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PickupTrucks.com and AutoPacific Announce the Most Significant Trucks of the Decade

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PickupTucks.com and AutoPacific have taken a look at all the new trucks sold in the past 10 years and made their picks for the most significant trucks of the decade. The trucks that made the list introduced cutting edge technologies and pushed the segment into new territory.
“Despite the economic challenges of the past two years, it’s hard not to look back at the last ten years without calling it the decade of the pickup truck,” said PickupTrucks.com editor Mike Levine. “Sales of full-size pickups hit 2.56 million units in 2004 and Ford’s F-Series trucks remain the nation’s best-selling vehicles, 33 years in a row.”
Though there are many trucks that had a significant impact in the last decade, it’s clear that the 2009 Ford F-150 earned the title of “Most Significant”.
“On balance, we thought the 2009 Ford F-150 was the most significant pickup of the last decade,” said Jim Hossack, vice president of consulting for AutoPacific. “It sells in high volume, owners like it and its body, chassis and powertrain are all first rate. Features abound, and there are more models, series and options than can be counted. It’s a good looking truck and suitable for the widest possible range of tasks and uses.”
After the jump are those trucks deemed most significant, in no particular order.


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Survey Indicates Ford Benefits From Troubles Of Others And Not Taking Bailout

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07AnnualMtg_9387_HR.jpgPublic Responds Positively to Ford’s Actions, but Some Still Have Reservations
TUSTIN, Calif. (June 17, 2009) — American consumers’ opinions about Ford Motor Company have been positively influenced by the company’s decision not to accept government bailout funds, and by the bankruptcy filings of rivals General Motors and Chrysler. Automotive research and analysis firm AutoPacfic conducted an online survey of more than 900 U.S. consumers regarding their purchase intent and opinions of individual car companies. Highlights include:
* Asian and European manufacturers scored highest when the survey asked “How concerned are you about buying/leasing a vehicle from” a particular maker, with an average of 61% “Not concerned at all.” Ford scored 48%, far ahead of GM’s 15% and Chrysler’s 14%.


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Ford Benefits from GM/Chrysler Bankruptcies

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The Detroit Big Three soon will consist of the New General Motors, New Chrysler and Old Ford, or better… the New Old Ford. Ford has benefited from a major restructuring begun with the arrival of Alan Mulally in 2006. Like most other automakers today, their sales are way down and they are hemorrhaging cash at an alarming rate. But they seem to have a plan. They have a viable short term product plan, have aggressively rightsized their organization and have not taken federal bailout money and have not undergone bankruptcy, It’s a wonder that all sounds like good news.
A VehicleVoice Internet survey of over 900 respondents in the field from June 3 through June 8 asked several questions concerning Ford’s position in the market while General Motors and Chrysler are in bankruptcy…


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Bankruptcy Makes Americans Skeptical of GM and Chrysler

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A just-completed national survey shows American consumers are skeptical of the U.S. government’s involvement in the auto industry, with 81 percent of respondents agreeing that the faster the government gets out of the auto business, the better.
Following General Motors’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy announcement last week, automotive research and analysis firm AutoPacific conducted an online survey regarding government involvement in the auto industry. Highlights from this survey of more than 900 U.S. consumers include:
• Eighty-one percent of the respondents AGREE that the faster the government gets out of the auto business, the better.


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GM's Chips Begin to Fall – HUMMER and Saturn Sold

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General Motors’ June 1 bankruptcy declaration was quickly followed by the announced sale of HUMMER to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company (June 2) and Saturn to Roger Penske’s Penske Automotive Group (June 5). Having the futures of both of these brands out from under the General Motors umbrella can give many American dealerships and their communities cause for celebration.
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White House Ousts GM's Wagoner – Questions Viability

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President Barack Obama delivered an address to the nation this morning at 11AM where he summarized the results of review of General Motors and Chrysler by The Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry. The conclusion of the report was that neither of the plans presented to the Task Force by GM and Chrysler are viable.
Wagoner Gone – Replaced by Henderson: Immediately, General Motors’ Chairman Rick Wagoner was let go to be replaced by Fritz Henderson – a very capable and experienced senior executive. Clearly, the Task Force determined that the GM plan did not go far enough. GM now has another sixty days to rework the plan and come back with a viable approach. If they do not, the government can move the Corp into bankruptcy to get its house in order.
Our question is “What will GM’s brand and vehicle line profile look like on June 1?”
Chrysler and Fiat Agree to the Framework of a Tie-Up: Minutes after Obama’s speech, Chrysler announced the it had reached developed a framework for a tie-up with Fiat with the blessing of the Treasury Department. Fiat receives a third share of Chrysler for technology sharing allowing Chrysler to launch competitive new products based on Fiat powertrains and platforms. This is needed to keep Chrysler competitive. Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli keeps his job because he has been at the helm for a relatively short time (since August 2007) compared with Wagoner’s eight years at the helm.
Government to Guarantee Warranties (Warrantees): Obama stated that beginning today the warranties offered by GM and Chrysler are stronger than they have ever been because they would be guaranteed by the government. Also, adopting a spelling not seen for decades, the government refers to these plans as “warrantees”. This support by the government is to create confidence in purchasing a new General Motors or Chrysler vehicle today.
Other Actions – Tax Credits, Scrappage Plans, Etc: Obama also mentioned the sales tax credit for purchasing a new vehicle that has been approved by Congress. Pending are plans for incentives to scrap older, gross polluters.
Further Question: Ford: Ford Motor Company has not taken part in government loan guarantees having planned financially for tough years back in 2006. While Ford is struggling like GM and Chrysler it does not seem to be hurt as much in the market as they are. Market share is not down as much.
How will Ford be impacted by the statements of the President, The Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, and the restructuring forced on GM and Chrysler by the government? Will Ford thrive or continue to struggle?
Another Question: Financial Company CEOs: Rick Wagoner fell on the sword for General Motors performance during his tenure but you can argue that the performance of the financial community has been much worse and much more damaging to the economy. Where can we see the heads of the banks, investment banks, and insurance company CEOs rolling down Main Street?


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Does Bailout Money End Up Killing GM?

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It’s been a busy weekend. President Obama is preparing his speech to the country about the future needs of automakers. And, before the dawn breaks on Monday, it’s already being reported that GM boss Rick Wagoner is done. According to sources within GM and quoted by mainstream media, CEO Rick Wagoner will step down at the request of the Obama administration. Does Wagner leaving improve GM’s chances for survival, or was the self-inflicted damage back in November, combined with taking money from the Feds the ultimate undoing of the nation’s largest automaker?


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You Can Depend on Detroit – AutoPacific Response to Editorial

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The March 23 Los Angeles Times editorial ‘You can depend on Detroit” hits the mark; today’s auto industry is a tremendously competitive place. Consumers can now choose cars and trucks from domestic (Detroit) automakers that match the quality and reliability of vehicles from Japanese or European makers. So why won’t Americans buy American cars?
Buyers have long memories. In the late ’70s through the early ’90s American manufacturers dropped the ball in product quality, reliability and customer service. While those problems have largely been corrected, the stark reality is that many people were burned during those years and they will forever be biased against the Detroit Big Three. Parents have influenced their children. Friends have influenced neighbors. Worrisome for the domestic makers, many Americans today have never, never owned an American car. They have no point of reference or familiarity with today’s domestic offerings.
During the auto industry bailout testimony by the Detroit Big Three, Senator after Congressman castigated the DB3 management for selling vehicles Americans did not want to buy. Based on AutoPacific research, it is the government officials who are out of touch with today’s reality, not the U.S. automakers. In fact, in AutoPacific’s most recent research with owners of new cars and trucks, and echoed by other automotive researchers, both General Motors and Ford Motor Company products won more than their fair share of awards for satisfying their customers and developing vehicles ideal for their target customers.
Lexus builds outstanding vehicles supported by a great dealership experience. But its position atop durability studies is not unassailable. Today, American consumers have terrific choices – foreign AND domestic.


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Road Noise: Congressional Rumble All-Out Attack!

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The Place: The Capitol, Washington D.C. The Players: Three captains of industry (Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford and Bob Nardelli of Chrysler), one union leader (Ron Gettelfinger of the UAW) and a big angry Congress.
And then there’s me, your humble chronicler, the only person left behind at Vehicle Voice World Internet Headquarters and Decorative Bamboo Plantation to tell this story, because everyone else is at the L.A. Auto Show. Follow me behind the cut, and let’s talk about the Detroit 3 (plus one)’s adventures in Washington.

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That’s…ominious.


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Exhaust Notes #32: More Detroit Merger Talk

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Are we nearing the end of Chrysler? Or the beginning of a new blended family? Or just another day at the rumor mill?
Late on Friday, the first stories began appearing about GM and Chrysler in possible merger talks. And at least in Detroit, dominated the weekend news cycle. GM’s stock went up this morning, but given that the Dow was up 5.6% and GM went up only about 3%, the stock bump might have happened without merger talk. GM closed on Friday at $4.89, a number some say is actually less than the company would be worth in capital assets alone.

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All of this merger talk, whether these deals are realistic or not, does nothing good for public perception. The economy is weak, last week’s events on the stock market don’t reassure anyone, and talking about GM and Chrysler perhaps needing to merge to survive only further erodes confidence in American business. While GM and Chrysler LLC, as well as any other maker in trouble right now, needs to consider even unthinkable options and test our common assumptions as they get out of this trouble, this merger does not inspire hope.


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