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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Miscellaneous

Tacoma Production Produces Jobs In Texas

On: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 10:10AM | By: John Welch

2011 Toyota Tacoma test 2

The Toyota Tacoma has typically sold well in the US, even when domestic competitors have seen their small truck sales slump, like Stacks after his Tommy DeVito lead sandwich. Causing us to like the reliable Tacoma that much more, Toyota has hired 1,000 workers at the TMMTX (Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas) facility in San Antonio, Texas.

Hit hard by the effects of slow sales, TMMTX didn't panic and start printing pink slips by the hundreds. Instead of lay-offs, this facility retained its workforce and focused on improving processes and 'team member skills'. The official plant opening was attended by Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Toyota Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi. The Toyota-supplied press release inside the post . . .

Obama Says U.S. Will Continue to Support Automotive Jobs

On: Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 9:19AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Obama Says U.S. Will Continue to Support  Automotive Jobs test 1-1

President Barack Obama, after visiting with the Big Three Detroit automakers, told workers at a Chicago-based Ford Motor Co. plant that they are a crucial part of today’s economy. “I refuse to walk away from this industry and American jobs,” Obama said after touring a factory where Ford, the only Big 3 U.S. automaker that didn’t take bailout money, will begin assembling the new 2011 Explorer later this year. “I have put my money on the American worker. I have put my money on the American worker.”

As many people know, last year’s bailout money that GM and Chrysler Group received helped the automakers to avoid eliminating literally hundreds of thousands of jobs, which according to Barack Obama would have resulted in “severe consequences for the U.S. economy.” Obama announced that Ford Motor Co. would qualify for a $250 million guarantee loan from the Export-Import Bank to finance the shipment of over 200,000 U.S.-made Ford vehicles including, of course, the new redesigned Ford Explorer to Canada and Mexico.

Grand Thrown Down At Watkins Glen, Ganassi Takes Number Seven!

On: Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 4:47PM | By: John Welch

Grand Thrown Down At Watkins Glen, Ganassi Takes Number Seven! test 1-1

The race was going quickly . . . very quickly. By the middle of the first hour it appeared that the Crown Royal 200 at the Glen was going to go the distance caution free, something that has never happened at Watkins Glen. With no yellow flags to slow and bunch the field, the race leaders were running a blistering pace. The No. 01 Ganassi BMW averaged a startling 120.679 mph on its way to the 7th victory of the season for Ganassi.

Tying the Rolex Series record for wins in one season is a big deal (especially considering there are two races left, with no signs of weakness from the Ganassi bunch), but the margin was paper thin. Scott Pruett brought the attractive (for a DP) BMW/Riley across the line 2.722 seconds ahead of the Wayne Taylor Dallara driven by Max ('The Ax') Angelelli. These two cars rubbed fenders all day, but, as usual, Scott Pruett came out on top.

AutoShopperBlog Personas For Mozilla Firefox!

On: Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 12:04PM | By: John Welch

AutoShopperBlog Personas For Mozilla Firefox!  test 1-1

We know you love reading the AutoShopperBlog on a daily basis, not because you have to, because you want to. With that in mind we have developed a way for Mozilla Firefox users to stare at their favorite AutoShopper photography instead of finishing those dreaded TPS Reports. These "Personas" work only with Firefox , are free, and feature as much racing hooliganism as we can fit into a 3000x200 rectangle. A very kewl way to spice up your browser that doesn't involve unicorns or Japanese animation or blinged-out Escalades that are so off center you can see only half of one massive chromed wheel.

We have submitted three Mozilla Personas to Firefox so far, but will be adding more weekly. Click inside the post to adorn your browser with some AutoShopper eye-candy . . .


Play It Again ... And Again ... And Again, Sam!?

On: Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 9:51AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Play It Again ... And Again ... And Again, Sam!? test 1-1

There is nothing like hearing a great cover song.  It's a new twist on an old favorite, reminiscent of your youth and days gone by when everything seemed to be better for anyone lucky enough to be a part of the time. Whether it's The Atari’s doing a cover of 'Boys of Summer', or Joe Cocker's great rendition of 'With a Little Help from My Friends' by The Beatles, or Lenny Kravitz's cover of the Guess Who hit 'American Woman', the feeling you get makes you instantly tell the youngest person around that will listen exactly where you were the first time you heard or saw the original band play that song. But as good as even the best covers are, no band has ever made it truly big on covers alone. Real success comes from original material, and what makes a band truly memorable.  


The auto industry, however, seems to be stuck in a series of cover albums over the past decade or so. Beginning with the PT Cruiser that harked back to the Woodys of the 30s, there has been a disturbing, and not so subtle, trend among auto designers. Car after car, there has been an incredible number of retro styles that hark back to some other decade. The annoying Volkswagen New Beetle made its return to the streets after many years in the hazy memories of the 70s. Chevy has had little in the way of retro success. The list of sales disappointments includes the SSR that was supposed to recall pickup trucks of the 1940s and 1950s, or the HHR which did not recall the 1949 Suburbans like GM said it was modeled after, but instead simply recalled the Chrysler PT Cruiser. Ford jumped on the bandwagon with the overpriced and under performing Thunderbird, and then had mild success with the Ford GT, even though it couldn't secure the rights to the name GT40. The Jeep Commander, Toyota FJ Cruiser, the list goes on and on.

Tesla Posts Second Quarter Loss

On: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 11:32AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 test 2

In its first earnings report since its initial public offering in June, Tesla Motors Inc. reported a second quarter loss of $38.5 million, or $5.04 a share, up from about $10.8 million or $1.56 per share in the same quarter last year.

According to Musk the number one goal for Tesla this year is to build a prototype of the S Model Sedan that is very close (80-90%) to the final production model.The initial public offering was in fact, one of the few lucrative IPO’s in 2010.  Tesla actually raised approximately $226 million when it offered 13.3 shares for sale to the public.  Historically, this was the very first United States automobile companies to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. Palo Alto-based Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA.O) reports second quarter revenue of $28.4 million, up from $26.9 million in the same quarter last year.

The Great Mini-Van Wars Of Aught Ten: Japanese Nissan Quest Revealed

On: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 3:42PM | By: John Welch

The Great Mini-Van Wars Of Aught Ten: Japanese Nissan Quest Revealed test 1-1

We have seen the redesigned Toyota Sienna, the brand new Honda Odyssey, but where is the third wheel in our Axis of Asian Mini-Vans? Nissan is getting around to it, just be patient.

I say things like that as if anyone cares about a bunch of MommieWagens whose popularity waned towards the end of the twentieth century, giving way to the rise of the fullsize SUV. Considering their tainted, dorkish reputation, these vehicles have a lot of work to do if they want to capture our collective, highly ego-driven American taste.

As far as the Sienna and Odyssey are concerned, these issues have been addressed. Decidedly butch, both bread boxes exude a much tougher persona, and in some ways overcook the, uhm, "rawness". The Toyota delivers an easily understood people-mover with a slightly edgy side. The Honda is a little less easy to comprehend; from a styling standpoint, anyway. Some of those angles . . . yikes. Otherwise, the Honda is as desirable as the Toyota, and, to me, both are far more desirable than any number of SUVs.

This rodeo is missing one bucking bronc, the Nissan Quest. As is custom with foreign automakers, the Japanese version of the Quest, entitled "Elgrand," has been released to the saki-fueled, car crazy Japanese public shortly before the North American release of the Quest.

Ford Sale of Volvo To Geely Final

On: Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 9:52AM | By: John Welch

2011 Volvo V60 test 2

Having paid $6.5 Billion dollars for Volvo in 1999, one would think that FoMoCo would want to at least break even  . .. right? To US Automakers, getting rid of their European Luxo-Brands is breaking even. Just as GM lost its shirt on Saab, but is better without Saab, Ford is losing a truck-load of money on Volvo, yet doesn't seem to mind. Geely, coughing up $1.8 billion for Volvo, is saving $4.7 billion dollars. That certainly is a 'truck-load' of money.

“Volvo is an excellent brand with a strong product line, and it has returned to profits after a successful restructuring. We are confident Volvo has a solid future under Geely's ownership,” Alan Mulally, Ford CEO, said in a statement.

“At the same time, the sale of Volvo will allow us to sharpen our focus on the Ford brand around the world and continue to deliver on our One Ford plan serving our customers with the very best cars and trucks in the world.”

Where did all this restraint and responsible thinking come from? Oh yeah, Boeing. It's as if Bill Ford Jr. invited Gordon Ramsey to Dearborn for an episode of "AutoMaker Nightmares." To quote Ramsey: "How can you open seven restaurants when your first restaurant is failing?!" So true with any business; Mulally is simply finishing a plan he set in motion that would create a profitable Ford without the overhead and production baggage associated with EuroBrands like Jaguar, Land Rover (both gone to Tata in 2008), Aston-Martin (the press says AM was sold to Proton, but we all know David Richards owns all of Malaysia, as well as a large portion of Wales), and now Volvo. Ford will retain Stephen Odell, former Volvo CEO, who will return to Ford as CEO of Ford of Europe. This leaves the door open for Stefan Jacoby to step in as Volvo CEO.

Obama to Announce Early Success of Auto Bailouts

On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 5:12PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Obama to Announce Early Success of Auto Bailouts test 1-1

President Barrack Obama traveled to visit Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Company this week to attempt to sway the taxpayers into believing that the bailouts have had a positive outcome and will result in bringing a financial return. Recent polls have shown that voters are not impressed about the bailouts in general and they are currently unconvinced that the $84.8 billion rescue will result in a financial return. In fact, as many as 48% of the public polled are less in favor of the bailouts while only 17% are more supportive. 

Obama’s speeches will take place in the Detroit area GM and Chrysler plants in what he is calling “an industry revival that has saved millions of jobs," according to the Bloomberg News. In a preview of the President’s speech on ABC earlier this week President Obama stated: “We are going to get all the money back that we invested in those car companies.” The automakers’ recovery “tells a good story” about the U.S. economic recovery, he said.

According to the former head of the automotive task force (initiated by President Obama): “It appears that those of us behind it haven't succeeded in convincing people that it's worked.” According to Ronald Bloom, a recent appraisal of General Motors reveals that the company is worth about $60 billion, the same amount that it took from the taxpayers last year as a bailout.

Bloom also made comment about the number of jobs that have risen in the automotive industry since the bailout, stating, “If we hadn't have stepped in when we did, most observers believe at least a million jobs would have been lost.” All of the Detroit Three have reportedly posted a profit in the first quarter of 2010, and Ford Motor Company realized a net profit that was the highest in two years for the second quarter, a sure sign that the automotive industry is recovering. General Motors has already repaid $6.7 billion in loans and the U.S. hopes to recoup tens of billions of dollars more when the company conducts an IPO scheduled for later this year.

President Barrack Obama traveled to visit Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Company this week in order to attempt to sway the taxpayers into believing that the bailouts have had a positive outcome and will result in bringing a financial return. 

Arbitration Cases Settled For Chrysler Dealership

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 10:04AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Arbitration Cases Settled For Chrysler Dealership  test 1-1

The verdict is in for Chrysler arbitration cases; final count: 73 wins and 32 losses for Chrysler Corporation resulting from law suits that were filed against the company when it closed 789 dealerships after bankruptcy in 2009. The arbitration hearings, which were mandated by Congress, began in April this year and continued through the middle of July, with the final decisions being announced this week.

The arbitrators that ruled in favor of Chrysler made reference to the company’s post bankruptcy strategy to merge Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep together into single dealerships. 

For the dealerships that won their cases, the main factors that supported the decisions were how fast Chrysler closed the dealerships, as well as how many total dealerships were closed; in fact, the Inspector General for the U.S. Troubled Relief Program had investigated those issues as well.

Lawyers who represented the dealers stated that more of them would have won provided the audit by Neil Barofsky had been released, giving arbitrators access to the information gathered from the audit before making their final decisions.

BMW to Sponsor U.S. Olympics

On: Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 11:00AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW to Sponsor U.S. Olympics test 1-1

At a recent news conference in New York, BMW and the U.S. Olympic Committee came to an agreement that BMW will be the very first imported car manufacturer to sponsor the Olympics and a 6-year contract has been signed between the two entities. The 24 million dollar deal will replace the 2008 agreement that General Motors had when it  sponsored the Beijing Summer Games.

"Part of our company's ethos is to really become part of the culture of countries where it sells cars," said Jack Pitney, vice president of marketing for BMW of North America. BMW engineers plan to assist USOC to upgrade the technology for athletes, a new helmet design that is more aerodynamic is just one example of how BMW will assist in supporting the Olympic games. BMW will also help the USOC with fundraising.

BMW will be the “official mobility partner," which is a term that was created to encompass a wide range of forms of transportation that BMW will provide for the games.

BMW will sponsor the bobsled and skeleton, speed skating, swimming, and track and field. This not the first time that the German automaker has supported American athletes; in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics BMW also stepped up to the plate.