“We think the partnership with Fiat not only gives us a lot of confidence, but more than that, it really moves us to a prosperity plan where it’s a true global powerhouse,” Press told reporters following a meeting with dealers near the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Chrysler LLC Vice Chairman and President Jim Press said the automaker is in talks with other possible partners if the U.S. Treasury Department rejects a tie-up with Fiat SpA, and defended the proposed alliance saying it would help preserve U.S. jobs.
GM said it may lose as many as 500 dealers in its home market this year, an increase from 350 last year, as the largest U.S. automaker works toward a goal of cutting 1,700 by 2012.
Mercedes-Benz's U.S. division paid a $28.9 million fine in December, 2008 --- the second largest such fine imposed --- for violating federal fuel efficiency requirements in the 2007 model year, the government said Jan 6. A total of six automakers were assessed $37 million in fines in 2008 for violating federal fuel efficiency requirements.
A new analysis by Consumer Reports magazine shows that two of Detroit's automakers -- Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. -- are making "real progress" against foreign rivals while Chrysler LLC continues to lag behind the rest of the industry.
Hyundai will cover the depreciation on any returned leased or financed vehicle for the first 12 months to those who find themselves unable to make their car payments.
The U.S. Treasury said Monday it will grant General Motors Corp. a second loan totaling $5.4 billion on Jan. 16 as part of the $13.4-billion rescue of the ailing automaker.
Market likely to stay rough for at least first half of year
Once the air clears (pun intended) and the whining ends, what you’re likely to increasingly hear is how the big three automakers are rapidly ramping up their Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) research and development.
The company has yet to report fourth-quarter results, but FORD CEO Mulally's remark suggests the company's monthly cash burn narrowed to $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter compared with $2.5 billion per month in the previous three months.
While most companies have seen a downturn since the recession began, recent news that Chrysler plans to suspend activity in most North American factories this summer meant another blow for the nation's auto parts suppliers - an industry that employs more U.S. workers than the automakers themselves.
Unless General Motors makes fundamental changes in its basic decision-making process, the company will be “back at the public trough again and again until the public finally grows weary and allows its demise.” That’s the view of Rob Kleinbaum, an auto industry business consultant who has worked or consulted for GM for the last 24 years.
Metlife has written to shop members of its DRP (Guaranteed Repair Program) suspending the use of aftermarket steel bumpers, bumper reinforcements, energy absorbers, brackets and radiator supports. The letter dated Feb 5, 2010, stated:
The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a partial repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act that will apply only to health insurers. H.R. 3596, the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Act, is tentatively scheduled to come to the House floor week of Feb 14.
A landmark 6-year-old class action lawsuit which awarded $15 million to Connecticut auto body repair shops concluded the Hartford Insurance Company was paying unfair labor rates. The lawsuit may now be heading to the Connecticut appellate court.
Leaders from the Automotive Service Association (ASA) met with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to discuss insurance reform and the repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act. This meeting was part of ASA’s Capitol Hill Fly-In July 28-29 for automotive collision repairers.
President Barack Obama announced the administration’s proposal, “Financial Regulatory Reform: A New Foundation” on June 17. As expected, the president’s plan would establish a federal Office of National Insurance (ONI) within the Department of the Treasury, and it would further modernize the American system of insurance to compete within the global market. Presently, the United States is “the only country in the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) that is not represented by a federal insurance regulatory entity able to speak with one voice,” according to the proposal.
The recession has made retaining existing customers more important than ever for insurers. For carriers’ long-term profitability, customer retention is the most important factor, acconding to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Personal Insurance Retention Special Report.
The report finds that in the past 12 months, 30 percent of households with annual incomes below $50,000 shopped for a new insurance carrier and 45 percent of those customers eventually switched carriers. In contrast, only 26 percent of more affluent households (those with incomes of $100,000 or more) shopped for a new carrier, with only 31 percent of shoppers eventually switching.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) of Arizona released the results of its 12th annual “Best Insurer” survey. Arizona collision repair facilities were asked to rate insurance companies on a scale of one (worst) to ten (best) based on the question; “Do the insurance company’s overall policies, attitudes and payment processes focus on providing quality and timely repairs for the consumer?”
A year-long investigation by the Maryland Insurance Administration has found that 67 of the state's 119 car insurers underpaid claims, Commissioner Ralph S. Tyler said on April 17.
Auto repair issues, credit-based insurance scoring, catastrophic risk issues, and a continued push for a more effective and efficient regulatory environment top the list of 2009 state advocacy objectives for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
American International Group announced a deal to sell 21st Century, its auto insurance unit to Farmer's Insurance Group, owned by Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services. Some kind of deal has been anticipated since October of last year, and talks between the two firms were first confirmed in February.
AIG said Farmers Group will pay $1.9 billion, about $1.5 billion in cash and $400 million in notes. Farmers will also assume 21st Century’s outstanding debt of $100 million.
Zurich CEO James J. Schiro said that expansion of U.S. personal lines capabilities at Farmers “has always been one of our strategic priorities.” Growing Farmers, he said, “reduces the overall volatility of our portfolio of businesses, while continuing our focus on profitable growth through customer, product and distribution excellence.”
Sears Holdings Corp. plans to expand its Sears Auto Center network by recruiting former car dealers as franchisees. Sears said it is launching the Independent Sears Auto Center franchise program, allowing auto dealers who lost their GM or Chrysler franchises to operate as licensed Sears Auto Centers.
Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said the company received feedback from the government, but he would not say what that was or when it intends to start sending out parts. The company has said it plans to announce the fix the week of Feb. 1.
Toyota Motor said on Feb. 1 that repairs to accelerator pedals in millions of recalled vehicles would begin later this week as it tried to reassure customers and show that it had the situation under control.
Automotive News has reported that Chrysler Group’s Mopar parts brand has opened an online store to sell parts and accessories electronically. Dealers, though, will ship the parts to customers and get paid for handling the sales.
Collision Week has reported that efforts by Autobody News columnist Toby Chess have led to GEICO issuing an order to inform its staff of the companywide policy change this week citing the recent industry dialog surrounding the quality of aftermarket bumper reinforcements.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) issued the following statement today on the Toyota recall:
"Toyota is doing the right thing. The safety of the customer is of paramount concern. Toyota has a reputation for resolving problems quickly. We certainly hope that's the case in this situation as well.
General Motors has returned $140 million of the $290 million it received from the government to support is parts suppliers.
-- Ford Motor Company has named Nancy Gioia to the new position of director of Global Electrification as the company accelerates its electric vehicle strategy
Recent events have prompted Toyota to take a closer look at the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position due to an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat. A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop the vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury or death.
Toyota will recall about 110,000 Tundra vehicles sold in the United States due to safety concerns. The move was triggered by excessive corrosion on the frame rear cross-member of certain Tundra vehicles which operate in areas with high road salt use. "In the worst case, the spare tire stowed under the truck bed may become separated from the rear cross-member. Spare tire separation will create a road hazard for following vehicles and increase the likelihood of a crash," said the Japanese auto maker in a statement.
Some of the largest U.S. Automotive Retailers in the country created a privately funded stimulus program to provide up to $4500 in incentives for consumers to make it easier for them to get a newer more fuel efficient vehicle. The dealer funded Automotive Stimulus Plan was designed to complement the government's program and to compensate for some of the gaps that don't allow consumers to purchase pre-owned vehicles or choose a short term lease.
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.