Correspondent, Detroit
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Apr 22, 2015

GM gets boost from smaller pickups, but doubters question for how long

DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co’s return to selling smaller pickups in the United States has resuscitated a moribund market segment, but new data highlights the risk that the automaker’s new trucks are cannibalizing sales of higher-priced models.

Since the launch last autumn of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the midsize pickup segment has grown to more than 2 percent of the total U.S. car and light truck market from 1.4 percent last summer. Some industry executives believe the segment could double annual sales to 500,000 vehicles, which would have been 3 percent of last year’s market.

Apr 22, 2015

AutoNation posts stronger-than-expected 1st-quarter profit

DETROIT, April 22 (Reuters) – AutoNation Inc, the
largest U.S. auto dealer group, on Wednesday posted
stronger-than-expected quarterly profit as sales for both new
and used vehicles rose, sending shares up 2.5 percent in
premarket trading.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Jackson said he continues to
expect U.S. industry new vehicle sales this year to exceed 17
million. That would be the third time the sector has topped that
level after hitting that mark in 2000 and 2001.

Apr 17, 2015

GM counting on high-speed Internet services in car to drive profits

DETROIT (Reuters) – Buyers of General Motors Co vehicles will increasingly be able to use in-car mobile broadband systems to book hotel rooms, cut deals on driver insurance, pay for data usage and conduct a host of other transactions.

And each time they do, GM will get a small cut from the seller.

When the automaker began offering 4G LTE high-speed wireless connections in some cars last year, it wasn’t clear how it would generate revenue to offset the costs of the hardware. Now, as the company prepares to expand the technology to most of its 2016 U.S. models, GM is lifting the curtain on its digital business strategy.

Apr 10, 2015

Takata air bag on Honda Civic linked to another injury

By Ben Klayman and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan

(Reuters) – Faulty air bags supplied by Takata Corp have been linked to another injury involving a Honda Motor Co car in Florida in March.

A 2003 model Honda Civic’s air bag exploded and a piece of metal shot out from the air bag into the driver’s neck, according to police and hospital reports.

Apr 6, 2015

US safety officials review petition to reopen probe of Ford headlights

DETROIT (Reuters) – U.S. safety regulators said they would
review a petition from a North Carolina consumer group that
sought further investigation into a potential loss of vehicle
headlights or all exterior lighting in almost 518,000 Ford Motor
Co large sedans in the United States.

The North Carolina Consumers Council asked officials at the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a probe
into 517,945 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis
sedans from model years 2003 through 2005, according to recent
documents filed with NHTSA.

Apr 1, 2015

Ford exec indicates desire for level playing field on labor costs

DETROIT, April 1 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co’s Americas
chief indicated on Wednesday that the No. 2 U.S. automaker will
be looking to bring its labor costs in line with those of its
smaller rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles when
it opens talks this summer with the union representing its
hourly workers.

Joe Hinrichs, speaking at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch
conference, said the subject of entry-level workers, who are
paid less than their veteran co-workers, will be a subject of
talks with the United Auto Workers. Ford, Fiat Chrysler and
General Motors Co will negotiate new deals to replace
ones expiring in mid-September.

Apr 1, 2015

Porsche blames driver in crash that killed actor Paul Walker

DETROIT (Reuters) – The driver was to blame in the fiery crash of a Porsche sports car that killed actor Paul Walker in California in 2013, not design defects with the car, attorneys for the German automaker said this week.

Walker was a passenger in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT driven by Roger Rodas, who lost control of the vehicle before it careened into trees and a utility pole in Santa Clarita, northwest of Los Angeles, killing both men.

Apr 1, 2015

GM to earn $350 million over three years from 4G technology in cars-CFO

DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will generate $350 million in improved profit over the three years to 2018 from its rollout of 4G LTE mobile broadband in its cars and trucks, the No. 1 U.S. automaker’s chief financial officer said on Wednesday.

Chuck Stevens, speaking at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference, called GM’s OnStar 4G LTE connection an “untapped, under-appreciated opportunity.”

Mar 26, 2015

Exclusive: New Chevy Malibu’s task – meet GM’s aggressive sales goals

DETROIT (Reuters) – The Chevrolet Malibu has been a symbol of General Motors Co’s (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) competitive woes for nearly 20 years due to designs that critics often lambasted as boring. Now, the No. 1 U.S. automaker is telling suppliers a redesigned version of the midsize sedan will deliver a long-awaited sales jolt.

GM executives have told suppliers to prepare for sales in North America of 250,000 new Malibus a year, 25 percent above last year’s levels, and have the ability to go as high as 300,000 cars a year, according to three supplier sources familiar with the plans.

Mar 26, 2015

Fed officials say rate hike plan intact despite weak U.S. data

DETROIT (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve should remain on track to raise interest rates later this year despite the U.S. economy’s weak start to the year and a stock market sell-off this week, two Fed officials said on Thursday.

In separate events in Frankfurt and Detroit, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said U.S. monetary policy might need to be adjusted in light of the economy’s steady improvement since the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Klayman is based in Detroit and in April was named leader of the global automotive team for Reuters. Previously, Ben covered the business of sports as well as consumer and retail for three years and led the manufacturing/housing team for four years. He also covered the telecommunications sector for three years. He joined Reuters in Detroit in 1998 to cover autos. Prior to joining Reuters, he worked at a series of daily newspapers in Ohio and Maryland. Ben graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in English literature."
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