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Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Miscellaneous

Saab Returns to Mexico, China, and Russia in 2011

On: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 3:27PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Saab Returns to Mexico, China, and Russia in 2011 test 1-1

Saab Automobile, the Swedish carmaker owned by Spyker Cars NV, plans to start selling cars in China, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico in the first half of next year, according to SAAB sales chief, Adrian Hallmark. Saab is negotiating with potential distributers in the four countries and has set a goal to reach agreements by the end of the year, Hallmark said late yesterday.

"In the next two years the new markets will not materially change our performance volume-wise, but in the next five years I believe they will fundamentally change our performance,” Hallmark said. The export of Saab to China and Russia was put on hold during the economic crisis in 2008 and recently Saab has decided to revisit plans for exporting its vehicels to foriegn markets again.

Hallmark stated that Saab “intends to become profitable by 2012. While the company is now focusing on re-establishing itself in the U.S. and Europe, growth markets such as China will be key to its long-term success.”


New Website Allows Users To Customize Their Dream Mustang

On: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 10:57AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


New Website Allows Users To Customize Their Dream Mustang test 1-1

Ford has a new customizable website that allows users to create the Mustang of their dreams! The site is fun and easy to use. You can select aftermarket kits and parts, and change colors, “determining the intensity of your burnout cloud,” according to Ford News.com—you can see all of the changes instantly on your computer screen and then order your customized Mustang parts online.

There are hundreds of items such as Mustang wind-guard, side strip kits, GT aluminum wheels, Mustang wing and winglet, side skirts and door panel fillers, rear fascia with dual exhaust openings, and more. Mustang owners can even choose from a variety of custom decals for their Mustang. Some of the accessories available on the online application include wheels, deck lids, spoilers and grilles, and more. Within minutes, 10 completely different looks can be created with price quotes, or you can even create a picture for wallpaper to use on your computer desktop.

There are a vast number of customizable sites out there, but the 2010 Ford Mustang customizer sets itself apart, largely because it goes beyond a linear build and price experience that most sites focus on. The site was created by the Wunderman Team in Detroit.— Ford focused on how to make the experience of creating your dream Mustang really fun.


Auto Tuner Uwe Gemballa Found Dead in South Africa

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 4:09PM | By: Chris Weiss


Auto Tuner Uwe Gemballa Found Dead in South Africa test 1-1

Those that follow all forms of automotive news on a daily basis probably remember that Uwe Gemballa, founder and owner of the Gemballa tuning house, disappeared in Africa back in early February. The company bearing his name briefly shut down in the spring, only to be reopened under a new corporate structure headed by Andreas Schwarz. Meanwhile, Uwe Gemballa has remained missing in action.

Well, Uwe Gemballa has been found, and as many probably feared, the worst has been realized. The German tuner was murdered.


New UAW Agreement Will Allow GM To Realize a Profit From Production Of The New Aveo

On: Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 12:54PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


New UAW Agreement Will Allow GM To Realize a Profit From Production Of The New Aveo test 1-1

According to Automotive News.com, the United Auto Workers union has negotiated a contract with General Motors to begin production on the first profitable compact car produced by the company in the United States.

The subcompact Aveo was originally built and designed in Korea before being shipped to the US, but now GM has signed a contract with the UAW to build the next generation Aveo in Michigan’s Orion Township plant. General Motors will receive nearly $800 million in local tax credits that will enable the company to pay the full union wages of $28 per hour to auto workers who will build the Aveo in Detroit. 

GM will also score points with consumers for saving hundreds of union jobs as the contract stipulates 60% of all workers at the Orion Township assembly plant will assemble the Chevrolet Aveo in exchange for $28 per hour plus full benefits, according to Miek Dunn, shop chairman at UAW Local 5960. The other 40% will receive “a so-called Tier 2 wage equal to roughly half that of so-called legacy workers,” says Automotive News.com.


 

Auto Industry Posts Highest Sales Record in 13 Months for September

On: Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 12:41PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Auto Industry Posts Highest Sales Record in 13 Months for September test 1-1

According to a recent automotive news article the auto industry is not yet ready to sing “ Happy Days are Here Again,” but September’s posted profits are the highest in 13 months—enough to get automakers, at the least, feeling optimistic.

Up 29% since last year, September’s numbers came in at 959,049 for sales of light vehicles, raising the annual rate to 12.2 million sales, according to automotive News Data Center. Last September marked the end of the Cash for Clunkers government incentive program, leaving dealerships depleted of supplies as a result of an inflated sales rate for August of 2009. September was the first month since 2008 that the sales rate was more than 12 million units for total automobiles sold in the United States— other than August of 2009 when the falsely inflated numbers of 13.7 million reflected the Cash for Clunkers program.

Jesse Toprak, automotive analyst for TrueCar.com, stated:  "It's a solid month, another step in a stable, somewhat painful recovery." Toprak also said; "This may be a healthier way to recover."


GM September Sales Improve 11% Over Sept. 2009

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 12:09PM | By: John Welch


GM September Sales Improve 11% Over Sept. 2009 test 1-1

Is the much hyped economic recovery really starting to bear fruit? Heh, not for me, personally, but somebody seems to be doing better than they were in September of 2009. Otherwise how could we have bought so many GM vehicles in the last month? I don't witness it in my day to day life, but somebody, somewhere is generating more cash lately, and taking that cash to GM dealerships to the tune of an 11 % sales increase over September 2009.

GMC leads the charge with a whopping 41.6 % gain over last year. Golly, we still need those big ass, lane clogging trucks I s'pose. GMC's success could be contributed to the mind boggling popularity of its Equinox sibling, the GMC Terrain. A slightly smaller, less lane clogging SUV, the Terrain features, uhm, "abstract" styling and excellent fuel economy. 

The other three remaining GM brands are all up as well, rounding out a decidedly bullish month for GM.


Where Do We Go From Here?

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 11:11AM | By: Lou Ruggieri


Where Do We Go From Here? test 1-1

Ten years ago I bought my 2001 Pontiac TransAm WS6 with a very limited set of criteria.  It was a process my 19 year old mind went through almost without my conscious involvement:  I needed a car, I saw a car, I fell in love with the car, I bought the car.  That was it.  Of course there were other minor decisions along the way, but my brain rationalized its way around all of those potential hurdles with the deft agility of an Olympic athlete.  Sure the car was a lot of money, more than I'd ever spent on anything in my entire life, but with some fairly simple mathematics, I decided picking up another shift or two a week at the bar was well worth the opportunity to roll up in my dream car.  Gas in October of 2000 was not much of an issue.   Ethanol was something that only NHRA guys ran their cars on, and a gallon of regular gas was not much more than a liter of soda at the time.  I decided that the back seat was just big enough to squeeze two friends in that really wanted to come along for the ride, and the T-tops just made things a little sweeter during the summer months. 

But now my car is fast approaching old age, and just as life teaches us in so many other ways, I need to start coming to terms with the fact that one day my car will no longer be with me.  As small pains and aches start to creep up my near 30 year old body each morning, I realize things are changing.  My life is evolving slowly into ... Something.  And so it has been my belief that a man's (or woman's) car is an extension of themselves.  It seemed clear that the message my WS6 told the world was that I liked attention and speed on a no frills budget.  But now there seem to be so many more things to consider, so many options, and variables to try and figure out, and with that thought comes the question:  What do I get next ? 


Ferrari World Announces Pricing, Opens October 27

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 4:39PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ferrari World Announces Pricing, Opens October 27 test 1-1

A Ferrari amusement park sounds like something any supercar-lusting, red-blooded man or woman dreamed up on a particular good night of REM. Happily, it's one of those dreams that's as true when you wake up as it is when your eyes are shut. Deep in the works in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World, which features all kinds of Maranello-inspired rides and attractions, has announced its official pricing. And visitors just seething to get their first taste of the park will be able to do it a day earlier than originally scheduled. 

Ferrari World will open on October 27 at 7 p.m., less than one month from today. The park pushed the opening date up by one day. The opening will mark the start of the "inaugural period," which will run through November. In December, Ferrari World will hold a grand opening celebration.

As for pricing, Ferrari World uses height rather than age to distinguish between guests. Guests 1.5 meter (4' 11") and taller will be charged AED 225 ($61) and those guests shorter than that will be 165 AED ($45). And since the park is located in the Middle East, where richer folks love to distinguish themselves from the masses, there will also be a premium ticket, which includes priority on rides and attractions, and entry into a private lounge with refreshments. Those tickets will cost 375 AED ($102) and 270 AED ($74). 

The park will be open on Tuesdays through Sundays beginning at 12 p.m. each day.


Chrysler Factory Workers Caught Drinking on Lunch Break

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 10:41AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


 Chrysler Factory Workers Caught Drinking on Lunch Break test 1-1

Chrysler Group recently reported that 13 autoworkers were fired and 2 others were suspended after they were caught drinking during their lunch breaks. A local television station filmed the Chrysler employees drinking alcohol on the job, then aired the film to the public. According to Automotive News.com, Detroit Fox News channel responded to a tip and “captured workers from the Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant guzzling beer and, in some cases, smoking what appeared to be hand-rolled cigarettes or other smoking material.”

Interestingly enough, Auto News also pointed out that the incident occurred within days of Barack Obama’s visit to the Detroit auto plant in which the President praised autoworkers for their worthiness of the federal bailout that saved union workers jobs. The news coverage prompted a high level of response from local Detroit viewers and was the topic of discussion on many of the local Detroit radio stations; the public was reportedly “outraged at the workers who returned to work after the lunch breaks." Viewers also voiced criticism regarding the TV station that aired the report.

The report was considered derogatory for Chrysler’s reputation as consumers questioned the safety of vehicles being produced by intoxicated plant workers. Chrysler was adamant about giving a statement to convince consumers that the plant’s control systems would ensure the quality of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV that was being manufactured there.


Ford Announces Plans to Build New Engine Parts Plant in China

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:54AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Announces Plans to Build New Engine Parts Plant in China test 1-1

Many U.S. automakers are developing plans to take advantage of the economic boom in China, as well as of the increased demand for American vehicles by local Chinese consumers. Ford has announced its decision to begin the construction on a second automotive parts assembly facility in China.

Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Company is the name of Ford Motor Co.'s China venture that is made up of an alliance of Ford Motor Company, Mazda Motor Corporation, and Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. This week Changan Ford Mazda signed an agreement with the Chinese municipal government to build a new $500 million automotive engine plant in the local city of Chongquig. Those present at the signing were Chongqing Changan Chairman Xu Liuping, local government official Xiong Xue, and Ford China CEO Robert Graziano, as well as Ford Motor CFO Lewis Booth.

Ford plans to begin construction of the new plant in 2011 and the engine production will begin 2 years later.


Volkswagen Plans to Overtake Toyota as World's Largest Automaker

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:40AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Martin Winterkorn test 2

CEO of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn stated that the company plans to become the world’s largest automaker by 2018. This is a lofty goal for Volkswagen; the German automaker tied at 5th place this year (under Honda, Subaru, Toyota, and Hyundai) on Consumer Report’s  list of top automakers. While it’s true that VW has had some award-winning vehicles, such as the Volkswagen GTi, selling more cars than Toyota will be quite an undertaking for the German automaker.

Winterkorn reports that he feels so strongly about leading the company into first place, as the world’s largest automaker, that he wants to remain the CEO long enough to see that continuity is established and the company's goals are met. "We know how ambitious our goals are," Winterkorn said in an interview to be published Monday in the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.