By Chris Haak
In a surprising twist, GM has disclosed that it re-hired deposed CEO Fritz Henderson, whose brief tenure as President and CEO lasted from March 31, 2009 through December 1, 2009, as a consultant to advise on GM’s international operations. Henderson, who did not receive a severance package upon his departure from the automaker, will receive $59,090 per month ($709,080 annualized) for approximately 20 hours of work per month. This arrangement will be in place until some point prior to the end of 2010.
Though Henderson’s tenure as CEO was very brief, it was certainly eventful, as he guided GM through its trip through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the middle of 2009. He began his career at GM in 1984, and served in various leadership roles throughout his career. Most notably, he headed GM’s Brazilian operations in the late 1990s, then led Latin America/Africa/Middle East, then GM Asia-Pacific, and his overseas sojourn concluded with the job of Chairman, GM Europe. He then returned to the US in 2006 as GM’s CFO, and was promoted to President and COO in March 2008, and a year later, took over as President and CEO following the departure of Rick Wagoner.
By Andy Bannister
The wraps have come off Nissan’s new European-designed small crossover, the oddly-named Juke, and it’s certainly not hiding its light under a bushel.
Due to be launched at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, the Juke represents the bold new spirit of Nissan, a company whose European reinvention seems to have paid off in terms of bucking the continent-wide sales downturn.
The Juke is one of those love-it-or-hate-it designs which is bound to divide opinion. The massive front end is particularly unusual, with six lights of various shapes and sizes widely spaced out, and an expansive version of the corporate front grille. Head-on it looks rather bug-eyed.
By Brendan Moore
You’ve probably seen at least a few closed auto dealerships around where you live; sprawling, empty lots with a big building on it, looking forlorn and abandoned.
You think to yourself, “What are they going to do with that retail space? It doesn’t really fit any other kind of business. Guess they’ll have to scrape the building off and start with an unimproved lot.”
At least that’s what I think.
I mean, occasionally, some ambitious used car dealer will take on the space, but other than that, it usually requires a tear-down for the next new tenant.
So, a lot of these former auto dealerships just sit empty. It’s a lot of square footage to take on, and the rent is usually high, since dealerships are generally located in high traffic and/or easy access locations. It is also, as mentioned, a very specific type of retail layout. It’s a shame in one other regard, that is, many of these former dealership buildings are of very recent construction as a result of most manufacturers’ push to get dealers to upgrade their facilities in recent years, and therefore represent a considerable capital investment. It’s a tough scenario to consider a complete tear-down of what is many times a new building.
According to various articles published today, Sears has launched a franchise unit of its well-know Sears Auto Center business, and that new franchise distributor is offering some former GM and Chrysler dealers a Sears Auto Center franchise, which is to be located on the former dealership site.
By Kevin Miller
People who drive appliance-type cars solely to get from point A to point B may not get this, but some of us have a lot of emotion and passion wrapped up in our choice of vehicles. Since I have been old enough to buy nice cars, I’ve been a Saab driver. A combination of my Swedish heritage, and the cars’ highly-engineered systems have always attracted me to them.
That being said, in 2004 I was looking for a car to replace my nine year old 900 hatch. Having gotten married and started planning for a family, a four-door car made sense. With my family planning to relocate to Eastern Washington, which would necessitate regular drives through snowy mountain passes, I wanted a vehicle with all-wheel drive, which Saab didn’t offer at the time. Appreciating sporty performance and handling, the ever-popular SUV wasn’t on my shopping list, but I still wanted utility. When I read in late 2003 of the 2004 Volvo V70R, I thought it sounded perfect. With 300 HP from a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission delivering power to all four wheels, and a lower, electronically controlled suspension system, I felt the V70R offered the perfect blend of sport and utility, while staying true to my Swedish car-loving roots. Besides that, I thought it looked hot; very sporty and capable, but at the same time restrained in the same way as so many other Scandinavian products are.
By Chris Haak
When first shown to the public in photos, the Honda Accord Crosstour seemed to fall flat on its face. Critics (and people on Facebook) just savaged the Crosstour as ugly, bloated, the answer to the question that nobody asked, another example of Honda’s bungled styling direction, and more. But under the controversial skin, the Crosstour is at the core just an all wheel drive Honda Accord V6 hatchback with a slightly taller body. We at Techshake were eager to find out if the Accord’s fundamental goodness could still shine through a heavier, taller crossover body. And, lest we forget, the current-generation Accord is nowhere near a design benchmark in its own right.
Upon telling a colleague that I was taking my family on a roadtrip in the Crosstour, he warned that I’d be getting a lot of “looks” if I do. He was right – and we also had people strike up conversation with us at the grocery store about the car, which is unusual. Of all the cars I’ve reviewed – many of which have gone to the grocery store – I have only been asked about the car I’m driving once or twice. The last time I remember it happening, I was driving an orange Dodge Challenger SRT8. On the turnpike in the middle of the aforementioned road trip, I noticed a number of other cars slowing down so their occupants could take in my ride. Whether that’s a good thing, bad thing, or just due to their unfamiliarity with the Crosstour, I’m not certain, but it’s absolutely something that I observed. The Crosstour is something of a rare animal at this point so soon after its launch; I’ve seen one or two featured at the local Honda dealer (mistaking the first one I saw for a Ford Taurus initially), and many members of the public may not be aware that there is a Honda Accord other than the regular coupe and sedan.