April 2010

Saturn production grinds to a quick halt

(October 5, 2009) AutoWeek reports that General Motors has halted production of Saturn cars and crossovers and plans to sell the thousands of Saturn vehicles it has in stock within the next four months.

Many of the vehicles were built to supply to Penske Automotive Group Inc. But on Sept. 30, GM's expected sale of Saturn to Penske was canceled.

Within 24 hours of that news, GM built the last Saturn vehicles, said GM spokeswoman Sherrie Arb.

September sales report from J.D. Power and Associates

(October 2009) U.S. light-vehicle sales in September 2009 skidded 25.7% to 744,161 units from 962,097 unit sales in the same month last year, and were 41% below August 2009 delivery totals, when the government’s CARS (Cash for Clunkers) incentive program concluded.

September’s 9.3 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) likely was the second-lowest monthly sales pace this year after February’s 9.1 million-unit SAAR, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.

A few September sales highlights:

Chrysler creates new Ram brand

(October 5, 2009) DETROIT — Automotive News reports that Chrysler Group has created a new brand called Ram for its trucks and named its top designer, Ralph Gilles, as CEO of Dodge cars.

The new structure overhauls a setup announced in June as the automaker emerged from bankruptcy in an alliance with Fiat. Michael Accavitti, who had led the Dodge brand, has "resigned to pursue other interests," the company said in a statement.

Fred Diaz is president and CEO of the Ram brand.

Nissan reveals sketch of new global compact car

(October 3, 2009) Japanese car maker Nissan has revealed new sketches of its global compact car model that will be manufactured in five different countries including its Chennai facility in India.

Audi recalls A3, TT models for potential fuel leak

(October 5, 2009) Audi is recalling more than 10,000 A3, TT and TT roadster cars with “quattro” transmissions because of a potential fuel leak while driving. A3 model years of 2006-2010 are affected, as well as 2008-2010 TT models.

Dealers will not be notified until parts are available.

Hyundai big winner in September sales; Ford gains market share

(October 2, 2009) South Korean automaker Hyundai/Kia was the clear U.S. sales winner in September. And two of the three U.S. automakers turned in dismal sales results, comparing September 2009 with September 2008.

The Hyundai group was up an amazing 26 percent compared to 2008 with sales of 96,626.

Ford continued its recent success, down just 5 percent from last year, easily gaining market share over General Motors, which was down a whopping 45 percent, Chrysler, and its major Japanese rivals.

Saturn comes to an end after nearly 25 years with break down of Penske deal

(October 1, 2009) It's sad news. The great experiment to fend off import brands will become a permanent part of history after nearly 25 years.

The Saturn brand, created by General Motors in 1983, was launched in 1990 with great success selling quirky small cars with dent-resistant doors and fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines. Now it has been announced that Penske Automotive is backing out of a deal to purchase Saturn, a deal that appeared for months to be a certainty.

Toyota issues massive recall because of potentially deadly floor mats

(September 30, 2009) Toyota has issued a safety recall for 3.8 million Lexus and Toyota cars because of potentially deadly floor mats.

In statements released Tuesday, the world's largest automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned drivers to remove the mats or risk a forced-down accelerator pedal that could lead to a fatal crash.

The seven models being recalled could potentially have removable mats that would interfere with the pedal and cause it to stick.

Plans to kill off Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger are delayed

(September 28, 2009) AutoWeek reports that the Chrysler Group has delayed plans to kill its slow-selling Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger. The two sedans were all but left for dead by previous owner Cerberus Capital Management. Now insiders say Chrysler intends to freshen the cars and keep them on the market until late 2012.

Edmunds.com finds GM guarantee program is working

(September 26, 2009) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Since General Motors announced its money-back guarantee, Edmunds.com site traffic to Buick, Chevy, Cadillac and GMC increased almost 10 percent compared to the average over the previous 30 days. The models benefitting most are the Camaro, Yukon, Acadia, Sierra 1500, and Tahoe.