Industry Report: Nov. 21, 2005

November 20, 2005

"Red Tag" Prices Come to GM Through Jan.

General Motors is turning to discounted prices once more to clear inventories of 2005 and 2006 models from its lots. The company's new "Red Tag" promotion, dealers will put maximum prices on vehicles that will reflect reductions on prices of anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $4400 on some models, the Detroit News calculates. The program, which does not include Cadillac, Saturn, Saab, or HUMMER vehicles, will run through January 3.

Ford Keeping it Simple with New Incentives

Ford's counterpunch to GM's "Red Tag" sale will be simple - in word and in deed, the company promises. The "Keep It Simple" incentive will offer a single national discounted price on all its remaining 2005 and most of its 2006 models. Excluded from the new deal are the '06 Fusion/Zephyr/Milan triplets, the Mustang, and the GT supercar. Like the GM plan, Ford's deal expires January 3.

Daily Edition: Nov. 10, 2005 by TCC Team (11/10/2005)
Ford's new V-6; Nissan HQ move could come today.

Chrysler Goes for Gas Money Incentive

Responding to the new GM "Red Tag" event and Ford's "Keep It Simple" incentive plans, Chrysler Group is borrowing a page from former sister company Mitsubishi in offering up to two years' worth of free gas, along with free maintenance and extended warranties, on some of its new vehicles. Automotive News reports that Chrysler's "Miles of Freedom" program will offer shoppers a debit card for $2400 in gas (good for 12,000 miles at $2.15 a gallon for a fleet-averaged fuel economy of 21.8 mpg); free scheduled maintenance for up to two years; and a five-year, 60,000-mile warranty on most of its vehicles. Specifically excluded from the program are the Chrysler 300; the Dodge Viper, Magnum, Charger, and Sprinter; and all the company's SRT8 vehicles.

2006 Dodge Charger SRT8 by John Pearley Huffman (11/14/2005)
Another spin on the definition of SRT-ness.

Tougher Car-Truck Impact Rules Set

An agreement forged between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and nine major automakers is expected to mitigate the effects of accidents in which pickup trucks and SUVs strike lower-riding passenger cars. USA Today reports that the automakers have agreed to strengthen and install beams in the front ends of new trucks and SUVs starting in September 2009. The "blocker beams" are used to make the crash structures of the two different types of vehicle more compatible, directing crash forces into the structure of cars. The agreement also will trigger a new round of studies that will examine how to further reduce injuries in car-truck accidents.

Recall, Rollover, and Safety Info by TCC Team (10/17/2005)
Search the government's databases for safety info on your car.

WJR Auto Report: GM's Gloom

I grew up in an era when most folks believed that what was good for General Motors was good for the country. And vice versa. It's a lot harder to make either argument these days, as the automaker skids deeper and deeper into trouble. Once GM controlled half theU.S. auto market, and the federal government was determined to break the company up. Now, the unthinkable seems all too possible, with analysts trying to imagine the impact of a General Motors bankruptcy. Until recently, investors seemed willing to ride things out. They were buoyed by union healthcare concessions, and the promise of new products to come. But last week's announcement that GM would have to restate its earnings for 2001 seems to have been the proverbial straw that broke the back of the investment community. GM's share price has plunged and the mood is growing increasingly pessimistic, both inside and outside the automaker's gleaming headquarters in Detroit's Renaissance Center. Few would argue that a GM bankruptcy would be bad for the country. But at this point, one has to wonder if anything would be good enough to turn things around for the struggling giant.

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