GM will shut down Saturn after Penske deal falls apart

2009 Saturn Sky X09ST_SK015

This news is disappointing. Saturn has some nice vehicles and a solid dealer network. Hopefully something can be salvaged here.

Toyota will recall a whopping 3.8 million vehicles due to loose floormat safety issues!

Toyota Prius ext_image11

This news from Reuters is not good.

Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday it will recall some 3.8 million vehicles in the United States because of the risk that a loose floormat could force down the accelerator, a problem suspected of causing crashes that have killed five people.

The recall would be the largest ever for Toyota, the top global automaker that has built a reputation in the U.S. market for safety and the latest in a string of much smaller recalls in the past year.

* * *

Toyota and U.S. safety regulators warned owners to remove all driver-side floor mats from eight Toyota and Lexus models manufactured in the last six years — including the Prius hybrid — as an immediate safety precaution.

Please pass this news on to anyone who drives a Toyota or a Lexus in the United States so they can check if they are subject to this recall.

More production increases coming from GM

2010 Chevy Equinox

We have more good news from GM. The news on the Chevy Equinox in particular isn’t surprising. It’s a sharp-looking vehicle with a very reasonable price, so it’s perfect for the current climate.

General Motors is examining ways to ramp up production of four newer models that are selling well above its expectations, a GM spokesman said on Wednesday.

All four models are greatly revamped from previous versions and one, the Chevrolet Camaro, was resurrected five months ago after being out of production for seven years.

The four models are the Chevrolet Equinox, a crossover utility vehicle; Buick LaCrosse, a sedan; Cadillac SRX, also a crossover; and the Camaro, a sports car.

The potential increase in production at GM could prompt more workers to be recalled from layoff, a rare bright spot for the world’s No. 2 automaker just two months after it emerged from bankruptcy protection.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said GM knew it would have to increase production of some of its models after a summer when inventory levels were at unsustainably low levels, but that these four models in particular had outstripped expectations.

GM said it will also look for a second production plant for the Equinox, which is now assembled at the CAMI Automotive plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, which GM owns with Suzuki Motor (7269.T). The Terrain is also built there.

Sales for the 2010 model Equinox were about 9,900 through September 15. The redesigned Equinox was launched in June.

September will be a critical month. It’s important that sales don’t fall off too much following the end of the cash for clunkers program.

Chrysler worse off than previously thought

2009 Dodge Challenger 3

I’m not sure I’m buying this. The article cited here goes on to speculate that Sergio Marchionne is setting things up to make more drastic changes.

The situation at recently rescued Chrysler Group is even more dire than first thought, the CEO of Italy’s Fiat — which came to the aid of the U.S. automaker — said Wednesday.

“We were surprised by how little had been done in the past 24 months,” Sergio Marchionne told reporters in Frankfurt, Germany.

Chrysler will present a revised business plan in November, Marchionne told reporters.

“We have to be absolutely clear about what we want to do with Chrysler and, as a management team, where the organization is going to be in five years,” Marchionne said, according to the industry newspaper Automotive News.

Unlike General Motors, which has continued to roll out new and redesigned products even as it entered and exited bankruptcy, Chrysler has had little to tout. Its most recent new market entries are the Dodge Challenger muscle car — essentially a re-bodied Dodge Charger sedan — and the Ram pick-up.

The only new product Chrysler has entering the market this year is an industrial-duty version of the Ram truck. After that, a new version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee mid-sized SUV isn’t expected until the middle of next year.

The economy is very important. If car sales can continue to rebound, then the margin for error is greater for Fiat.

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