Retailers, consumers and prices
Executives from two top U.S. automobile dealers sat down with Reuters’ Detroit bureau chief Kevin Krolicki and correspondent James Kelleher at the Detroit auto show and dished on the industry. Some thoughts on various automakers and the sector follow:
Earl Hesterberg, Group 1 Automotive CEO
Regarding GM and CEO Ed Whitacre:
“I am happy to see some sense of urgency and aggressiveness. We have not had nearly enough sales activity in our GM dealerships for the last year and we’ve been waiting for them to get aggressive and try to get back in the market and get it growing. … (Whitacre) seems to have that same urgency to step up their volumes.”
“Clearly he has a sense of urgency and a mandate. There’s been a lot of government money and support put into this so there’s certainly isn’t any lack of focus.”
“We’re still waiting. We haven’t seen the results on our end yet.”
Saab still faces its demise after parent General Motors sent its clearest signals yet that a viable bid for the Swedish luxury brand has not been submitted that would prompt a reversal of its planned shutdown.
“We’re closing down Saab,” GM Chairman Ed Whitacre said at the Detroit auto show. “We’re winding it down.”
When the head of both Chrysler and Fiat gave U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi a primer on the 3.6 liter V-6 engine on some Jeep products, he found himself surrounded — as is often the case — by a throng of journalists and other show attendees.
Optimism and delicious “bailout blend” coffee reigned at the Detroit auto show.
Automakers and officials at the North American International Auto Show struck an optimistic yet cautious tone as they sought to put a toxic year of slumping sales and massive government aid behind.
Ford must be doing something right.
First, it was the only U.S. automaker not to file for bankruptcy last year. And now Ford has swept the 2010 North American Car and Truck Awards at the North American International Auto Show.
A panel of about 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists named the Ford Fusion Hybrid car of the year and the Ford Transit Connect the truck of the year.
(This is the first in a series of blogs that will come from Detroit this week during the North American International Auto Show and related events).
Not only is the Volt on the way, but now GM is planning to build a fancy version of the electric car.