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Honda Accord Wagon? Sorry, Not in the US
Jul09

Honda Accord Wagon? Sorry, Not in the US

C’mon, you know the reason why…

By Brendan Moore

07.09.2009

2009-honda-accord-wagon-side-blue-loading

Because the US market is ah, special, auto manufacturers that sell cars in the US often don’t sell some of their models in America (and therefore all of North America) that are popular elsewhere.

So some good small cars like the VW Polo, many cars with diesel engines that get great fuel economy but cannot pass emissions in the US, and occasionally, some performance cars that are made in such limited numbers that it’s not worth getting the vehicles certified (crash-testing, emissions, etc.) are absent from our shores.

And, in the last few years, wagons. Yes, there are some wagons sold by foreign manufacturers in the US. And, there are certainly other station wagons sold by manufacturers (foreign and domestic) that are missing in action in the US market. The Honda Accord, the subject of this piece, is one.

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Parallel Universe in China for GM for First Half of 2009
Jul03

Parallel Universe in China for GM for First Half of 2009

By Brendan Moore

07.03.2009

gm-logo-smallThere is no reason to once again detail GM’s troubles in the Western World; they are enduring their own particular nightmare right now in North America and Europe.

Yet, there is a land far away where GM is a colossus, and the future looks limitless.

That land is China, where GM just keeps piling up sales, and the country just can’t seem to get enough of the General. Sales in the first half of 2009 for GM in China jumped 38%. Most of those sales came from minivans and small cars. GM cannot meet demand for some of their vehicles in China, and is still building new production facilities in the country.

GM sold more than 100,000 vehicles a month in China in January-June for a total of 814,442 units going across Chinese curbs for the first half. That is a record for any half-year for GM in China, and is also the Chinese record for six months. Just for comparison, GM sold 1,094,561 units in full-year 2008, which was also a record year. Do the math, and you can see that GM will easily blow past their 2008 record, unless the whole country is hit by an earthquake.

In fact, GM says they will increase the sales of their eight joint ventures in China by 100% from their 2008 total in the next 60 months. That goal appears to be a lock at this point.

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Some Toyota Prius Owners in Dark Mood
Jul03

Some Toyota Prius Owners in Dark Mood

By Brendan Moore

07.03.2009

2007 Toyota Prius

Some Prius owners are hopping mad at Toyota for selling them a car that the owners claim has a serious safety defect – their headlamps burning out quickly.

The online chatter among Toyota Prius owners about their headlamps burning out seems to have started around late 2006, with complaints from owners that their optional, upgraded lamps were burning out too quickly, but more importantly, are hideously expensive to replace.

The unhappiness has gotten much more pronounced lately, with a class-action suit filed against Toyota by a group of Prius owners, and, US federal safety officials are investigating the issue currently, having started their investigation in April of this year.

So, how expensive is hideously expensive?

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Magna Gets Much Closer to Acquiring Opel
Jul02

Magna Gets Much Closer to Acquiring Opel

By Brendan Moore

07.02.2009

opel-logoIt looks like it’s really to happen. The board of Magna is set to approve a business plan next week to acquire Opel, the struggling German subsidiary of General Motors. That means the Canadian auto-supplier will decide to own a large automaker by July 7  if everything keeps going well.

Apparently the most pressing issue that remains is whether the new Opel gets the former Opel’s sales distribution rights for the Chevrolet brand in Russia, a promising market for Chevrolet. Opel’s acquisition of the majority of Opel is considered an absolute lock to get Opel unless it leaves the negotiations of its own volition.

Once the board give its okay, Magna is expected to pull the trigger on its financing for the deal, sit down with GM and potentially get the deal done by July 15.

The upheaval in the auto business has created scenarios that would have been considered completely fantastic even a year ago – a specialty supercar maker that had production capacity of only 30 vehicles buying Saab, GM casting aside Hummer, Saturn, Saab and Pontiac, giving up control of Opel, and then declaring bankruptcy, Chrysler declaring bankruptcy and being acquired by Fiat, an Italian automaker that pulled out of the US market back in 1983, Toyota in deep financial trouble, Penske buying Saturn, Ford emerging as the strongest of the US domestic automakers after a near-death experience of their own, national governments rushing to prop up their own domestic auto industries, China becoming the largest auto market in the world, etc., etc.

Magna getting Opel certainly belongs in that category.

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Citroën Shows Off its New C3
Jul01

Citroën Shows Off its New C3

By Brendan Moore

07.01.2009

2010-citroen-c3-grey

Citroen unveiled its new C3 supermini this morning in Paris, and the new car gives a very good account of itself.

More than ever, the C3 makes a statement. And, if this car could talk, it would say something along the lines of, “I’m smart, I’m young, I’m good-looking and I’m ready to do something fun.”

In most auto markets of the world, that is a guarantee of sales success. And it appears the new C3 has the goods to be successful.

Citroën is calling the C3’s new look “Visiodrive”, which refers to the airy greenhouse styling, particularly the huge new wrap-around windshield that extends very far back into the roofline. The tint on the huge windshield gets darker as you go up, thereby ensuring the occupants won’t get roasted on sunny days.

The design of the new C3 is tighter and more active. It is more upscale, and this theme continues in the interior, which is higher-quality than the previous C3, as well as the C3’s European competition.

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