Feb. Sales: Chrysler, Japanese Strong
Japanese manufacturers continued to gain ground in February auto sales, despite a relatively strong showing by the Chrysler Group, which saw sales increase in what was basically a flat market.
General Motors and Ford reported another decline for
"First quarter economic growth is proving quite robust," said Jim Press, Toyota Motor Sales president. "With showrooms awash in new products and the spring selling season upon us, the industry should be going strong in March."
Even smaller Japanese brands such as Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Subaru watched sales rise in February. Korean automakers, however, reported essentially flat sales while European brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche all posted modest increases.
Feb. Sales: Chrysler, Japanese
Strong by Joseph Szczesny
GM and Ford slip slightly as sales stay flat.
Consumer Reports Nixes
Consumer Reports released its 2006 rankings of top vehicles and domestic products didn’t fare very well. For the first time in nine years, no product from GM, Ford, or Chrysler showed up on CR’s recommended list. The ratings are based on a series of tests as well as crash performance data and reliability surveys. The winners this year included the Honda Civic in the small car category; the Honda Accord in the family-car category; and the Acura TL in the upscale car category; the Infiniti M35 in the luxury sedan category; the Subaru Forester in the small sport-utility vehicle category; and the Toyota Highlander in the mid-size SUV category. The Honda Odyssey was the top vehicle in the minivan category, and the Toyota Prius was named the best in the Green Car category, while the Subaru Impreza was dubbed the winner in the fun to drive category and the Honda Ridgeline was named the best pickup truck. —Joe Szczesny
Dana Edges Closer to Bankruptcy
Dana Corp. of
Delphi Sets Final UAW Deadline
by Joseph Szczesny
Will there be a strike on March 30?
NASCAR Hall of Fame to
Numerous media outlets are
For the past year,
The package proposed by
"The Charlotte-based NASCAR Hall of Fame is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this region to become the preeminent destination for racing fans," Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory said last year. "This region already is a major hub for the sport of stock-car racing, and we can provide race fans an experience no one else can come close to replicating. A NASCAR Hall of Fame that highlights the legends and legacy as well as past, present and future of this truly American sport will be a premier destination attraction."
The choice of
What is perhaps most remarkable is how NASCAR enticed five cities to battle against each other to build its Hall of Fame. For the price of a few plane tickets and a couple of press conferences, the Daytona Beach-based sanctioning powerhouse, which has transformed itself from a ragtag bunch of oval-tracking country boys into America's number-one spectator sport, gets a $137.5-million shrine to itself. It will even get to charge for the use of its logo and get a percentage of NASCAR-logo merchandise sold onsite. As for what will be inside the building, NASCAR doesn't have a collection of cars to put on display, or much in the way of physical memorabilia. All of the building's contents will have to be built from scratch of donated by collectors. Say what you will about NASCAR, but you can't accuse them of being dumb. -John F. Gardner
Racing News and Notes, Feb. 27, 2006 by John F. Gardner (2/27/2006)
SEE: Porsche 911 Turbo, Alfa Spider, Volvo S80, Ford Focus Convertible, Dodge Hornet and more
Find the Magnifying Glass
"We really need a
magnifying glass to tell the difference between a good and bad year" in the European
market, said Carl-Peter Forster, who heads European operations for General
Motors. The stubbornly stagnant market has not moved much in either direction
in recent years, and according to Forster, annual growth of just three percent should be
seen as a great year, one percent as good. He noted that the Russian market is helping
nudge Europe ahead, while
GM has been shifting corporate
gears as it tries to entrench its nascent European recovery. The key, said
Forster, is "maximizing the potential of our multi-brand approach." For years,
the automaker put most of its eggs in its Opel basket, but it has begun to break
the market up. While Opel remains GM's dominant European brand, it is letting
Cadillac focus on the upper segments, along with Swedish brand Saab. Caddy sales
hit 2500 last year, just short of the 3000 sales goal. But hopes are high for
2006, what with the upcoming launch of the brand's new BLS model. The small
sedan will be marketed outside the
Meanwhile, at the lowest end, Opel is stepping aside in favor of the recently launched Chevrolet brand. One of three new '06 models, the Epica is the latest offering from a brand that might have an American name, but which is really GM Europe's outlet for products developed by the automaker's Korean subsidiary, previously known as Daewoo. Last year, Chevy's European sales shot up 50,000 units, or 26 percent, noted Wayne Brannon, head of Chevrolet Europe. That's especially significant, he asserted, since Chevrolet had no diesel powertrains available, even though those high-mileage engines currently account for half the overall European market. Chevy's first European diesels are just rolling out, and the GM division is forecasting faster growth in 2006. -TCC Team
FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the latest press releases
In testimony today, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) called on insurance companies and state titling agencies to provide consumers access to VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)-based data before they buy used cars. “Armed with total-loss data and a better understanding of vehicle histories, both consumers and dealers will be able to steer clear of rebuilt wrecks and stolen vehicles,” said David W. Regan, NADA’s vice president of legislative affairs. “For too long fraudulent resellers have relied upon a confusing 51-state titling regime to market rebuilt or stolen vehicles with clean titles,” said Regan, appearing before the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Avis Rent A Car System, LLC today announced a new and exclusive program that rewards customers with free song downloads on iTunes(R) with every rental booked on avis.com. Through the long-term arrangement with iTunes, which begins March 1, customers can receive at least five free song downloads on iTunes every time they rent with Avis. The more rentals, the more free song downloads.
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