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.
Isuzu is recalling 8,816 SUVs spread across the 2003 Rodeo Sport, 2003 to 2004 Rodeo and Axiom because the forward mounting point for the lower link of the rear suspension might corrode.
The Automotive Industry Creates Some Odd Bedfellows
Sometimes automakers have holes in their line-up bigger than Van Halen did in 1985. Due to a lack of time, resources or manufacturing facilities, the company looks for a quick fix. The solution? Grab a vehicle from another company that fills the void and rebrand it as their own. But like Wade Boggs in a New York Yankees uniform, these rebadged vehicles never look quite right. And, like any decision made by cobbling together bits and pieces from here and there, it doesn’t always work.
In the world of rebadging, Australian General Motors division Holden is king. The company will rebadge anything and everything for the Australian market. Since Holden could have a top ten list entirely their own, we’ll skip them. Instead, let’s focus on vehicles most in North America will recognise in either current or rebadged form. We are not talking platform engineered cars within a company or ones co-developed between two companies, but rather vehicle rebrand jobs that seem to come out of left field and are thinly disguised.
General Motors and Isuzu are mulling over the possibility of jointly developing a new pickup truck, according to an announcement by GM made today.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it closed the investigations surrounding possible fires on the Volkswagen Passat and cracked cooling fans on various GM trucks without issuing a recall or fines to either automaker.
Originally the 2002-03 model year Passats were under investigation for possible ignition coil fires in July 2010 but things didn’t stop there. In January 2011, the investigation was upgraded to include 2001-07 VW Passat models with the four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. There were 135 unique fire engine reports attributed to the coil-on plugs, but after a thorough investigation there was no safety-related defect identified, so the investigation closed.
Unfortunately the investigation closure alone doesn’t ensure the absence of a defect. NHTSA will continue to monitor the issue to see if further action needs to be taken. None of the fires reached beyond the engine bay and no reports of crashes or injury were related to the 135 incidents.
GM on the other hand, got a thumbs-up after NHTSA looked into the cracked cooling fans on GMT-560 series of trucks. Those trucks span models from Chevrolet, GMC and Isuzu including the 4500 and 5000 medium-duty trucks. Even though NHTSA said that it “remains concerned about the potential for injury,” at the current time it can’t find the cause for the issue and that the complaints are “small and diminishing.”
Not exactly comforting, but we also know NHTSA would issue a recall if the organization saw fit to do so.
Hyundai is definitely making a lot of noise lately in the industry, and this might be their biggest boast yet. Today, they announced that Christopher Chapman has been named chief designer of the Hyundai Design Center located in Irvine, California. Chapman, who was BMW’s Design Director will be responsible for new vehicle and concept designs for Hyundai.
Chapman began his career in 1989, joining Isuzu Technical Center of America and was the designer for the exterior of the XU-1 show car which won Best Concept back in 1993 at the Tokyo Motor Show. From there, he joined the BMW Group at DesignworksUSA in 1994 where he worked on a variety of projects and vehicles including the X5 Sport Activity Vehicle and X Coupe concept car. Chapman and his family also spent two years in Munich, Germany in order to soak in the BMW culture and subsequently, the European one as well. From there he designed the CS1 concept and the 1-Series production Coupe and its variants.
“Christopher Chapman is an outstanding addition to the design team at HATCI,” said John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer, Hyundai Motor America. “We are proud to add such a talented individual to lead the team of dedicated designers at HATCI that will continue to develop innovative vehicles for both the United States and global auto markets.”
Culturally diverse and clearly well-rounded, Chapman has worked for both a Japanese and German automotive manufacturer and now joins the ranks of a headlining Korean one. It will definitely be interesting to see his designs infused with Hyundai’s DNA.
With Volkswagen‘s recent tie-up with Suzuki not going so well, a new report suggests the German auto giant may look to partner or acquire another Japanese company in its bid to become the world’s largest automaker.
Rather than put a focus on small passenger cars, however, this tie-up would explore furthering VW’s commercial truck empire. An article in Manager Magazin cites a possibility that VW’s MAN truck division (30 percent owner by VW) could look to acquire a part or all of Isuzu.
MAN has refused comment on the matter, while Volkswagen has dismissed it entirely.
Currently, VW sits as a distant 3rd in the race to be the world’s largest automaker with GM in second place and Toyota in first.
Automaker to shut down North American light-vehicle operations at end of the month
After almost three decades of selling cars and trucks in North American, Isuzu has announced that it will stop selling its two models as of January 31st, 2009 and cease light-vehicle operations on this continent.
The news was not exactly a surprise as Isuzu’s remaining two models are based on General Motors platforms that are no longer being manufactured. The Ascender SUV is based on the Chevrolet Trailblazer/GMC Envoy XL and the i-290/i-370 pickup truck is based on the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon.
Isuzu sold just 4,758 vehicles in 2008, down from 7,098 in 2007 and a far cry from the company’s record 123,565 vehicles in 1987.
The company has said it will support current owners with parts and service. Isuzu’s North American commercial truck business will not be effected.