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Auto blogThu, 12 Jun 2014 16:30:00 EST
Kenneth Feinberg, the man in charge of the General Motors compensation fund dealing with the its widespread ignition switch woes, has issued an informal, two-letter response to the plaintiffs in more than 70 lawsuits seeking redress for lost resale value of their Cobalts: "No." The cases were recently combined into one, but Feinberg told The Detroit News that the fund will deal "only with death and physical injury claims," and that "perceived diminished value" will get no consideration.
ALG, the firm specializing in establishing residual values, determined that Cobalt owners had lost $300 compared to the segment competition and doesn't envision any long-term effects from the recall situation. Feinberg's statement comes in advance of public details on how the compensation fund will work and adheres to GM's long-held position on the matter. The company has already asked a judge to throw out such suits using the pre-bankruptcy defense, even as it stopped using that defense in cases of injury and death.
With plenty of potential gain from the GM suit, however, don't expect the plaintiffs to give up yet. When Toyota was sued for the same reason during the unintended acceleration debacle, it eventually settled the case for between $1 billion and $1.4 billion just to get it over with. Since the 85 law firms involved in the Toyota litigation took home more than $250 million of that total, we shouldn't expect the attorneys to give up on a GM payout, either.
During January's Detroit Auto Show, we managed a longer than expected wandering tag-team interview with C7 Corvette chief engineering exec Tadge Juechter (pictured above), and LT1 engine boss Jordan Lee (pictured below). They are, quite honestly, two of the very nicest bigshot lads to ever walk the engineering corridors of an American manufacturer. Both are enthralled by what they're doing for a day job. So are we.
We've followed the pre-sale anticipation for the Chevrolet C7 Corvette Stingray like an Oreck vacuum yanking every speck of dirt from a well-trampled carpet. Everything is reportable and contains a grain of further knowledge about this dramatically important and cheered-for car, as it continues to be pressured into representing all that is superior about the American dream. The Corvette wears one heavy cloak.
So, most of what was talked about has been expertly reported already right here on Autoblog. But, looking through our notes again, both Jeuchter and Lee added facts to the buzzing mix.
The backlash is beginning. Following General Motors' price hike of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra last week, dealers across the country are expressing their ire over increasing prices in the face of rebates and discounts on trucks from Ford and Ram.
Speaking to Automotive News, Sam Pilato, the general manager at Dimmitt Chevrolet in Clearwater, FL, Silverados are "selling very poorly." W. Carrol Smith, the president of Monument Chevrolet in the heart of truck country, Texas, said, "[GM's] position is that the vehicle stands on its own and it doesn't need a bigger rebate. That's not what the market is telling us."
According to AN, that's the general attitude amongst Chevy and GMC dealers across the country, where the twin pickups are getting butchered in sales by competitors offering up to $9,000 off their sticker prices. Part of the problem for GM is that its trucks are arriving on the market near the end of the current F-150's lifecycle, a fact that Ford has taken advantage of.