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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.
African-Americans that bought a new vehicle financed by Ally Financial Inc might have been paying higher interest rates than white customers with comparable credit scores.
How sweet is this ride? Australians were treated to a Mini Copper covered with 3,000 macarons, as it drove around Melbourne, causing sugar cravings of epic proportions.
Covered by different colors and flavors of macarons made by pastry chef Pierrick Boyer of Le Petit Gateau, the MINIron was the creation of Melbourne Macaron. The group, which is funded by the Melbourne Awesome Foundation, took 180 hours to complete by 22 volunteers. The group’s mission was to create a buzz in Melbourne around this cosmopolitan cookie, and we have to say that it was mission accomplished.
Check out all the pictures of the MINIron on its Facebook page. We’ve even got a video of the making of MINIron after the jump. Bon appetit!
If American licensed drivers were required to retake the driver’s test today, one in five would not pass, according to results of the 2011 GMAC Insurance National Driver’s Test. 18 percent of the country’s total licensed motorists lack knowledge of some basic rules of the road.
Motorists were asked what to do when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, 85 percent could not identify the correct action. As well, only 25 percent of respondents understood the concept of a safe following distance.
In total, 5,130 motorists were surveyed ranging in age from 16-65. Surprisingly men performed better than women, earning an average score of 80.2 percent, while women scored 74.1 percent.
New York state no longer ranks last, moving to 45th place, while the District of Columbia has now earned last place (one out of three of all drivers in New York and Washington failed).
[Source: The New York Times]
General Motors is buying AmeriCorp, a company that offers subprime loans (loans to those with poor credit), for $3.5 billion dollars. GM says the move is necessary to expand financing to those with subprime credit scores. 40 percent of Americans hold these subprime ratings, which are defined as a score below 620 on a 300 to 850 scale.
“Clearly there’s an opportunity to bring more people into our showrooms and help them with finance,” said Chris Liddell, GM’s chief financial officer. GM will also be able to offer more leases to customers, a major selling point for upscale brands like Cadillac and Buick, whose customer base tends to lease vehicles more than mainstream brands. Currently 7 percent of GM’s sales come from leases, compared to an industry average of 21 percent. GM rebranded their GMAC finance unit as Ally, and they will continue to provide financing for the bulk of GM’s customers.
Subprime auto loans are a staple of the used car market, especially independent dealers who offer “financing for anybody” and the infamous “good credit, bad credit, no credit” types of used car lots. By definition this group is the highest risk for loans, due to a history of poor repayment, defaulting or other unscrupulous practices. With 40 percent of GM owned by the U.S government, you have to wonder how much integrity both parties have in extending these loans to people after a similar form of these loans nearly caused a global economic meltdown.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
[Source: GM and Yahoo News]
At a mid-day press conference President Barak Obama made the official announcement that Chrysler will in fact file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Included in the announcement was the news that Chrysler has also reached an agreement with Fiat.
“I can report that the necessary steps have been taken to give one of America’s most storied automakers a new lease on life,” Obama said.
Praising Chrysler’s storied history and saying that the company helped make the 20th Century an American Century, he also chastised the numerous poor decisions made by all parties involved. Chrysler has, “for too long, moved too slowly, building less popular cars, that are less reliable and less fuel efficient,” Obama said.
The President praised Chrysler management, the UAW and the company’s major lender JP Morgan for their “unprecedented sacrifices,” and blasted the small group of holdout hedge funds that have refused to budge and accept the Federal government’s offer. That offer would see the U.S. government pay out lenders $2 billion in cash for $6.8 billion in debt.
The official Chapter 11 paperwork is expected to be filed as early as today and in the restructuring process the Federal government will provide additional loans to Chrysler. Those loans are not open-ended, however, and will have to be repaid in full before Fiat can take a majority stake in the U.S. automaker.
In the mean time Chrysler operations are expected to continue as normal with one major change. The finance arm of General Motors, GMAC, will finance car loads at the dealership level.
Hyundai performed well above the industry average for March, which may be one of the main reasons by both Ford and GM have copied the Korean automaker’s job-loss protection incentive. (Photo Credit: Liberty Cars]
Well, it ain’t getting any better. The recession continues to bully automakers as creditors continue to bang on their front doors
The industry average for car sales in the U.S. for the month of March is 36.8 percent below last year – and to a certain extent that sugar coats the problem as many of the major automakers posted worse numbers.
General Motors once again has the dubious distinction of the worst sales with a decline of 44.7 percent. Ford did only slight better less-worse with a decline of 42.1 percent. Chrysler was down 39.3 percent.
And it’s not just the Big 3 that are hurting. Toyota was down 39 percent and Honda dropped 36.3 percent and Nissan 37.7 percent.
Hyundai was one of the few companies to not take a serious hit, with sales decreasing just 3.3 percent. The Korean auto manufacturer has implemented a it’s assurance job-loss protection program and while it’s not clear if that is the reason for the considerably above-average sales, both GM and Ford recently announced similar programs.
Low consumer confidence and a tight credit market continue to be two of the main factors discouraging car sales. Confidence, especially in almost bankrupt companies like General Motors and Chrysler continues to be a major reason for stalled sales. Access to credit has improved slightly, however, something BMW President Jim O’Donnell sites for the less than awful 22.9 percent decline in his company’s sales.
The Obama Administration is also helping increase access to credit by forcing GM’s credit provider GMAC to resume subprime lending.
According to Standard & Poor’s equity analyst Efraim Levy, this may finally be rock bottom for the industry, but that doesn’t mean things are about to improve soon. “We believe we may be at or near the trough of the industry’s year-to-year comparisons but do not see an uptick in industry demand before fourth-quarter 2009 at the earliest.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Follow the jump for a full list of manufacturer sales numbers