, before production and drivability issues brought the program to a halt in 2004.

As for why go for it again, GM Powertrain representative Tom Read says the automaker has the capability to make its own CVTs, and will deliver when conditions — specifically those concerning fuel efficiency and emissions — are met:

GM has unmatched transmission expertise and development resources and is capable of delivering additional CVTs if and when they’re needed.

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Judge Asked To Make Treasury’s Role In 2009 GM Bailout Public http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/judge-asked-make-treasurys-role-2009-gm-bailout-public/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/judge-asked-make-treasurys-role-2009-gm-bailout-public/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987098 Before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week, the Center for Auto Safety asked the judge to make public the U.S. Treasury’s role in the 2009 General Motors bailout. Bloomberg reports the consumer safety advocacy group asked the judge to force the United States federal government into disclosing a number of […]

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Before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week, the Center for Auto Safety asked the judge to make public the U.S. Treasury’s role in the 2009 General Motors bailout.

Bloomberg reports the consumer safety advocacy group asked the judge to force the United States federal government into disclosing a number of documents linked to the Treasury’s role in the bailout, suggesting the department told GM to cast aside responsibility for any defects or accidents tied to said defects before receiving $49.5 billion in funding.

On the other side, the Treasury is asking the judge to dismiss president Clarence Ditlow’s 2011 lawsuit for the aforementioned information, warning that being forced to go public would harm the government’s chances to come to the aid of a company whose demise would greatly damage the overall economy.

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Toyota No. 1 Global Automaker In 2014, Volkswagen Close Behind http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-no-1-global-automaker-2014-volkswagen-close-behind/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-no-1-global-automaker-2014-volkswagen-close-behind/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987066 Once again, Toyota is the No. 1 largest automaker in the world, but Volkswagen is waiting close behind for the chance to take the crown. Automotive News reports Toyota sold 10.23 million units in 2014 with help from its Daihatsu and Hino partners, the first time the automaker sold over 10 million units in a […]

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WEC 6 Hours of Fuji

Once again, Toyota is the No. 1 largest automaker in the world, but Volkswagen is waiting close behind for the chance to take the crown.

Automotive News reports Toyota sold 10.23 million units in 2014 with help from its Daihatsu and Hino partners, the first time the automaker sold over 10 million units in a single year. Volkswagen took second on the podium with 10.14 million, and General Motors took third with 9.92 million.

2014 marks the second consecutive year Toyota has held the top spot, having regained it from GM in 2012 after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami greatly hindered production for the majority of that year. The automaker originally took the top spot from GM in 2008, the latter having dominated the podium for 80 years prior; Toyota also held the title in 2009 and 2010.

As for 2015, Toyota is forecasting deliveries of 10.15 million due to decreased demand at home and in emerging markets, as well as from falling oil prices and Japan’s increased national consumption tax. Volkswagen, meanwhile, is ahead of schedule as far as taking the crown goes, CEO Martin Winterkorn stating such a thing would occur by 2018 at the earliest before 2014’s results showed otherwise.

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NLPC: GM Buying PR, Awards For CEO Mary Barra http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nlpc-gm-buying-pr-awards-ceo-mary-barra/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nlpc-gm-buying-pr-awards-ceo-mary-barra/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986986 Since becoming General Motors CEO last January, Mary Barra has netted a few awards for herself, something the National Legal Policy Center sees troubling. According to Autoblog, the organization believes the numerous awards bestowed upon Barra are a sign that the automaker is buying positive publicity amid its long slog through 2014 after the recalls […]

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General Motors CEO Barra and Batey President of GM North America pose next to the Chevrolet Bolt EV electric concept car after it was unveiled during the first press preview day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Since becoming General Motors CEO last January, Mary Barra has netted a few awards for herself, something the National Legal Policy Center sees troubling.

According to Autoblog, the organization believes the numerous awards bestowed upon Barra are a sign that the automaker is buying positive publicity amid its long slog through 2014 after the recalls began in February.

Of note are the awards where GM made a monetary contribution — either through underwriting or donations — to the organizations and events where such things were to occur, like the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s “The Appeal of Conscience” award bestowed upon Barra in 2014 for “encouraging a standard in which corporate America and global corporations accept responsibility.” There, GM paid $100,000 to underwrite the event, which occurred months after the automaker was taken to the woodshed over its handling of events that led to the February 2014 ignition recall crisis.

Should said contributions be linked to the awards won that year, the NLPC says both the automaker and the charities benefiting from GM’s contributions would find themselves in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Per president Peter Flaherty:

If the campaign is designed not only to enhance GM’s image with the public, but also to strengthen Ms. Barra’s position within the company, it is inappropriate because it is being conducted with corporate assets.

Flaherty hopes GM will disclose their charitable given voluntarily, but if not, he says his organization will file a shareholder resolution to force the issue during the automaker’s annual meeting in June.

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