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Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 RSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside This Issue
Car Dealers Fear Economy Could Scare Off Buyers
GM Pares Pickup Production Amid High Inventories
GM Tests 0% Financing Through Wells Fargo
Customers, Dealerships Leaving as Saab Sinks
Cadillac Will Make a Plug-In Electric Car, the ELR
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Top 5 Stories
Car Dealers Fear Economy Could Scare Off Buyers

Jeff Swanson was in the market for a new car just a few weeks ago. Then the stock market went crazy. So Swanson, 25, decided to keep his 10-year-old Pontiac Grand Prix for at least another year. It's an increasingly common reaction among would-be car buyers that has dealers and automakers worried. "If it keeps going this way, yes, it's going to hurt business," says Jerry Seiner, who runs a group of dealerships in the Salt Lake City area that includes General Motors, Nissan and Kia. But dealers say sales likely won't collapse in the second half of 2011, as they did in 2009. That's because banks are lending more freely, and lease deals, which went away during the recession, are making a comeback. Also, older cars will still need to be replaced.
Source: The Associated Press

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GM Pares Pickup Production Amid High Inventories

General Motors is trimming output at one of its truck plants, a sign that the automaker is trying to whittle down its historically high pickup inventory. GM’s Fort Wayne, Ind., assembly plant, which makes full-sized Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, recently canceled Saturday shifts for the rest of the year, according to a posting on UAW Local 2209’s Web site. The local represents Fort Wayne hourly workers. Local 2209’s Web site posting said the elimination of Saturday shifts is because of “the amount of trucks we have had on hand.” Some analysts have expressed concern over GM’s pickup inventory, which hit a 122-day supply in June before falling to 115 days at the end of July. Analysts say an 80-day inventory is typical for full-sized pickups.
Source: Automotive News

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GM Tests 0% Financing Through Wells Fargo

General Motors is testing 0 percent financing and other incentives supporting prime-risk new-vehicle auto loans through lending partner Wells Fargo. The program, which started in May, involves about 50 dealerships, largely on the West Coast, a GM spokeswoman says. Rick Josie, sales manager at tester store Art Gamblin Motors (Buick-Chevrolet) in Enumclaw, Wash., said last week that the deals include 0 percent financing for up to 60 months on some models. GM's Wells Fargo partnership, while small, is part of a bigger phasing out of what was once a monopoly on GM incentives held by the former GMAC, now Ally Financial. Don Johnson, vice president of GM's U.S. sales operations, said last week at the GM Global Business Conference for investors and analysts that diversification is an important part of GM's overall strategy to improve vehicle financing. "Our objective here is to offer dealers and consumers a choice in financing. We also want to create a competitive environment," Johnson said, without referring specifically to Wells Fargo. Besides Ally and Wells Fargo, GM also has a partnership with Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank to provide leases.
Source: Automotive News

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Customers, Dealerships Leaving as Saab Sinks

Saab Automobile, the 64-year-old Swedish carmaker sold by General Motors Co. last year to Spyker Cars NV, is fighting to survive after halting production in March amid a payment dispute with suppliers. Production has stopped, and the company has delayed paying wages twice as it scrambles to raise money. With the factory shut down, the automaker's dealerships are going bust and employees are wondering about their future. New Salem Saab in Albany, N.Y., closed its doors Aug. 12 after 50 years in business. The "continual disruptions of the Saab brand and its operational difficulties" caused the demise, dealer president Darryl F. Carl wrote on its website. Saab, whose North American headquarters is in Royal Oak, [Mich.], has aimed to sell 120,000 cars and become profitable by 2012.
Source: Bloomberg

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Cadillac Will Make a Plug-In Electric Car, the ELR

General Motors confirmed a report [Wednesday] that had only been a well-sourced rumor last week: that it is going to green light a Cadillac extended-range, plug-in electric car based on the Converj Concept shown at the Detroit auto show. It will be called the Cadillac ELR. Or, as many automotive onlookers are likely to call it, the Cadillac Volt. That's because its innards are likely to be taken pretty much directly from the Chevrolet Volt, the plug-in that goes 25 miles or more between recharges but has a backup gas motor for unlimited range. The Cadillac ELR will have a T-shaped lithium ion battery inside, electric motors and a four-cylinder engine-generator.
Source: USA Today

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More articles

Aug. 17, 2011 - Automakers Rebound in July to Lift Factory Output

Aug. 16, 2011 - GM, Toyota Brands Top Satisfaction Index

Aug. 15, 2011 - Low Rates May Do Little to Entice Nervous Consumers

Aug. 12, 2011 - Obama Claims Connection Between Fuel Standards, Jobs, But Reality is Complicated

Aug. 11, 2011 - Many Buyers Spurn Small Cars Despite High Gas Prices

 
Quotable
"If a crisis is coming, we'll meet our sales volume target in 2018. If there is no crisis, we'll reach this goal earlier."

    -- Bernd Osterloh, Volkswagen AG's top labor representative, referring to the automaker's long-term plan to sell more than 10 million cars and trucks in 2018 as part of its bid to become the world's largest automaker, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 18

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