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Auto News 04/2009

Auto dealers hope Americans will step up to help their industry (Colorado Springs Gazette)
With the U.S. auto industry on the ropes, consumer finances in a pinch and the economy still weak, local car dealers are trying to figure out how to get shoppers to buy their vehicles.

Obama policies aggravating auto industry troubles? (WorldNet Daily)
A member of Congress representing Michigan, the state hit hardest by the collapse of the automobile industry, says the White House needs to be clear about what it wants from the industry.

The next F1: McLaren plans replacement for legendary supercar:
Formula One powerhouse McLaren secretly has begun work on a replacement for its legendary F1 supercar, while it also gears up to become a mainstream sports-car maker.

EU countries bail out auto industry (People's Daily)
As impacts of the international financial crisis on the manufacturing industry continue to grow, major auto producing countries in Europe have launched respective bailout plans for their automobile industries one after another. Some of these plans are already in effect, while others are awaiting the approval of the European Commission. &$ &$France tries to consolidate its national auto ...

Hyundai Nuvis concept set for New York auto show debut:
Hyundai says there is a new crossover in its product plans for the future, and will offer up a hint of what it may look like with the Nuvis HCD-11 concept at the New York auto show next week.

Ford reshuffles design execs: Callum takes over Americas, Horbury back to Volvo:
Ford is reshuffling its design lineup, naming Moray Callum executive director for its Americas operations, replacing Peter Horbury, who returns Volvo.

Maeda named new Mazda design boss, replacing van den Acker:
Ikuo Maeda is the new head of design at Mazda Motor Corp.

Obama Needs to Be More ‘Aggressive’ on Banks, Autos, Baker Says (Bloomberg)
“They should be more aggressive in terms of the financial institutions,” Baker, 78, said on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff ” airing today. Some form of pre-arranged bankruptcy is “what should have happened with the automobile industry.”

April Fool’s Day Roundup: Yuk it up!:
There’s been no shortage of levity today in the auto world--a welcome relief from the daily dirge. Just for laughs, let’s run through a few:

The AutoWeek list: Foolish cars we should never have bought, but did :
2001 Pontiac Aztek

Scion iQ concept spotted prior to New York auto show unveiling:
Toyota's Scion brand has been busy overhauling its lineup over the past year. We've gotten a reworked xB and the new xD.

Auto industry issued its final chance (The Western Courier)
1 WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's extraordinary auto industry intervention is assertive and coldly pragmatic, with a dose of caution and a sentimental nod to the automobile's place in the American psyche. Obama's curt rejection of General Motors' and Chrysler's restructuring plans and his abrupt move to muscle out GM's CEO set the stage for a major realignment of the U.

Ford, GM post biggest drops, industry sales slump continues:
Ford Motor Co. and General Motors posted the sharpest sales declines among major automakers as the industry headed toward its sixth straight monthly drop of more than 30 percent.

The future of the U.S. auto industry (Minnesota Public Radio)
Two longtime auto industry experts discuss President Obama's latest actions to save General Motors and Chrysler, talk about how we got to this point, and predict what the future holds for the U.S auto industry.

Glimmer of hope in March's steep automobile sales drop (Marshalltown Times-Republican)
DETROIT - Talk of government loans and bankruptcy and a 37 percent drop in March sales isn't good news, but despite it all, there seems to be a little optimism returning to the U.S. auto industry. Carmakers' March sales were dismal compared with last year, but consumers lured by record incentives pushed the February-to-March increase above the normal rise that comes at the end of winter.

America's auto industry will rise again (Detroit News)
Washington -- I am looking for light at the end of a long and exceptionally dark tunnel. Finding it isn't easy, as indicated by last month's 41.4 percent drop in U.S.-market new-vehicle sales. That was the lowest February posting since 1976, when the automobile industry began reporting monthly sales numbers in the United States.

Maruti Mar. Sales Up; Hero Honda, TVS Motors Maintain Sales Tempo (Nasdaq)
(RTTNews) - The Indian automobile industry continued to show a positive growth trend in March, mainly driven by the stimulus packages announced by the Indian Government and easier auto loans by public sector banks.

Hyundai plans plug-in hybrid for 2012 in United States:
Hyundai will launch its first plug-in hybrid in the United States in late 2012.

Toyota to slash new Prius price to match Honda Insight:
Toyota Motor Corp. is going for the jugular with its redesigned Prius, setting a 2.05 million yen starting price ($20,750) in Japan that is on par with the newly released Honda Insight.

German Jan-Mar Car Registrations +18% On Year - VDA (Nasdaq)
FRANKFURT -(Dow Jones)- German car registrations for the period between January to March rose 18% on the year to 868,000 units, said the German automobile industry association VDA.

Kia reveals near-luxury concept, preview of sedan coming to U.S.:
Kia is offering a hint of its first near-luxury sedan at the Seoul motor show with a concept called the KND-5.

Hyundai names former GM designer to top post at Calif. design studio:
A former General Motors designer will shape the future look of Hyundai.

Aston Martin Rapide prototype stretches its legs at Nürburgring:
Aston Martin caught our eye with the Rapide concept at the 2006 Detroit auto show. But the project slid to the back burner as then-owner Ford Motor Co. couldn't fund development of the car.

GM cuts price on restyled 2010 Chevrolet Equinox :
The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox will carry a base price of $23,185, including its delivery fee, when the crossover goes on sale in June.

Chevrolet Volt remains on track, but electric grid still poses challenges:
Despite General Motors’ looming troubles, development of the Chevrolet Volt rolls on, and 80 new prototypes will be built and tested starting this summer.

Steve Saleen says he will honor old Saleen warranties:
Steve Saleen said Thursday that he will honor the warranties on some of the products that bear his name--a month after the new owners of his former company said they wouldn’t accept the older claims.

Suzuki sedan heads for December introduction in the United States:
It's been awhile since we've shown you some spy art of Suzuki's upcoming sport sedan foreshadowed by the Kizashi concepts.

China to restructure auto industry (BigPond News)
China says it wants to boost its automobile industry by reducing the number of companies through mergers.

Allstate, State Farm Favor New Proposal for U.S. Insurer Rules (Bloomberg)
April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Allstate Corp. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the largest U.S. home and auto insurers, are among firms supporting a congressional proposal to shift industry oversight from states to the federal government.

Auto industry a step back;Maruti, M&M sales up, Hyundai, Tata in red (New Kerala)
New Delhi, Apr 2 : After marching northwards for nearly two months, the auto industry seems to have moved a step back, with carmakers, including Hyundai, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto registering a dip in sales for the month of March.

Auto industry needs tough love (Miami Herald)
Many believe THAT President Barack Obama had some harsh words for the U.S. auto industry in his news conference on Monday. But if you listened closely, it became apparent that his message was one of tough love and support.

New York auto show: Mitsubishi GT Prototype breaks cover:
Mitsubishi has revealed pictures of a sport version of its Outlander crossover, called the GT Prototype, ahead of its live unveiling at the New York auto show next week.

Fast and Furious film review: Don't blink:
The following is a review of the film The Fast and the Furious written by AutoWeek editor, Mark Vaughn.

Diversions ahead for North America's auto world (National Post)
North America is entering a period of severe chaos in the automobile industry supply chain that will shut down car factories repeatedly for hours or days at a time, wipe out hundreds of parts companies and cause psychological torment for thousands of workers.

Ford retools Transit Connect van for families at New York auto show:
Ford has lauded the small-business functionality of its Transit Connect van, but it is now turning its attention to pleasing families.

Survey Shows Public Very Aware Of Auto Industry Troubles (The Auto Channel)
TUSTIN, Calif. April 3, 2009: A national Internet survey conducted between March 31 and April 1 reveals that the American public is extremely aware of the current challenges facing the American automobile industry and the Obama administration’s actions to confront them.

Another View: How to Save General Motors (New York Times)
We have previously written about two different proposals to save whatever may remain of the American automobile manufacturing industry that has the potential to become viable.

Auto industry problems hit close to home (Gridley Herald)
It is impossible to turn the television on these days without hearing the latest financial outlook for the automobile industry. When we hear that the CEO of GM has been forced to step down and that GM plans to close 2,000 dealerships by 2012, we know it is an uphill battle for the owners of dealerships such as McConnell Chevrolet.

Obama's Wallow in the Automobile Industry (Washington Post)
The Constitution enumerates three requirements for those who would be president (they must be natural-born citizens, at least 35 and a resident within the country for 14 years) and now the government's thrashing about in the economy imposes a fourth: Presidents must be able to speak pluperfect nonsense with a straight face, lest the country understand what the government is doing. Obfuscation ...

New York auto show: 2010 GMC Terrain revealed:
General Motors expanded its line of small crossovers with the premiere of the 2010 GMC Terrain at the New York auto show.

New York auto show: GMC adds Yukon Denali hybrid:
On top of the all-new Terrain, GMC will debut a new addition to its hybrid product portfolio with the Yukon Denali hybrid at the New York auto show.

Pundits Unfairly Target American Automakers (Washington Post)
The Mob of Pundits (MOP) is out to lynch the domestic automobile industry.

Warren Brown's Car Culture (Washington Post)
The $17.4 billion bailout loan approved for the automobile industry will accelerate a restructuring that has been in progress for nearly 15 years.

Signs of a Resurrection (Washington Post)
I am looking for light at the end of a long and exceptionally dark tunnel. Finding it isn't easy, as indicated by last month's 41.4 percent drop in U.S.-market new-vehicle sales. That was the lowest February posting since 1976, when the automobile industry began reporting monthly sales numbers in the United States.

Diversions ahead for North America's auto world (National Post)
North America is entering a period of severe chaos in the automobile industry supply chain that will shut down car factories repeatedly for hours or days at a time, wipe out hundreds of parts companies and cause psychological torment for thousands of workers.

INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS: Exports in March seen at $12-14 b: Pillai ‘Recession in developed markets led to demand slump’. New Delhi, April 4 The country’s merchandise exports may have achieved the scale-down target of $170 billion during the just-ended fiscal year 2008-09, a top commerce ...

Auto parts industry begins fiscal on a note of ‘cautious optimism’ (The Hindu)
Most players in the industry believe that the market has bottomed out and an upswing, albeit feeble, is on the cards. Chennai, April 4 After the “worst ever” year ended with some encouraging signs, the auto components industry is beginning the new financial year on a note of “cautious optimism”.

New York auto show: BMW to unleash X6 M:
For the first time, BMW’s M division has applied its performance engineering skills on something besides traditional coupes or sedans. Coming out of the garage first will be the X6 M, which will make its world debut at the New York auto show.

Few in White House appear to drive American cars (Los Angeles Times)
A parking lot survey turns up five U.S.-made vehicles out of 23. Oops, it seems that many on President Obama’s team, including those seeking to save the American automobile industry, do not actually drive vehicles from the American automobile industry.

Honda cutting costs to weather auto industry storm (This Week Marysville)
Challenging times for the U.S. auto industry aren't limited to General Motors, Chrysler and the city of Detroit.

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