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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

Ford May Lose Some Investors to GM IPO

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:52AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Allan Mullaly test 2

According to the Bloomberg News, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman, Bill Ford recently commented that some of the company’s investors may liquidate their holdings in order to buy shares in General Motors Co’s IPO with the strategy in mind of distributing the risk throughout the automotive industry.

“Some money will be rebalanced into GM, but look: our company and GM ultimately are going to succeed or not based upon performance,” according to Ford's statement to reporters at an event in Detroit. “It doesn’t make any difference to me where our shares are or their shares are on any given day.”

As GM prepares for its initial public offering after bankruptcy, many analysts are predicting an offering of up to $16 billion.

The U.S. Treasury currently owns as much as 61% of GM. The share sale will allow the company to decrease the government’s ownership share while making a comeback to public market. Ford Motor Co. was the only Detroit automaker of the big three that didn’t take a government bailout or file bankruptcy by borrowing $23 billion. Alan Mulally, Ford CEO stated that the company is at a disadvantage in the marketplace due to having such a huge financial loan obligation.

U.S. Dealers Are Asking For More Inventory

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:38AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 GMC Terrain test 2

We have heard the woes of dealers across the country complaining about lack of stock and lost sales, every since automakers cut production as a result of last years’ stalemate of new car sales affecting every automaker in the U.S. market.  Stories about dealers such as Carter Myers who reports that he is losing motivated buyers over lack of products such as the Terrain crossover, Honda Pilots and Sonatos, and Chevy Suburbans, to name a few.

Automakers "have driven supplies too low,"  according to Myers, a former chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

It is a perplexing issue across the industry.  While most dealerships in the industry suffer from low sales these days, many dealers feel they could definitely sell more vehicles if automakers would supply them. There are a handful of difficult-to-get vehicles, such as the Terrain, which accounts for much of the problem. Many of the complaints are from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group dealers.

73% of the 244 dealers interviewed in an Automotive News survey last week, agreed that they had too few new vehicles in inventory. And 77% of those respondents felt that they had lost sales as a result.

Automakers report that they are doing their best to keep dealerships stocked with inventory while avoiding the past mistake of over production that resulted in too much inventory on the lots, driving prices and resell values down and high incentives up.

Finland Proposes World's First

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:29AM | By: Chris Weiss

Finland Proposes World's First  test 1-1

The Loviisa municipality in Finland is leading a project to build what it calls the world's first ecological highway. The highway, which would be built on an 81-mile stretch of road connecting the coastal town of Turku with the town of Vaalima, would feature electric charging stations as well as pumps stocked with locally-sourced biofuels in an attempt to become carbon neutral. The project is aimed at providing a model for the rest of the world. 

Loviisa is located near the beginning of the proposed green highway and has taken the lead on the project. Currently, the project is a potpourri of green brainstorming with ideas ranging from pumps offering biofuels and electricity made from local waste products to geothermal heat pumps to "smart" lighting that automatically turns on and off based on weather and traffic patterns. The town is working on a study to see if the green highway will be feasible and expects to publish a report by next spring.

Production could begin as early as the second half of next year and hopes are that the highway is done by 2016. The cost is projected at around 700 euros ($900 million), a sum that would include both public and corporate financing.

A representative from Loviisa, Aki Marjasvaara, was quoted by AFP in explaining the project's significance: "The aim is to create the model for an ecological highway that could be used even on an international level. No other such project exists. This would set an example to the world."

2011 Scion iQ, 3 Plus One

On: Tue, Aug 24, 2010 at 9:25AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 Scion iQ test 2

The 2011 Scion iQ is a new subcompact car from Toyota's youth-oriented brand. The iQ is a front-wheel-drive hatchback that seats 4 passengers. Toyota calls it the world’s smallest 4-seater.

The iQ has a 90-horsepower 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that operates much like an automatic. Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, front-side airbags, driver- and front-passenger-knee airbags, and a rear-window-curtain airbag. Standard features include a 50/50 split-folding rear seat back, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and digital-music-player plug-ins. Several audio systems are among the available features.

The 2011 Scion iQ will go on sale in early 2011. With its compact size, youthful appeal, and quirky looks, the 2011 Scion iQ is considered a vehicle with qualities opposite of gas guzzling SUVs. The New York Times described the iQ as "Cute as a square button, the iQ is a city-slicker micro car that, at 120 inches long, is barely a foot longer than the Smart Fortwo, the smallest car sold here."

The 2011 Scion iQ uses an innovative "3 + 1" seating arrangement that holds three adults and one child or pet.  The configuration makes it the smallest four-seat car in the world, according to Scion. The iQ has a long list of standard features including many standard safety features. Inside, the iQ has a well-laid out cabin. Like most Scions, the iQ is anticipated to be very customizable.


Drayson Racing Wins At Road America!

On: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 4:10PM | By: John Welch

Drayson Racing Wins At Road America! test 1-1

Some American Le Mans Series races have larger starting grids than others, an unfortunate fact of life for Scott Atherton and the rest of the people tasked with promoting the Series. On weekends that aren't Sebring or Road Atlanta, however, the prototypes that do show up do their best to entertain and astound. This weekend, set in the rolling hills of  Wisconsin, was no different.

The prototypes filling out the LMP category of the race were all seasoned teams, ready to race. Except for one, Intersport Racing. The Fields came to Road America without an engine seated in the rump of their aging Lola chassis, a motor being a fairly important component of motor racing. The Autocon Team, also campaigning a privateer Lola, lent the Intersport a fresh AER engine, though the car wasn't ready for any of the practice sessions or qualifying. An already dismal six-car LMP class was essentially reduced to five cars.

As the race got underway, it became clear that these five cars were determined to put on a good show, as Autocon driver Johnny Miwlem used his turbo-supplied thrust to take the lead from Lord Drayson before the second corner. Drayson dropped another three positions before the end of the lap, obviously going easy on his Lola coupe to ensure that it was still in one piece for his hired shoe, Johnny Cocker. For the moment, the LMP battle involved four cars: The Autocon Lola, Highcroft ARX-01c, the Cyto-Sport Porsche RS Spyder, driven by factory pilot Timo Bernard, and the Dyson AER-Mazda-powered Lola coupe.

Rising Yen Motivates Honda to Focus on U.S. Production Plants

On: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 2:08PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Rising Yen Motivates Honda to Focus on U.S. Production Plants test 1-1

28 years ago, Honda Motor Co. was the first Japanese automaker to build cars in the U.S. Today as many as 89% of Honda and Acura brand vehicles sold in the U.S. were actually built in one of Honda’s U.S., Canadian, or Mexican manufacturing plants, up from 82.2 percent from a year earlier, the company said. Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. each made 68 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. at North American plants, according to the carmakers.

“Honda's high rate of local production in the U.S. is a clear advantage,” said Yoshihiro Okumura, who helps manage the equivalent of $365 million at Chiba-Gin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “They'll benefit even more in the U.S. as the market recovers.”

Japanese exporters are working hard to find new innovative ways to cut costs, increase fuel efficiency, and move production to cheaper geographic areas in order to compensate for the 4.4% rise of the yen in 2010. The yen is at its highest level in world trading since 1995.

VW, GM, Toyota Agree to 10% Pay Raise for South African Workers

On: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 9:42AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

VW, GM, Toyota Agree to 10% Pay Raise for South African Workers   test 1-1

Union members from South African automobile manufacturing plants have reached an agreement, as far as wages go, ending an expensive 8-day strike in Johannesburg. Thousands of autoworkers signed a three-year wage deal that will result in workers getting as much as a 10% pay increase this year and an additional 9% in the next 2 years. The goal for the unions was to get a 15% wage increase, which is over 3 times the country’s current inflation rate.

Ford Wins $31 Million SUV Rollover Case

On: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 9:34AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Wins $31 Million SUV Rollover Case test 1-1

In a recent appeals case, Ford Motor Co. won the 2006 lawsuit that involved a life-long debilitating brain injury suffered by a teenager, Jesse Branham, whose injuries resulted from a rollover accident in a Ford Bronco. The $31 million suit was brought against Ford by family members of the teenager.

The case was overturned after a Supreme Court judge found that the teen’s lawyers used evidence that was inadmissible. Evidence, such as a statement that Ford Motor Co. was fully aware that the SUV was defective and had a high probability of rolling over. The judge also shouldn’t have allowed Branham’s attorneys to offer evidence of Ford executives’ pay when seeking punitive damages against the automaker during the 2006 trial, the court said. “The admission of this evidence was error and highly prejudicial,” the state’s highest court said in an August 16 ruling.

Ronnie Crosby, a Hampton, South Carolina-based lawyer for the family stated: “We believe there is ample evidence to demonstrate the Bronco II is defective and unreasonably dangerous and we’re eager to present that evidence to another jury.” Marcey Evans, a spokeswoman for Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford, declined to comment.

JD Powers Forcasts 15% Sales Decrease for August

On: Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 9:23AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

JD Powers Forcasts 15% Sales Decrease for August test 1-1

According to a recent J.D. Powers and Associates poll, the vehicle sales record for August is expected to decline from July’s numbers which were “relatively strong.” Total sales for light vehicles are expected to be down 15% from last August when numbers were high as a result of the “cash for clunkers” government incentive program. But numbers will remain above that of the selling rate from the first 6 months of 2010.

August sales are expected to be around 875,000 units, which, according to Automotive News, “represents a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 8.9 million units.”
August sales are expected to diminish slightly from July's reported rate of 9.2 million units. These numbers represent the most accurate predictor of the demand for new cars in the country.

When analysts factor in the distortion rate from the “Cash for Clunkers” program, the actual numbers are up by 14% from August of 2009.

RedLine Time Attack 2010: Japanese Metal And Everything Else

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 3:00PM | By: John Welch

RedLine Time Attack 2010: Japanese Metal And Everything Else test 1-1

Here we have all of the images the AutoShopperBlog couldn't squeeze into other posts regarding the RedLine Time Attack Series event at Sebring Interantional Raceway last weekend. There were many more pictures that didn't make the cut, either because they were of cars we have fully covered, or my finger was in the way . . . whichever.

Here we have more than few GTRs, Evos, MINIs, BMWs, Scions and Porsches. This race was a blast to cover and hopefully will return next year. I wouldn't mind a slightly overcast day, though; I'm still peeling face skin off in sheets.

If you have any questions about any of the vehicles in these pictures, feel free to ask them through the 'comments'. Enjoy!

Mazda To Issue Its Largest Recall Ever Over Power Steering

On: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:39PM | By: Chris Weiss

Mazda To Issue Its Largest Recall Ever Over Power Steering  test 1-1

According to Reuters, Mazda is planning the recall of more than 500,000 vehicles worldwide over safety issues with the power steering system. The recall includes 215,000 Mazda3 and Mazda5 models in the United States. Model years affected are 2007 to 2009.

The problem relates to a potential loss in power-assisted steering arising from rust off the high-pressure pipe falling off into the power steering pump and interfering with the power assist system. If this happens, it could present drivers with problems steering that could lead to a crash. According to the Reuters report, three accidents have been reported as a result of the problem, but none have resulted in injuries. While Mazda informed the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration that it would conduct the recall, it indicated that it did not believe the steering issue presents a significant safety hazard to drivers.