Three Ford Recalls in North America on +400,000 Vehicles

A fire crimps your driving style.

Ford Motor Company today is issuing three new safety recalls in North America covering Shelby Mustangs, Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs, and 2017 Super Duty Chassis Cab pickup trucks.

The Ford Motor safety defects arise from what appears to be relatively simple design, mechanical and assembly problems. Continue reading

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Penske Automotive Reports Record Q3 Results

Roger Penske to Pace 2016 Indy 500 in Camaro SSPenske Automotive Group (NYSE: PAG) announced today record Q3 and nine-month results. For the three months ended 30 September 2016, income from continuing operations attributable to common shareholders increased 1% to $87.4 million. Related earnings per share increased 7.3% to $1.03, when compared to the same period last year. Total automotive retail units increased 5.8% to118,522. Total revenue increased 3.9% to $5.2 billion. Excluding foreign exchange problems, total revenue increased 9.7%.

However, same-store retail revenue declined -2.0%.  Excluding foreign exchange, same-store retail revenue increased 4.1%. Foreign exchange rates negatively impacted earnings per share attributable to common shareholders by -$0.07 for the three months. Continue reading

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U.S. Court Grants $14.7 Billion Plea in VW Diesel Fraud Case. Criminal Charges, Fines, Stockholder Lawsuits Outstanding

Ex-CEO Winterkorn could be facing prosecution in the VW diesel fraud caper.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer today approved a $14.7 billion partial Consent Decree plea deal between Volkswagen, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The plea is the largest settlement in history involving an automaker. All the agreements were previously announced.

VW admitted to CARB engineers in September 2015 after years of stonewalling that it installed “defeat devices” that altered the operation of emissions control equipment in light-duty, 2-liter engine passenger vehicles manufactured and sold between model years 2009 and 2015. There are half-million of these vehicles in the US and about 71,000 in California. Continue reading

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General Motors Sets Q3 Net Earnings Record of $42.8 Billion on Gneral Motors Q3 Record EarningsGeneral Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) today announced record third-quarter earnings and revenue because of profitable U.S. retail sales, strong sales in China, growth in wholesale volume and cost controls. Consolidated EBIT-adjusted improved to a Q3 record $3.5 billion, up $400 million Y-O-Y. Consolidated EBIT-adjusted margin improved to a Q3 record of 8.3%.

This now makes for five consecutive record EBIT-adjusted quarters going back to Q3 2015. Consolidated vehicle wholesales for Q3 increased 78,000 units, primarily based on strong truck and SUV demand in North America. This was partially offset by International Operations. Continue reading

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Newly Wed Brazilians Traveling Around the World in 1946 Willys on Aurond the World in 1946 Jeep Willys HoneymoonVanessa Sartori and Linho Bergamin were married 12 March and they left their home in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil that same day on a honeymoon that takes them around the world in a 1946 Jeep Willys. The couple plan to cover 70 countries on five continents during their three-year journey in the Willys Wagon. He’s an automation engineer and she’s a food engineer. They’ve taken five years planning the trip.

“I love the old Jeep,” Linho said. The 1946 Willys Wagon that Linho and Vanessa are driving was bought from a museum in Brazil. Linho believes it’ll be the oldest vehicle ever to go around the world. Continue reading

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FCA Recalls Jeep Wrangler for Defective Airbags

FCA (aka Chrysler) is recalling 182,308 model-year 2016-2017 Jeep Wrangler trucks because during crashes the front impact sensor wiring may be pulled until it detaches before a signal can be received by the Occupant Restraint Controller (ORC). Under certain crash conditions, rotation of the headlamp can cause the sensor wiring to separate from the front impact sensor. Impact sensors help determine when airbags and pretensioners should be activated. A wiring disconnect may prevent their deployment, as FCA discovered  during a crash test. Continue reading

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2016 Reliability Study – Ford F150 Not Recommended on 2016 Auto ReliabiliyThe best-selling vehicle in the U.S., the Ford F150 pickup truck, was dropped from the recommended list in the 2016 Annual Reliability Report by  Consumer Reports because of numerous problems reported from readers. The Auto Reliability findings were announced during a press conference before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today. Honda’s popular Civic model showed a “much-worse-than-average” reliability due to problems with its power equipment and infotainment systems. The Civic was North American Car of the Year for 2016, and has been on CR’s recommended list almost forever.

Buick, GM’s semi-luxury brand, has been in the Top Ten of CR’s brand reliability rankings for the past several years. CR’s latest findings show Buick at third trailing Lexus and Toyota  for the first time since CR began tracking brand performance in the early 1980s. Chevrolet ranks as the second-best domestic brand, but it is in 15th place overall among the 29 brands covered. I doubt you will see any time soon “We’re Number 15!” bow-tie banners at dealers. Continue reading

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Ahead of Q3 Earnings GM Declares 38-Cent Dividend

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) today declared a Q4 2016 dividend of 38 cents per share on the company’s common stock – the same as Q3 in a booming auto market. The yield at current trading prices is~4.7%. The Q4 dividend is payable Thursday 22 December 2016 to all common stockholders of record as of Wednesday 7 December 2016.

GM reports Q3 results tomorrow. The stock, like that of Ford Motor continues to languish in the $37 range. Analysts are concerned about GM’s almost complete reliance on the sales of trucks and SUVs in North America to make money. The Brexit mess is also expected to hurt GM’s earnings following the collapse of the British pound – it’s now the ounce trading at $1.22 –  and  the Euro following the vote for the UK to exit the EU. (‘Bloody Hell,’ What Does Brexit do to Automakers?) Continue reading

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Camaro ZL1 Posts 7:29.6 Lap at Nürburgring on 2017 Camaro ZL1 lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:29.6 - 11.67 seconds quicker than the previous ZL1’s fast lapChevrolet today released a video of a 2017 Camaro ZL1 lapping the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:29.6. This is 11.67 seconds quicker than the previous ZL1’s fast lap.  A lap of the Nordschleife, which bypasses the professional Grand Prix track, is 20.832 km (12.944 miles) long. (see Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Runs a 7:41.27 lap at Nürburgring.) Whether it’s a great marketing move is not in question, but the Ring is not without its critics who question its relevance to production car buyers who are not the professionals – drivers, factories and teams – who undertake such runs on racing tires. Continue reading

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September Used Vehicle Market Sees Prices Falling on Used Car PricesThe September U.S. used vehicle market saw depreciation climb and prices drop -3.6%, making the month’s performance the largest decline recorded in 2016 thus far. As a result, NADA Used Car Guide’s seasonally adjusted used vehicle price index fell by -1% to 117.5, the lowest level since March 2011.

“Price movement down was led by mainstream small cars. Sub-compact and compact car segment losses reached -4% each,” said Jonathan Banks, of NADA.  Continue reading

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Brembo Celebrates a New Brake Plant in Escobedo, Mexico on Brembo Brake Caliper Plant in Escobedo, Nuevo Léon, Mexico – October 2016Brembo President Alberto Bombassei inaugurated today the company’s new plant in Escobedo, in the State of Nuevo Léon, Mexico. The ceremony was attended by several Mexican and Italian dignitaries, as well as government representatives, including the Italian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs – Benedetto Della Vedova. Nuevo Léon makes 60% of the auto parts used in Mexico, where the northern state is its industrial heart.

Once fully operational, the disc brake plant will be capable of making two million aluminum calipers annually. The plant, covering 377,000 square feet, will add ~$100 million a year in estimated sales. It was built during what’s said to be a record time of one year, attributed by Brembo to the know-how it acquired from the construction of new production facilities on three different continents. About 500 new jobs will be created. Continue reading

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Toyota Poland to Produce Hybrid Transaxles, New Engines

AutoInformed.comToyota Motor Europe announced today that it will start production of a hybrid transaxle in 2018 at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland in Walbrzych. It will also make two gasoline engines, a 1.5-liter in 2017, and a 2-liter in 2019 at Toyota Motor Industries, Poland (TMIP) in Jelcz-Laskowice.

TMIP is currently manufacturing only diesel engines. However, the European market is moving towards an increased share of gasoline, hybrid and electric vehicles. (European Diesel Car Sales Continue to Decline) Continue reading

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Ford Rouge Complex Hosting 80,000 Honeybees

mary-mason-and-ford-rouge-complex-honeybeesHoneybees have been on the decline in the United States for more than three decades from colony collapse disorder, parasites, pests, pathogens, poor nutrition and pesticides, but two beehives installed at Ford Rouge Plant are helping a honeybee population of 80,000 survive. The honeybees are part of the Rouge wildlife habitat strategy and the claimed greening of the facility. Mary Mason cares for the honeybees on the grounds outside the sprawling Ford Rouge Complex.

Ford said it all started in the early this century as part of an environmental initiative called the Heritage 2000 program. An architect and sustainability designer were brought in to help “green” parts of the Rouge facility. The entire complex was given a makeover. The company platted crab-apple trees at the site and someone – lost in the mists of time – came up with the idea of honeybees, noting their decline. Continue reading

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September Used Vehicle Market Sees Prices Falling

The September U.S. used vehicle market saw depreciation climb and prices drop -3.6%, making the month’s performance the largest decline recorded in 2016 so far. As a result, NADA Used Car Guide’s seasonally adjusted used vehicle price index fell by -1% to 117.5, the lowest level since March 2011.

“Price movement down was led by mainstream small cars. Subcompact and compact car segment losses reached -4% each,” said Jonathan Banks, at NADA Used Car Guide. Luxury mid-size and compact utility losses were the largest of all luxury segments for the month – just under -4%.

In NADA Used Car Guide’s recently published monthly Guidelines report, analysts forecast prices of vehicles up to eight years in age will fall by around -3.5% during October compared to September. During October 2015 prices fell by an average of just under -3%. Analysts expect depreciation to slow toward the end of the year.

In November 2016, used vehicle prices are expected to fall by under -2%, followed by an even smaller sub-1% decline in December. The full-year forecast expects used vehicle prices to be down by an average of around -4% on an index-basis from 2015.

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Toyota Moves on Connected Cars, R&D JVs, Takeovers on Toyota and SuzukiToyota Motor Corporation is undertaking a series of tactical business moves that will allow it to develop advanced driver assistance technologies, expand its market presence globally and spread out its research & development costs, particularly in information technology.

The latest developments come as Toyota is once again battling what is now a beleaguered, wounded Volkswagen Group for the world’s biggest car company title. The moves reflect a growing problem at all automobile companies. How do you pay for the cost of moving forward in a world with increasingly stringent safety and emissions regulations, web enabled cars,  as well as the entire future of automobility and autonomous vehicles? Continue reading

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