Inside the Industry

Ford wins award for Active Park Assist technology

(November 15, 2009) DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Company won a 2009 “Best of What’s New” award last week from Popular Science, making this the third straight year Ford has been honored by the world’s leading science and technology magazine. Ford’s Active Park Assist technology won in the automotive category and will be featured in the publication’s December issue.

3,800 years of hands-free calling

(November 15, 2009) Talk about your never-ending telephone calls. OnStar recently passed a key milestone for its Hands-Free Calling service, having sold 2 billion minutes since its launch in 2000.

So how long is 2 billion minutes of call time? Try 3,803 years. The good news is no discomfort or cricks in the neck from pressing a cell phone receiver against your ear since hands-free calling in vehicles allows OnStar subscribers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Mercedes to launch ML450 Hybrid in U.S.

(November 14, 2009) MONTVALE, N.J. (PRNewswire) — Mercedes-Benz on Nov. 16 will launch the innovative ML450 Hybrid, the first European full hybrid vehicle to be offered in the U.S.

Featuring V8-like power with four-cylinder fuel economy, the ML450 HYBRID features two electric motors and a 275-hp V6 gasoline engine that work together to provide impressive hybrid power, fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon around town and 24 mpg on the highway.

The ML450 Hybrid joins the S400 Hybrid and the BlueTEC diesel models in Mercedes' portfolio of fuel-efficient and environmentally compatible vehicles and will be offered as part of a special lease only option (no purchase) for a monthly lease price of $659 for 36 months and $549 for 60 months.

Mercedes may bring small luxury car to U.S. market by 2012

(November 13, 2009) Mercedes-Benz may bring a small luxury car to the United States by 2012 intended to compete with the Audi A3 and BMW's 1 series and Mini Cooper, the company's CEO told The Wall Street Journal.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told the newspaper the small Mercedes would offer upscale luxury features in a small package. Under the plan, Mercedes would import at least one of four next-generation compact models it will start selling in Europe in late 2011.

Audi upgrades 2009 sales target to 925,000 vehicles

(November 13, 2009) INGOLSTADT, Germany — Last January Audi predicted worldwide sales of 900,000 vehicles in 2009. But the picture is brighter at the German automaker going into the last six weeks of the calendar year.

Ford's has highest October market share and sales volume in Europe since 1997

(November 12, 2009) COLOGNE — Ford achieved its highest October market share and car sales volume since 1997 with total sales of 121,000 new vehicles and a market share of 8.8 per cent in its 19 main European markets.

GM to add 40,000-vehicle capacity for Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain

(November 11, 2009) OSHAWA, Ontario — Because of strong sales of the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, CAMI Automotive is investing $90 million Canadian for a substantial project that includes the re-tooling of the facility’s West Body Shop resulting in increased capacity and the recall of approximately 150 employees.

The added capacity from this investment will result in the production an additional 40,000 vehicles annually for the Canadian and U.S. markets.

Volvo releases first pictures of the new S60 to go into production in summer 2010

(November 11, 2009) Volvo has released the first official pictures of the redesigned S60 sedan.

The much-anticipated car will go into production next summer. It will be shown for the first time at the Geneva motor show in March.

The production S60 looks a lot like the concept that was revealed at the Detroit auto show in January. Volvo says the redesigned S60 will compete against luxury sedans such as the Infiniti G35.

The S60 will compete against cars such as the Infiniti G35 and the BMW 3-Series.

Jeep Grand Cherokee fuel tank problem may be investigated

(November 11, 2009) Automotive News reports that the Jeep Grand Cherokee from the 1993 to 2004 model years may be investigated by federal safety regulators after a complaint that its fuel tank is an exposed fire hazard that may have contributed to hundreds of deaths.

General Motors surpasses 1.5 million Chinese sales for 2009

(November 11, 2009) SHANGHAI — General Motors Company announced that the automaker and its joint ventures in China today surpassed 1.5 million units in sales for 2009. With a strong October, the GM China family continued its string of record monthly sales that began at the start of the year.