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Is Mulally Worth $26 Million a Year?

By Charles Krome

It was likely no coincidence, but the day after the March sales figures came out, showing Ford had outsold General Motors for the month, the Detroit Free Press reported on the fact that Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally took home about $26.5 million in compensation in 2010. And this came after he reaped a $33.4 million stock windfall at the beginning of last month that was tied to his 2008 compensation package. The Free Press even went so far as to predict that, all told, Mulally’s financial rewards for his work at Ford could set a new industry record. (For those who are curious, the Freep claims Alex Trotman, who ran Ford from 1993-1998, owns the current high-water mark at $73 million.)

Needless to say, even given Ford’s incredible turnaround, that kind of money raised a few eyebrows. UAW President Bob King called Mulally’s compensation “morally wrong,” and that was before the latter’s 2010 pay information was released.

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Review: 2011 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2
Apr05

Review: 2011 GMC Terrain AWD SLT-2

By Charles Krome

Frankly, I didn’t hold out much hope for the success of GMC when General Motors decided to make the truck-only division one of its core brands. Not only did I think truck sales in general would begin slipping, but I also thought it would be particularly difficult to make a go of things in the post-bankruptcy auto industry with a lineup that essentially duplicates the Chevy Truck roster. Well, I was obviously wrong on the first point (at least so far), and that made me especially curious about the second.

Today, I can consider that curiosity satisfied, because I just spent a few days living with a fully loaded 2011 GMC Terrain, provided to me with a full tank of gas by the friendly folks at General Motors.

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Review: 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited
Apr05

Review: 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited

By Chris Haak

Having reviewed more than a hundred new cars for this site, and having driven several hundred more over my two decades behind the wheel, it’s kind of hard for a car to make a good impression on me.  I’ve just seen too much, for better or worse.  So after having spent a week in Hyundai’s all-new 2011 Elantra, I was surprised and delighted about just how good a compact car can be.  It’s not perfect, but it’s clearly the best or second-best car in its class.

Hyundai entered the North American market selling cheap cars, then sold cheap cars with a long warranty that looked odd.  That morphed into cheap cars with a long warranty that looked bland.  And now, Hyundai is offering buyers cheap cars with a long warranty and dynamic, organic – and most importantly, original – designs.

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How to Lose Money Without Really Trying
Apr01

How to Lose Money Without Really Trying

By Chris Haak

The business case for EVs and hybrids has been on less-than-solid footing for years, both from the consumer’s point of view and the manufacturer’s vantage point.  For instance, the payback period of the price premium that hybrids cost (in terms of savings at the gas pump) often extends beyond the typical ownership duration of a new car.  And we know that it costs GM about $40,000 to build a $41,000 Chevy Volt, and that’s probably excluding considerable promotional and advertising expenses.

Now, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchonne, who has a reptuation for speaking his mind, had this to say about the economics of EVs while on the sidelines of Fiat S.p.A.’s general meeting earlier this week:

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Barely a Year Into Independence, Saab’s Financial Picture Is Again Dire

By Chris Haak

Just over a year into its new life as an independent company (forgetting the fact that it’s actually held by Spyker, a boutique automaker of sports cars), Saab is again facing financial difficulties.

Spyker’s annual report released today – which is not an April Fool’s joke – said that the company’s continuity is uncertain unless it receives additional funds to finance operations and fund its business plan.  In fact, the situation is so serious that production had to halt for several days earlier this week because some key suppliers stopped delivering parts to Trollhattan due to non-payment.

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