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Hurricane Sandy cost automakers 15,000 vehicles, may have ruined up to 200k

Wed, 07 Nov 2012 16:29:00 EST

Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic storm in US history, and its total economic impact is just now coming into view. According to Automotive News, Toyota, Chrysler, Nissan and Honda are set to scrap around 15,000 new vehicles ruined by the storm. Nissan alone accounts for about 40 percent of those, with 6,000 Nissan and Infiniti models deeded "un-saleable" due to damage. The company saw 56 dealerships shuttered due to the storm, but 51 of those have since reopened.
Toyota, meanwhile, had some 4,000 vehicles at its Newark port facility, and of those, 3,000 may be scrapped. An additional 825 were dealer inventory when they were ruined. Honda and Acura dealers are reportedly sending 3,440 vehicles to the salvage yard. By comparison, Chrysler weathered the storm fairly well with 825 units destroyed, while Hyundai suffered only 400 lost units and Kia scrapped around 200.
As you may recall, Fisker also suffered some losses, and Automotive News reports the manufacturer saw 320 Karma models damaged beyond repair. Ford and General Motors have yet to come up with estimates, and no automaker has commented on the full cost of replacing the vehicles.

SEMA crowns Mustang, FR-S as this year's hottest cars in the building

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 17:40:00 EST

After wrapping up the first day of the 2012 SEMA Show, organizers handed out awards for some of the trendiest vehicles on display. Since the whole point of SEMA is to show off new products available in the aftermarket world for use in cars, trucks and SUVs, each year, the show distinguishes the most popular vehicle in various segments. Not surprisingly, this year's Hottest Car and Hottest Sport Compact are the Ford Mustang and Scion FR-S, respectively, while the Ford F-Series brought home the Hottest Truck and the Jeep Wrangler was named the Hottest 4x4-SUV.
More than 2,000 companies are at this year's show, and the display booths represents a "vote" for each car to determing the trendiest vehicles in each of the four categories. It isn't clear if these awards also take cars brought by OEMs into account, but the Mustang and FR-S were definitely well represented by both OEM and aftermarket show versions.
As usual, the OEMs showed up in force at the this year's SEMA Show exhibiting a variety of cars ranging from production-intent cars like the beastly Ford Mustang Cobra Jet to much flashier rides like Scion's Carbon Stealth FR-S.

Ford tumbles to second worst in Consumer Reports reliability survey, list dominated by Japanese [w/video]

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 15:59:00 EST

It's no secret that MyFord Touch has had its share of problems since being introduced, but the most recent reliability survey from Consumer Reports shows just how much this infotainment system has affected Ford. Just two years ago, the automaker was in the top 10 for the institute's reliability rankings, but since then, it has tumbled to the second-lowest rung just above dead-last Jaguar. In addition to MyFord Touch, CR also attributes a handful of new products that have had issues right out of the gate.
Compiled from 1.2 million subscriber surveys, this year's auto reliability survey heavily favors Japanese automakers, with eight of the 10 spots hailing from Japan. Toyota brands grabbed the top three spots (Scion, Toyota and Lexus - in that order) with Mazda, Subaru, Honda and Acura filling the next four spots. The only non-Asian automaker cracking the top 10 was Audi at number eight.
Audi climbed a total of 18 spots from last year, and Cadillac and GMC round out this year's top gainers breaking into the top 15. Helping Cadillac's upward movement, the CTS Coupe was named the most reliable domestic car. Lincoln, Volvo and Chrysler join Ford on this year's biggest loser list.

Ford, Renault, VW shareholder oppose French aid for PSA/Peugeot-Citro"en

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 14:01:00 EST

Pots and kettles, glass houses and stones - that's a little of what we appear to have going on in the European car market. New reports say that that three European automakers have registered their opposition to a loan deal that PSA/Peugeot-Citroën is working on with the French government. Peugeot's finance arm, Banque PSA Finance, is struggling with its debts and has been downgraded by Moody's to its lowest investment-grade classification, one step above junk. This makes it more expensive for a potential buyer to finance a car through Peugeot. The last thing Peugeot needs is more difficulty selling cars in the tough European market, and the situation will only worsen if the bank's credit worthiness takes another hit.
A deal being worked on would have the French government offer €7 billion ($9B U.S.) in bonds to guarantee the bank's loans, which would give the institution some breathing room to manage its debts and lower its interest rates. Outside of that, a group of banks would provide other, non-guaranteed loans to the bank to further help its position. In exchange for state help, though, the government wants seats on Peugeot's board for worker representatives and a government liaison, along with factory and worker guarantees. The Peugeot family would maintain control of the company.
So what we have is government assistance being provided to a car company's finance arm, akin to the way General Motors' GMAC (now Ally Financial) and Chrysler Financial got help in their time of need. What we also have is Ford and Renault, and Germany's State of Lower Saxony, the second-largest shareholder in Volkswagen, voicing their concern about the proposal, because they say it could create an unfair competitive advantage for Peugeot. Everyone in Europe's down market is fighting for every sale, and if Peugeot gets help to keep its auto loan costs down, it figures to help buyers choose Peugeot or Citroën.

NHTSA probing 2000-2003 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable models over throttle issue

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 11:01:00 EST

A potential issue with the speed control cable collar has got the 2003-20003 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable under the spotlight of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If the collar breaks it can cause the throttle to be stuck open.
The issue is limited to vehicles with the 3.0-liter V6 Duratec. There are just 50 complaints so far out of 310,000 cars, but the NHTSA has begun an investigation into whether a recall should be issued.

Ford's J Mays feels vindicated by Fusion reception

Tue, 25 Sep 2012 16:30:00 EST

It's hard to think back now, but the same man overseeing the design of the 2013 Ford Fusion also presided over a rather lackluster period in Ford design, highlighted by vehicles like the Five Hundred and Freestyle. With the redesigned Fusion receiving high praise, J Mays tells Automotive News that he feels vindicated from criticisms suggesting he's not a daring enough designer.
When Mays took over as lead of design in 1997, he admits to having quite an ego ("My head would barely fit through the door some days. I've long since gotten over myself") and the workload to match. With the Blue Oval's portfolio full of premium brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo at that point, along with the bread-and-butter Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, Mays certainly had quite the challenge.
It was in the mid-2000s that Mays took over just the premium brands, and took on the new title of Chief Creative Officer. At the time, Mays endured some criticism for looking backwards to retro styling, rather than setting a new standard for American car design - criticism that Mays says he is free from with the all-new Fusion.

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.

Ford reports 58% drop in Q2 profits on European losses

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 10:58:00 EST



Ford Motor Company announced Wednesday that it has posted a $1 billion profit for the second quarter of 2012. That sounds like good news for the Blue Oval, until you take into account that Ford posted a $2.4 billion profit for Q2 a year ago. That is a substantial 58 percent loss.
Ford also posted $465 million in international losses, with $404 million of those losses coming directly from Europe. The automaker also increased its European loss projections to $1 billion for 2012, due in large part to the economic crisis overseas, which has resulted in increased unemployment and decreased consumer confidence.

Automakers tussle over owners of 'orphan' makes

Thu, 10 May 2012 08:29:00 EST

When General Motors put down several of its brands in recent years, it also let loose thousands of brand-loyal customers who will eventually need another car.
R.L. Polk Associates estimates there are more than 18 million cars from 16 discontinued makes on the road today. Those "orphan owners" have sales-hungry competitors seeing dollar signs. GM is offering Saturn owners $1,000 cash toward a Chevy Cruze, Cadillac CTS or a GMC Acadia. Ford is giving its Mercury lease customers a chance to get out of their contracts with no early-termination penalty and offering to waive six remaining payments if they drive off in a Ford or Lincoln.
Edmunds.com research shows the efforts are paying off somewhat for GM, with 39 percent of Pontiac owners, 37 percent of Hummer owners and 31 percent of Saturn owners taking delivery of another GM-branded vehicle. But that leaves as much as 69 percent of owners going elsewhere. Ford, Honda and Toyota seem to be attracting many former GM owners.

Feds open investigation into Chevy Express, Ford Freestar rust issues

Wed, 28 Dec 2011 16:00:00 EST

'Tis the season... for road salt. And with that, comes rust. And what does rust bring? Well, for Ford and General Motors, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA is looking into potential recalls issues with Chevrolet Express vans and Ford Freestar minivans.
The feds have received five complaints that rust has caused leaking fuel filler pipes on 2003 Express vans. Separately, seven complaints have been filed over excessive rust in the rear wheel wells of 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans. The Freestar and Monterey went out of production in 2007. Neither issue has resulted in any crashes or injuries, according to the report.