Category Archive:

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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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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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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Exhaust Note #31: Goodbye, TrailBlazer and Envoy!

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Oh, and Saab 9-7X, too
Last week was full of horrible sales results. The worst single month of sales since February 1993, in fact. In the midst of abysmal sales and the brouhaha to get the financial sector bailout passed, for better or worse, General Motors said production of the GMC Envoy and Chevrolet TrailBlazer will end in December 2008. This is two years earlier than once planned, though not much earlier than many guessed. Are you sad? Saying goodbye to a truly American vehicle?

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2009 GMC Envoy Denali: The end of the line.

We’re not, really. The TrailBlazer and Envoy have come to their logical end, not for being badly drawn or executed products, but because the General’s offerings today are better suited for real life. Envoy sales for 2008 are down 44.1% and TrailBlazer down 36.9%. In a tough economic situation where leasing and credit are more difficult to get and buyers seem perfectly happy to delay big-ticket purchases, why continue them for another year?
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2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS: Will you miss the 390HP stompin’ SS? Or just move on to a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8?


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GMC Acadia Wins 2008 AutoPacific Motorist Choice Award® for Large Crossover SUV

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AutoPacific: What does a 2008 Motorist Choice Award®-winning large crossover SUV look like? Owners think it looks like a GMC Acadia. Within its segment, it received the highest marks for image and exterior styling. Acadia also bested the competition in ride and dependability, and owner reported feeling safe while driving.
IntelliChoice: The Acadia stands out with its best-in-class fuel costs, second-best overall ownership costs and much better than expected insurance costs.

Posted in: Awards, GMC

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Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Toyota 4Runner Win AutoPacific 2008 Ideal Vehicle Award for Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicle

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The Chevrolet Trailblazer wins a 2008 Ideal Vehicle Award in the Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility segment. Owners reported the vehicle performs particularly well in cargo space, visibility and ingress/egress.
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GMC’s Envoy wins in the Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility segment with owners’ strong ratings for seat firmness, level of technology and ride. Handling, power and acceleration also were all listed as strong points for the Envoy.
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Even in its sixth model year, the Toyota 4Runner is an Ideal Vehicle Award winner. Few buyers would change interior storage space, exterior size or passenger room. Owners also noted the 4Runner’s level of safety.

Posted in: Awards, Chevrolet, GMC, Toyota

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Exhaust Note #19: Is GM Breaking Up?

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After a lovely 4th of July weekend, doing my best to focus energies on anything not related to work (something I hear is easy for most people to do, but I’ve never quite got the knack of), I started my usual workday morning routine at my local Bally Total Fitness. And, sure enough, as soon as I get near the gym TV, there’s the news, dragging me right back to 5:15 am Monday morning reality.
The 5 am scoop in Detroit was the rumor GM is considering dumping more brands, one way or another, and firing more mid-management white-collar employees. (No, UAW, you do not have the corner on losing jobs. I swear.) Of course, by time I was in the office and caught up with e-mail, GM has flatly denied that any brand, other than Hummer, is up for review. We’ll only know the truth of that if GM manages to hold onto the seven remaining brands, and assuming Hummer is sold. Here’s the thing: If GM is not considering reducing their brand count, they should be.

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Rumors actually surfaced on this subject last week. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was on my way home to enjoy said holiday weekend that I heard an automotive journalist being interviewed for his opinions on the rumors and what GM should do opine that Saab and Saturn are the likeliest brands to go. Monday morning and it’s groundhog day again. Between that interview and Monday morning, it turned into “news” that GM is considering selling those two brands. Says a lot about how quickly (and recklessly) rumors and speculation fly in this industry, but that’s a story for another day.


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AutoPacific Announces 2008 Ideal Vehicle Awards

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Tustin, California, June 30, 2008 – An “ideal” is defined as an excellent or perfect example. In the annual Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA), announced today by automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, owners rate their new 2008 model year cars and trucks by how close they come to their ideal, as measured by 15 key vehicle attributes. The cars or trucks that owners would change the least are the most ideal.


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Two-Mode Hybrid: Simpler than the stupid Internet would have you believe.

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Hokay, so. We’re talking about hybrids this week here at the VehicleVoice Interntronic Webblargh. Saving gas (and gas money) is a subject near and dear to my heart, as the more patient and visionary among you may have gathered from last week’s slightly garbled missive. This time around, let’s talk about the two-mode hybrid system that George liked so much on the Yukon earlier this week. Development of this particular system was a joint project between BMW, General Motors, Daimler, and Chrysler.

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That guy from Futurama approves


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2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid – Socially Responsible Large SUV

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The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid starts with a weird chuffing coughing sound and a mild shudder and then settles down to a 1000RPM idle. What you have here is one of the first dual mode hybrids available. A vehicle type that has quickly become a pariah in the market is transformed to social responsibility. Fuel economy goes from abysmal to acceptable especially for a vehicle of this weight and performance. Fuel economy increases almost 50% over the base 5.3L V8 in the GMC when the dual mode hybrid is added. While the numbers aren’t impressive compared with a small car, the percentage increase is huge.
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