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Auto blogSat, 22 Mar 2014 09:02:00 EST
Three weeks ago an analyst increased projections for European car sales this year, expecting them to climb three percent compared to last year instead of 2.7 percent. That number is a postive sign after years of hard times but it turns out February was especially good, overall European sales climbing eight percent on a wave of southern European recovery and discounts - and this comes after five months of gains including January's 7.2-percent jump over the year before.
The only country of Europe's five largest markets to post a decline was France, just as it did in January, Germany, the UK and Italy posting solid double-digit numbers, Spain rocking the charts with an 18-percent increase because of a government program to encourage trade-ins.
The only brand to miss the wave was Volkswagen, dropping 0.8 percent as it watched the double-digit growth at sister brands Audi, Seat and Skoda lift the Volkswagen Group sales up by seven-percent. Peugeot overcame flat sales at Citroën to improve the group by 3.5 percent, BMW and the Mercedes-Benz/Smart combo rose by four percent, the Fiat group jumped 5.8 percent, Ford was up 11 percent, the Renault Group 11.5 percent, General Motors 12 percent and the Toyota clan by 14 percent.
The United Auto Workers have called a decision by the National Labor Relations Board allowing anti-UAW employees at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga the right to defend voting down unionization at the plant "an outrage."
You'll recall that the union was defeated by a vote of 712 to 626 in a contentious February election. The UAW claims the outcome was unfairly swayed by pro-business, anti-union forces, including Senator Bob Corker and political advocate Grover Norquist.
This new decision by the NLRB essentially gives workers backed by the anti-UAW National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Southern Momentum a formal voice in the impending hearing on the UAW's appeal of the vote.
Honda's Commercial of the Decade: "Grrr" - Click above to watch video
The mad men at Adweek recently voted for the Commercial of the Decade (Super Bowl commercials not included) and Honda took top honors over memorable ads from the last ten years by companies like Nike, Budweiser and Sony. That's not a big surprise considering Honda often puts a huge amount of effort into its on-air spots. However, the Japanese automaker didn't win for the commercial you might have expected: "Cog." Though Honda's famous commercial that breaks down a European Accord Tourer into a Rube Goldberg-esque machine was also a finalist, it was beaten by another Honda commercial called "Grrr" that's narrated by Garrison Keillor of all people. You've probably never seen it, but you can after the jump.
Volkswagen also made the list of finalists, but the particular ad chosen out of all the comical VW ads we've seen was unexpected as well. Most surprising carmaker with a commercial in the finals: Saturn. Who knew...