Inside the Industry

Ford Flex named most collectible vehicle of the future

(December 14, 2009) From America’s new cars and trucks launched in 2009, the Ford Flex will become the most desired by future car collectors. That is the prediction of the Friends of the National Automotive History Collection (NAHC).

Members of the organization, which supports the world-famous automotive collection at the Detroit Public Library, vote annually to predict the “Collectible Vehicle of the Future” from the year’s new American-built cars and trucks. The Ford Flex was selected from eight all-new vehicles launched in 2009.

Dodge Ram Heavy Duty wins Motor Trend's truck of the year

(December 12, 2009) The 2010 Ram Heavy Duty has been named Motor Trend magazine's truck of the year, beating out contenders from Ford and Toyota in the closely watched competition.

The award is a welcome piece of good news for Chrysler, which has seen its sales continue to lag even as competitors rebound. The Ram Heavy Duty beat out three other competitors — The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, the Ford Transit Connect van and the Toyota Tundra 4.6-liter work truck.

Chevrolet Camaro wins Popular Mechanics design award

(December 13, 2009) Tom Peters, executive director, GM performance cars and full-size trucks, on Dec. 11 accepted a Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Award for the design of the all-new Camaro.

Finally some good news for Toyota — plants are running overtime to meet demand

(December 11, 2009) With all the bad press recently over recalls, Toyota has some good news.

Toyota is running overtime at all its North American plants to keep up with demand and replenish low stocks of vehicles, according to a story in Automotive News.

Toyota's latest boost in North American production comes at its plant in Woodstock, Ontario. Toyota, seizing on strong sales momentum for its small RAV4 crossover, said today that it will “immediately” begin hiring a second shift of 800 workers for the Woodstock plant.

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.