Heavy spending to repair more than 6 million vehicles in the first quarter triggered an 88% plunge in General Motors Co. earnings for the period, compared to a year earlier.
The nation’s largest automaker said it earned just $108 million, or 8 cents a share, in the quarter, down from the $873 million in profits, or 63 cents a share, it collected in the same period in 2013.
Revenue edged up a little more than 1% to $37.4 billion.
“It is an understatement to say that the first quarter was challenging for General Motors,” said Mary Barra, the automaker’s chief executive.
However, she said, that GM could still produce a profit was a testament to the strength of the company.
The earnings reflected a $1.3-billion charge to fix millions of vehicles recalled globally so far this year, including 2.6 million of GM's Chevrolet Cobalt and other older vehicles equipped with a faulty ignition switch linked to 13 deaths. GM’s first-quarter earnings were also hurt by a...
General Motors' giant recall scandal looks to have a silver lining for GM dealers — millions of dollars in lucrative repair bills that their service departments can charge back to the nation's biggest automaker.
The car company will pay dealers — independent businesses licensed to sell and repair GM vehicles — to fix up to 6 million vehicles recalled so far this year. The total includes 2.2 million of GM's Chevrolet Cobalt and other older vehicles equipped with a faulty ignition switch linked to 13 deaths.
This year's torrent of recalls are good business for dealers of other brands, too. Toyota has recalled almost 2.5 million vechiles this year. Other recent big recalls include 650,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos; 1 million cars from Nissan, including its popular Altima and Sentra sedans; and nearly 900,000 Honda Odyssey minivans.
"Recalls are definitely good for business. Smart dealers actively market recalls by calling up customers," said Jeremy Anwyl,...
Is Tesla going to be manufacturing more cars or car parts at a new facility?
The electric car company won't comment specifically, but city officials in tiny Lathrop, Calif., say work is underway converting a 431,000-square-foot facility that once housed a Chrysler-Daimler distribution center into a Tesla factory.
Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore, confirming the arrival of Tesla in his small town of 19,000, said the company had indicated it will be hiring 100 to 125 workers, to start, and is likely to hire more.
"We're very excited about it," Salvatore said. "We've been working with the Tesla Group for the last several months, and now they've pulled the trigger."
Salvatore said Tesla had not told him exactly what it would do with the facility -- "I believe it's car-related," he said -- but that work being done at the location, which has been vacant since 2009, suggests that manufacturing, not warehousing or distribution, will take place there.
The nation's largest motorcycle company has reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter results for 2014.
Harley-Davidson Inc., which trades on the New York Stock Exchange as HOG, on Tuesday reported net income of $265.9 million against revenue of $1.73 billion, up from a 2013 first-quarter report of net income of $224.1 million against revenue of $1.57 billion.
Among its strongest sellers? The Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special and its new Breakout were the No. 1 and No. 2 top selling motorcycles in America for 2013, the company said.
Harley stock was up 7.5% in early morning trading.
The company also said shipments of new motorcycles were up for the first quarter, indicating continued momentum into mid-2014.
"Harley-Davidson delivered gains on many fronts in the first quarter, with shipments up 7.3%, strong margin improvement and solid growth in dealer new motorcycle sales," said Keith Wandell, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson Inc.
When Norman Hajjar rides around the country, he rides around the country. The long distance driver has just finished an epic 24-day, 12,000-mile national tour, driving a stock Tesla S model electric automobile.
Hajjar's journey began in the Pacific Northwest, traversing Washington and Oregon before crossing California from top to bottom and heading east -- to Maine, via Wyoming and South Dakota. Then he drove the Tesla south to Florida, then back north to Pennsylvania before turning west and retracing the route back to California.
The epic jaunt was an attempt to set a Guinness record for electric vehicle driving and also something of a publicity stunt: Hajjar steered the $89,770 Tesla on behalf of his employer, the electric vehicle software and analytics company Recargo, as part of a public call for a better national network of electric vehicle charging stations.
BEIJING -- Thanking his Chinese customers for “taking a chance,” Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk on Tuesday handed over the keys to the first nine electric vehicles the California car company has sold in the country.
Plugging in a Model S at Tesla’s first “supercharger” station in front of the company’s offices in northeast Beijing, Musk vowed to build a nationwide network of the high-speed chargers -- which can deliver enough power for a 340-mile journey in about an hour -- “as fast as we can.”
“We want to make sure people are able to travel almost anywhere within China using the supercharger network,” he said. “I know some customers are interested in doing cross-country journeys and that kind of thing, so you can expect to see many of these around the country.”
Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs to fix possible corrosion issues in the vehicles’ suspension, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
At least it’s not spiders.
The recall affects Mazda Tributes from the 2001-04 model year, and only those sold or currently registered in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
The vehicles are being recalled due to corrosion on a piece of the front suspension called the lower control arm. In some cases, the corrosion can cause the piece to separate, causing the loss of steering, the NHTSA said. This can lead to an increased risk of a crash.
"There have been no accidents or injuries as a result of this situation," Mazda said in a statement.
Mazda will notify owners, who can bring their vehicles into dealers for an inspection.
If the vehicle needs a new cross-brace, Mazda will provide a free rental vehicle until the new part is available, which could take several weeks. All costs for replacing the part will be...
A world away from the bright lights and frantic rush of the current New York Auto Show, Jeep is using a very different venue to show off its latest concept vehicles. And it’s getting them dirty too.
Jeep used the recent Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, to unveil six new concepts to the public. The collection was made up of three lifted, painted and modified Wranglers, two new Cherokees looking to flex their off-road muscle, and a diesel Grand Cherokee.
The six prototypes had bolted to them a huge variety of custom parts that Jeep -- and its Mopar aftermarket group -- are considering for production. And these were no mere trailer queens either.
The draw is nine days of off-roading on public trails outside Moab that are considered some of the most picturesque -- and challenging -- in the country. An actual Jeep isn’t required, but whatever you show up in, it needs to be as stout as your nerves.
Groups of 40 or more line up each morning to head out to trails with names such as Hell’s Revenge, Poison Spider and Elephant Hill. Although experienced guides and spotters are common, each year a couple of burly off-road...
The battle for buyers of family sedans — already the most competitive U.S. auto segment — will heat up this fall when Toyota and Hyundai launch dramatically restyled versions of their respective offerings, the Camry and the Sonata.
A decade ago, the default choices in this biggest slice of the auto market were the Camry and Honda's Accord, but the competition has grown fierce in the last five years. Automakers can't afford a misstep with a new model, and they can't fall behind with a dated model.
That's why Toyota and Hyundai debuted redesigns of their flagship sedans at the New York International Auto Show this week — even though the current version of the Camry is just 2 years old and the current Sonata launched as a 2011 model. Car companies typically wait five years between redesigns.
"The market is evolving faster, and consumer patience for vehicles that have not changed is dropping," said Karl Brauer, an analyst with auto information company Kelley Blue Book.
Subaru is unveiling a refreshed version of its popular Outback -- the most fuel efficient and roomiest version in the model's 20-year history.
The 2015 is the fifth-generation Outback, an all-wheel-drive series that has helped the Japanese company transform itself from a niche brand - favored by sporty yuppies and Boomers headed to the mountains with skis and snowboard - to a mainstream automaker.
Currently on a sales roll, Subaru boasts that it's the only automaker in the world to post five consecutive years of sales increases. Total sales in 2013 reached 424,683 vehicles, Subaru has reported. It's February 2014 figures showed a 24% increase over February 2013.
"Subaru has really established a heritage with this brand, and attached such a positive image to it," said Edmunds.com senior editor Bill Visnic. "They're the Jeep for people who don't want to buy a Jeep, and they're suddenly started to click with the mainstream market."
Audi made a small but loyal group of buyers very happy at the New York Auto Show, announcing Wednesday the arrival of the all-new A3 TDI Sportback.
The car joins a rapidly growing family of A3 vehicles. When this tidy hatchback goes on sale in early 2015, it will join five other A3 models, all of which are new.
"The A3 TDI Sportback has an incredibly passionate and loyal fan base, and this new version has been one of our most requested models since the announcement of the new A3 family," said Scott Keogh, president of Audi America.
Historically, the A3 has come to the U.S. market only in hatchback form with either gas or diesel engines. Sales were never huge: In 2012 -- the last full year the A3 was for sale here -- Audi sold just over 7,200 cars.
Despite a grim outlook for full-size sedans, Dodge used the New York Auto Show to reveal a thoroughly updated Charger.
Marketed as a four-door muscle car, the Charger keeps its V-6 and V-8 power trains, but wraps them in a more contemporary body that does away with a retro-infused look.
"Our Dodge designers have resculpted nearly every single body panel of the Charger for 2015, giving it a sleek, nimble appearance," said Tim Kuniskis, president and CEO of the Dodge brand.
When the 2015 Charger goes on sale at the end of the year, the new styling will be directly aimed at a younger buyer than typically heads to the full-sized section at a dealership. It will also hope to steal sales from peers like the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, Chevy Impala, Hyundai Azera and Nissan Maxima.
Toyota launched a dramatic mid-cycle restyling of its Camry sedan in a move to fend off increasing competition from rivals such as the Honda Accord and the Nissan Altima.
The Camry has been the nation’s best-selling passenger car for a dozen years but its lead over competitors is narrowing. Through the first three months of this year, Toyota has sold just over 94,000 Camrys. It leads the Altima by about 5,000 sales and the Accord by about 15,000 sales.
But the Accord’s share of the market is growing and, when sales to rental car companies and other fleet customers are subtracted, actually beat the Camry last year, said Karl Brauer, an analyst with auto information company Kelley Blue Book.
Despite the new styling, “Toyota will remain under pressure to keep that car at the top of the sales chart,” Brauer said. “They will have to utilize sales incentives and fleet sales but that is going to hurt the resale value...
Hyundai launched the first shot in the coming battle for the family sedan market by introducing a new generation Sonata at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday.
The South Korean automaker launched the current Sonata five years ago as a value play in the mid-size car market, packing the vehicle with features and pricing it below major competitors like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Helped by dramatic new styling, Sonata sales zoomed, proving that Hyundai could compete effectively against the segment leaders.
“It upset the apple cart,” said Karl Brauer, an analyst at auto information company Kelley Blue Book. “There was now an attractive, value-packed and fun-to-drive family sedan. Even the traditional Accord and Camry buyers had to stop and take a look.”
After months of whispers and quiet speculation, Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it is working on a new high-performance sports car, dubbed the AMG GT.
One the eve of the 2014 New York Auto Show, Mercedes on Tuesday night revealed two interior shots of the forthcoming sports car and said little else about the successor to the popular SLS AMG.
"The new Mercedes AMG GT proves that we will be positioning AMG as a dynamic sports car brand even more strongly and aggressively than before," Tobias Moers, chief executive of Mercedes’ AMG division, said in a statement. "Following the global success of the SLS AMG, the new GT is the second sports car developed fully independently by Mercedes AMG."
Though the two-seat car will succeed the $200,000 SLS AMG, the new AMG GT will be less expensive and smaller. When it debuts -- probably around the Paris Motor Show in early October -- the GT will be more of a direct competitor to higher-end Porsche 911...
Chevrolet is pushing further into the small-SUV segment. Having already introduced six new models into the segment in the last four years -- and enjoyed a triple-digit growth of small car sales -- the automaker will be unwrapping its 2015 Trax.
They're hoping to take a bigger bite out of the small SUV market, going up against the Nissan Jook and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.
Promising "small-car agility with the utility of an SUV," the Trax comes stock with a little engine and a lot of room -- a 1.4 liter turbocharged engine, and almost 50 cubic feet of storage space. With options, it can be an all-wheel drive vehicle, with its own Wi-Fi hotspot, OnStar and MyLink systems, a 7-inch color touch screen in the dash, and Siri Eyes Free communication for the iPhone IOS 6 and IOS7.
Volkswagen kept plenty busy at the 2014 New York Auto Show, bringing with it an all-new Golf Sportswagen, a refreshed Jetta sedan, and some pricing details on its soon-to-be-released Golf GTI hot hatch.
The biggest news was VW’s 2015 Golf Sportswagen. It replaces the Jetta wagon in the U.S. lineup, though that outgoing car was always based on the Golf anyway, nomenclature aside. So fear not, Sportswagen fans, your trusty hauler isn’t any smaller.
It actually grows. The new model is just over an inch longer and just under an inch wider. Rear leg, shoulder, and headroom is all up. Cargo room with the rear seats folded is up 10 percent, VW said.
As with the previous Jetta wagon, two engines will be offered. A new 1.8-liter, turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine makes 170 horsepower and comes with either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. This new powerplant is up to 17 percent more fuel...
Sitting on the deck of the aircraft carrier Intrepid in Manhattan on Monday night, Land Rover’s Discovery Concept SUV previewed much more than just a future vehicle from the historically British brand.
It signified a major reorganization for Land Rover itself.
The automaker announced that the Discovery name -- previously used on a single model -- will now expand to become a range of vehicles. Similar to how Range Rover has always been Land Rover’s high-end, luxury-oriented sub-brand. Discovery will now be the volume-selling, family division.
“We announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March that the Discovery family is set to evolve,” Phil Popham, marketing director for Jaguar Land Rover, said in a statement. “And it is apt that in the 25th anniversary year of the original Discovery that we preview how this evolution will take us forward into a daring new era.”
Nissan has released details on the all-new third generation of its quirky Murano crossover ahead of its New York Auto Show debut this week.
Love or hate the oddball styling, you at least have to give the brand credit for being consistent.
The Murano has always added a dash of funk to Nissan’s lineup, dating from the first generation’s introduction in 2002. A redesign for 2009 reined in some of the crossover’s outlandish look in favor of upping the Murano’s interior refinement. For 2015, Nissan is hoping the new model will be both refined and eye-catching.
"We want to go back to the wow factor," said Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America. "What we’ve tried to combine is the look of a show car’s exterior with plenty of interior refinement."
For better or worse, Nissan’s design team did just that. The all-new Murano closely resembles the wild Resonance concept SUV Nissan displayed at the...
Lexus is jumping into the suddenly crowded field for compact luxury SUVs.
Toyota’s luxury division will welcome the all-new NX compact crossover SUV later this month at the Beijing Auto Show. The vehicle will serve as an entry-level crossover, smaller in price and stature than the company’s wildly popular RX.
In addition to entering a new segment, the NX marks the the first time Lexus has used a turbocharged engine.
The NX 200t will come with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, Lexus said. The NX 300h is a hybrid that will use a 2.5-liter gas engine. Details on power for both models haven’t been released, but the Lexus ES 300h sedan uses the same hybrid setup as the NX and it’s rated at 200 horsepower.
The NX is loosely based on the Toyota RAV4 and will come in either front-wheel-drive or optional AWD. The NX shares an aggressive, angular look with other models in Lexus’ lineup, including the compact IS sedan....
Although "desire" is not typically a word associated with the minivan set, the Korean automaker designed the new Sedona with an emphasis on driving dynamics, style and features, the company said.
The 2015 model will come with a direct-injected 3.3-liter V-6 plucked from the Cadenza full-size sedan and Sorento SUV. In minivan duty, it puts out 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission will be standard.
This new Sedona is also a complete transformation of the model's style. Under the...