Archive for June, 2010

The auto industry appears to be turning the corner

  The auto industry appears to be turning the corner. But the American consumer has yet to come along for the ride. Overall U.S. auto sales have rebounded nicely, up 17% through the first five months of the year. Auto companies will announce their sales for June on Thursday and analysts expect another increase from a year ago. But much of the improvement has been due to a 38% jump in fleet sales to businesses, such as rental car companies. Retail sales are up a far more modest 12%. “Consumer confidence is far from repaired,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at TrueCar.com. “They can’t pull the trigger on big ticket purchases. We don’t see that changing any time soon.” In fact, the current sales pace isn’t even keeping up with the rate of vehicles being scrapped because they’ve reached the end of …

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Tesla Motors shares begin trading today

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  Investors push the electric sports car maker’s stock up more than 40% in its first day of trading. Many potential roadblocks to the company’s success remain, analysts say. Wall Street found a new darling Tuesday in Tesla Motors Inc., an electric sports car maker whose shares surged more than 40% on its much anticipated first day of trading. Shares of Tesla, the first American automaker to go public in more than half a century, shot up $6.89 to close at $23.89 despite a plunge in the global markets. The Palo Alto company is yet to post a profit since it was co-founded by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2003. Still, investors snapped up Tesla stock amid what analysts said was more hype over the first public offering by an electric car maker than the potential for it to alter the auto industry. The …

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Ford to sell its cars direct to customers via the internet

  Ford’s dealership group will this week become the first of its kind to sell its cars direct to customers via the internet. Experts say the move by Britain’s biggest car seller will trigger a stampede of similar initiatives from rival companies. Ford’s own research has revealed that, in an age when consumers are happy to buy clothes, holidays and washing machines online, nearly four in ten buyers now want to buy their next car on the internet. Even if it means not taking a test drive. Fifty dealers wholly-owned by Ford will begin selling new and used cars – as well as commercial vehicles – over the internet from June 29. Every Ford model – including the Ka, Focus, Mondeo and Galaxy people-carrier – will be available and consumers will be able to purchase their new car by email. Alternatively, buyers …

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Cheap used cars still selling strong

  Southwest Florida used car dealers say they are accustomed to sales cooling off as summer heats up, but they worry the next few months may be especially difficult. “Summer is slow, but slow would actually be an improvement over what I am seeing right now,” said James Hoskins, owner of Drake Motor Co., 4264 Fowler St. in Fort Myers. Typically, summer slows down because the winter residents return North and take both their new car trades and used car business with them. Plus, locals are less likely to brave the sweltering temperatures to buy a car unless they absolutely have to, Hoskins said. The problem this year, he said, is that the typically summer lull is coming after a weaker than usual winter season. “Nobody is doing much of anything,” he said. “Cars under $8,000 are about the only things selling.” Roger Neidigh, owner of …

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Expert used car buying tips

  Most families have a need for their own transportation to get most everywhere. From a reliable car for the daily drive to work, visiting relatives and friends, or just for a short grocery run, we all need a stress-free ride. But these days, any vehicle purchase can be a complex one and can often be an intimidating experience — especially if it’s a search for a used car. It’s often difficult to tell what may be hidden behind that amazingly tempting, shiny exterior and luxurious interior of a used car. It’s good to remember that it was someone’s new car at one time, but now it’s a used car… for a reason. Those reasons can vary from an honest, great deal trade-in by a caring first owner, to a possible sour lemon sadly waiting to be picked. With some help from local …

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Toyota Camry and Honda Accord named most “Made in America” cars

  People in the U.S. used to rail against imported cars that are from Japan. Now it turns out the most corn-fed cars are from two Japanese automakers: Toyota and Honda. Car.com in Chicago released its annual ranking of vehicles deemed most “American” based on American production, percentage of domestic parts used and American sales volume. Half of the top 10 cars are made by the Japanese automakers. Since the 1980s Japanese automakers have cultivated production facilities within the United States to be both closer to delivery in its largest market and undercut the anti-Japanese angst that rose with the country’s global stature and competitiveness in the world markets. The ranking comes on the heels of Toyota’s announcement that European and North American operations will be run by European and North American managers to improve cross-country communications in the wake of the wave of …

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General Motors looking to broaden availability of auto loans

  General Motors Co. is in negotiations with financial institutions in a bid to broaden the availability of auto loans, a strategy that for now pushes off any plans for the company to acquire its own lending arm, people familiar with the situation said. The car maker sees its difficulty in providing loans to more consumers, particularly those with weaker credit history, as a barrier to winning back U.S. market share at a time when it is looking to become more attractive on Wall Street ahead of an initial public stock offering. GM sold control of its GMAC LLC finance arm three years ago, making it one of the few major vehicle makers in the U.S. market without an in-house lender. Car companies can use captive finance arms to make loans and leasing available to boost sales of cars and trucks. GM executives believe …

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Pirelli confirmed as exclusive Formula One tire supplier from 2011

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  The Italian tire firm will supply all the Formula One teams from 2011-2013 with six types of tire: four for dry weather, one for rain and one intermediate. Pirelli – which has supplied tires exclusively for the GP3 championship this year – will also supply the GP2 championship from 2011, becoming the sole provider of tires for the most prestigious single-seater championships in global motorsport. The Milan-based firm is already present in the World Rally Championship, the World Superbike Championship, the Rolex Sports Car Series in North America, the Motocross World Championship and several other national championships for both cars and bikes. Pirelli will supply tires to the Formula One World Championship for a three-year period between 2011 and 2013. The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), the Teams, represented by FOTA (the Formula One Teams Association), and Formula One’s organizing body, represented by FOM …

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‘Cannonball Run’ Racing Bankers Busted in Vermont

  15 rich British Bankers get busted racing Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Porsches through Vermont in a modern-day Cannonball Run from New York to Montreal. A British banker was arrested and had his car confiscated while competing in a Cannon Ball Run from New York to Montreal. It all started when DeVere Offshore decided to treat its top 15 salesmen to an all expense trip to the Montreal Grand Prix. Sounds like a great idea so far. However to make the trip more interesting the decision was made to rent 15 of the hottest exotic cars on the market and race them from New York to Montreal in time to see the Formula One race on Sunday. They rented only the best luxury cars including Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, and Porsches. Along the way they were to stay at all the best hotels and dine at only …

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Used trucks are selling well across the country

  Mike Simmons recently went four-wheeling in the New Mexico canyons where Billy the Kid used to ride. He did it behind the wheel of his silver Dodge Ram pickup. On the way back home to Fairview Township, Simmons and his truck crossed the Continental Divide in a snowstorm, and plowed through it with ease. “Those are the kinds of things you can do with trucks,” Simmons said. “You don’t worry about where you’re going.” Pickups have long been a popular vehicle in northwestern Pennsylvania, favored for their durability, their usefulness and their ability to make it through the local terrain and weather. But the popularity is reaching a new level, thanks to an appealing mix of quality and affordability, area auto dealers say. Pickup sales are on the rise nationwide, jumping more than 19 percent in May over May 2009 sales …

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