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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Car News

More Recall Woes For Old GM: Lucerne And DTS Recalled For Power Steering Leak

On: Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 12:45PM | By: John Welch


More Recall Woes For Old GM: Lucerne And DTS Recalled For Power Steering Leak test 1-1

Schleping through the NHTSA website this morning reveals two undeniable truths: Certain 2010 and 2011 Buick Lucerne and Cadiallc DTS models are being recalled, and so are an alarming number of recreational vehicles. Though the AutoShopper dables in the RV world, it isn't so much our bag here at the blog. Still, I can't help but notice 13 RV-related recalls since November 1st! Everything from poorly installed "trim" to leaky, explosive propane tanks. Geez, RV Industry, its like this every month! Get your act together! There is also a recall on sun roves (it couldn't be 'roofs' could it?) that seems to be bad for the Webasto Product Corporation, In case anyone cares .. .

The Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne front drive chassis are similar in many respects. Mostly, they are big, and they are old. Even old cars can't escape the recall bug, however, especially when they are being built brand new as we speak. Certain V8-equipped Lucernes and DTS suffer from cable over-lap. Yes, I just made that up. The battery and/or alternator cable interferes with the power steering return line, deep within the affected car's bloated bowels. The cable could wear through the line, causing fluid leaks. Besides loss of power steering, which is not a good thing given the age and physical strength of the average Buick Lucerne driver; the fluid may also leak onto hot engine parts. This leads to all sorts of unfortunate fires and insurance claims. GM doesn't want that, they want to help. Beginning November 19th, any affected car can be dropped off at its dealership of origin to have the cables rerouted free of charge. You can call Cadillac at 1-866-982-2339, or Buick at 1-866-608-8080 to find the nearest qualified dealer. Full recall notice inside the post . . .


Pricing Announced For New Chryslers, Can We Really Call Them New?

On: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 3:24PM | By: John Welch


Pricing Announced For New Chryslers, Can We Really Call Them New? test 1-1

Chrysler rolled out a series of awful disappointments in the years leading up to their controlled bankruptcy in 2009. New Italian management has stepped in to right the listing ship left stranded by Cerebus and Daimler, and they are setting about bailing the water from Chryslers' decks. One of the first tasks ahead of them pertains to aging models nobody wants. Specifically, the Chrysler Sebring and Town&Country. I have written at great length regarding my distaste for any commuter car being named "Sebring", and since Chrysler is going to label its new people-mover the "200", I won't go into a long, anit-front drive tirade. The Town&Country retains its moniker, and, along with its Dodge Caravan cousin, receives a raft of updates for 2011.

We have covered the 200 in previous posts, nothing has developed on that front, accept for pricing. Expect $19,995 for the base model Chrysler 200, the LX. The fancier Touring model will open at $21,995, while the even more fancy Limited will be $24,495. All of these prices include a $750 destination charge. Something we didn't cover in previous posts; power trains. The base LX Chrysler 200 will feature the usual Mitsu-Chrysler "world engine", in 2.4 liter guise. This four cylinder should supply excellent fuel economy, but forgive us if we are expecting glacial acceleration. The upper trim levels are packing the new PentaStar V6. Highly anticipated, this engine pounds out a class leading 283 horsepower, and is mated to a modern six speed transmission. About damn time.

If the Chryselr PR machine is to be believed, every surface inside the Town&Country has been reworked, enhancing the tactile feel of the vehicle. This is a good thing- we got our hands on a then-new 2010 T&C at last years' Tampa International Auto Show. It was a startlingly bad vehicle, shamed by the quality of the Kia's and Subaru's being shown next door. The dash was hard and unsightly, the trim brittle and falling apart. The stitched leather on the sift knob was peeling off, in a show car! It was a disgrace, and needed improvement about as badly as Mel Gibson needs an anger coach. The Stow&Go functioned well on the show van, the interior tricks were all very impressive, but the van as a whole left lots to be desired. Considering the $25,000 Rolls Royce, I mean, Subaru Legacy sitting next to it, the T&C was a complete joke. It belonged in Mel's rose garden. It was, in a word, terrible.

I'm not reporting anything here that Chrysler isn't aware of. They know what they did, and they know what they have to do to fix it. As evidenced by the C6 Corvettes' seats, that knowledge is not always heeded in the automotive world. Looking at the images Chrysler was nice enough to provide, I'd say the Town&Country has improved, but then, the old van didn't look that bad. Only when you actually got inside did you realize just how cheap and flimsy it actually was. Hopefully not the case with the new T&C. For full press release and image gallery, click inside this post . . .


GM Profits Top Toyota, Ford Tops Everyone

On: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 11:47AM | By: John Welch


2011 Chevy Cruze test 2

In a storied turn around the likes of which no pessimistic auto scribe was able to predict, the US auto industry has reversed its fortunes in a short two year span. We aren't out of our global economic anemia just yet, but the car market is already bouncing back in a big way. Global sales may go as high as 70 million vehicles this year, and because of smaller work forces, factory closings and fewer actual brands, automakers have positioned themselves to reap higher profits as the world revives its taste for cars.

Not that they aren't working hard for that money. GM has improved its products across the board, Honda is kicking relative ass on the strength of brand loyalty, VW continues its steady march toward world domination and Ford simply shalacks them all! Here are some hard numbers for you: In the first three quarters of 2010 GM has turned a profit of $4.77 billion. Toyota has only managed $4.46 billion in the same nine month period, while VW claims $4.9 billion. Honda is second on the list with $5.34 billion in profits before September 30th, and Ford demolishes them all with $6.37 billion; more than doubling its profit for the entire 2009 calendar year. The Ford Fiesta and Super Duty trucks are raking in the dough, and now Alan Mullay is enjoying the praise and recognition he so rightly deserves. What happened Toyota? Recalls got you down?


Return Of The Morgan Threewheeler

On: Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 11:22AM | By: Chris Weiss


Return Of The Morgan Threewheeler test 1-1

British specialty car firm Morgan is bringing back one of its legends of yesteryear: the Threewheeler. Built between the beginning of the 20th century and the 1950s, the Threewheeler looks like an interesting cross between a car and a partially faired motorcyle. Morgan is reintroducing it as a 2011 model.


 

The New MAZDA5; Is It a Minvan, Crossover, or SUV?

On: Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 11:22AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


The New MAZDA5; Is It a Minvan, Crossover, or SUV? test 1-1

Although Mazda is calling the 2012 MAZDA5 a Crossover/SUV, many critics are calling it a minivan. Whatever you call the vehicle, it is equipped with all of the features of a minivan; features such as sliding doors for convenient loading of cargo and passengers, and the roominess of a third-row seat configuration, with three person bench seat. The 7-passenger vehicle will debut at this years’ Los Angeles Auto Show.


2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Will Debut at the L.A. Auto Show

On: Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 10:34AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV Will Debut at the L.A. Auto Show test 1-1

In order to satisfy the American consumer, Mitsubishi has redesigned the i-MiEV to incorporate a wider-body. Mitsubishi's electric vehicle has sold a few thousand units on the European market since it went on sale last month.  The wider version of the mini electric car is already being sold in Japan, but the refreshed version designed for the U.S. market will be longer in the front and rear.


Hot, Hot, Hot! Ferrari 458 On Fire Again

On: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 3:53PM | By: Chris Weiss


Hot, Hot, Hot! Ferrari 458 On Fire Again test 1-1

After a two and a half month hiatus and an investigation leading to recall, the worldwide Ferrari 458 fire-fest is back on. A 458 recently caught fire in Sao Paulo, Brazil, casting some question on the efficacy of Ferrari's 458 recall.

In early September, Ferrari concluded an investigation into a rash of 458 fires that had plagued the new model since shortly after it became available. At that time, there were four highly publicized 458 fires in just a few short months, each occurring in a different country. The fires had occurred in Switzerland, California, Paris and China. Maranello concluded that the fires were a result of the adhesive used on the rear wheel arches. At extreme speeds and temperatures, the adhesive would heat up, melt and potentially catch fire.


BMW Confirms Vision EfficientDynamics-Inspired Plug-In Sports Car

On: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 3:47PM | By: Chris Weiss


BMW Confirms Vision EfficientDynamics-Inspired Plug-In Sports Car test 1-1

The Vision EfficientDynamics seen at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show is officially go. Well, kind of. BMW confirmed today that it will be producing a plug-in hybrid sports car, and while it will be based on that model, we're not expecting to see some of the most intriguing aspects of the concept, like the glass doors and blue, white and black motif.


Custom Mustang Designed For Charity

On: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 3:33PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Custom Mustang Designed For Charity test 1-1

Ford has played a big part in the EAA AirVenture for the past two years, offering a customized Mustang at auction to benefit the association's Young Eagles program. In past years the AV8R Mustang brought in half a million dollars, and the AV-X10 'Dearborn Doll' made $250,000 for charity. 

More recently the SEMA inspired Mustang will be offered at auction in January and proceeds will benefit two children’s charities that are supported by the SEMA Cares Foundation;  the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and Childhelp.  The Mustang will be auctioned off at the infamous Barrett Jackson sale in Arizona.


GM Goodwrench Getting The Long Kiss Goodnight

On: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 12:52PM | By: John Welch


GM Goodwrench Getting The Long Kiss Goodnight test 1-1

In another attempt to differentiate its brand images, GM will be axing the "GM Goodwrench Service Plus" branding it has used for its service arm since 1974. Originally introduced under the "Mr. Goodwrench" name, GM will split the former halo corporations' duties between its four brands, creating Chevrolet Certified Service, Cadillac Certified Service, Buick Certified Service, and GMC Certified Service in its place. Dale Earnhardt fans everywhere could be heard issuing a collective sigh of relief, as they can now rest assured that "Goodwrench" will never be resurrected on another, less worthy driver's stock car. The number "3" is a different story; Richard Childress have commissioned its use on more than one of his grandson's race cars.

Wait, what? I digress . . . “This is another part of the effort to clear out brand clutter,” a GM source said, though the brand will remain in Canada, where it still carries some sort of cachet. In the States, the brand will officially bite the dust February 1st, 2011. It seems that GM dealers have gone against the Mr. Goodwrench credo in recent years, failing to display signage touting "Service for all GM vehicles, at all GM dealerships, using nothing but GM certified replacement parts." The Goodwrench brand, obviously, has lost some of its sway.

Steve Hill, vice president and general manager, GM Customer Care and Aftersales, explains the new branding in a statement released this morning: “Certified Service supports GM's strategy to focus on the four brands—Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac—and is a natural extension of the customer's vehicle purchase experience at the dealership.”

The name change does little to affect the bad rap GM service has earned over the years, needless to say their crappy cars. Here's hoping the recent improvements in product design and execution trickles down to the proverbial service department. The full press release can be found inside this post . . .


Ford Stocks Are Up $16 per Share For First Time In 6 Years

On: Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 10:53AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Stocks Are Up $16 per Share For First Time In 6 Years test 1-1

Ford Motor Co. announced that the company’s shares rose above $16 in the New York Stock Exchange trading for the first time in 6 years. It was a 2.2% rise to $16.21 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Ford’s stock has not been over $16 per share since June 23, 2004.

The company's rising stock price is a result of its strong October sales and positive investor reaction to the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program, which sent stocks broadly up at the end of the week.