Lexus to Build ES 350 in Georgetown, KY starting in 2015
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Reliabilty Survey Shake Up: Consumer Reports Data
The 2012 Consumer Reports Reliability Survey results putFord near the bottom, The same survey has three Toyota brands in the top three spots with GM's four brands gaining ground from last year. Scion, Toyota, and Lexus now lead the survey. Cadillac was the most reliable domestic brand, jumping 14 spots to 11th position. No domestic models made the top ten. The Cadillac CTS coupe was the brand’s most reliable model. Buick, Chevrolet and GMC all climbed several spots. The Ford and Lincoln brands fell to 27th and 26th. CR specified unresolved glitches with My-Ford Touch and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems and the hand-free Sync communication system, according to Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of auto testing. .Fisher told a crowd of journalists at Automotive Press Association news conference, “Without MyFord Touch they would do a lot better,"
The report analyzes Consumer Reports subscribers’ experiences with 1.2 million new vehicles over the past three years. CR claims their feedback is a good way to predict future reliability.
Auto Dealers: Stop Unfair Business Practices
Bill Underriner, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, outlined two contentious factory issues facing new-car dealers and urged automakers to support a level playing field for dealerships of all sizes.
“Two-tier pricing and mandatory facility upgrades are symptoms of a bigger overall problem—manufacturer intrusion into dealers’ businesses,” Underriner said today in remarks to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. “NADA wants the automakers to stop unfair practices.”
This summer, NADA created a special dealer task force to focus on the fairness of stair-step programs, also referred to as two-tier pricing, which is a manufacturer-to-dealer incentive tied to sales goals.
“The history of our industry is littered with automaker attempts to impose one-size-fits-all programs on dealers. These efforts at top-down control almost always fail,” added Underriner, a Buick, Honda, Hyundai and Volvo dealer in Billings, Mont. “We favor lawful, equal and fair treatment by a manufacturer for all its dealers. Unfortunately, history shows that, at times, manufacturers create incentive programs that favor some dealers over others.”
NADA has also commissioned its second study on factory-mandated dealership renovation programs to analyze the return on investment. These programs often require a dealer to invest millions of dollars.
The second phase of the project will also focus on what the dealership of the future will look like.
“We want to know whether we are investing in the kind of dealership that will be most competitive in 2020 and beyond,” he said.
It's an ATV. It's a Boat. It's a Quadski!
And it's a job creator!
The world’s first high-speed sports amphibian – the GIBBS Quadski -- will go on sale in the United States next month. The GIBBS high-speed will be produced at a 54,000-square-foot assembly plant in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Gibbs Sports Amphibians expects to add a total of more than 200 jobs. The Quadski is capable of reaching speeds of 45 mph on both land and water and transitions between both in five seconds or less, is 10.5 feet in overall length; 5.2 feet in width, and 4.3 feet in height with a wheelbase of 5.8 feet, and weighs 1,300 pounds. Introduced at a Gibbs Sports Amphibian press conference in Detroit by Alan Gibbs, the company’s founder, and Neil Jenkins, its chairman, the Quadski is equipped with a 175-horsepower BMW Motorrad engine and transmission. With the press of a button, its wheels retract when entering the water and deploy when approaching land. Jenkins told reporters in Detroit that Quadski will retail for about $40,000 when introduced in November. The company expects to have more than 20 dealership locations in place within the next 12 months, primarily in the Midwest, New York, Texas and the southeastern United States. The GIBBS amphibian will be available in five colors – red, yellow, blue, silver and black. Suggested retail pricing was not released.
At The 2012 Traverse City, MI CAR Seminars...
Toyota USA Pres. Jim Lentz on Car Sales Projections
Bob Giles Photo
Continental's Jeff Klei: Improved Supplier-OEM Relations:
Bob Giles Photo
GM VP Alicia Boler Davis: New Customer Experience Improvements
Bob Giles Photo
Acura NSX Supercar Update from Honda
It was 21 years ago that Honda made its first hot supercar, the NSX. At the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, HONDA CEO Ito revealed a concept version of the new Acura NSX supercar for the 2014 model year (see my photos). Six months later, at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit Richard Schostek, Senior V.P. of Honda America Manufacturing gave this response to my request for an update on this eagerly-awaited product.
How KEMET Solved a Difficult Cost Problem...
KEMET Bought the Entire Supply Chain!
J.D. Power: Electronics/Navigation Problems A Major Customer Satisfaction Issue...
Younger Car Buyers More Annoyed Than Older Drivers...
Car Designer Legend, Carroll Shelby, Dies at 89
See the first Shelby he exhibited at the 1962 NYC Auto Show.
Michelin Automotive Design Panel at APA
Bob Boniface (GM), Mike Arbaugh (Ford), Mark Trosle (Chrysler)
Michelin-DELTAWING race car video premiered at the May 10, 2012 meeting of the Automorive Press Association...
NewCarNews.TV at the New York Auto Show...
PLEASE CLICK ON PHOTO TO GO THE NEW YORK AUTO SHOW PAGE
New York City Gets A New Taxi...
Taxi Deal is HUGE for Nissan
HOTTEST DESIGN OF THE 2012 Auto SHOW: Lexus LF-LC
2013 Buick Encore: a smaller, practical SUV
The Encore is the right size, right design, a winner!
The return of Ford's Lincoln brand...
With a bold new design, the MKZ is worth the wait!
Hyundai's lifetime-battery-replacement guarantee
Hyundai has a different take on Millenial marketing:
Cadillac Debuts New ATS at NAIAS
Audi's take on Luxury & Electric Vehicles
While showing new A4 and Q3 Vail Crossover (2014?)
Can SAAB be saved?
Photo by Bob Giles
Sad, but obvious news that Swedish carmaker SAAB has filed for bankruptcy. This comes after the attempts by Chinese investors to take over Saab were blocked by its previous owner General Motors, which still owns some technology licenses for Saab. But now sources say that a Chinese investor may be looking again at creating a way to buy the company. Saab CEO Victor Muller is not commenting on this latest twist. You'll recall that Muller used his luxury sports car maker Spyker Cars to buy Saab from GM in 2010, promising to restore its Swedish identity, but the company ran out of money within a year.Readers of NewCarNews were the first to learn of Mullerís intent to buy Saab, even before GM acknowledged they had received his proposal. Muller continued to impress everyone around him with his personal passion to keep Saab alive. It is the stuff that makes a great book, a keynote address to an automotive banquet, and an important case study at the HarvardBusinessSchool. Muller will always have the admiration of auto geeks for staking all he had to keep an important brand alive. It is a road few travel, but a risk worth taking. --Bob Giles
Bob Giles Photo (2011)
NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW 2012 CHARITY PREVIEW RAISES OVER $3,000,000!
The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) has raised over $3,000,000 for local charities. Beneficiaries of the Charity Preview include: Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit, The Children's Center, Judson Center, The Detroit Institute for Children, Think Detroit PAL, March of Dimes, Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation, and the DADA Charitable Foundation Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
SAVING VINSETTA GARAGE
Historic Gem Now a Restaurant!
Woodward Dream Cruise participants will get a look at the remake of the classic Vinsetta Garage on Woodward in Berkley. Closed for over a year, the gas station turned classic car body shop will soon become a restaurant!
Local producer Gary May is using this iconic location for video work he's producing for a soon-to-be- aired series called, "AutoWeek's Vinsetta Garage". This is Gary's brainchild, and the location will serve as his production anchor and occasional interview location.
AutoWeek owners give us a preview of what the restaurant may soon look like. This is the Spartan set-up for this weekend during the Woodward Dream Cruise, but you can't get in unless you have a special wristband. This is an exclusive"invite only" spot for AutoWeek's best sponsors and contributors. Don't even try! But here's a preview for you.
New OnStar Software Links Love Ones
Hey, Itís 2046!
by Bob Giles, NewCarNews.TV
Michelin Design panel members before the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, MI 5-5-11 The theme of the panel discussion was Inspired by the 2012 Michelin Challenge Design theme, ďCity 2046: Art, Life and Ingenuity.Ē Weíll see some of the design winners at the 2012 North American International Automobile Show in Detroit next January. (Bob Giles Photo)
(Detroit Athletic Club, APA Meeting, Detroit, MI 5-5-2011) For a about two hours today it was 2046 as four automotive design experts talked to the media about future car design in a world that experts not surprisingly predict will be far different than today. For instance, there will be another ten billion of us on the planet. If you think of oil as being dominated by supply and demand, well, try to guess what pump price might be for 2011 cars thirty-five years from now. Donít even guess.
2046 will see todayís population centers become megacities. That change is already happening in cities like Shanghai. Streets in Paris and ring roads around London and Los Angles are becoming parking lots. Huge concentrations of people will find it even more difficult than today to get from one point to another.
The prediction is that cars will become personal transportation devices mostly devoid of spectacular design that creates emotion attachment and a personal bond. Some will be independently driven, other linked together in trains. Some will be windowless cocoons, coffins on wheels, flying carpets, small programmable mattresses with wheels that know where to take you. Personalization will be there, but itís unclear to what extent.
2046 is a different world. And the world is already changing.
Todayís youth is becoming less interested in the car as an emotional experience. They want wheels to get to their destination. That could be a bike. Ownership of a car is not critical. The destination is more important than the experience of the journey. That is time better spent in networking and communication with friends, not developing a relationship with a piece of machinery. Many today think of the car as appliance, a transport device. If that is the trend, then it appears that car design will have an even more difficult time in the future to excite new car buyers with great design rather than function. Knowing what we know today about distracted drivers, car windows would become less important in the future.
Itís a different world.
The automotive panel (assembled for the Automotive Press Association by sponsor Michelin Tire Company) agreed that one obvious solution is to create centers of population that did not require traveling great distances between work and home. A good friend of mine is in Saudi Arabia right now creating such a city for its government. A square-mile city to be built from the sand up that is self sufficient and fully sustainable. Is that where Detroit should be?
So what can Detroit take away from this? Right now, we have abundant open land, a dwindling population and an alarming trend of educated talented youth migrating away from the state. Should Detroit right now define itself as the city of the future? Detroit: First city of 2049!
Oakland County has the Woodward Dream Cruise. Detroit could start its own Future World Cruise with the streets filed with future vehicles along Woodward from the Cultural Center and the designs at Center for Creative Studies to Hart Plaza where we could all test drive a 2046 flying carpet windowless pod. I think Iíll try to get a meeting together of forward thinking civic leaders to plan this. Hey, itís 2046! The future is now!
Christopher Borroni-Bird from GM, Joel Piaskowski from Ford, Joseph Dehner from Chrysler, and Larry Erickson from the College for Creative Studies before the APA
2011 NewCarNews.TV Photo Album...
VW's Transparent Plant in Downtown Dresden
The Rick Wagoner Version
Is Rick Wogoner Writing a Book ?
Turn on your Kindles! Sources confirm to NewCarNews.TV that Rick Wagoner has been busy writing a book that will tell his version, from the inside, of the events that led to his firing as chief executive of General Motors by the White House. Except for a very few close friends, Wagoner has be off the radar since his departure from GM, so his book will and automatic best seller and hopefully we'll see "Gentleman Rick" on some of the more high profile talk shows. Wagoner was elected to The Washington Post Co.'s board of directors last year. The Post Co.'s release says that Wagoner "retired from General Motors Corporation in August 2009," As part of the bankruptcy, the federal government took a 61 percent stake in GM, which it still holds. Wagoner was a 32-year GM veteran and had been chairman and chief executive of the company from 2003 to 2009. Despite the problems the company experienced in the U.S., Wagoner is credited with expanding GM's presence in China.
Auburn, Indiana: Worth a Museum Stop!
The Cord-Auburn-Dusenberg museum was built on the site of the original headquarters of Auburn Automotive Company. The first level of the museum offers restored Cords and Duesenbergs. The second level features other automobiles dating from the 1900's-1950's. The museum boasts a collection of over 120 cars. There are a total of three floors, and they are the proud owners of the largest collection of Duesenbergs on display in the world.