Inside the Industry

General Motors increasing spending on more fuel-efficient full-sized pickups

(January 15, 2010) General Motors is increasing spending on its next-generation light-duty, full-sized truck program to create more fuel-efficient, more attractive pickups, the Automotive News reports. The re-engineered and restyled light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups are expected to debut around the 2013 model year. The pickup program had been put on hold prior to GM's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The trucks now will land in showrooms at about the same time as originally planned.

Hummer production in Louisiana comes to a halt

(January 14, 2010) General Motors will stop production of Hummers at the end of this week as the automaker waits for Chinese regulators to approve the brand's sale to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., the Automotive News reported today.

Output of Hummer H3 and H3T models at GM's Shreveport, La., plant will resume once the pending acquisition is completed, Hummer spokesman Nick Richards said.

VW official says diesel-powered vehicles will continue a mainstay for the company

(January 14, 2010) While the U.S. automotive industry is still cool to diesel-powered vehicles, it has not affected Volkswagen.

The German maker’s diesel-powered products continue to gain ground, encouraging VW to add the powertrain as an option on even more of its models, going forward, said Stephan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen of America, at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit this week.

“With any new vehicle that arrives with a diesel option,” Jacoby said, “we estimate 20 to 30 percent of the mix will be diesel.”

Toyota, Honda take top honors in consumer loyalty awards

(January 13, 2010) Toyota and Honda took top honors in R. L. Polk & Co.’s 14th Annual Automotive Loyalty Awards, which were presented at the 2010 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit on Tuesday. The awards measure consumer loyalty to a brand.

Four new awards were presented including the Most Improved Loyalty to Make, which was won by Audi. In addition, three new ethnic loyalty awards were presented.

Mazda delivers fifth hydrogen vehicle in Japan

(January 13, 2010) HIROSHIMA, Japan — Mazda today delivered a Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid to Iwatani Corporation, an energy development company based in Japan. The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid is Mazda’s latest hydrogen rotary engine (RE) vehicle which uses hydrogen as a fuel and features a unique hybrid system

General Motors says no bid for Saab has been good enough

(January 11, 2010) General Motors sent its clearest signal yet today that none of the bidders for Saab had submitted an offer that would prompt the automaker to reverse a decision to shut down the Swedish luxury brand, according to a report by Reuters.

"We're closing down Saab," GM Chairman Ed Whitacre told reporters on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show. "We're winding it down."

China cements status as world's largest car market

(January 11, 2010) China's auto sales exceeded 13.5 million units in 2009, state media reported Friday, cementing the Asian giant's status as the world's biggest car market. Vehicle sales rose more than 40 per cent from a year earlier, Xinhua news agency said, citing figures provided by an unnamed source.

In 2008, auto sales rose around eight percent to 9.4 million units, according to official figures.

Honda recalling 76,000 Ridgeline trucks for wiring harness fix

(January 11, 2010) Honda is recalling 76,000 Canadian built  2006 and 2007 Ridgeline pickup trucks after several of them caught fire.

Ridgelines made between Jan. 17, 2005, and June 7, 2006, have a wiring harness connector for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (hvac) blower motor located under the passenger’s side of the instrument panel.

Ford plans nine new or upgraded engine introductions during 2010

(January 9, 2010) DEARBORN — Ford said Friday it plans to introduce nine new or upgraded engines and six new transmissions on its cars and trucks during 2010.

The automaker also announced Friday it will show many of those engines as part of an enlarged display space at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that is nearly twice as big as last year.

Compacts regain momentum in December, J.D. Power reports

(January 8, 2010) U.S. new-car and light-truck sales in 2009 totaled 10.4 million units, down 21.2% from 13.2 million unit sales in 2008 on a selling rate adjusted basis. (December 2009 had 28 selling days vs. 26 in December 2008.) Some 2.8 million fewer new vehicles were sold in 2009 than in 2008, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.