Tag Archives: Automotive news

100 Leading Women In the Automotive Industry

Automotive News announced its top 100 Leading Women in the North American Automotive industry for 2010. The last time this report was done was in 2005, and most of the stakes and the women are entirely different. Nearly half of the women from 2005 had left the Automobile Industry these past five years and 2/3 of this year’s 100 women were not even on the list in 2005, as well.

Our very own Marcy Maguire, CEO of the Maguire Auto Group, however, is one of the few women announced as 1 of the 100 Leading Women in the Automotive industry in 2005 and 2010! And, just like Keith Edwards, Editor-In-Chief of Automotive News, stated in his opening remarks about the 100 Leading Women, “the survivors are succeeding and setting high standards for executives for years to come” – Marcy Maguire is just that.

The women on this list are, “at the forefront of thousands of successful female executives in the auto industry,” and, “their accomplishments are notable and deserve recognition”, Edwards. In Automotive News’ article on the 100 Leading Women in the Automotive Industry written on September 13, 2010, the 100 leading women were interviewed and spoke candidly about their involvement in the auto industry and balancing work and family.

Marcy Maguire was interviewed by Donna Harris and her recap of the interview was as follows:

Why did you want to work in the auto industry? I saw Saturn as an opportunity to take a fresh approach to the auto industry. I invested in it and got involved because I enjoyed the process.

First automotive job: I opened Saturn of Bordentown [N.J.]. Bob Stempel, former CEO of General Motors, attended the grand opening. And his wife, Pat, bought my first Saturn, a red coupe.

Proudest professional achievement: I have had the historic opportunity to serve in two positions as a National Automobile Dealers Association director — as a woman director at large from 2004 to 2007, and then again in 2008 I was unanimously elected by the New Jersey dealers to serve as the director for New Jersey. No one else has held two NADA directorships.

Current challenge at work: The biggest challenge is the lending environment both for consumers and for dealers. Credit hasn’t loosened up enough.

What you do to relax: I spend time with friends — I would say friends and laughter.

Of the 100 accomplished women on the list, 3 are NADA directors, 8 are auto dealers and 4 are executives of automotive groups! Marcy Maguire, our CEO, is not only categorized in one of those…but in all three!

According to Mary Beth Vander Schaaf, “Readers helped us find leading women by nominating more than 300 executives. A team of editors and reporters — with assistance from Terry Barclay, CEO of Inforum; Craig Giffi, U.S. automotive leader at Deloitte; and Katherine Otrompke, Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation board member — weighed the qualifications of each nominee. We looked for influential women at automakers, Tier 1 suppliers and dealerships who make major decisions.”

 Congratulations to all of the women that were on this year’s and past years’ lists! We are all looking forward to seeing the greatness you achieve in the future!

General Motors June Sales hike

General Motors Co. said its June U.S. sales rose 11% to 195,380 from the same month last year, which included four brands the auto maker has since discontinued or sold. But sales were down from May as the car industry’s gains earlier this year eased. Sales of the four brands GM is keeping after its restructuring Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac climbed 36% in June from a year ago. The company credited strong sales of crossovers and some recovery for trucks and sport-utility vehicles. Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales, said the resurgence in large pickup-truck sales was a key factor behind June’s results.

Chrysler Group LLC, meanwhile, is expected to announce a 30% year-over-year increase in June sales when it releases its figures later Thursday, said a company executive. The increase means Chrysler sold more than 88,750 vehicles for the month. The auto maker sold 68,297 cars and pickup trucks in June 2009.  This is the second month of improved sales for Chrysler, which exited bankruptcy protection a year ago last month. In May, Chrysler’s sales rose 33% to 104,819. It was the first time the auto maker broke the 100,000 threshold in 14 months.

Chrysler is aiming to sell 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. this year as part of its recovery plan outlined by Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne. The company had sold 434,731 cars and trucks through May 31.

GM Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell on Tuesday said the company was well positioned to profit as the industry recovers because of the dramatic cost cuts the company achieved through its bankruptcy reorganization. Of the four continuing GM brands, Buick and GMC led the way in June, with sales rising 53% and 45%, respectively. Sales at the much bigger Chevrolet and at Cadillac jumped 32% and 39%, respectively. GM said total combined sales of those brands were 194,828 for the month, the ninth straight month of year-over-year gains.

GM’s U.S. vehicle inventories stood at about 438,000 as of the end of June, up 7.4% from a month earlier but 25% lower than year-earlier levels. GM is running plants across North America at near full capacity, portraying itself as a fundamentally different company than the one that filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago. Other auto makers will report June U.S. sales later Thursday.

Chevrolet plans to release Chevy Van globally

Chevy plans to release a family van quickly within several global regions, GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens mentioned today in showing analysts GM’s future product plans. General Motors Co. will base the van on its global compact-car architecture, said Stephens, who heads product development. He or she demonstrated a image of the van to analysts at a company presentation today, but their slides were not really made available to members of the media.

Stephens also showed analysts a Chevrolet SUV concept designed by GM’s South United states region and a Chevy small-car concept, although he did not give details on markets with regard to those vehicles. In addition, he previewed a three-row Buick business truck designed for China. He did not give timing for possible launches for any of the vehicles he showed.

During the daylong conference calls, CEO Ed Whitacre and other top executives gave a review of GM’s current business operations, including restructuring within Europe, development within other markets as well as 85 percent capacity use in North America. The United States, which owns 61 percent of the automaker, may sell 20 percent of its stake in a planned initial public offering, making it a minority owner, said two people familiar with the plan.

“We all are not re-introducing GM,” Whitacre told the viewers from the automaker’s technical center in suburban Detroit. “We are introducing a new GM.” GM is now positioned to break even during troughs in demand, Whitacre said. The management team is executing well, he said.

GM reported first-quarter net income of $865 million, helped by higher production and smaller discounts. CFO Chris Liddell on May 17 called the profit a “good, useful step” toward an IPO. The company’s operating profit was $1.2 billion in the first three months of the year, and the company generated $1 billion in free cash flow. Revenue rose 40 percent from the same period a year earlier to $31.5 billion.

Allison Transmission

With the launch of the 2011 Silverado HD right around the corner, I felt it was appropriate to talk about the Allison Transmission that is going to be in it! There are so many great things to say about an Allison Transmission, that I do not know where to start…I will probably make this into a two part post about Allison..

Allison has been around since 1909 (so basically when the automotive industry began), and has stayed on top of the transmission manufacturing business for the past 95 years. Its headquarters is in Indianapolis, Indiana, where the company actually started off as a racing company and was one of the founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! After a few years of being in the racing business, Allison moved on to manufacturing parts, masters and tools for the Liberty airplane engine. In 1928 Allison’s founder, Jim Allison, died and the company was taken over by General Motors.  With time, Allison grew to be a huge player in aviation, as well as motor vehicles – which we know it to be today.

The Allison Transmission that we know and love is a one of a kind machine built specifically for performance.  Be  on the look out for another post about the workings of the Allison Transmission tomorrow!!

A $3,000 car?! No Way!

Well, the car really isn’t advertised in dollars, but rather in Indian Rupees (Rp132,750 to be exact)! Nissan has announced it’s plan to produce three cars, over the next few years, that will rival the Tata Nano (which sells for $2,500), in India.  The first vehicle will be the Micra Compact, and, by the year 2013, all three new models, plus three imported Nissan models, will be on the Indian market and Nissan plans to sell around 100,000 units a year (which is a BIG step up from the 360 units that were sold this past year)!

Personally, I know that I can not wait to take a look at this car after its production; hopefully Nissan will have a model here in the states for us to take a look at!

GM completes Sale of Saab to Spyker: Saab-Spyker

General Motors today completed the sale of its Swedish Saab brand to Dutch luxury sports car maker Spyker Cars NV, marking the first successful sale of one of its four unwanted U.S. brands.

The transaction combines Saab Automobile and its 3,400 employees with Spyker Cars and its 110-plus workers under parent company Spyker Cars NV.

“The focus as of today will be on getting back to business,” Jan Ake Jonsson, CEO of Saab Automobile, told reporters today. Executives want to refocus the identity of the Saab brand “to create an innovative, free-thinking company based on our Swedishness,” he said.

The sale saves Saab from what appeared to be doom after Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg Group AB backed out of a planned

purchase in November. But Spyker, whose logo bears a Latin phrase that translates, “For the tenacious, no road is impossible”  – made an offer during Saab’s wind down.

“Saab’s future is now secure,” Spyker CEO Victor Muller said in a statement. “We will be concentrating all of our efforts into reviving Saab and transforming it into a sustainable and profitable company with the confidence to be bold.”

Finally after some negotiations with GM CEO Ed Whitacre, Spyker agreed to buy Saab. Completion of the Saab deal leaves GM facing a Feb. 28 deadline to complete a planned sale of Hummer to China ‘s Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. Saturn and Pontiac are being shut down.

Spyker CEO Victor Muller had already secured the $50 million needed to close the deal with GM, with the remaining $24 million due in July. Spyker is paying GM $74 million in cash and $326 million in redeemable preference shares.

Saab’s revival centers on a new 9-5 that launches this year, the arrival of the 9-4X crossover in 2011 and the debut of a new 9-3 in 2012.  Saab’s production- and intelligence-sharing agreement with GM lasts through the introduction of the new 9-3, Jonsson said.

GM Makes First Electric Car Battery

GM Makes First Electric Car Battery
General Motors has made its first mass-produced electric car battery as it gears up to sell the new Chevrolet Volt to the general public later this year. The lithium-ion battery was made at GM’s Brownstown Battery Pack Assembly Plant that will produce the batteries for the automaker’s Volt assembly line in Detroit. Regular production at both facilities is expected to begin in the fourth quarter. It was just five months ago that GM announced it would invest $43 million to convert the empty 160,000-square-foot facility into a production ready battery-manufacturing plant.

GM Chairman Ed Whitacre Jr. had told reporters Wednesday that GM will send out some Volt models before November, when they are scheduled to hit showrooms. He said the company might sell a few early, and it could send some to consumers before November. GM has plans to test about 100 with utility companies before the showroom debut. This idea of the Volt should be great, even like the looks. The battery is of poor design. We see that it is one 5 foot long battery, and as most know, to be buried between the seats.

It won’t last forever and when it comes time to replace it, half the car needs to be disassembled. Unless of course there is some sort of access hatch, but at 5 feet long, should be doubtful.  It will not be easy to move one, lift one, etc. It’s not a one person job. On top of that, when one part of it malfunctions the whole thing needs to be replaced, which is incredibly wasteful and costly. They now cannot sell auxiliaries. If the battery was split into 3 batteries and “stacked” otherwise known as “daisy-chained” they could sell extra cells. They’d be more manageable, affordable, and I’d prefer to drive with spare battery cells that I can swap out on the side of the road, after lunch, a rest area, etc. That would also double it’s electric endurance form 40 miles to 80 on a single charge and single battery swap. I realize that’s still pathetic in the face of the cross-country vacation concept, but the car isn’t meant for that anyway. I’d rather swap batteries when I get home and charge the spares in case of bad weather, construction or other delays the following day.

Important information from Maguire Auto Group

Maguire Auto Group has anounced the total of its four dealerships will be extending Saturday Sales Hours on August 22 from  6PM to 8PM EST so that customers can take full advantage of the cash for clunkers program before it closes officially.

For any further clarification you can contact Michael at michael.maguire@maguireauto.com

GM wants to get over with Opel unit quickly

General Motors Co. has no intention of reopening the sale process for Opel and remains intent on reaching a deal with one of the two remaining bidders as quickly as possible.

According to a General Motor insider, “GM has no plans to restart the sales for Opel and considers as dead end. It plans to finalize with one or two deals quickly. The wrap up comes up in spite of rapid  financial improvement after the bankruptcy.

Fritz Henderson, CEO of General Motors said that they have no intention to open the sale to anyone beyond Magna International and RHJ International. Belgium automaker RHJ and Magna, Canada based auto supplier are both in race to buy Opel. German government has provided $2.09 billion to keep Opel alive and is ready to support more financially if needed.

Magna International is backed by German chancellor Angela Merkel and also includes cash support from Sbertbak, a state controlled Russian Lender. Strong support for Magna also comes from Opel’s union which feels Magna offers better protection for the 25,000 jobs in Germany.

Though GM is leading the talks on Opel sale, at the same time has expressed reservations about the Magna deal with respect to proprietary technology.

Congress approves $2B for cash for clunkers program

The congress on Friday on a unanimous vote passed the popular “Cash for clunkers” program by infusing two million dollars to keep alive the popular program which has been running out of funds. In a quick response within hours, Obama administration approved it when they came to know from Transportation secretary, Ray Lahood.

According to President Obama, “ I was encouraged by the house action to keep alive the program which was  very successful beyond our expectations”. The senate is also ensuring the program wouldn’t be affected by shortage of funds.

The program called the Car Allowance Rebate System, aka CARS was designed to boost the auto industry and increase the car sales. Car drivers can get federal subsidies in terms of electronic vouchers up to $4,500 to trade in old cars for new cars which give better mileage.

The funds for the program would be met by economic stimulus bill which was sanctioned earlier. Some dealers complain continuous rejections and have to be satisfied with chaotic clunker program. The program which was launched officially last week with one million dollar budget has been heavily publicized by government and automakers

There had been a $1 billion budget for rebates for new car sales in the program that was officially launched last week and has been heavily publicized by government and automakers, and the program was short of funds in the first week itself.

It is still very vague how many cars have been sold under this program and congress has asked the transportation department on the program progress to determine the future plan. The government assured the consumers that the program would run and be alive and encouraged buyers to buy new cars this weekend

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