Here's the Thing

White House disputes Edmunds' analysis of clunkers program

By David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

(October 2009) Washington — The White House said the influential automotive news Web site Edmunds.com's harsh analysis of the impact of "cash for clunkers" was "faulty" and "implausible." Edmunds shot back that the White House was "shooting the messenger."

Edmunds said cash for clunkers cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold. Nearly 690,000 vehicles were sold during the $3 billion cash for clunkers program, officially known as CARS, but Edmunds.com analysts calculated that only 125,000 of the sales occurred as a result of the program.

CNBC Squawk Box and the future of new-car sales

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(October 2009) One of the problems facing cars companies as we approach the second decade of the 21st century is that they are building their products too well. Reliability is too high. Cars on a whole last longer without major repair. Change the oil at regular intervals, make sure fluids are maintained, and get the prescribed 10,000, 30,000 and 60,000 mile checkups. That's a recipe for 10 years of mostly trouble-free driving.

Cars are simply lasting too long. Wait a second, you say, isn't this a good thing? Of course it's a good thing, a great thing, from the consumer's point of view.

Chrysler may not make it another year

By Douglas A. McIntyre 
From 24/7 Wall St.

(October 2009) Rumors, credible rumors, are beginning to circulate in the car industry and the automotive press, that Chrysler may not make it another year primarily due to its falling sales and growing financial losses at partner Fiat. Chrysler sold a 62,197 cars in September down 42% from the same month last year. The figure was down from 93,222 in August when traffic to dealers was pushed up by the ”cash for clunkers” program. Chrysler’s problems may only be beginning and, if so, Fiat, the ”managing partner” among Chrysler’s owners may not be able to keep the American company intact.

General Motors is trying, but it can't seem to hit the right notes

(September 2009) The GM arrogance bug seems to be catching. The smirk behind the smile on GM Chairman Ed Whitacre in his debut as a Lee Iacocca clone just doesn’t work, at least for us. It seems he performs better in the boardroom where he has earned the reputation as a “bulldog.” And CMO Bob Lutz acts like he is as pure as the driven snow or at least as pure as Whitacre’s white hair, reflecting his know it all GM attitude.

Survey shows buyers want more power, more cargo room in their small cars

(September 2009) TUSTIN, Calif. — A just released study on the future of small cars in the United States shows American consumers are increasingly interested in smaller cars, but with reservations about size and features. The study underscores the challenge automakers face in trying to meet government mandated improvements in fuel economy while still delivering what consumers want and will buy. Many carmakers have recently introduced new, smaller cars to the market and are launching more in the future.

Watchdog group: GM money-back guarantee paid for with tax dollars

(September 2009) ALEXANDRIA, Va.  (USNewswire) — General Motors' new 60-day money back guarantee campaign seems to offer something for everyone — except taxpayers, the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) pointed out today. NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp offered the following statement about the program:

This Sunday, General Motors launched a new marketing campaign, "May the Best Car Win," and will offer car buyers a 60-day money-back guarantee. Perhaps a more fitting slogan is "Taxpayers, You Lose."

Subaru's 2009 sales success deserves study

By Jim Meachen
MotorwayAmerica Editor

(September 2009) We are cheerleaders for Ford. And its impressive sales gains in August compared to July 2009 and August 2008 were cause for celebration. Perhaps more interesting is the incredible sales success of Subaru, just a blip on the screen compared to Ford.  But Subaru deserves close study. What has the Japanese automaker done right?

Cash for Clunkers hangover taking its toll on auto sales, reports Edmunds

(August 2009) The Cash for Clunkers party is over, and now the auto industry is likely to experience a painful hangover. Edmunds.com anticipates a steep decline in sales in the coming weeks based upon a significant drop in "purchase intent" behavior of its Web site visitors.

"Current purchase intent is down 50 percent from the Cash for Clunkers peak, and down 11 percent from the June average," noted Edmunds.com Senior Analyst David Tompkins. "Day by day, intent is slipping: Sunday activity was down 21 percent from Saturday, then Tuesday activity was down 16 percent from Monday."

We don't understand 230 mpg, but we are anxiously awaiting a good explanation

(August 2009) It's early yet. Ample time for explaining how the Chevrolet Volt, a sophisticated plug-in hybrid that will supposedly be able to travel 40 miles on its batteries alone before needing help from a gas engine — or some type of additional propulsion — will achieve 230 miles per gallon.

We don't understand how the 230 mpg has been derived. And so far no auto guru, writer or industry expert has offered any kind of explanation. Perhaps it will be some EPA hocus-pocus.

Unexpected Clunker fallout — Chrysler, Ford suddenly face vehicle shortage

(August 2009) The success of the short-lived Cash for Clunkers program has created a new problem for Ford and Chrysler — a shortage of some vehicles.
Chrysler is particularly hard hit because of long factory shutdowns earlier this summer.

Vehicles that Chrysler had a hard time moving just two weeks ago are now hard to find. For instance there is only a seven-day supply of Jeep Patriots and a 15-day supply of the Jeep Compass. A 60-day supply is considered normal.