10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – February 19, 2013

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1. US gas prices are expected to fall over the next couple of years as fuel consumption levels off, indicating that vehicle fuel-economy gains may have positive long-term effect on everyone’s budget.

2. GM nets income of $4.9B in 2012, down from $7.9B in 2011 faults slow European sales.

3. Toyota announced it has reached a $29 million dollar settlement with the Attorneys General of 29 states and one US territory that will resolve their complaints relating to recalls performed by the automaker from 2005-2010, including those related to sticky accelerators and malfunctioning floor mats that may have contributed to cases of unintended acceleration.

4. Chrysler recalling 278,222 trucks and SUVs over bad rear axles – impacted models include Dodge Dakota, Ram 1500, Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango.

5. According to Wards Auto, the initial run of 800 Vipers has already sold out with deliveries starting next month.

6. Of $418 billion disbursed through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) (a program designed, started and implemented under the Bush Administration and continued by the Obama Administration) a report in Automotive News indicates that “about 93 percent” has been paid back, and the latest figures put Treasury’s loss from the program overall at $55.58 billion. That’s a $4.1 billion improvement on the last figure, when the expected red ink added up to $59.68 billion. The auto industry’s portion of that loss is estimated to be $20.3 billion, a 16-percent drop from the earlier estimate of $24.3 billion.

7. Chrysler has issued a recall for 3,660 Viper models from the 2003 and 2004 model years for sudden airbag deployment problems.

8. CNN recreates the NYT Tesla Model S drive with miles to spare. NYT says it stands by its review. Tesla suing. Everyone is taking sides. In the end it’s probably good publicity for Tesla.

9. Given lawsuits over the Toyota, Kia and Hyundai goofs on promised fuel economy, the NHTSA has said it will more closely monitor fuel mileage claims from car makers.

10. How much does it cost to crash 132 cars for a movie? How about $11 million for the new Bruce Willis Die Hard movie.

10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – February 13, 2013

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1. Chevy Malibu sales aren’t what GM hoped for so the company is reducing prices to as low as $23,150 MSRP to generate more interest in the car.

2. Chevy has abandoned it’s “Run Deep” slogan in favor of “Find New Roads.” I always liked the Run Deep commercials. The new slogan debuts along with the new C7 Corvette ad.

3. US Mercedes Benz fans are groaning at the new that the new CLA Edition 1 will be sold exclusively in Europe.

4. Our favorite car-related commercial “So God Made A Farmer” got Dodge Ram trucks a lot of notice. But it also helped a very worthy organization. The Future Farmers of America got a cool $1 million as a result of a charity drive tied to the ad.

5. In case you are the kind of person with lots of time on your hand, good news – the Monopoly race car piece was NOT cut from the game. The poor iron wasn’t so lucky and got the boot in favor of a new cat piece.

6. Jaguar is now showing the F-Type to journalists. The preproduction cars are on tour and will start to appear in US showrooms (for ordering purposes only) later this month. Jaguar announced that the coupe version of the F-Type won’t ship until 2014.

7. You may have thought we were done with Corvette C7 news but you were wrong. GM has promised it’s staging the world premiere of the model’s convertible version at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

8. If you want the cheapest car to own, Kelly Blue Book says that at the brand level, Mazsa and Lexus earn the crown when it comes to five year costs.

9. If you had your heart set on a new 2013 Range Rover you better have already put your money down. Land Rover says the car is sold out (pre-order) for at least six months and maybe a year. Ummm can’t you guys make more?

10. Automotive News Europe says Honda’s sales in Europe are so bad that it will cut 800 workers from the Swindon, England plant that builds the CR-V, Civic and Jazz (a.k.a. Fit).

10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – January 29, 2013

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1. The Detroit News is reporting that Ford’s Focus Electric car is selling slowly so Ford is kicking in big rebates to try to spur sales.

2. Automotive News says that Tesla Motors is upping production of the Model S to 400 a week with a goal of 20,000 a year.

3. Fuel cells aren’t talked about as much as traditional electric cars, but they aren’t going away. Daimler, Ford and Nissan have agreed to collaborate on fuel cell technology.

4. In recall news – Toyota is recalling sixteen models from the 2009 to 2013 model year for possible airbag issues.

5. TheDetroitBureau.com says Toyota has retaken the global sales crown. The Japanese automaker pulled just ahead of General Motors and Volkswagen in 2012.

6. Car companies & the government are listening – on social media. Hyundai and Chrysler have someone dedicated to watching Twitter for complaints, and federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey forums and websites for hints about possible defects.

7. Think you’ve heard it all about the C7 Corvette? Nope. Autoweek says General Motors is reportedly using the Geneva Motor Show as its venue to debut the Corvette Stingray convertible.

8. Juan Pablo Montoya in a BMW won the 24 hour Rolex race at Daytona.

9. Despite predictions  to the contrary, auto sales in the first month of 2013 have been strong, continuing the trend set in 2012. Sales are predicted to be up at least eight percent.

10. General Motors will invest $600 million to upgrade its Fairfax, Kan., plant, where it builds the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse sedans.

10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – January 15, 2013

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1. Rolls-Royce isn’t suffering from any financial recession. They just recorded their best sales year ever.

2. The International Olympic Committee likes German cars – but they are apparently tired of the Mercedes and has selected Audi as the official car of the IOC.

3. Bloomberg News is reporting that the U.S. District Court in California threw out a class-action lawsuit brought by Toyota Prius and Lexus owners over a 2010 recall due to failed anti-lock brakes.

4. Chevrolet has surpassed Ford in sales to the U.S. government for the first time since the so-called “auto bailout.”

5. If you look at the number of partial shots we’ve seen of the new C7 Corvette you could build the final car. Automobile Magazine has leaked a cover shot which is allegedly the new Vette. We’ll know in just a few days as GM will debut the car at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

6. The original Porsche 959 prototype will be on the block at Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona next week.

7. Ford is making news by showing an increase of sales to China of 21% and the announcement of 2200 new white collar jobs to open during 2013.

8. Honda is bringing 50 new jobs to Ohio. The Japanese auto maker announced it’s spending $23 million in its Marysville, Ohio plant to make the upcoming 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid.

9. The new Cadillac ATS was named the North American International Car and Truck of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show.

10. Last but not least, Chevrolet stopped teasing us and finally released the details of the new C7 Corvette. It’s not a radical departure from the C6 but there are enough changes that most of the critics think it looks good.

10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – January 8, 2013

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1. Garmin wants to put more than a GPS in your car. At CES in Las Vegas this week Garmin is showing off the K2 platform which they hope will be the dashboard of the future – incorporating all your in-car entertainment needs.

2. Think CES is all about cell phones and computers? Nope it’s got cars everywhere. Seven of the top 10 manufacturers will showcase their latest technologies on the CES show floor, including Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia and Subaru. The focus is on electric cars, entertainment and safe driver technology.

3. Subaru is on the CES bandwagon with the roll out of STARLINK and EyeSight a pair of new in-car entertainment systems.

4. In a case that dates back to April 30, 2011, General Motors and the United Auto Workers are being sued by 28 employees at GM’s Lordstown, Ohio plant that builds the Chevrolet Cruze. The employees say that when they were hired in October, 2006 they were improperly classified as temporary workers.

5. The Financial Times says China will build more cars than Europe in 2013 – that’s a first.

6. In a move that I wish more car-makers would adopt, Hyundai and Kia are adding Google Maps API to their in-car nav systems. The days of the old, outdated, DVD-based nav system are over.

7. 230,000 cars or more were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. 15,000 are about to be auctioned. Be sure you look carefully at the title and condition of any car you buy this year to look for traces of Sandy damage.

8. GM recalls 55,000 full-size truck, SUVs and vans over faulty shifter mechanism.

9. This is a prize you don’t want to win. For the third time in four years, Toyota Motor Corp. recalled more vehicles than any other automaker operating in the U.S making it the number one car company for recalls in 2012.

10. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Eco-Driving Index indicated the average fuel economy of new vehicles purchased in 2012 rose to a record 23.8 mpg, up 1.3 mpg from 2011 and up 2.9 mpg from 2008.