Inside the Industry

GM touts new pause, play radio now found in several vehicles

(January 21, 2010) You’re driving along listening to your favorite radio station and a commercial playing contains a website address you want to check out. But you can’t — or shouldn’t — be writing while driving.  Wouldn’t it be great to just hit a pause button on the radio?

Now you can.

2011 Mustang becomes first Ford pace car at Daytona 500 in 40 years

(January 20, 2010) Ford’s new 2011 Mustang GT will serve as the Official Pace Car at this year’s 52nd Daytona 500, the first time in 40 years a Ford vehicle has paced NASCAR’s biggest and most prestigious race.

Under the hood of the Mustang GT Glass Roof Coupe will be Ford’s all-new 5.0-liter V-8, which will be available to customers in dealer showrooms this spring.

Lithium deal gives Toyota edge in battery development for hybrid vehicles

(January 20, 2010) A sister company to Toyota has secured a lithium supply deal in Argentina that could help the world's largest automaker keep its lead in gasoline-electric hybrid cars, according to a report by Reuters.

Report — Toyota plans 1 million hybrids a year worldwide by 2011

(January 18, 2010) Toyota aims to double its global output of gasoline-electric hybrid cars to 1 million units in 2011, as it fights to stay in the lead in the growing market for low-emission cars, the Nikkei business reported on Monday.

Toyota, the world's largest automaker, had said it aimed to sell 1 million models annually worldwide soon after 2010 and has been ramping up its push on hybrids, introducing the Sai sedan in Japan, the brand's second hybrid-only model. The Sai is a variant of the Lexus HS 250h sold in the United States.

Purple returns to Hemi-powered 2010 Dodge Challenger

(January 17, 2010) Chrysler is reviving the most polarizing of car colors — purple.

Now available is 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic and SRT8 featuring the classic Plum Crazy Pearl Coat exterior color. Leather seats are available in a retro bright white with Plum Crazy purple piping around the edges.

Fisker raises $115 million for luxury Karma plug-in hybrid

(January 16, 2010) Fisker Automotive, a venture-capital luxury electric carmaker, said on Friday it had raised $115.3 million in new private equity funding to develop its Karma plug-in hybrid and lower-cost electric vehicles, according to a Reuters report.

Camaro gets Synergy Special Edition; price — $26,790

(January 14, 2010) DETROIT — Hot and cool exterior colors are a part of Chevy Camaro history. Now the 2010 model is getting its own.

Chevrolet today debuts the Camaro Synergy Special Edition with pricing starting at $26,790. Synergy will be produced in limited quantities from February to May.

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.”