Archive for June, 2011

Cars Reach Highest Share of Chevy Sales in 20 years

  General Motors Co. said today that cars will account for nearly half of its Chevrolet brand sales in the first half of the year — its highest tally since 1991. GM said it expects cars to account for 47 percent of Chevrolet total sales through June 30. Chevrolet sales accounted for about 71 percent of GM’s U.S. total sales through May 30. The Chevy brand accounted for 747,000 of the 1.05 million vehicles GM sold in the United States through May 30. U.S. Chevy sales are up 16.6 percent this year, while GM as a whole is up 18.2 percent here. Chevrolet car sales are expected to be up 23 percent for the first six months of the year, when June sales are reported Friday. Trucks, utilities and crossovers are expected to be up 9 percent over the first half of 2010, GM said. Chevrolet …

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Ford predicts increase in truck sales for June

  Sales of small cars will back off slightly and pickups will show an uptick when the auto industry reports its June U.S. sales on Friday, said Ford Motor Co. sales analyst George Pipas. Compact and subcompact cars started the year representing 18.7 percent of total U.S. sales but by March grew to 24 percent and then inched to 24.2 percent in April when gasoline prices created a scare at the pump. In May small cars accounted for 23 percent of total sales but June figures will show them dropping further to about 22.7 percent, Pipas told reporters today. The number of customers buying smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles should still be a couple percentage points above June 2010, he said. Small cars sales tend to be seasonal but the analyst said he thinks they may not drop as much in the fourth quarter this year …

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Shell Canada offers fuel saving tips and chance to win $1,000 in gas

  Shell kicks off summer driving season offering Canadians fuel stretching tips, chance to win $1,000 in fuel. While Canadians love to hit the open road during the summer, many may be contemplating whether or not to sideline their vacation plans due to the cost of filling up at the pump. Shell understands that consumers are facing difficult decisions and is providing ways to help keep the fuel budget in check while celebrating the favourite pastime of summer road trips. “At Shell, we know Canadians are passionate about summer road trips and gasoline is essential to get them on the road,” says Diana Hamadeh, Shell Canada Communications Manager. “And with a little planning, drivers can still save money while spending time this summer making memories on the open road.” Here are five top tips to help drivers stretch their fuel further and help keep …

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Obama requests that cars get 56 MPG by 2025

  While Detroit’s automakers themselves are staying publicly mum so far on what they think of a 56-miles-per-gallon fuel economy target by 2025 floated by the White House last week, other interest groups are already weighing in. Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said that requiring an average of 56 m.p.g. for cars and light trucks would “mean a tremendous shift in the types of vehicles consumers would be able to buy,” and could price some consumers out of the market for smaller cars. “To meet that goal, 55% of market share would be hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles, according to the Center for Automotive Research,” Wood said in a statement, noting that such vehicles made up less than 3% of what U.S. consumers bought last year. “Overly ambitious standards set 14 years in the future risk severe economic harm …

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Used car dealers report significant uptick in demand

  Used car shoppers may find themselves paying thousands more as local dealers report an uptick in demand. Local dealers report significant increase in used car sales as economic factors push buyers to favor cheaper vehicles amid a slow economy and higher gas prices. The leap in prices is a part of a greater national trend, they say. “Two or three factors are all hitting at the same time,” said Rob Long, a used car manager at Matt Castrucci Auto Mall in Dayton. “Consumers are looking for ways to save money.” Long said the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan created a shortage of new cars and new car parts, driving the cost of those vehicles up. At the same time, higher gas prices and a slow economy mean buyers are increasingly favoring cheaper and more fuel-efficient vehicles, driving prices on those up …

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Buying a used car may be a good investment

  Throw the conventional wisdom for buying and selling cars out the door. Right now, because the supply of new cars is limited, the prices of new and used cars alike are soaring, and decent gas mileage is increasingly more important to buyers than the thrill of new-car smell, traditional concepts of depreciation upon driving a new car off the lot don’t apply—and certain vehicles are being sold for more than what the owners paid a year or two ago. A car is usually thought of as an investment only in the same way that a professional wardrobe, or even one’s education, is considered an investment: They can all help put you in a position to get a career going and earn more money. But they’re not investments like homes or gold, in which the owners buy with the idea they’re likely …

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Lexus tops 2011 JD Power initial car quality study

  Toyota recovered and Ford stumbled in J.D. Power’s 2011 initial quality study, which found consumers increasingly critical of complex technology designed to increase smartphone use in vehicles. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration also has been highly critical of the growing number of features in these in-car technology systems, which it has said are highly distracting to drivers. Despite the growing amount of technology in cars, the industry improved overall, to an average of 107 problems per 100 vehicles. That translates into about one problem per vehicle. The industry averaged 109 problems per 100 vehicles in 2010 and 108 in 2009. The study evaluated 32 brands based on survey responses from more than 73,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2011 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. Toyota’s Lexus brand secured the No. 1 spot in the 2011 annual study, with 73 problems reported …

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GM says June auto sales improving over last month

  General Motors North American President Mark Reuss said June auto industry sales are improving over May, but consumer confidence is still fragile.   “We’re seeing stability in the car markets,” Reuss told reporters in Washington today, echoing Ford Motor Co.’s comments of an industry sales rate in June of about 12 million vehicles looking at data from the first half of the month. “GM is going to have a good month — and I will leave it at that … I feel good about June, and Ford does, too,” Reuss said. Ford Americas President Mark Fields told reporters earlier this week that June is “off to a good start.” Fields predicted June will be “at least as good as May and maybe better.” Industry vehicle sales were at 11.8 million in May as they fell 3.7 percent. GM sales fell 1 percent in May, while Ford …

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Used cars expected to get even more expensive

  Used car buyers are about to find that it’s tougher to find the models they want. And they may have to pay more for older, higher mileage cars too. Why? It’s yet one more thing to blame on the crisis that hit the auto industry and overall economy in 2008. A key supply of late model used cars — vehicles coming off of three-year leases — is about to be choked off due to the crisis in the financial markets and the auto industry that summer that cut deeply into new leases. “Leasing fell off across the board in 2008, so there’s just not going to be as many of those late model, good quality cars coming into the market,” said Melinda Zabritski, director of automotive credit for auto research firm Experian. Car leasing plunged in the summer of 2008, tumbling by 58% between …

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Chevy Sonic to hit GM showrooms this summer

  General Motors was making a big bet on its smallest car, pricing the subcompact Chevrolet Sonic at a level comparable to well-established imports. Due out this summer, the car was set to start at $14,495, or $2,500 more than the model it replaces. The higher prices reflect a car loaded with features including 10 airbags in hopes that customers will pay up. GM was introducing the US-made Sonic as its entry-level car, a category where consumers go for low prices — and the automaker was forced to rely on low prices to compete with Asian rivals. The Sonic replaces the Chevrolet Aveo, built in Korea. If the plan fails, GM could find itself stuck with a money-losing car plant. As part of a 2009 deal with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to slash costs as GM headed into bankruptcy protection, the company …

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