The effects of Hurricane Sandy are far bigger than many imagined. The storm reshaped communities, and some will argue that it changed the outcome of yesterday's election.
Sandy will also have a small but important impact on used-car values. As proof, the National Automobile Dealers Association points to Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed hundreds of thousands of vehicles along the Gulf Coast -- vehicles that subsequently had to be replaced. That simultaneous loss of supply and growth in demand led to a 3% rise in used car prices after Katrina made landfall in August 2005.
Sandy was a different storm, and as such, it had a different impact. And although the total damage wrought by Sandy won't equal that of Katrina, NADA expects used vehicle values to climb slightly for the next few months -- especially in the Northeast, where Sandy made landfall. ( Continue… )
Fisker Automotive has had more than its share of trials and tribulations of late.
Now, a new threat has emerged that holds the potential to harm the company severely, by cutting off its supply of lithium-ion battery packs.
A123 Systems, its bankrupt battery supplier, wants to end the contract under which it supplies the Fisker's battery.
"In so doing, [A123] will saddle [its] estates and creditors with a claim of as much as, if not more than, $100 million," said Fisker in its filing, "and severely harm Fisker." ( Continue… )
One week ago, after Hurricane Sandy's violent landfall, residents along America's eastern seaboard awoke to starkly different landscapes than they ones they'd known a few hours earlier. Homes and offices had been destroyed, mementos and landmarks ruined, lives changed, taken, forever altered.
But even as Sandy continued to wreak havoc across parts of the country, relief efforts were gearing up. As we saw in the wake of 2010'sdevastating earthquake in Haiti, donations began pouring in from individuals, foundations, and major corporations, including the auto industry. Here's a rundown of the support that car companies have given to date -- though keep in mind that this doesn't include the many, many volunteer hours that individual employees have contributed in their communities.
BMW of North America is based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The company has given $1 million to the American Red Cross for relief and recovery efforts. ( Continue… )
It's becoming an awkward, unfortunate routine.
Somewhere, somehow, a Fisker Karma catches fire, and the company rushes in its inspectors and engineers to analyze the incident.
A few days later, Fisker Automotive issues a statement explaining that the battery of the range-extended electric car isn't at fault, and that some other cause led to the fire.
In the latest case, Fisker analyzed the October 30 fire that destroyed 16 Karmas when Hurricane Sandy flood waters receded from New Jersey's Port Newark shipping docks. ( Continue… )
American Suzuki Motor Corp. on Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it will stop selling cars in the U.S. as part of a plan to restructure its business.
The company, based in Brea, Calif., is the sole distributor of Suzuki Motor Co. vehicles in the continental U.S.
In documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California, the company estimated that its debts and liabilities range from at least $100 million to as much as $500 million.
It also said it has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors. ( Continue… )
For many of us, lines at gas stations and homes without power are no more than news, but millions on the U.S. East Coast are still coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Many areas are still without power, and gasoline is a worryingly rare commodity for a transport system utterly dependent on it.
But for many with electric cars, the latter hasn't been such a problem.
Even those without power to homes have been able to charge elsewhere--rather than queueing hours for gas to find the pumps have run dry.
The 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules require a manufacturer's average fuel efficiency to be 54.5 mpg or above by 2025.
The rules do not apply to trucks, which will meet a different set of rules, and vehicles are expected to meet efficiency targets on a steady increase up to 2025.
As Wards Auto reports, NADA worries that the vehicles produced to meet the rules won't be of interest to buyers, who may be put off by the higher prices the extra technology will result in.
"It will create a jalopy effect," says NADA Chairman Bill Underinner, "where people hold onto their cars for longer because they don't like what's being sold.
"It's going to be very hard for the manufacturers to build cars the public wants to get 54.5 mpg."
NADA is supporting new legislation introduced last month by Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA), demanding a safety and jobs analysis of the new gas mileage rules. Many worry the new rules will harm the market enough that job losses will result.
NADA is also concerned about increased prevalence of OEM-mandated upgrades to dealerships. Underinner says that not all dealerships can afford the property upgrades--while those that can, risk customers thinking they're being overcharged for their cars, if a dealer can afford millions in renovations.
In the end, it's up to the customers themselves. There are plenty of customer benefits to the 2025 rules--but will buyers see it that way?
Ford Motor Company has announced its best-ever third quarter, with pre-tax profits totaling nearly $2.2 billion. There are a lot of people to thank for those results, but North American shoppers are at the top of the list.
In North America alone, Ford saw pre-tax revenue of over $2.3 billion -- a substantial increase from the $1.55 billion earned in the third quarter of 2011. As of September 30, Ford's North American operations had generated nearly $6.5 billion in pre-tax revenue for the year, which is bigger than its pre-tax figure for the entirety of 2011. Ford credits these numbers to its strong product lineup and brisk sales. ( Continue… )
With initial damage estimates for Hurricane Sandypegged at $20 billion or more, insurance companies are facing a very busy couple of weeks. But while they brace for massive payouts, agencies can take heart in one bit of very good news, courtesy of J.D. Power and Associates' 2012 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study -- namely, that Americans have become more satisfied with their auto insurance companies, even as out-of-pocket costs have risen.
To reach those conclusions, Power surveyed over12,508 insurance customers who had filed and settled claims within the past six months. The survey took place over an 11-month period, from November 2011 to September 2012. ( Continue… )
Chevrolet's Camaro also gets a special appearance edition, in the form of the Hot Wheels Edition, a $6,995 package upgrade on any standard Camaro or Camaro Convertible--which can be ordered from your dealer. The car will make its debut at SEMA this week.