AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Auto industry legend Bob Lutz may no longer be in the employ of the Big Three, but that hasn’t ever stopped “Maximum Bob” from giving his two cents on what the industry could do improve upon At the New York Auto Show, Lutz held court for a handful of journalists and expanded on what he felt were the key failures of the domestic manufacturers.
Lutz first fingered the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations for helping to give import manufacturers an advantage. While American car makers had perfected the large, rear-drive V8 formula, CAFE forced them to switch to smaller engines and front drive platforms – precisely the kind of vehicles that the Japanese automakers had perfected. Lutz also blamed the typical villains, such as the press, the UAW and foreign exchange rates, but didn’t hesitate to chastise managers of the Big Three automakers, with Lutz deriding the ”… Harvard Business School-type, profit-optimization thinking as opposed to customer excellence focus,” as a key culprit.
[Source: Automotive News]
After a dismal 2009 , American automakers look set to gain market share in 2010, despite fewer brands, a drastically reduced dealer network. The last time the Big 3 gained market share was in 1995.
The strong profitability of the domestic automakers has been linked to lower manufacturing costs, a reduced debt load and careful use of incentives. Import brands like Hyundai and Subaru also fared well, while stalwarts like Toyota ended up losing market share. Analysts expect overall U.S. sales volume to hit 11.5 million vehicles in 2010, an improvement of 1.1 million over 2009. Projections for 2011 were not available at this time, but the Big Three are expected to gain even more momentum as all-new product finally hits the market.
[Source: Detroit News]
The United States Federal Government’s cynical Keynesian vehicle scrappage program scheme was by all accounts a success (if you believe that blind consumption is a win), but some dealers apparently skirted the rules, and now the government is looking for dealers who may have gamed the system – and may withhold $94 million in rebates because of it.
Dealers have already paid out $71,500 in fines, despite NHTSA calling the shady establishments a minority of participating dealerships. However, some shady claims are still being investigating. Among them,
- The overseas exportation of vehicles claimed to have been destroyed after trade-in
- $878,000 in “improper payments” which were subsequently returned
- Several junkyards maintaining improper paperwork that makes it impossible for government officials to verify vehicle trade-ins
While NHTSA says that most of the dealers are legitimate, but noted that some fines have been as large as $21,000. The government may withhold the $94 million in rebates due to missing paperwork that validates the trade-ins. This figure is expected to make up about 3.3% of all trade-ins.
[Source: USA Today]
An American V8 engine has few rivals when it comes to the noise it makes. The only real rival that can match its bombastic rumble is a piston engined fighter plane from WWII. When a supercharger is added on to one of these motors, the resulting noise is especially sinister, due to the mating of the eight-cylinder rumble and the banshee-like wail of the big blower.
The hottest versions of Chevrolet’s Camaro SS and Dodge’s Challenger SRT-8 use naturally aspirated engines to pump out around 422 and 425 horsepower respectively. Ford’s most powerful Mustang, the Shleby GT500, needed to annihilate those figures, and the Blue Oval’s engineers decided to strap a supercharger to an already sizable 5.4L twin-cam V8. The result is 540 horsepower, and you can hear everyone of those ponies featured in this glorious video shot by Ford, showing the 2011 Shelby ‘Stang ripping up and down a closed course, doing what can only be called “acceleration runs.” If you can, turn up your speakers and revel in the glory that is a Ford V8 at full song.