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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Car News

Daimler Looking to Score Points at World Cup

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:11PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


2010 Fifa World Cup test 2

The CEO of Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, has his eyes set on a massive marketing campaign for the FIFA World Cup this year. When the German soccer team takes to the field their attire is typically plastered with all sorts of Daimler ads, and this year should look to be no different. Except that Zetsche has emphasized the fact that he is not only trying to bring more consumer awareness to the thriving Mercedes brand, but he is also wagering his stakes on the German soccer team winning the event—something that they have not done since 1990.

Daimler’s campaign will include the traditional fanfare of advertising that is commonly prevalent at soccer tournaments and major sport events. According to a report by Auto News, Daimler's spokesperson, David Biebricher, concludes that, “Daimler's 2010 campaign involves traditional advertisements as well as online, print, and television media cooperation agreements.”

Damiler feels the need after the recent flop at the Formula One races. Damiler sponsors a car, and driver Michael Schumacher—who the company signed to help boost consumer awareness—is not doing well enough to provide the expected (or, at least, hoped for) jump in sales. He is in ninth place after completing seven Formula One races this year. So the car company is casting its eyes towards the World Cup this year as a method of rebounding their sales, and perhaps building more awareness of their brand to other countries, like South Africa—where the major soccer tourney is being hosted this year.

The company plans to offer some pretty sweet incentives to get drivers into a new Mercedes, as well, according to the report by Auto News. “A special leasing offer pays Mercedes' customers as much as 319 euros if Germany wins the World Cup title at the July 11 final in Johannesburg. The country's odds of winning are 14-1, according to betting company William Hill Plc. Spain and Brazil, both with 4-1 odds, are the co-favorites. Mercedes is also offering zero-percent financing under the “dream selection” program, which includes the compact A- and B- class models, as well as the GLK SUV. The SLK discounts are for a package of options including larger wheels and black leather seats with red stitching.”

Many Germans see the pairing of the carmaker and their World Cup advertising as an emotional relationship and a bond that exists between Daimler and the German football team. In an interview with Auto News, Thomas Rosier, a managing director of dealer Autohaus Rosier GmbH, stated, “The promotion is very sympathetic and the partnership between Mercedes and the Germany's premium football team fits together very well.”


Chrysler Adds Minivans To The List Of Recalled Vehicles

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:07PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Chrysler Adds Minivans To The List Of Recalled Vehicles test 1-1

Chrysler has now hopped on the recall bandwagon as it is recalling close to 600,000 Jeep Wranglers and minivans in the U.S. and another 100,000 vehicles recalled from Canada, Mexico, and other international markets. The reason for the recall, according to Chrysler spokesperson and federal regulators, is a problem with wiring and brakes that could potentially cause a safety issue.

In the most recent Chrysler recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the leak resulting from the front inner fender liner rubbing against the brake fluid tubes which may cause brake fluid to leak, potentially leading to partial brake loss.  The minivans that were recalled have improperly placed wires that could come into contact with hinges on the sliding doors which could cut through the insulation, resulting in a fire hazard. Chrysler spokesman Nick Cappa was quoted as saying that only “in rare instances” could the defect lead to a fire inside the van doors.


Will Elon Musk's Financial Problems Prevent Tesla from Going Public?

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 2:45PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Will Elon Musk's Financial Problems Prevent Tesla from Going Public? test 1-1

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, is reportedly broke. According to a recent court filing in connection with his divorce case, Musk ran out of cash last year and has been living off of personal loans borrowed from friends since October of last year—even though he is spending $200,000 per month and bringing in $8,255 in monthly personal income. The question is: will the divorce between Elon and his estranged wife interfere with Tesla's plans to go public in the near future?

"About four months ago, I ran out of cash," Musk wrote in a court filing with the Superior Court of Los Angeles on Feb. 23, released by VentureBeat.com on Friday. "I had to obtain emergency loans from personal friends. These loans are the exclusive source of cash I have. If I did not take these loans, I would have no liquid assets left."

In addition Musk had this to say about a $1 million loan he made to Tesla; "I did not and could not actually receive this money from Tesla," he wrote. "It was converted to equity. This will cause me to pay taxes even though I didn't receive actual cash income, further straining my cash resources."

The Tesla Motor Company is not in much better financial shape than its founder; the company has been operating on a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy and it shows a $30 million loss for the first quarter.

 In a recent filing with U.S. securities regulators, the new California start-up company attempted to separate itself from the much publicized divorce between Elon and his wife. In the Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the company was quoted as saying; “We do not believe that Mr. Musk’s personal financial situation has any impact on us,” seeing that the company does not plan to have to rely on Musk’s finances again in the foreseeable future.

The concern is that if Musk’s estranged wife is awarded too much of the company’s stock (she is seeking 10%) in the divorce it could impact Tesla’s capability to retaining the U.S. DoE funds (totaling $465 million).

The solution is obviously for the company to go public, but that doesn’t happen instantly and in the meantime Tesla has committed to paying $42 million to purchase the NUMMI plant in Freemont so they can partner up with Toyota to build electric cars. Toyota has agreed to pay Tesla $50 million but notuntil it completes an initial public offering.


Chrysler Wrestles With Wrangler Recall Fever

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 10:41AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


Wrangler Brake Recall test 2

The Chrysler Group has issued a recall notice for all 2006-2010 Jeep Wranglers due to problems with the braking system. According to the report, there may be contact between the right and left front inner fender linersand the right front and left rear brake tubes. The contact could cause brakes tubes to leak resulting in brake loss and a possible crash. So far there have not been any reports of related or serious accidents.

If you happen to own one of these vehicles you can easily get it repaired at any Chrysler or Jeep full service dealership free of charge. All you have to do is call your local dealership and set up a time to bring your car in, they will repair the parts without any cost to you. While there have not been any incidents related to this recently announced recall, the carmaker is urging any owners of these vehicles to get them serviced as soon as possible. Read the full recall notice after the jump.


 

Detroit Gets New Plant for Making Jeep Suspensions

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 9:49AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


Jeep Grand Cherokee test 2

Hyundai Mobis has announced that they are taking over a parts manufacturing plant in Detroit to build suspensions for the very popular car line of Jeep Grand Cherokees, which are assembled currently at the Chrysler Group’s Jefferson North assembly plant. The plant will be manufacturing the front and the rear suspensions and modules for all new Grand Cherokees that will be made in the US over the years to come. The UAW (United Auto Workers Union) executive vice president, Bob King, is simply ecstatic about more jobs coming back to a city that has been plagued by the shuttering of plants since the Big Three automaker fallout and car buying recession began a few years back.

He was quoted in a recent interview in Auto News, stating, “When you do it in an urban environment, we really appreciate that social commitment.” By urban environment, King is truly emphasizing that this will put some life back into the city which currently sprawls with empty auto plants that used to crank out thousands of cars per day. But after the calamity of the auto recession struck, it has been nearly turned into a car-making ghost town.

According to the report by Auto News, “The factory, which received $23 million in new investment, will add a second shift in July, Joon-hyung Lee, COO in charge of Hyundai Mobis’ global business division, said during ceremonies at the plant.”

Hyundai Mobis, the Korean supplier of the parts that will be used to make these suspension modules, has recently taken over the plant. This was after the departure of ArvinMeritor Inc.; the company has ceased production of lightweight vehicles and no longer requires the use of the plant for producing parts. This takeover is expected to start immediately—as Hyundai Mobis plans on adding shifts and hiring new employees starting in July of this year.

The company has no looming financial woes either, and this is great news for Detroit—a city that was once the auto-making capital of the US and the world.

The report by Auto News really shows the real numbers on how large the part maker is: “Hyundai Mobis ranks No. 20 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers to North America with parts sales to automakers in North America of an estimated $1.44 billion in fiscal 2009.”


Toyota Sales Gaining in Japan

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 9:42AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


Toyota Back on Track test 2

Despite being the subject of much scrutiny as of late, the largest automaker in the world, Toyota, is on the rebound. Things are actually looking up for this carmaker. In fact, a recent report published on Bloomberg shows that sales in Japan are way up for Toyota, and that they have substantially increased their annual production of cars and exports. Not only that, but their future is looking bright and shiny, too. This is because Toyota has risen to the challenge of what is, perhaps, the most horrendous PR nightmare any company could ever endure (with regards to the millions of recalled parts, as well as the faulty acceleration issues, and being lambasted by the US Congress). Even after many people wrote them off, and even after sales plummeted with the fall of their image, Toyota is back in the driver's seat! And there is a good reason why they are the largest maker of cars—because their annual production and sales easily demonstrate this fact.

According to a recent report published on Bloomberg, “Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, led a sixth straight monthly increase in vehicle production in Japan as a global recovery spurred exports. Output at the country’s 12 vehicle makers in April rose 51 percent from a year earlier to 731,794 units, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said in a statement today. Exports surged 90 percent.”

But the buck does not stop there. No way, Jose! The carmaker has also drastically increased the production of its car lines immensely. After the PR escapade that nearly busted the company over this past year, they had drawn back on production of new cars, and the output.  That was because they needed to focus on revamping their image, and really assuring people that buying a Toyota was a wise decision. Despite the calamity that the car company endured, they did indeed make it through the trials and tribulations, and have come out on top in the end!


New Vinyl Graphics For Customization of Ford Models

On: Sat, Jun 5, 2010 at 11:24AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


New Vinyl Graphics For Customization of Ford Models test 1-1

Ford has developed a new website for its customers to easily create a personalized look for the Ford of their choice by adding a variety of choices of new vinyl graphics that mimic custom paint jobs and cost only half as much. The vinyl graphics are professionally installed at Ford dealerships and each one comes with a warranty.

There are virtually 50 different designs to choose from for every vehicle on the website, including Ford Taurus, Fiesta, Focus, Edge, Flex, Escape, Explorer, the F-Series trucks, and, of course, the Mustang (Mustang and F-150s are two of the most commonly customized vehicles), and many more.

The idea must have caught on from the recent Ford Fiesta/American Idol promotion where 12 custom-designed Fiestas were given away in a drawing to aspirant contenders.The new website makes it easy and affordable for Ford customers to personalize their ride by selecting the model and color of their Ford, then picking form dozens of custom vinyl graphics  to "try  before they buy," seeing exactly how the graphics will look on their automobile before purchasing any of the designs.


Chrysler And BHP Catch The Recall Bug

On: Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 4:26PM | By: John Welch


CanAm Spyder Roadster test 2

Owners of model year 2007 Dodge Calibers and Jeep Compi (the Compass, for those who don't subscribe to "computermouse/Lexus" humor) are being asked to bring their cars back to the dealer for gas-pedal maintenance. To be clear: there are NO reports of crashes or injuries associated with this pedal gremlin, and both Chrysler and the NHTSA have been investigating this issue for the last month. This recall is being ordered by Chrysler and is intended to prevent any possible misshaps.

Can-Am's remarkable Spyder Roadster is also being hit with a recall today, for issues regarding the Roadster's semi-automatic clutch assembly. The full NHTSA report for both manufacturers inside das post . . .


Spyker Sold At Saab Dealers & Saab Icon May Return

On: Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 4:21PM | By: Clay Ritchings


Saab 92 Concept test 2

The upstart car manufacturer Spyker Cars N.V. intends to sell the high end sports cars in Saab showrooms near you. According to Spykers CEO Victor Muller, they plan to offer the C8 Aileron model through 90 Saab outlets by the end of next year, almost doubling the number of dealers selling the hand-made sports cars this year.

Ever since Spyker bought Saab from GM in February, the Dutch supercar maker has been benefiting from lower prices. Generic parts such as windshield wiper motors will be cheaper via Spyker's sister company Saab, because Saab buys in volume. Spyker will also benefit from the Saab engineering resources to help the production of the supercar and, in turn, make the niche supercar profitable.


GM Sets Sights Upon Growing Indonesian Auto Market

On: Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 12:19PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


Chevy Cruze test 2

If you are curious about how GM is doing, guess what: They are doing great! Not only have they been repaying their loans, and on time—and actually early on some—but they are really making strides to expand their market. Next stop: Indonesia, the fourth largest country in the world, and one of the world's hottest and fasting growing auto markets. And, to boot, people in Indonesia love the current US president (who lived there as a kid), and they also adore GM, namely, Chevys! So for GM, the next stop is Indonesia, particularly the capitol city, Jakarta.

According to a recent report published in the Detroit Free Press, General Motors “aims to capture at least 10% of the Indonesian market, which is viewed as holding the potential to substantially increase the automaker's overall sales and help boost the bottom line.”

The carmaker has been seeing some pretty good sales in this region as of late, as well. Showing some strong and steady gains in the market and really pushing sales of their very popular Chevy Cruze—a newer and sleek, very affordable four-door sedan that GM is making. An interesting perspective here on the popularity of this car is that it comes with the endorsement of the US President, Barrack Obama.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, M. Juansyah (a salesman for Chevrolet in Jakarta) said, “President Obama signed the car. This makes it kind of interesting to customers. It showed that President Obama himself is interested in buying this car. So why don't you? Obama is very well known here."


AutoNation Streamlines Sales Predictions

On: Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 11:51AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar


AutoNation Streamlines Sales Predictions test 1-1

If you are looking to get into a brand new pickup truck, you are not alone. In fact more people bought pickup trucks in the US during the past month (May) than they have in recent years. How much has this truck buying trend increased, you may be wondering? According to a recent report by CNBC, truck sales in the US are up a whopping 50% from the same time last year. More people are buying more trucks, and thanks to massive dealer incentives, rebates, and lighter financing restrictions, this is a trend that should hopefully continue well into the future.

Over the months that lay ahead it should be far easier to see what the real numbers are for truck sales in the US. This is because one of the leading auto sales companies in the US, AutoNation, is going to start releasing monthly reports to aid consumers and news sources. This new reporting method should serve to work wonders for analysts, buyers, and just about anybody who is interested in how the US truck market is currently faring.

According to a recent report published on CNBC, “AutoNation, the country's largest vehicle sales company, is now giving us some insight. Starting today, AutoNation will begin releasing its own monthly sales figures, and will provide more detail than the big auto companies.”

AutoNation also has reported a vast surge in sales for the month of May, 2010. In fact, they are up around 22% overall. And, pickup truck sales saw a vast increase in overall units sold, to the tune of a 50% increase from this same time last year. The CNBC report really offers some solid perspective on what the current numbers are, and what automakers that are manufacturing and selling pickup trucks in the US are experiencing, as far as overall sales in the month of May.

In the CNBC report they highlight these aspects, “For May, AutoNation's sales were up 22 percent, matching what we saw from some of the big automakers, including Ford (NYSE: F - News), General Motors, and Toyota (NYSE: TM - News). But get this: Pickup truck sales were up 50 percent year-over-year. That's a huge sign of strength for American small businesses, according to AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson.”