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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Reports

Ford Could See Earnings Decline Into 2011

On: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 12:51PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Could See Earnings Decline Into 2011 test 1-1

Credit Suisse has projected that Ford Motor Co. may continue to realize decreasing profits into 2011. Financial analysts project that Ford Motor Co. may possibly see a decline in profits from 2010 to 2011 as a result of increased cost for materials and structural costs, as well as the rise in future pension expense.

It seems that the cards may be stacked against automakers today in more ways than one. It’s not enough that a slow economy has negatively impacted automotive sales with the lowest level profits since the 80s; Ford now faces the possibility of a $900 million addition to the company’s pension expense.  According to a recent Automotive News article: “an earnings-per-share headwind of about 15 cents to 20 cents; if discount rates remain unchanged and asset returns do not improve, analysts, including Christopher Ceraso, said.”

"To the extent that Ford has been a great earnings momentum story, it will be difficult, in our view, for the shares to push higher in the face of declining earnings," analysts wrote to clients.

Analysts believe that Ford could possibly realize a “step-down” in profits from the financing arm of the company, Ford Credit, which has received benefits this year from gains on higher lease residuals as well as losses from slow repayment of credit accounts, which are at an all-time low.

UAW Plans Flexible Turnaround

On: Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 3:06PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

UAW Plans Flexible Turnaround test 1-1

President of the United Auto Workers Bob King reported this week that the UAW intends to ensure that members share the profit in Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group, and General Motors in 2011.

According to Automotive news, King stated: “The union wants the workers to share in the turnarounds at the U.S. automakers in a way that does not put the companies 'back in a cycle of uncompetitiveness' that left them struggling in recent years."

In a recent interview with Reuters, King was quoted as saying, "There are a number of different approaches" to achieve that, including "flexible compensation, whether it is profit-sharing or gain-sharing."

UAW contracts have enabled automakers to lower wages (entry level auto workers now make about half the hourly wage that seasoned workers earn), and provide for less benefits, due to the automotive industry crisis that started back in 2007.

The latest news is that the UAW will be writing a new contract with the intention of “rolling back some of those concessions in contract talks next year,” according to Automotive News.

Ford Introduces Contoured Air Bags in 2012 Focus

On: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 4:20PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Introduces Contoured Air Bags in 2012 Focus  test 1-1

There's a face in my air bag! Ford's new contoured air bags remind me a little bit of looking at an evil, large-brained Michelin Man, but they serve a righteous cause: mitigating the possibility of injury in an accident. Continuing its commitment toward innovation in safety, Ford announced its new and improved front and side air bag technology last week.

The contoured section of the new driver-side air bag is designed to limit impact of the chest and ribs in the event of a crash. A tether system creates the depression that you see above and helps to make for a less harmful impact.

On the passenger side, the side air bags feature newly implemented vents that can decrease the pressure for smaller occupants. The vents are placed toward the top of the air bag, meaning that larger passengers will cover them up and get the support of a fully pressurized bag, whereas smaller occupants will hit the air bags below the vents causing air to be diverted out. The lower pressurization is designed to provide less impact for smaller passengers.

The frontal passenger-side air bags also deploy differently based upon the size of the occupant. Instead of vents, these air bags use sensors to determine the size of the passenger and deploy accordingly.

Cadillac Recalls CTS And CTS-V, Passengers Urged to Buckle Up

On: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 2:48PM | By: John Welch

Cadillac Recalls CTS And CTS-V, Passengers Urged to Buckle Up test 1-1

The Cadillac CTS is stylish and satisfying, in ways few American-made luxury sedans are able to muster. Though penny-pinching is evident, the interior of this fine auto is more driver-centric than any other vehicle rolling out of Motown. Unless you are seated on the passenger side, you're too dumb to wear your seat belt, and the CTS you currently occupy drills a telephone poll.

According to the Detroit Free Press, tests conducted by the government found that a front seat passenger not wearing a seat belt could strike the glove box door and sustain leg injuries in a crash.

GM said all motorists should wear seat belts (dUh). The automaker plans to begin notifying owners of the recall next month. Dealers will replace the glove compartment assembly at no charge.

Owners can contact Cadillac at 866-982-2339. If you have already been injured by a CTS glove box, and weren't wearing a seatbelt, please slap yourself in the mouth for being an ass.


Redesigned Elantra To Hail From Alabama

On: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 11:18AM | By: John Welch

Redesigned Elantra To Hail From Alabama test 1-1

Bemoan the SUV, my friends, small cars are taking over. Hyundai is jumping into the new or mostly new small car fray by redesinging the Elantra, consolidating the flowing design language first seen on the new Sonata. To be built this fall, in Alabama, the Elantra will go on sale in early 2011. The high-end Elantra Touring model will still be imported from South Korea, leaving room at the Alabama facility for the hot-selling Sonata, of which Hyundai cannot seem to make enough. “Because we have the flexibility to take additional production from outside the plant, it shouldn’t have any impact on Sonata production at all,” Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford said. “We will have the ability to build Sonata to demand at the Alabama plant.”

We like the goofy carpish body panels, and with the edition of a 274 bhp turbo-four, we should be satisfied by the Sonata's power.

Back to the Elantra. No word on what sort of power plants we can expect from the mid-small-whatever size Elantra, but no reason the Sonata's base 200 bhp four couldn't be included. That would make for one snappy compact!

Toyota Hopes new 2011 tC will boost Scion Sales

On: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 9:52AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Hopes new 2011 tC will boost Scion Sales test 1-1

Scion’s VP announced recently that the new redesign of Scion tC coupe could potentially “double sales and breathe new life into the struggling youth-focused brand.” Next year Scion is hoping to sell between 35,000 to 45,000 units of what the Toyota owned company is calling “more-powerful coupes in 2011.”

Scion posted sales of 18,000 tC units last year, down 56% from the previous year, after a peak of 79,125 units sold in 2006. According to The Bloomberg news, the most recent forecast from Hollis came in below that of 40,000–50,000 reported in March.

The tC model has accounted for more than 41% of Scion’s overall sales for the past 6 years since it was first introduced; Scion is depending heavily on a strong future market for the 2011 tC model.

So far this year, sales of the coupe have followed suit with many other brands in that numbers have fallen—down 36% through the end of August for a total of only 8,848 vehicles sold in 2010, so far. But according to Hollis “the slide is typical for a sporty subcompact car late in its product life cycle.” He cited unemployment in the 26-year-old age group that is double the national average as one reason for decreased sales, as the Scion has sucessfully appealed to that younger market. Hollis stated: “I think we're kind of timed right for this, where hopefully the unemployment rate will turn here at the beginning of the year.”

Porsche To Return to Detroit Auto Show

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 3:02PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche To Return to Detroit Auto Show test 1-1

In a move that some are using to infer that the North American and global auto industries are officially on the rebound, Porsche will make a return to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January. The Stuttgart-based automaker has missed the past three shows, opting to focus on less conventional ways of reaching customers here in the States and zeroing in on larger markets.

Bill Perkins, co-chairman of the 2011 North American International Auto Show, told the Detroit Free Press:  “We’re very excited about it. The demand for space is very strong. People see the market coming back.”

It's too early to tell what Porsche will be displaying at the show, but those that will be there can hope that Detroit marks the North American auto show debut of the 918 Spyder Hybrid. Porsche confirmed the hybrid for production earlier this summer, so it would make sense to show it off. The 918 made its world debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Just this week, Porsche also unveiled the 2011 911 Carrera GTS, a 408-hp Carrera distinguished by exhaust modifications, a widened stance and new body work. That model goes on sale early next year for $103,100 for the coupe and $112,900 for the Cabriolet.

Senate Passes Bill to Guarantee $5 Million SBA Loans

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 9:07AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

 Senate Passes Bill to Guarantee $5 Million SBA Loans test 1-1

In automotive news, the Obama Administration has agreed to guarantee loans for small auto dealerships of up to $5 million with a bill that passed the Senate last Thursday. The federally guaranteed loan amount was only $2 million in the past and the bill raised the limit to $5 million.

The stipulation resulted from a new jobs bill for small businesses. It was intended to increase lending. Federal tax cuts of $12 billion were also offered to small businesses in hopes that the result will be an increase in hiring for many companies that have been in dire financial distress. The legislation plans to assist small businesses in being approved for loans by increasing the maximum federal guaranteed loan amount that small dealerships will qualify for, which will in turn cause credit requirements to be lowered by the Small Business Association (SBA). This new bill will improve last year’s “floorplan” financing program offered by SBA, which was not very effective in gaining participation by lending institutions.

Toyota Launches Eco Sensitive Smart Village

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 9:03AM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Launches Eco Sensitive Smart Village test 1-1

Last Thursday, Toyota took a lead in demonstrating how green vehicles and renewable energy can work together to cut environmental impact. The company launched a tiny 'smart' village in Rokkasho, Japan to test and demonstrate how consumers can use renewable energy and green vehicles toward cutting their carbon footprint.

One of the biggest knocks against hybrids and electric vehicles is that electricity still runs largely on fossil fuels. While the end user feels better about pumping electricity and not gas into his car, that electricity is still polluting the environment. In other words, EVs and hybrids are simply masking the problem not solving it. That argument seems to get a whole lot of use by status-quo lovers that want to look more forward-thinking and informed than they really are. As if the notion never occurred to anyone else.

Scion tC, Version 2.0

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 9:03AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Scion tC, Version 2.0 test 1-1


In the time Scion has taken to redesign the tC, a lot has changed in the world. The country has had the biggest peak in real estate, followed by the biggest crash in the economy since the Great Depression. The city of New Orleans has been destroyed and rebuilt. We had our first African-American president. Being on Myspace went from making you cool to making you a social outcast. Michael Vick, Roger Clemens, and Tiger Woods all went from being sports icons to pariahs, and Brett Favre retired at least 50 or 60 times. 

Needless to say Scion, and parent company Toyota, have taken their time (And about seven years to be exact) recreating their very popular sport coupe. So what do we get for all this waiting? Some unbelievable Ferrari-fighter? No, sorry. A hugely over-hyped disappointment? Nope, not that either. What we get with the newly redesigned 2011 Scion tC is simply what should have been expected all along:  A better car than the one we had. And better in just about every way possible. Almost all of the car’s major aspects have been improved upon in some way, shape, or form. 

New Dodge Viper Coming in 2012

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:57AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Dodge Viper Coming in 2012 test 1-1

Back in early July, a rather sickly looking yellowish-brown mess of a Dodge Viper rolled off production lines. That was the last Dodge Viper that we'll see from this generation, and it left a rather bitter taste in the mouth. The official idea was to make it an earth-toned Viper--for what reason we don't know--but the thing came off looking like some large animal had taken a squatter directly over it. It was that bad.

Luckily, that Viper will be long forgotten when the next-generation model makes its debut. Reports of the new Viper have been heating up, and according to Autocar, Dodge has already shown the new supercar to a group of dealers at Chrysler's dealer conference in Orlando earlier this week.