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What do you think will happen to Chrysler? That question was flying around the Detroit Auto Show this weekend, and trust me, some of the predictions I heard in Detroit were doozies.
I get the same question every year at the Detroit Auto Show: What was your favorite new car? My answer is almost always a model with an aggressive design and often it's a concept. This year, the Cadillac Converj stole my heart.
At an auto show that lacks "buzz", there are a couple of battles taking shape. Both of them could have major implications as to what we will be driving for years to come.
As I have spent the last two weeks preparing for the Detroit Auto Show, which starts this Sunday, it's become clearer than ever to me the electric car is coming and coming fast.
I spent part of Wednesday afternoon tooling around GM's tech center in a "mule" version of the Volt. When I hit the gas, the acceleration was instant. The Volt will deliver the same performance you would get from a car with 250 horse power
The Hyundai offer is significant because it addresses the one issue that is keeping people out of showrooms. Potential buyers are worried about keeping their jobs so they are putting off a new car for the family.
Tatsuya Mizuno, director of corporates at Fitch Ratings, predicts that the global automobile industry will remain weak for another two to three years. But he sees one somewhat bright spot amid the sector gloom.
As I was watching the dismal auto sales numbers come in on Monday, I was waiting for somebody to drop me an e-mail and sarcastically remind me that it was just a few months ago when I said, "Things can't get much worse in the auto industry."
For all the hand wringing you see from people wondering if GM and Chrysler can get the UAW to re-work wages and benefits or for debt holders to agree on a debt for equity swap, the real trick will be closing dealerships.
Happy New Year! Yes, I was bummed to see my Blackhawks get blown out by the Wings at Wrigley. But as I watched a hockey game played outside (very cool!), I read through your predictions for next year in the auto industry. Karnac has nothing on you guys.
With the auto companies on their holiday breaks, this is always a week when I think about the year ahead for the auto industry. In past years, some of the predictions I've made to myself have come true, while many more were so off the mark it was kind of funny. So: What will happen in '09?
When I called folks I know in the various auto companies to wish them a Merry Christmas, I heard the same thing over and over. I'm thankful to still be working and I'm wondering how much worse things will get next year.
I'm not a car expert. I'm a driving expert. I drive 25,000 miles a year, and I've driven everything. I know what works and what doesn't, and I avoid buying American. Get mad at me all you want, but I speak from experience, and millions of other drivers in the Car Capital of America (California) agree with me.
Friday's bailout may have saved GM (and by association, Ford) but investors are trading these stocks as if they are headed for bankruptcy. That's because when it's all said and done, GM will have to re-structure itself as if it were in bankruptcy.
Most of you are waking up this morning, hearing that Toyota has just forecast it's first annual loss in decades, and may be saying, "Wow, even Toyota is hurting." This news shouldn't come as a surprise.
At the Los Angeles Auto Show last month, the Chrysler stand was a dimly lit and uninspiring display. A glaringly obvious example Cerberus is not spending anything more than the bare minimum to keep Chrysler alive.
The bad news is that while refis are up 250 percent in the past 6 weeks, applications to purchase a home are up only 10 percent. Let's see if news of below-5 percent mortgages makes a difference.
Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb became the latest big company to announce layoffs, saying it will eliminate another 10 percent of its work force through 2010.
With the film strip of our lives playing out as we buy, sell, curse, and embrace our cars, it's no wonder we are passionate about what we want to see happen to the Big 3. But here's the problem: few of us seem willing to accept the other side is saying stuff that may have some merits.
As Detroit waits to see how much financial help it will get from the White House and how that aid will be structured, we keep hearing one thing over and over. The Bush administration wants to avoid a "disorderly bankruptcy" in the auto industry. This is not good news for GM and Chrysler.