Inside the Industry

Study finds Mercedes-Benz ranks highest in retaining vehicle owners

(December 11, 2009) Resale value and vehicle quality have become increasingly important reasons for new-vehicle buyers to remain loyal to an automotive brand, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Customer Retention Study.

Now in its seventh year, the study measures the percentage of vehicle owners and lessees who replace a previously purchased new vehicle with another from the same brand. Retaining existing owners is critical to a brand's market success, particularly in the current challenging market conditions.

Richards quits after just nine days as head of Buick, GMC

(December 10, 2009) DETROIT — General Motors has confirmed Buick GMC General Manager Michael Richards has quit after nine days on the job, according to the Detroit News

"We wish him the best," said Susan Docherty, GM's vice president of sales, service and marketing, who did not name a replacement.

Volkswagen to buy one-fifth stake in Suzuki

(December 9, 2009) Volkswagen will buy a one-fifth stake in Suzuki for $2.5 billion, tapping the Japanese firm's expertise in small cars and dominance in India as VW seeks to become the No.1 automaker, Reuters reported.

The move is the second coup this week for ambitious VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech, coming on the heels of the German carmaker's 3.9 billion euro ($5.8 billion) purchase of a 49.9 percent stake in sports car maker Porsche AG.

Campbell named general manager of Chevrolet

(December 9, 2009) DETROIT — Susan Docherty, GM vice president Sales, Service and Marketing announced this week that James M. Campbell, 45, has been named general manager — Chevrolet, effective immediately. In his previous assignment, Campbell was responsible for GM's Fleet and Commercial Operations.

"Jim has a strong track record of building relationships and partnerships with dealers and customers, and deep Chevrolet experience," Docherty said. "His energy, drive for results and willingness to take risks are great assets for leading the growing global Chevrolet brand."

GM announces $336 million investment in Detroit plant to build Chevrolet Volt

(December 8, 2009) DETROIT — General Motors will invest $336 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to begin production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car in 2010.

This brings GM’s combined Volt-related investments in Michigan to $700 million, covering eight facilities. Detroit-Hamtramck will be the final assembly location for the Volt, using tooling from Grand Blanc, lithium-ion batteries from GM’s Brownstown Township battery pack manufacturing facility, camshafts and connecting rods from Bay City, and stampings and the Volt’s 1.4L engine-generator from Flint.

Land Rover recalling 4,000 2010 Range Rovers for defective airbag software

(December 7, 2009) Jaguar Land Rover is recalling more than 4,000 model year 2010 Range Rover vehicles built at the Solihull (UK) Assembly Plant from March 3, 2009, through to Nov. 12, 2009, to update faulty software that could cause an airbag deployment failure.

Government looking into potential problem with 2006 Toyota Corolla, Matrix

(December 6, 2009) Still struggling to deal with the fallout from the controversial recall of 3.8 million vehicles, Toyota is facing the challenge of yet another federal safety probe. Government regulators are probing complaints that some of the automaker’s vehicles may stall in traffic, sometimes at high speed, according to the Detroit

Ford Taurus named International Car of the Year

(December 5, 2009) The 2010 Ford Taurus was named International Car of the Year (ICOTY) at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The ICOTY award honors new-year model vehicles that foster an emotional connection with consumers. The all-new Ford Taurus was voted the winner of the 14th annual award by a panel of 19 automotive media from around the U.S. representing top newspapers, magazines and Web sites.

General Motors announces leadership changes

(December 4, 2009) Several key leadership changes were announced today by General Motors Chairman and CEO, Ed Whitacre.

“I want to give people more responsibility and authority deeper in the organization and then hold them accountable,” Whitacre said.  “We’ve realigned our leadership duties and responsibilities to help us meet our mission to design, build and sell the world’s best vehicles.”

Volkswagen to end production of the New Beetle and New Beetle convertible

(December 3, 2009) After 13 years and hundreds of thousands of sales in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the New Beetle.

Volkswagen announced the 2010 New Beetle and New Beetle convertible Final Editions, which will mark the last of Volkswagen’s current generation of the iconic models. Available in U.S. dealer showrooms beginning in the Spring of 2010, the Final Editions will be limited to only 1,500 units each. The Final Editions will receive a host of unique upgrades and touches that will truly set them apart from others cruising across the country.