Inside the Industry

Study finds 'Clunkers' mostly involved swaps of old pickups for new pickups

(November 6, 2009) The Associated Press has found that the popular $3 billion "cash for clunkers" program mostly involved swaps of old Ford or Chevrolet pickups for new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data.

Toyota reports surprise quarterly profit

(November 5, 2009) Toyota Motor Corp. reported a surprise quarterly profit and slashed its annual loss forecast by more than half as sales and cost cutting beat its forecasts, putting it on track to follow Japanese rivals into the black next year.

Toyota now expects an operating loss of 350 billion yen ($3.9 billion) for the year to March 31, closer to an average projection of a 293 billion yen loss in a poll of 22 analysts by Thomson Reuters.

General Motors shows first monthly sales gain in nearly two years

(November 4, 2009) General Motors Co. reported its first monthly sales increase in nearly two years on Tuesday and Ford Motor Co. also racked up gains in October, providing further evidence that the U.S. economy appears to be on the mend.

Overall vehicle sales were level with last October's totals, ending a streak of year-over-year declines as the market continued its slow climb out of the steep downturn that began in 2008.

Toyota pulling plug on Formula One racing program

(November 4, 2009) Toyota has confirmed that it will pull the plug on its Formula One program immediately, AutoWeek reported today. The news was announced by company boss Akio Toyoda in Tokyo some 11 days before a much anticipated meeting where the team's budget was to be discussed.

Toyota's withdrawal comes following the departure of Honda 11 months ago, and confirmation from Bridgestone on Monday that it will leave F1 at the end of 2010. It leaves Japan with no strong connections to the sport for the first time since Honda's return in 1983.

Jaguar plans to add sporty hatchback to lineup in 2014

(November 2, 2009) Jaguar plans to add a dramatically styled sporty hatchback to its lineup beginning in 2014.

Viewed in some quarters as a replacement for the X-Type, the new model has been inspired by the R-D6 concept first shown at the 2003 Frankfurt auto show.

The R-D6 design, which had been considered an ill fit for the brand's traditional sedan/sports-car image, is now gaining support at the highest levels of the company as it forges an independent future under Indian owner Tata Motors.

General Motors recalling 53,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion vehicles

(November 2, 2009) General Motors is recalling 53,000 model year 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt And Saturn Ion vehicles originally sold in or currently registered in Arizona and Nevada for potential engine fires.

It is also recalling 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 And Saturn Ion cars originally sold in or currently registered in Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada and Texas.

Ford posts nearly 1 billion net profit for third quarter

(November 2, 2009) DETROIT — Automotive News today reports Ford Motor Co. has posted a surprise net profit of $997 million in the third quarter and its cash position turned positive, reversing a long stretch of cash burn.

Chrysler recalls 13,000 rear-wheel drive cars — wheel may come off

(November 2, 2009) Chrysler is recalling 13,000 model year 2009 and 2010 passenger vehicles equipped with rear wheel drive. Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger and Charger models may have been built without a front-wheel spindle nut, as the result of a new supplier coming on board after the existing one went bankrupt.

Affected cars were built from Aug. 4 through Sept. 28, 2009.

The company said that while driving, “a tire and wheel separation could occur increasing the risk of a crash.”

Volkswagen picks up three best in class awards from Canadian journalists

(November 1, 2009) The Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) has just announced its "Best n Class" automotive favorites for 2010. The selections were made from an initial list of 157 different models going on sale in Canada in 2010. The organization will reveal its Car of the Year and Utility Vehicle of the Year choices on Feb. 11 at the annual Toronto Auto Show.

And the jury has added a third category for 2010, an award for the Best New Green Technology.

Ford sells more than half million Fiestas in first year

(November 1, 2009) DEARBORN, Mich. — One year after its debut, more than half a million customers have purchased the new Ford Fiesta, marking an important milestone as Ford Motor Company prepares to bring the fuel-efficient, global car to the U.S. and other key Asian Pacific markets next year.