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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Miscellaneous

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.

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.

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.”

German Auto Exports Rose by Nearly 50% in May

On: Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 9:59AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

German Auto Exports Rose by Nearly 50% in May test 1-1

Germany: The home to some pretty well-known automakers—like Daimler AG, Porsche SE, Volkswagen AG, and BMW AG—is also following what seems to be the melody of rising car sales on a global scale. After taking a look at some recent news reports, indications are that sales of auto exports from Germany are up nearly 50% for the month of May; this is sorta kinda on par with a global trend of rising auto sales. (See a prior post I wrote about the Indian auto industry enjoying similar rising sales trends by clicking here.) Considering all of the recent calamity that has ensued in the auto market globally over the past few years, one has a good mind to think that this burgeoning trend can denote a final passage of the auto recession, as more consumers opt to purchase import cars from Germany and abroad. And some of these cars don’t come cheap: They are sought-after, coveted luxury autos like BMWs and Porsches.

According to an early June Associated Press report, “ 'German car exports increased by nearly half in May compared to a year earlier but sales continued to slide at home', an industry group said Wednesday.”

The report further sheds some light on how vast this increase of production in car exports from Germany really is: “Germany exported 367,700 cars last month, an increase of 46 percent compared with May 2009," said the VDA group, which represents automakers. That followed a 58 percent year-on-year rise in April. Orders from abroad were up 22 percent in May compared to a year earlier, rising for the 10th consecutive month. China and the United States have provided strong demand this year, VDA said.

Mother Gives Birth While Driving

On: Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 3:57PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Mother Gives Birth While Driving test 1-1

Everyone has heard stories of women delivering babies in the car on the way to the hospital—old news, right? Well, here’s a new local news story that beats them all! A Minnesota woman delivered a baby last week on the way to the hospital—while driving her Chevy Cobalt! She was racing to the hospital with baby’s father—who apparently was unable to drive due to a medical disorder—and according to a statement by the father in the local newspaper "she yelled 'quick, grab the wheel'.”

The baby’s father, Joseph Phillips, reportedly took the steering wheel while Amanda McBride, the mom to be, delivered the newborn—at the same time as she controlled the accelerator and brake in an attempt to speed to the hospital.

The couple considered pulling over to the side of the road to call an ambulance after the baby was delivered, but decided to turn up the heater in the car and drive the rest of the way into the local medical center themselves. According to the 29-year-old new mother, “the baby just came right out. I was just sitting on the seat and he just slid out. It really wasn’t bad at all."

A Cool Accessory For Your Car

On: Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 2:31PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

A Cool Accessory For Your Car  test 2

The list of car accessories available for your automobile is endless these days.  If you plan to spend a lot of time on the road, particularly if you love camping, one of the most useful is a refrigerator that plugs into a 12 volt power point in your vehicle to keep food and drinks cool when traveling without the mess and hassle of keeping ice in a cooler.  Some types of portable units can even keep food frozen in the car!

If you are traveling with a baby and need to keep bottles cool, or for diabetics with insulin that has be kept refrigerated, this car accessory is invaluable. The minimum size that most people select is 40 liters which can hold enough food for two adults and two kids for several days.  The size refrigerator that you select will depend partially on the space you have in your vehicle and the type of power source you have, the bigger units of course draw more power.

How The Tide Turns; Quick US Sales Update

On: Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 12:23PM | By: John Welch

Things are getting brighter in downtown Detroit test 2

Spring has sprung and, in some cases, stank. Sales reports for May are smiling on the Big Three, helping boost confidence in our once extremely shaky domestic auto industry. As far as GM is concerned, 'everything's comin' up Milhouse'!

General Motors stuck with its 2010 forecast of 11.3 million to 11.8 million U.S. light-vehicle sales for the industry, and used this foresight to nail their sales targets. GM, which yesterday marked the anniversary of its 2009 bankruptcy filing, saw overall sales rise 17 percent. All three Detroit automakers beat analysts' average forecasts by at least 6 percentage points.

Every major automaker reported a double-digit spike in U.S. sales—all except poor downtrodden Toyota. In May, the light-vehicle sales rate hit its highest level since December. The incentives offered during Toyota's March sales push increased sales by only 7 percent, Toyota's worst sales performance since posting declines in January and February during recall kafuffles. After recent global recalls of more than 8 million vehicles Toyota is still struggling to fix its image.

Inside the post you will find all of the hard numbers for all of the automakers currently selling cars in the U.S...

Traffic Violations on YouTube-Who Will Be Prosecuted?

On: Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 10:46AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Traffic Violations on YouTube-Who Will Be Prosecuted? test 1-1

A recent story of an exotic car dealer who was charged by local police for videos he put on YouTube, exhibiting his Lamborghinis and Ferraris on a public highway in St. Louis, Missouri, at very high speeds, has produced a lot of interest from readers. The story also sparked the interest of those involved in criminal law.

The police found videos online of the car dealer allegedly driving up to 150 mph on the interstate and wondered if the videos would be enough to convict him of speeding. The Chesterfield, Missouri, prosecutor was questioned as to what the likely outcome of the case would be: can a person get a speeding ticket because he was video-taped speeding? Although the driver was videotaped going nearly 150 mph, the arrest report shows that he is not being charged with speeding, but the actual charge is “failure to exercise care”, which is a violation of the ordinance against reckless driving.

Indian Car Industry Expected to Grow 25%

On: Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 9:50AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Indian Auto Industry test 2

According to a late May report published on BS Motoring, “The passenger vehicle industry is poised to record another good month in May, at an estimated 25 per cent growth in sales vis-à-vis the same month last year. This came on the back of a low base, revival in demand and a larger number of models compared to the same period last year. However, the absolute numbers are likely to be slightly lower than in April, when the industry registered its highest-ever growth of 33.9 per cent, at 1,82,182 units, in a decade.”

So indeed, as you can see, even in April the industry recorded its highest growth ever, in the history of auto-making. Hardly something that you would say is a decline, or stunted growth. So it does look like the carmakers are really pushing to get new cars and used cars on the road as more consumers recover from the recession, and finally undo those belts that they have had so tight over the past few years in order to meet their monthly obligations. In short: More people are buying more new cars, and that’s a really good thing!

In the same BS Motoring report, Vishnu Mathur (the director-general of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) projects the sales boom to keep going, “With new emission norms and the confusion pertaining to it, there have been fluctuations in sales in May and we expect the sales would be the same or slightly lower than April. However, it will continue to be significantly higher than May last year and we expect the growth momentum to continue.”

The industry for new cars and used cars in India looks pretty good, too. According to Arvind Saxena, the director of sales and marketing at Hyundai Motor India, who stated in the same BS Motoring report that, “We should see mid double-digit growth in May, with the i10 and i20 being in great demand.”

And growth for GM is looking up as well in India. P Balendran, the vice-president of GM India explained in the same article on BS Motoring that, “While the wholesale numbers would be the same or slightly lower than April, retail sales are expected to be higher, as companies are offering discounts on several models.”

GM projects that they will have sold around 8,000 units, in India during the month of May.