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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Miscellaneous

UPDATE: "Chevy" Brand Name Gets the Boot? GM Says It's OKTo Say Chevy

On: Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 4:34PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

UPDATE: <strike>"Chevy" Brand Name Gets the Boot?</strike> GM Says It's OKTo Say Chevy test 1-1

According to the New York Times, GM has ordered that Chevrolet can no longer be referred to as “Chevy” by any of its employees, as part of a new company marketing plan to present more of a consistent branding of the company’s name to its customers.

GM sent out a memo to Detroit this week stating: "We'd ask that whether you're talking to a dealer, reviewing dealer advertising, or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet moving forward.”  The memo was signed by Jim Campbell, the GM division’s vice president of marketing and vice president of Chevrolet sales and service, Alan Batey.

“When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding. Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer.” The statement disregards the fact that “Coke” is a nickname for Coca Cola, or that many products made by Apple have their own niche labels such as iPhones—many consumers are not even aware that iPhones are made by Apple. GM will be hard pressed to find a patron who doesn’t realize that Chevy vehicles are made by Chevrolet—or GM, for that matter.

The Car That Started It All

On: Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 10:46AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Lamborghini Countach test 2

The most beautiful car I’ve ever seen was not in a showroom. It wasn’t even on the road. No, the day I fell in love with exotic automobiles began as a very inauspicious trip with my father to an Ames Department Store, in New Hampshire, while we were visiting my uncle.  

For the record, I had always loved cars. My father still has his white 1971 Corvette with its behemoth 454 that I used to beg and plead to take anywhere everyday for years. When Dad wasn’t around to pester, I would be out and about with Mom in our 1981 Toyota Corolla Tercel and beg her to let me shift the clunky 5-spd shifter just once. I had (and still have) hundreds of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, at least two functioning radio controlled cars every year, and a collection of Corvette posters that would have made Zora Arkus-Duntov proud.  

I did love Corvettes and, up until that day in New Hampshire, I was convinced that the Corvette was king of the hill, as far as I was concerned. I had a little red Matchbox C3 Corvette that was the crown jewel of my collection. However, as I perused the toy section of Ames, I stumbled upon an enigma. It was a car I had never seen, yet instantly loved. I didn’t know what it was called, because the name was too long for my young brain to piece together on its own. All I knew was that it was white, and looked far too wild to be a real car. I picked out the white Hot Wheels car and brought it to my father who explained that the car was something called a Lamborghini. At that moment in time I knew two things about that mysterious car:  The first was its name and the second was simply that I had to have it.  

How to Acurately Calculate Your Gas Mileage

On: Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 8:53AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

How to Acurately Calculate Your Gas Mileage test 1-1

Nowadays, many consumers are becoming more and more conscious of how much fuel they consume. Many are implementing some simple techniques to save on gas mileage, such as using a feather technique on the gas pedal to accelerate or obeying  the speed limit. How do you know if your driving habit changes are making a difference? If you do not know how to accurately calculate your fuel consumption, it may be difficult to evaluate which practices actually help the most in gas expense savings, and which automobiles truly get the best gas mileage when comparison shopping.

Is Your Car a Republican or a Democrat?

On: Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 4:59PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Is Your Car a Republican or a Democrat? test 1-1

One way to find out the probability of the political party affiliation that an individual has is to find out what type of automobile he/she drives. A recent survey by market researcher Scarborough Research shows strong trends related to the type of cars that voters drive.The survey asked 500 drivers which type of vehicles they drove and gathered statistics on which cars were more likely to belong to the Republican voters, and which were Democrats’ vehicles.

Here is what the poll discovered;
No matter the political stripe, according to the survey, sedans and coupes are the most popular type of car. Half the Democrats in the survey drove them, along with over one-third of Republicans. The two groups differ on pickup trucks, which are the modern day automotive symbol of red states: 15 percent of Republicans drive them, compared with just over three percent of Democrats. 


GM Execs to Get $24.5 Million in Shares

On: Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 9:32AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

gmexecs test 2

According a recent report published on Auto News, “GM issued 184,255 salary stock units and 71,155 restricted stock units executives can exercise if they hit certain performance targets, the automaker said Monday in U.S. regulatory filings. Each unit represents one share of stock, and if GM stock hasn’t been trading for six months, the executives will receive cash.”

This distribution of shares is related to their next planned IPO launch (initial public offering), according to Joe Phillippi, the president of AutoTrends Consulting. In an interview with Auto News he stated, “This is probably 100 percent related to their run up to an IPO.” Phillippi further added, “It’s probably one more step in preparation to go public.”

The CFO for GM, Chris Liddell, emphasized that the IPO probably will not take place until sometime during the next fiscal year. Even more interesting is the fact that GM’s stock value is rapidly increasing. This means that we could potentially see them actually paying back the taxpayers and the loans they borrowed a lot faster than experts first had predicted.  

New Rules Push Automakers to Boost Fuel Economy Even More

On: Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 9:19AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

New Rules Push Automakers to Boost Fuel Economy Even More test 1-1

Everyone who has bought a new car has probably experienced the excitement of selecting a vehicle that reports great fuel economy, only to later realize that in real life driving situations, such as stop-and-go traffic on the interstate, that the new vehicle never quite stacks up to the numbers on the window sticker. Most consumers will be happy to learn that a new revision for fuel economy testing is being created by government agencies in order to push automakers into creating even more fuel efficient vehicles. New mandates could be expensive for car makers in the U.S., but they will create new rules so “vehicle test data better reflects actual fuel consumption.”

In 2007 a panel of experts were gathered by government regulators in order to analyze how accurate reported vehicle fuel economy was being reported by the automakers. Thursday that three-year report was released and it affirmed that the new rules will burden automakers with major expense in order to comply with new regulations.

The panel asked the Envirnomental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise the rules on fuel economy so that tests that are performed will be more accurate in reflecting real life MPG that motorists will be getting.

Honda Leader of Pack with Auto Sales in Asia & US - Civic is Still the Hot Seller

On: Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 1:44PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Honda test 2

At one time or another it seems that we all have known someone who absolutely swears by driving a Honda. There are tons of great lines that this automaker has to offer to the consumer—from small and  compact cars, like the Honda Civic, to roomier and spacious mid-sized sedans, like the Honda Accord. They have even increased their already impressive fleet of vehicles lately, adding the sweet touring sedan they call Honda CrossTour, and even making mini-SUVs that appeal to the younger  crowd, like the Honda Element. They also offer the Pilot for those looking for a real four door SUV, and they have the Ridgeline, a very durable and heavy-duty truck. For  parents and child-toting folks, they also offer the Honda Odyssey—which is a pretty feature-loaded and safe mini-van.

These are but a few of the many great cars already in the Honda fleet.

Over the years, Americans have really taken to Honda cars. People love Hondas for several different reasons. Most people, when asked why they cherish their Honda so much, have told me it is the most reliable car they have ever driven, and that it comes with an excellent warranty as well. They seem to really, indeed, like a car company that offers them the car they want and the peace of mind gained  from knowing their car is covered by a great warranty.

Curious about the Honda warranty, I poked around on their website (www.honda.com) and pulled up some stats. They do offer a fairly decent package. And when I looked at other car warranties, the Honda warranty does indeed compare rather nicely—adding to why people love these cars so much, in addition to the fact that they look so sleek and drive so smoothly.

Official Reproduction Parts Available For Restoring Your Old Ford

On: Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 10:46AM | By: Clay Ritchings

Official Reproduction Parts Available For Restoring Your Old Ford test 1-1

The days of driving around hunting for car parts to restore your old Ford are a thing of the past. No more trudging through muddy junk yards on the hunt for the illusive Mustang—all the while doing your best to avoid the canine landmines. If you are lucky enough to scrounge the part you need, it is unlikely that you can just bolt it to your classic and call it a day. Thanks to Ford and the “Interwebs” it is much easier to restore your classic Ford with factory-correct parts. Parts that are manufactured on original Ford tooling and have the fit and finish you are looking for are just a mouse click away.

Rejoice, Ford fanatics, your beloved manufacturer now offers up over 9,000 officially licensed parts. Ford is offering Parts for cars and trucks going back to Model Ts, and the catalog includes complete shells for 1967, 68, 69, and 70 Mustang coupes, as well as all manner of other parts to fix up old Mercurys and Lincolns. 

Chrysler Sales Peaked Over 100k in May

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 5:26PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Chrysler  test 2

I am always scouring the World Wide Web looking for positive news on the auto making industry. For one, I am a very happy person and I always look for inspiration online when reading about different industries that are now rebounding after overcoming many obstacles and hurdles. And for a second reason: there are always so many bad things that you read about in the news that it is nice to find something that is more enticing and uplifting, as opposed to only reading about things that are depressing. Speaking of depressing, the recent auto recession was really climaxing—or so it seemed—over the past several years, where the future of the Big Three automakers was at stake and filled with an air of uncertainty.

However, the full moon of sales is rising. By that pun I mean that the tides and waves of auto sales are rising, and that really is a great thing, folks! I was searching the web today, looking for some good news, and, indeed, I found it in a report from Auto News showing the once struggling and nearly bust automaker, Chrysler, had sold more overall units (in the month of May) than they had in fourteen months. Now, if you are looking for some good news in the auto industry, as it relates to new cars being sold, it does not get much cushier or spicier than this. Saucy, indeed, is my sentiment. As the report revealed to me, sales for Chrysler are vastly up for the month of May, 2010—to the tune of an overall increase of 33%.

Four Important Factors to Consider When Buying a New or Used Car

On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:56PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Car Shopping test 2

There are so many things that may pop in and out of your mind when you are considering purchasing a brand new car or a used car, or even pondering leasing one. Some things that really leap out at first thought here are price, warranty, cost of car insurance, gas mileage, annual fees from the motor vehicle department, reliability, comfort, and of course, the dreamy ride you crave to own and to drive. Thankfully, there are so many resources that are out there these days that are—quite literally—right at your fingertips. Thanks to the advent of the World Wide Web, online car shopping, price comparison, and all related aspects has been made as easy as sitting down in front of your home computer and doing some digging and poking around. To better aid you along the way, here are some things to take into consideration while you are doing your car shopping.

Your Budget & How You Figure it Out
First off, it is of good mind to know what new car or used car that you can afford to buy. An excellent method of knowing what your monthly payment might be, or what you could expect to pay per month, is by using an auto loan calculator. Lucky for you, there are some great websites that offer free auto loan calculators, such as Bank Rate (Click Here to See Their Free Auto Loan Calculator). This way you can have a really solid idea of what your payment will be, and most importantly, what you can afford to spend and expect to pay.

To Purchase a New Car or Used Auto or to Lease One
You have options, as well. You can shop for used cars online or locally; just make sure you use online resources like CarFax.com or AutoCheck.com so that you can do a vehicle history search on the car. This way if you do buy a used car, you know you are getting a great car. You can also opt to just buy that spanking new ride outright, or lease it. Keep in mind there are many underlying terms to auto lease contracts, and they all vary; so if you do plan on leasing a car make certain to read the terms before signing on the dotted line.

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.