Hyundai Motor America today announced July sales of 45,553 units, a 21 percent increase over last month and 12 percent increase compared with July 2008. This marks the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year retail share gains, and another all-time record retail market share performance. Cash-for-clunkers deals accounted for 22 percent of Hyundai sales.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that the CARS program will continue until the Senate votes on an extension. Whether the program continues with an additional $2B in funding, already appproved by the House, will depend on the Senate vote, Dealer rebate applications will be honored at least through Tuesday, Aug. 4.
The "cash for clunkers" program used to require dealers to wreck the engines with a corrosive solution before the dealer could request reimbursement from DOT. Dealers must certify on their rebate applications that they will corrode the engine and ship the vehicle to an approved disposal facility or salvage auction.
The House mobilized in less than 24 hours on July 31, with the Obama administration's help, to draft, introduce, and pass a bill on the last day before they break for the usual August recess. House members formerly opposed to the plan, fell in line due to the huge popularity of the program among dealers and consumers.
Ford surprised observers with a second-quarter profit of $2.3 billion on July 23, barely a year after posting the worst loss in company history. The positive number breaks the string of four straight quarterly losses and is the first positive quarter since first quarter 2008. The profit is due to a reduction in debt and associated expenses.
Ford, in its On Target publication, warns that it "does not approve the use of used restraint system modules, safety belts, buckles or retractors from pre-owned, salvage or damaged vehicles. The use of such parts could lead to serious injury." Ford also "recommends replacement of all safety belt assemblies in use at the time a vehicle is involved in an accident."
Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, has sponsored a dealer amendment bill that would restore U.S. dealerships to their status before the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies. The measure would force Chrysler and GM to renew franchise agreements that were killed during bankruptcy proceedings or terminated by automakers. The amendment passed the House Appropriations Committee late July 7.
Toyota plans to launch its new plug-in Prius with lithium-ion batteries this year. Reuters is reporting that Toyota will start mass-producing its plug-in version of its Prius hybrid in 2012, with plans to make 20,000 to 30,000 of the vehicles that year.