Daily Edition: Dec. 2, 2005

December 1, 2005

Sales Down Modestly in Nov.; GM, Ford Drop More

Car and pickup truck sales staged a very modest comeback in November while sales of sport-utility vehicles continued to tumble, cutting overall industry sales by six percent.

The annualized rate of 16 million units, however, was better than the 15.4 million rate posted in October and offered automakers hope that sales would finish the year with a bang.

Meanwhile,Toyota continued to gain market share on its American rivals by posting a five-percent sales increase.

Meanwhile, GM's total sales dropped eleven percent, including a three-percent drop in cars and weak sales of sport-utility vehicles, which dropped 16 percent. Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands fell 18 percent and Chrysler fell seven percent. The decline in Chrysler's sales ended an 18-month run of sales increases by the group.

Sales Down Modestly in Nov. by Joseph Szczesny (12/1/2005)
Big Three drop; Japanese brands pick up, except Nissan.

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Jeep Prices Porsche-Slaying SRT8 Grand Cherokee

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 will cost about half as much as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo it beats in a 0-60 run, the Chrysler Group said in a release on Thursday. The new HEMI-powered SUV will sport a base price tag of $39,995 when it goes on sale in January. The SRT8 version of Jeep's perennially popular sport-ute will outpace the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X5, Jeep promises. Outfitted with the 420-hp, 6.1-liter HEMI V-8, the SRT8 will gun to 60 mph in less than five seconds, making it the second-fastest Chrysler Group vehicle after the Dodge Viper. Along with an upgraded four-wheel-drive system and the HEMI engine, the SRT8 gets stability control recalibrated specifically for this application, Brembo brakes, a more refined interior, and options like DVD navigation and Sirius satellite radio.

Daily Edition: Aug. 12, 2005 by TCC Team (8/11/2005)
Jeep waves the flag, HEMI passes million mark.

Saab Scores with Active Head Restraints

Saab scored top marks in a test of car seats by Thatcham, an research group of British insurers. In the tests, Thatcham measured car seats and looked at the position of the head restraints compared to the head of the dummy; in a dynamic test the seat with dummy was mounted on a sled, which was accelerated in 0.1 seconds to 10 mph to study the effects of a rear-end collision.

Seats with the Saab Active Head Restraints (SAHR) fared better than all others in the tests. Statistics of the insurance claims show that there were 42-percent fewer complaints of whiplash after collisions with the Saab 9-3 with SAHR, compared to its predecessor without this system.

Mercedes-Benz got high marks for being the first manufacturer to offer truly active head restraints using an onboard crash sensor.

The Thatcham investigation also showed that only 16 percent of the cars scored "good" and 36 percent scored "poor" when it comes to head and neck restraints and protection. -Henny Hemmes

Power: Buyers Accepting Imports More Readily

The latest study from J.D. Power and Associates on the habits of car shoppers finds that new-vehicle buyers are more accepting of import brands these days. In the J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Avoider Study released on Thursday, Power reported that buyers in the South have undergone the most dramatic change in shopping, where 34 percent say they would not consider an imported or foreign vehicle, down from 40 percent in the 2004 study. Korean brands in particular have benefited from the shift in interest; only 31 percent of southern shoppers would not buy a Korean car, for instance, while in 2004 that number was 41 percent. The study does have some difficult news for the domestics - truck buyers seem to be drawn in by rebates and incentives more than the perception of reliability, and in general, rebates and incentives have drawn attention away from improvements in product design and features. The study adds that some Asian brands carry the perception that their vehicles are too small, even when the vehicles - like Nissan's Titan - are equally as large or larger than the competition.

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