Ten Tiny Bits Of Automotive News – April 24, 2012

1. Porsche is no longer doing business in Iran. This news follows similar news from Hyundai. Of course Iran isn’t full of people who can afford a Porsche – so it’s probably not going to cause a big dip in Porsche’s overall sales.

2. Mercedes-Benz launches a furniture line. Okay

3. There are more problems at Fisker. Sources say that the Delaware plant is idle, read that as DEAD and layoffs have been occurring across the company.

4. According to Forbes Magazine, auto makers comprise 10% of the largest 100 companies in the world. VW was the top of the auto list at number 17.

5. According to Edmunds – Honda and Acura are the best auto brands for retaining value at resale, holding almost 50% of their value for five years.

6. Jaguar rolls out the “Ultimate XJ” in China. As an owner of the 2011 Jaguar XJK Portfolio Edition I can tell you the Chinese are in for one great car.

7. Honda was ordered to pay almost $10,000 to one Heather Peters over claims that the car would get 50 MPG. Now the case is on appeal and Honda is challenging the award.

8. Nissan’s web site was recently attacked by cyber criminals. Company officials say no customer data was stolen. Nissan must use Windows. (I kid – I kid!)

9. Scion is killing off two of its models. The xB and the xD will soon be history.

10. Despite the bad reputations many car repair shops seem to have, a “Consumer Reports” study shows that nearly three quarters of respondents said they were completely or very satisfied with the repair work they received. The chief complaint according to the study was high cost.

10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – April 17, 2012

1. From the “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should department…”

Justin Beiber chromed his Karma Fisker

2. And continuing the theme from our first news item…

Ferrari has announced that if you live in China, you can buy your 458 Italia swaddled with a dragon-horse painted on the car along with gold pictures and black stripes. I’m contacting my Congressman and asking him to introduce a bill that would make it a felony to sell such a car in the USA – just sayin’.

3. Hyundai is aiming to halve it’s less profitable fleet sales in the USA and increate retail sales to 100,000 or more units. Perhaps making the Veloster run as fast as it looks would be a good start.

4. New car prices up 7% – According to data tracking service TrueCar.comhe – the average new vehicle sold in the U.S. in March cost $30,748. That was up 6.9 percent from $28,771 a year earlier and marks an all-time record. Better equilibrium between supply and demand was cited as a primary reason for the trend.

5. Ford says the next-generation Mustang will be designed to meet European Union pedestrian safety regulations and that other changes are being considered to globalize the pony car including a hybrid drivetrain. Kind of takes all the fun out of owning a Mustang in my opinion.

6. NADA pulls a number out of their a$$ and claims new fuel economy standards will cause 7 million people to stop buying cars. Their so-called “reasoning” is that “IF” the price of a vehicle goes up people won’t qualify for financing. The NADA offers no evidence for this claim. And it flies in the face of the fact that 2011 was a record sales year for the US auto industry despite the fact that new news we reported above shows new car prices climbed by – 7%. If the dealers don’t want the new fuel standards they should stop making stuff up and come up with some real evidence that it’s a bad idea to protect the environment.

7. GM has announced a recall of certain 2011/12 Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia models for wipers that may fail under heavy snow.

8. The financial crisis in Europe isn’t hurting car sales. VW just reported nearly 1.4 million vehicle deliveries for Q1, 2012. That’s a five percent increase over last year.

9. GM has announced that the final C6 Corvette (2013) will be offered in a new color called Night Race Blue. There are also new wheels to choose from.

10. In the “I’m not sure if this really matters category” – An outfit called NineMSN.com says that BMW owners are twice as likely as non-BMW owners to cheat on their spouses. They are also twice as likely to spend too much on a car!

10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – December 5, 2011

1. Petersen Automotive Museum co-founder Margie Petersen died last week from breast cancer at age 76. Earlier this year, she made a $100 million contribution to the museum that bears her name, which included her family’s private car collection.

2. Saab Great Britain has officially filed for bankruptcy protection. Saab GB is a wholly owned subsidiary of Swedish Automobile N.V., the parent company of Saab. Seems like every week we have a story about Saab going bankrupt.

3. Ford has announced its second new color for the 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302. It’s a green monstrosity called “Gotta Have It Green.” Trust me you don’t gotta have it. Perhaps they meant to call it “Turkey-vomit Green?”

4. Our favorite performance/tuners Hennessey has announced the new 2013 Venom GT Spyder. At a mere $1.25 million, it might not be in everyone’s budget, but it’s still exciting. We saw the hardtop version of this car at SEMA in Las Vegas and it’s amazing.

5. Chrysler’s has announced in the pages of Viper magazine that the 2013 Viper will be introduced at the New York Auto Show in early April. Whether or not you’ll ever actually be able to buy one for anything close to MSRP remains to be seen.

6. Consumer Reports surveyed car owners and surprise, the Chevy Volt rated highest in popularity amongst owners. Not bad considering Porsche 911 (which costs more than twice as much) finished second.

7. In an attempt to do away with any doubt that he is a complete idiot and jerk, Clarkson this week said British public sector workers should be shot dead in front of their families. Calls are coming from some in UK for him to be kicked off TopGear.

8. U.S. auto sales are up for November. General Motors reported total sales of 180,402 vehicles in November, up 7 percent compared with November 2010. Chrysler Group reported U.S. sales of 107,172, a 45 percent increase compared with sales in November 2010 (74,152 units), and the best year-over-year sales gain this year. Ford Motor Company’s November U.S. retail sales increased 20 percent versus a year ago. Total sales were 166,865, up 13 percent.

9. GM is offering to buy back Chevy Volts from any owner who is worried about their cars catching fire. While there have been no issues in real life, during government tests, it appears that the Volt can catch fire weeks later if the battery is not properly attended to after a crash. As of press time, GM says only two customers have taken the offer.

10. Customer complaints of faulty brakes have forced Subaru of America to postpone the sales of three of its 2012 models: Impreza, Legacy and the popular Outback.

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Ten Tiny Bits of Automotive News – September 12, 2011

1. Another week – another recall. Honda is recalling one million cars – yep ONE MILLION to fix electrical and software problems. The Fit and CR-V lines are impacted. Could all these recalls at Honda have something to do with their very sluggish sales numbers?

2. GM is reporting that their sales in China set a record in August – up 13.4 percent.

3. Chevy has announced specs on the new Camaro ZL1. It delivers 580 HP, Magnetic Ride Control, Performance Traction Management and a host of new technology. Chevy says it is the most powerful production Camaro ever built.

4. Audi must not be confident that it can sell many R8 GT Spyders since it is limiting US units to 50. At more than $200k per car – they may be right.

5. It looks like Saab has had its last chance. The bankruptcy judge has denied their latest request for court protection. My advice – don’t put down any money on a Saab unless you see it in front of you and don’t expect future parts or service.

6. The Frankfurt Motor Show opens Tuesday. All accounts say it will be the largest in years. More than 50 automakers and specialty builders will exhibit 100 models.

7. The 2012 Volkswagen Passat and upscale cousin, the 2012 Audi A6, each received a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

8. Chrysler says the Fiat Diablo is coming to the USA as a RAM truck. The 2013 model is expected to crowd Ford in the European commercial van segment.

9. Reports are continuing to surface that Honda will discontinue the Ridgeline Pickup. Given the fact the company has not made a significant change to the truck since it’s 2005 introduction one could argue it was discontinued then.

10. One last recall to finish off this week’s news. Subaru is recalling approximately half a million cars for issues related to wipers and suspension. The models impacted are: 2002-2007 Impreza, 2003-2008 Forester and 2010-2011 Legacy and Outback.

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Sponsored by:
Helmet Cameras @ GoPro.com

10 Tiny Bits of Automotive News – August 1

1. Elliot Handler probably did more to inspire a love for cars than any other person I’ve ever heard of. He was the creator of the Hot Wheels car and he passed away last week at 95 years young. He will be missed and the world is certainly a better place because he was in it.

2. Ferrari Brings 7-Year Free Maintenance Program To U.S. The offer applies to anyone purchasing a 2012 Ferrari California, 458 Italia or FF from its authorized dealership network.

3. The nice folks at Hennessey are preparing a 1000 hp Cadllac CTS-V Coupe! I’ve driven a stock version of the CTS-V and I can tell you that making it even faster might be terrifying.

4. Speaking of the Fiat 500. Okay I wasn’t really but now I will – I just love an excuse to talk about this car. . . Mopar is now offering more than 150 accessories for the Fiat 500.

5. Auto makers and President Obama have announced an agreement on a new fuel-efficiency standard for 2025 of 54.5 MPG. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard is an average of all cars sold by a manufacturer.

6. It appears that there’s not much ZOOM ZOOM in Mazda right now. The company reported losses of $327 million in Q2. The company hasn’t shown a profit in three years.

7. On the other end of the spectrum – Ferrari turned in its best six months in its history from January to June, 2011 with an increase of almost 12% over the same period in 2010.

8. GM has invested in a company that makes solar-powered panels so that it can offer this power to Volt dealerships and Volt owners. Finally – something that makes sense. Electric cars charged by the Sun.

9. Gas not hybrid engines – that is what Mazda is betting on by focusing on SKYACTIV technology. Rather than develop a hybrid, Mazda is offering more fuel efficient gas motors. Their new engines – designed to appear in EVERY mazda – offer an overall weight reduction of 10% with 15% more torque in the lower-and mid-range RPMs.

10. Maybe there is a connection? Indian auto giant TaTa Motors sales in down six percent and General Motors sales in India up 33 percent.