Automaker and Dealers (234)
Ford said it sold more than 1.02 million compact Focus cars worldwide in 2012, outpacing Toyota’s Corolla, of which close to 873,000 were sold, according to data compiled by Polk.
China accounts for one-quarter of all sales, and the Focus was the best-selling passenger car in China in 2012 for the first time ever.
Ford’s F-Series pickup truck, which has been the top-ranked U.S. pickup for close to four decades, rounded out the top three with 785,630 sales. The Fiesta, with more than 723,000 sold, came in sixth on the list, making it the world’s best-selling subcompact car.
Honda's Civic and CR-V rounded out the top 10 with 651,000 and 625,000, respectively.
Ford attributed the improvement to strong demand in China and the U.S., with sales of what it dubs its “super segment,” which includes passenger cars ranging from sub-compacts to sedans, driving growth along the coasts of California, Texas and Florida. The segment makes up about two-thirds of Ford’s
Last month Autobody News reported on an undisclosed automaker developing carbon fiber body panels at a Western Michigan factory owned by Plasan Sasa Carbon Composites to be used on a mid-volume production vehicle in 2013. To read that post go HERE. Carbon fiber is the super-strong material usually associated with racing vehicles or high-performance sports cars.
At present we don’t know precisely which manufacturer is involved in the Michigan production facility but Ford Motor Co. has just exhibited a carbon fiber reinforced plastic Ford Focus hood at the Composites Europe event in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The prototype hood weighs more than 50 percent less than a standard steel version. As a result of progress made during an on-going research project involving engineers from the Ford European Research Centre, production time for an individual carbon fiber hood is fast enough to be employed on a production line – a significant step towards increased usage of lightweight materials in Ford vehicles.
"It's no secret that reducing a vehicle's weight can deliver major benefits for fuel consumption, but a process for fast and affordable production of carbon fiber automotive parts in large numbers has never been available," said Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes research engineer, Ford European Research Centre. "By partnering with materials experts through the Hightech.NRW research project, Ford is working to develop a solution that supports cost efficient manufacturing of carbon fiber components."
The involvement of Ford European Research Centre in the Hightech.NRW research project follows Ford's partnership with Dow Automotive Systems; a collaboration announced earlier this year that will investigate new materials, design processes and manufacturing techniques.
Dow Automotive Systems and Ford will focus on establishing an economical source of automotive-grade carbon fiber, as well as high-volume manufacturing methods: both critical to increasing the range of future Ford battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Carbon fiber offers a very high strength-to-weight ratio. It is up to five times as strong as steel, twice as stiff, and one-third the weight. Advanced materials such as carbon fiber are key to Ford's plans to reduce the weight of its cars by up to 340kg by the end of the decade.
"There are two ways to reduce energy use in vehicles: improving the conversion efficiency of fuels to motion and reducing the amount of work that powertrains need to do," said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation. "Ford is tackling the conversion problem primarily through downsizing engines with EcoBoost and electrification while mass reduction and improved aerodynamics are keys to reducing the workload."
Ford has partnered with specialists from the Institute of Automotive Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, Henkel, Evonik, IKV (Institute of Plastics Processing), Composite Impulse and Toho Tenax for the course of the Hightech.NRW research project.
The refined gap-impregnation process works by introducing resin to pre-formed carbon fiber textile material in a fast, stable and adaptable manner, with high quality results.
Initial testing suggests that CFRP components such as the prototype Ford Focus hood will meet Ford's high standards for stiffness, dent resistance and crash performance. The component has also performed well in pedestrian protection head-impact tests, thanks to its innovative construction of a special foam core sandwiched between two layers of CFRP.
"Customers of Ford's multi-million selling passenger cars should not expect to see carbon fiber-bodied examples on sale in the near future," said Inga Wehmeyer. "But the techniques we have refined and developed for the prototype Focus hood could be transferred to higher volume applications at a later date."
The aftermarket is not an after-thought at the Chrysler Group and sketches of select Moparized vehicles that are headed for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas have been released. The show takes place Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center
“At Mopar, we always look forward to the SEMA season,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The show is an opportunity for us to inspire owners to customize their vehicles, and it’s the perfect place to showcase our vast portfolio of quality-tested performance parts and accessories.”
The company will display more than 20 Moparized Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat and SRT vehicles at the show.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Mopar brand.
Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
- Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
- Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format and first to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
- Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
- Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
- Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with a new interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
- 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car
- Brand-specific customer care telephone lines: first to offer Sunday service hours for customers
- WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
American Honda Motor Co Inc. has launched a new, consumer-oriented website dedicated to providing Honda owners with the information they need to make informed decisions regarding collision repair. See the site at collision.honda.com.
The site is divided into two main sections. Section one, entitled “Accident Assistant,” covers what to do at the scene of an accident and includes a handy “Accident Checklist” that can be downloaded. Section two, entitled “Collision 101,” includes important information about repairs, collision parts and insurance. Also included is a glossary of collision-repair terms and Honda collision-repair position statements.
Two videos are included on the site — one regarding wheel replacement, and a dramatic look at air bags and the importance of their proper deployment. The site also hosts Honda’s body shop locator system containing shops presently on American Honda’s Body Shop Recognition program.
Volkswagen Group's decision to take full control of Porsche Automobil Holding SE's automaking business is seen as positive by analysts and ends a long struggle for control between the two automakers.
VW said it has agreed to buy the remaining 50.1 percent of Porsche SE's automotive business that it doesn't already own for 4.46 billion euros ($5.6 billion), ending a seven-year takeover saga that divided two of Germany's most powerful families.
The agreement means Volkswagen can now fully fold the Porsche automaking business into its stable of brands, which includes Audi and Bentley.
It leaves Porsche SE, which is controlled by the Piech-Porsche family still owning 50.7 percent of VW's common stock.
"To have the Porsche clan as owners and the anchor shareholder is good for Volkswagen and for Germany," said Christoph Stuermer, an IHS Automotive analyst in Frankfurt. "This has changed the cultural heart of the company. Volkswagen has become substantially stronger and long-term oriented."
Chrysler Group LLC has reported U.S. sales of 144,811 units, a 20 percent increase compared with sales in June 2011 (120,394 units), and the group’s best June sales since 2007.
The Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram Truck, and FIAT brands each posted sales increases in June compared with the same month a year ago. Chrysler Group recorded its 27th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains in June. Chrysler Group’s second-quarter sales were up 24 percent versus the same period last year.
Honda has widened its biggest recall to fix flaws related to airbags in models including the Civic and Accord produced as long as ten years ago. Previously the company announced it was calling back 304,000 vehicles made in 2001 and 2002, including the Accord, Civic, Odyssey and CR-V. The recall now covers an additional 917,267 vehicles worldwide, said spokesman Keitaro Yamamoto. That brings the total to more than 2.77 million, the company's biggest recall for an individual flaw. More than 90 percent of the affected vehicles are in the United States.
Honda has also determined that approximately 640 affected driver’s airbag service parts were sold and installed in vehicles that needed these parts replaced from collision repairs. The automaker will inspect approximately 603,000 vehicles because they cannot determine which vehicles these service parts were installed in. Honda will replace the parts in the affected vehicles following the inspection. This recall now includes certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, 2001 to 2003 Civic, 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2003 Pilot, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL vehicles.
"Affected driver's airbag inflators may deploy with too much pressure, which can cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury or fatality," the company said in a statement.
Magna International Inc. announced Dec 1 that its Magna Electronics operating unit, in conjunction with Mobileye, its partner for image processing, has developed an innovative driver assistance system that uses a single, forward-looking video camera to provide safety and convenience features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings. More affordable than comparable systems, the Magna system has recently launched on General Motors vehicles in the North American market, available as an option on the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.
Nissan has announced that it has sold 20,000 units of its electric car LEAF worldwide and is on track to sell 10,000 units in the United States by the end of this year. Of the total number, about 60% were sold in the US. This compares to about 5,000 copies of the Chevy Volt.
GM has announced that it will buy back any Volt from a dissatisfied customer, according to an interview in the Associated Press. CEO Dan Akerson insisted Dec. 1 that the cars are safe, but said the company will repurchase the Volts because it wants to keep customers happy. Three fires have broken out in Volts after side-impact crash tests done by the federal government.
Akerson said that if necessary, GM will recall the more than 6,000 Volts now on the road in the U.S. and repair them once the company and federal safety regulators figure out what caused the fires.
The company also may redesign the battery for its Volt to address issues raised after federal officials opened a safety probe into the plug-in electric car, CEO Dan Akerson said.
"We want to assure the safety of our customers, of our buyers, and so we're just going to take a time out, if you will, in terms of redesigning the battery possibly," Akerson told Reuters in a separate interview.
GM said it would offer loaner vehicles to about 5,500 Volt owners as it works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on ways to reduce the risk of battery fires breaking out days after crashes involving the car.
The steps came in response to a decision by NHTSA to open an investigation into the safety of the Volt's battery pack. A lithium-ion battery pack in a Volt that had been through a crash test in May caught fire three weeks later at a test facility in Wisconsin, according to NHTSA.
In lab tests completed last week by U.S. safety regulators, a second Volt pack began to smoke and throw off sparks while a third battery pack caught fire a week after a simulated crash.