Archive for November, 2010

The first production Chevy Volt to be sold by auction

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  The first production Chevrolet Volt has rolled off the assembly line at a General Motors Co. factory in Detroit, but anyone who wants to buy the electric-drive vehicle is going to have to bid for it. The Volt — bearing the vehicle identification number ending in BU100002 — will be auctioned off, with all proceeds benefitting the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, the automaker said. Details on the auction can be found at Volt.CharityBuzz.com. Bidding ends Dec. 14. “Every aspect of the Volt — from its aerodynamic shape to its battery chemistry — is a testament to the importance of math and sciences,” GM North America President Mark Reuss said Tuesday. “By encouraging Detroit-area students to pursue these topics, we hope to cultivate the next generation of engineers who will build upon the Volt’s innovative technologies.” The Volt is the first of a new …

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Used car dealers targeting the least credit-worthy customers are booming

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  There is a tiny slice of the car business that targets the least credit-worthy customers and tries to get them into cars they can afford and pay for: “Buy Here, Pay Here” used car dealers. Recently they unexpectedly made the news when it was disclosed that Todd Combs, the man whom Warren Buffett hired to help manage his portfolio, is an investor in one of the industry’s biggest players. The timing is appropriate because if ever a demand existed for Buy Here, Pay Here, or BHPH, it is now. With unemployment high and millions of homes being foreclosed, many people who need transportation find they can’t buy any because they have neither cash nor credit. BHPH serves buyers who have few alternatives and are willing to endure steep interest charges — along with onerous collection tactics if they fall behind. BHPH has …

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November auto sales expected to be strong

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  November is expected to be another strong month for U.S. auto sales, despite purchases of new cars and trucks dipping slightly from last month, according to analysts’ predictions. Industry sales for the month are higher than last year, a sign the marketplace is stabilizing and demand for car and trucks is returning. Edmunds.com, an online automotive research company, forecasts new car and light truck sales will rise to 865,550 in November, up 17 percent from a year ago, but down 8.1 percent from October. Pricing firm TrueCar.com expects a similar increase, with sales hitting 868,283, up 16 percent from November 2009, but down 9 percent from last month. Retail sales — purchases made by individuals, not fleets — are also expected to be up this month from last year, but like elsewhere in the industry, will be down when compared to October. The seasonally adjusted …

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Black Friday could be the best day to buy a vehicle

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  Any shopping energy you have left this weekend might be well-spent looking for a new vehicle, industry analysts say. Manufacturers are offering a variety of incentives, ranging from zero percent financing to cash back for qualified buyers. “The selection may not be there, but if you’re price-shopping you can get a good deal,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at automotive website Edmunds.com. “You’ve got to look and do your research.” While attention was focused on Black Friday sales at retailers around the nation, auto manufacturers were also looking to get in on the stampede. Nissan, for example, was offering $500 in cash back for certain vehicles on Black Friday, according to Truecar.com. And, Chevrolet is offering 0% financing, a $1,500 holiday allowance and no monthly payments until spring on certain models. Other U.S. and import manufacturers including Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda were offering …

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Ford F-Series Super Duty truck sales skyrocket

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  Ford noted that half of the heavy-duty pickups sold through September were made by Ford. “One of every two heavy-duty pickups sold in the United States in the first nine months of the year is a Ford F-Series Super Duty,” Ford says in a news release today. Ford’s heavy duty trucks, which it calls Super Duty, have surged since April since the company introduced the 2011 models with two new engines. The Ford F-Series has been America’s best-selling truck for 33 straight years and have been the top-selling vehicle of any kind in the U.S. for the past 28 years. However, General Motors can typically argue that combined sales of its two pickup brands — Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra — beat the F-Series line, which includes many models. Not this year. Through October, Ford has sold 434,920 of its F-Series pickups compared with a combined …

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Chevy Volt’s window sticker will have three EPA mileage figures

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  The Chevrolet Volt will get 60 m.p.g. when using both its batteries and gasoline engine, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but 93 m.p.g. when driven in electric-only mode. The latter number will be compared with the 99 m.p.g. EPA rating of the Nissan Leaf, the battery-only powered car which, like the Volt, goes on sale next month. The Volt will have a gasoline-only fuel economy rating of 37 m.p.g. All three mileage figures will be on the Volt’s window sticker. Consumers must understand the fundamental difference between a dual-source powertrain, such as the Volt’s, and an all-electric car such as the Leaf. The gasoline-powered generator enables a Volt driver to go up to 379 miles between rechargings, according to the EPA. The agency certified the Leaf’s range at 73 miles. That could discourage shoppers who have long commutes. “Consumers need to know what their …

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Two BC drivers lose their exotic cars after caught street racing

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  They’re gorgeous, expensive and can burn down the road well beyond the speed limit — and the drivers of a $245,000 Ferrari Scuderia and a $85,000 BMW M6 have both lost their dream cars thanks to B.C.’s beefed-up civil forfeiture laws. On Saturday, September 25th at around 10:45 AM, motorists in the area of Mt. Seymour Rd. spotted two vehicles racing at excessive speeds up Mt. Seymour. They called the RCMP to report the dangerous driving. An officer, who was conducting patrols near the top of the mountain when the call was dispatched, prepared to intercept the drivers. Moments later, he watched, stunned, as a blue Ferrari F430 rocketed past him at almost 200 km/h. The BMW M6 followed close behind. The officer was able to catch up to the vehicles in the parking lot at the top of Mt. Seymour. The drivers, …

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President Obama speech highlights revival of Chrysler

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  A week after General Motors made a showy return to Wall Street, President Obama highlighted the revival of the other bailed-out auto company during a trip to an Indiana transmission factory. The campaign-style visit to a Chrysler plant here, a city battered by plant closures, was meant to underscore the message that the stimulus, the auto-company bailouts and other federal measures had prevented even worse economic devastation. The unemployment rate in Kokomo has dropped from 20 percent last year to 12 percent, thanks in part to $400 million in stimulus money and the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, administration officials said. “No, we aren’t out of the woods yet,” Obama said at the plant. “It took a lot of years to get us into this mess. It will take longer than anybody would like to get us out. But I want everybody …

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Nissan Leaf electric car will get the equivalent of 99 MPG

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  The Nissan Leaf electric car will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon according to its official EPA fuel economy label rating, the automaker said Monday. Since the Leaf uses electricity and not gasoline for fuel, the EPA had to create a “mpg-equivalent” rating. The rating of 99 mpg-equivalent means the amount of electricity the Leaf uses to go 99 miles is equivalent to the energy contained in one gallon of gasoline. Ninety-nine miles a gallon would make the Leaf the most efficient mid-sized car on the market. The Leaf is expected to get 106 mpg-e in city driving and 92 on the highway. Electric cars commonly get better mileage in city driving where the brakes, which help recharge the battery, are used regularly. The EPA estimates the Leaf’s driving range on a full charge to be about 73 miles, according to the …

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President Obama promotes GM’s electric car

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  President Barack Obama today checked out an Opel Ampera – the European version of General Motors Co.’s extended-range plug-in electric hybrid that’s being built at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant. Obama took a break Saturday from NATO meetings in Lisbon, Portugal to check out the European version of the Chevrolet Volt that will go on sale late next year. He said the Ampera “is another example of GM technology that is going to have great appeal here in Europe,” according to a White House pool report. “Our hope is we’re going to market this all through Europe,” he said. He touted the car’s quiet sound and called it the “future.” ‘This is a nice looking car,” Obama said. He sat in the passenger seat for about three minutes and said “Fire it up” to the man in the driver’s seat. But unlike at his Detroit trip in …

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