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Subprime financing on the rise in new car sales, leasing too

Fri, 07 Dec 2012 08:44:00 EST

We all remember the financial crisis that began several years back. At its core was a splurge of subprime lending for housing loans. The housing bubble burst, triggering a collapse of the mortgage-backed securities market. Apparently, those types of loans still exist in the automotive industry, and the market share for these types of "nonprime, subprime, and deep subprime," loans has grown 13.6 percent compared to the third quarter a year ago.
According to an Automotive News report, high-risk lending expanded to 24.8 percent of total loans in Q3, up from 21.9 percent for this time last year. As this level increased, average credit scores of borrowers dropped to 755, down from 763 a year ago. In that time, the average financing amount increased $90 per vehicle, to $25,963.
At 818, Volvo maintains the highest per-owner credit score, while Mitsubishi has the lowest, at 694. The highest rate of borrowers was at Toyota, with 14 percent of the market, followed by Ford with 13.1 percent and Chevrolet at 11.1.

GM profits threatened by glut of pickups

Wed, 05 Dec 2012 18:44:00 EST

Automotive News reports that General Motors may slash production or ramp up discounts in order to deal with an oversupply of pickup trucks. GM currently has more than double the standard supply of pickups, and the vehicles are threatening to dampen the automaker's profits for 2013. Typically, automakers try to sustain a 60- to 75-day supply of vehicles, but GM is currently loaded with a 139-day supply, as of last month. At the end of November, the automaker was sitting on 245,853 units.
The manufacturer says that it will adjust production accordingly before laying any incentives on the profitable pickups. Even so, there's some concern that the inventory swell could hurt the roll-out of the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. GM actually began slowly stepping back production in August, but it's clear the company will take further action as it heads toward the end of the year and into the next. Analysts predict the automaker could reduce pickup manufacturing by nearly half in the first quarter of 2013.
That still may not be enough to keep GM from laying extra cash on the Silverado and GMC Sierra. While the company's incentive spending was down in November compared to the same month in 2011, both the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 saw double-digit percentage increases in sales last month while the Silverado and Sierra numbers slid compared to a year prior. Incentive spending could help move more trucks and add some balance to the GM inventory surge.

Toyota tops Kelley Blue Book's Resale Value Awards

Tue, 27 Nov 2012 18:30:00 EST

Kelley Blue Book announced its annual Best Resale Value Award winners, and we weren't too surprised to see the list dominated by Japanese automakers - mainly Toyota and Honda. KBB hands out the awards based on the projected residual value of mostly all 2013 model year vehicles, and Toyota skated home with a number of awards including 10 of the 22 overall categories and having five of its products in the top 10 for models with best resale value. KBB's Best Resale Value Awards were announced in the same week as the ALG Residual Value Awards, and there were many similarities between both lists, especially when it came to Toyota.
To come up with its winners, KBB measures depreciation over the first five years of ownership, and looks for the cars it expects to hold its value the best after this time; on average, the report says the 2013 model year vehicles will lose 61.8 percent of its value in five years. Of the 22 categories, 15 slots were filled by Toyota, Honda and Nissan products, while the Camaro and Porsche (Cayenne and Panamera) each took home a pair of awards. If Toyota has anything to be upset about in this list of cars, it's that categories for Hybrid/Alternative Energy Car and Electric Vehicle went to the Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Volt, respectively.
The overall top 10 models for the best resale value in 2013 are, in alphabetical order:

GM recalls select Chevy Cruze, Sonic and Buick Verano models over airbag issue

Wed, 14 Nov 2012 15:31:00 EST

General Motors is recalling certain 2012 Buick Verano, Chevrolet Cruze and Sonic models due to a defect in the driver's airbag system. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the airbag has a shorting bar which may contact two internal terminals. If that happens during a crash, the supplemental restraint may not deploy, increasing the risk of driver injury. The recall includes a total of 2,949 units.
GM will contact owners and replace the steering wheel airbag coil at no cost. At this point, it's unclear when the recall will begin, though owners may contact the automaker at 1-800-521-7300 for more information. You may also take a closer look at the full NHTSA notice below.

Hurst Edition Trans Am proves the Screaming Chicken will rise from the ashes

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 14:39:00 EST

It seems the Pontiac Trans Am steadfastly refuses to die. Ever since Chevrolet was granted a retrofied Camaro to compete with the Ford Mustang, Pontiac lovers have lamented the loss of this 1970s icon. And, looking at the Hurst Edition from Trans Am Depot, shown here at the 2012 SEMA Show, may explain what all the fuss is about.
It's not going to appeal to everyone's muscle-car tastes, but there's certainly room for a brash-and-bold black-and-gold Special Edition in many a Trans Am lover's garage. After all, if you want the keys to a custom pony car, you'll certainly get noticed in this one. If this scheme isn't your bag,, you can alternatively order your Hurst Edition in white and gold or silver and black. Oh, and don't forget a color-coordinated Screaming Chicken on the hood.
No matter which way you choose to go, your inner Burt Reynolds will appreciate the Eibach suspension kit, forged wheels with Pirelli PZero tires, functional shaker hood, fender air extractors, rear spoiler and, of course, a Hurst shifter inside. The interior is emblazoned with all manner of special touches, including a Hurst dash plate and T/A stitching on the Katzkin two-tone leather seats.

GM recalling over 40,000 Chevy, Pontiac and Saturn models over fuel pump woes

Mon, 01 Oct 2012 09:31:00 EST

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall for a number of General Motors cars and crossovers bought or currently registered in the hot-climate states of Arkansas, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas. As many as 40,859 units consisting of the 2007 Chevrolet Equinox, Pontiac Torrent and Saturn Ion and the 2007-2009 Chevrolet Cobalt (shown) and its Pontiac G5 twin are being recalled for potential fuel leaks.
This recall is being issued due to potentially faulty fuel pump components that can crack and cause gasoline to leak from the return or supply ports and possibly cause a fire. NHTSA has not indicated how many fuel leaks or vehicle fires have been reported. As a fix, GM will replace the fuel pump modules on all affected vehicles free of charge. Since Pontiac and Saturn have been shuttered, owners will be able to go to another GM-brand dealership to have their vehicles repaired.
While the list of affected cars and crossovers varies by state and model year, if you own any of these models and live in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma or Texas, be sure to check the official notice below for more details.

GM recalling 426,000 sedans over faulty transmission shift cable

Fri, 21 Sep 2012 09:58:00 EST

General Motors is recalling some 426,240 sedans that may have a faulty transmission shift cable, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report this morning. The recall concerns a fault within four-speed automatic transmissions equipped on 2007-2010 Saturn Aura models, and 2008-2010 Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6 models.
The report specifies that tabs on the transmission shift cable may fracture and separate. Such a fault could cause a discrepancy between the actual position of the transmission and the apparent position of the shift lever.
GM is currently working to notify owners of the vehicles in question, and dealers will check and replace shift cables free of charge. Scroll down to read the complete NHTSA report.

Chevy SS prototype spotted wearing Pontiac G8 clothes

Tue, 28 Aug 2012 17:14:00 EST


Do not adjust your computer screen, you are not seeing the rebirth of the Pontiac brand. General Motors has chosen to use a G8 to disguise a test mule for the latest prototype of the forthcoming Chevrolet SS. The G8 was closely related to the Holden Commodore and Vauxhall VXR, the platform upon which the new Chevrolet performance model will be based. It should come as little surprise, then, that GM has opted to use the cladding from the former G8.
Thought the front clip of this mule is pure Pontiac, note the vents immediately behind the front wheel. That is a distinctive design hallmark of the Vauxhall VXR. Also note that this vehicle is right-hand drive, as the Holden and its Chevy counterpart will be very closely related. That likely includes potential drivetrains. The spy photos of this mule also reveal very wide rear tires, and rear wheels that do not match the fronts.

These cars are headed to the Great Crusher In The Sky

Fri, 24 Aug 2012 14:58:00 EST

It happens every year. We bid adieu to some cars and trucks that will be missed, and say good riddance to others wondering how they stayed around so long. Whether they're being killed off for slow sales or due to a new product coming along to replace them, the list of vehicles being discontinued after 2012 is surprisingly long and diverse.
CNN Money has compiled a list of departing vehicles, to which we've added a few more of our own. In the slow sales column, cars like the Lexus HS 250h, Mercedes-Benz R-Class and the full Maybach lineup appear, while the Ford Escape Hybrid, Mazda CX-7 and Hyundai Veracruz are all having their gaps filled with more modern and more fuel-efficient alternatives. Obvious exceptions to the rule include models that still sell in decent numbers like the Jeep Liberty and the Chrysler Town & Country (which will eventually be replaced by a crossover-like vehicle).
Check out our gallery of discontinued cars above, then scroll down for more information.

GM recalling 250,000 SUVs over door electronics

Mon, 20 Aug 2012 11:00:00 EST

After a door-fire investigation that dates back to February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially announced a recall today that affects around 250,000 General Motors SUVs for a faulty driver's door module. The recall applies to the Buick Rainier, Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender and Saab 9-7X from the 2006 and 2007 model years, as well as the 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy XL for vehicles sold and/or registered in the Snow Belt.
Road salt use in these midwestern and northern states can lead to corrosion of the driver's door module on these GMT360 and GMT370 vehicles, which allows water to come in contact with the circuit board. If shorted out, the vehicle's power door locks and power windows will not work, and could possibly lead to overheating and, in some circumstances, a fire. No official word on how many total vehicles caught on fire, but back in June, 28 fires had been reported to the government agency. A fix for the problem is still being worked out, but all affected vehicle owners will be notified by GM.
Scroll down for the official NHTSA statement.