Entries in GM (45)


Toyota Retakes Title of World's Top-Selling Automaker from GM

TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Toyota is once again the leading automaker in the world.

The Japanese company announced on Monday that it sold 9.748 million cars last year, beating General Motors for the top spot.  In comparison, GM sold 9.29 million vehicles in 2012.

Toyota has had a bumpy road back since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan devastated production two years ago.  The natural disasters pushed the company behind GM in global sales in 2011.  Recalls also battered Toyota's reputation and bottom line.

Now, Toyota is aiming to sell 10 million cars this year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


US Auto Sales Reach Five-Year High

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- U.S. auto manufacturers, as it turns out, did quite well in 2012.  Sales climbed 13.4 percent to 14.5 million cars and light trucks sold -- a five-year high.

It was a big year for Chrysler -- the company in 2012 achieved its best sales in five years. Chrysler's Dodge brand led the pack, with sales of the Journey crossover and Dart compact car helping the company to a 21-percent gain. In all, Chrysler sold 1.65 million vehicles last year.

Ford was up 4.7 percent in 2012, boosted by its best December sales in six years.

General Motors' sales, led by the Chevy Sonic small car, posted a 1.6-percent gain last year.  The company's December sales rose by 4.9 percent.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


WATCH: Inside General Motors' Top Secret Extreme Vehicle Tests

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- General Motors is putting its vehicles through a series of extreme tests in a bid to make sure the cars -- and the company -- last.

The grueling tests come after bankruptcy and a government bailout left American taxpayers with ownership of a quarter of the company.  GM's stock price has slumped so the government has been forced to hold its shares rather than sell them at a loss.  The extreme testing is an attempt to strengthen the company's vehicles -- and its share price.

The newly restructured GM granted ABC's Nightline unprecedented access to its super secretive testing facility, called the Proving Grounds, in Milford, Mich., where it allowed cameras to film new models being crashed, flooded and pushed to the limit in severe environments.  Many of these tests had never been seen before by the public.

GM was once one of the biggest players in the industry, rolling out iconic Cadillacs, Chevrolets, Buicks and more.  But the company became bloated and during the recession, it fell into bankruptcy and needed a government bailout.

"This company is under tremendous pressure to deliver great products and great profitability -- and quickly -- and the pedal is to the metal, so to speak," said James Bell, head of consumer affairs for GM.

Bell was Nightline's tour guide for a wild ride through a series of breathtaking tests.  In one test, GM dumps a "lifetime of rain" on a vehicle -- nearly 7,000 gallons in eight minutes -- which tests how well the engine, electronics and other components stay dry.

In another, engineers drove a truck into a "dunk tank," then deliberately flooded it to see whether the truck's undercarriage would withstand dangerous corrosion.  For yet another, they drove a vehicle at an impressive clip straight into a flooded road to see what would happen if a driver ignored safety warnings and did just that.

"Sometimes floods happen in this country, so we know that these vehicles are going to withstand that," Bell said.  "We're doing above and beyond what the government requires."

For the first time ever, GM allowed cameras to film inside its climatic wind tunnel, capable of creating Arctic cold one day and desert heat the next all to see how vehicles do in extreme conditions.  In another first, General Motors allowed Nightline's correspondent to drive onto a test track to see if a Chevy truck could manage massive pot holes and ditches so deep, their size is a trade secret.

The now leaner, meaner, post-bailout GM believes its tests are working, so much so that this summer the company staked everything on an unprecendented money-back campaign.

"If you're not happy with your new Chevy, return it," the company's commercials boasted.

But despite its vigorous testing, General Motors just last month recalled over 40,000 vehicles over potential fuel leak concerns, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.  

And Consumer Reports ranked GM 12 out of 13 car companies for reliability in its most recent list, noting that models designed by the "old GM" are dragging the automaker's score down.

Chris Perry, GM's vice president of U.S. marketing, said the company's process is improving.

"We believe in the products we're developing," he said.  "[And] we're saying 'hey, you know what, we recognize the ills of our past, but do yourself a favor and compare us again.'"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Auto Sales Hit Highest Level Since Early 2008

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Car and truck sales in the U.S. have hit their highest level since February of 2008, according to Autodata.
Of the Detroit three, Chrysler had strong sales, showing a 12-percent increase compared to a year ago. General Motors and Ford had more muted numbers -- GM sales were up 1.5 percent and Ford sales were down 0.1 percent.
Japanese carmakers posted strong year-over-year gains, in part because the comparison is to a time when they were suffering badly from the effects of the Japanese earthquake.
Smaller, more fuel efficient cars posted by far the strongest sales for the car companies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ford, GM, Chrysler Report Strong August Sales

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Consumers may still be exercising caution when it comes to spending money on some things, but last month’s auto sales showed that new cars isn’t one of them.

August was a hot month for the auto industry: On Tuesday, Ford reported sales rose 13 percent last month; General Motors says sales were up 10 percent on solid gains for Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet; Chrysler repeated its strong showing, with last month's sales up 14 percent on the year before; and Volkswagen is making a comeback with its biggest August for sales since 1973.

And while the auto industry is running well ahead of last year, separate reports out Tuesday showed U.S. manufacturing fell for a third straight month, while construction spending took a dive due to a steep drop in home improvement projects.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GM, Ford Sales Slip in July; Chrysler, Others Report Strong Month

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Any worries Americans have about the economy fail to dissuade them from buying cars.  

Chrysler had a banner July, with sales up 13 percent. Volkswagen posted a 27 percent jump. Toyota saw a 26-percent rise. And at Nissan, sales were up 16 percent.

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. didn’t fare quite as well last month. Sales of GM vehicles slipped 6 percent, the company said, while Ford reported a 4 percent decline in sales from the previous year.

Buyers closed out of the auto market since the recession are finding good deals on last year's models, better financing and strong trade-in values. Pent up demand, analysts say, is also helping consumers overcome the risk of a softer economy. The average car on the road is more than a decade old so some drivers need to buy rather than bring their clunker in for one more repair.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Challenges China at WTO over Auto Tariffs

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(MAUMEE, Ohio) -- As he embarked on a campaign swing across northern Ohio, President Obama announced new action against China in the World Trade Organization, challenging duties imposed last year on U.S. auto exports.

“Just this morning my administration took a new action to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices that harm American automakers,” Obama said during a campaign stop in Maumee, Ohio. “We’re going to make sure that competition is fair. That’s what I believe. That’s part of our vision for America.”

The tough line toward China coincides with Obama’s appeal to blue collar workers in Ohio, home to many U.S. auto manufacturers and suppliers.  The bus tour — themed “Betting on America” — will promote the 2009 Obama-backed bailout of GM and Chrysler and portray the president as a champion of American manufacturing.

White House spokesman Jay Carney disputed that the timing of the announcement was anything other than coincidence.

“This is an action that has been in development for quite a long time. USTR [the U.S. Trade Representative] studies these issues and prepares actions with great deliberation to ensure their success at WTO. This one has been under development for many, many months,” Carney told reporters on Air Force One. “It can’t suddenly be a political action because it happens during the campaign.”

Carney noted that the new WTO complaint is the seventh the administration has filed against China and that the previous six have been “successful.”

Administration officials say the duties, which target Ohio-made cars like the Jeep Wrangler, affect $3.3 billion in exports, hampering prices and potentially imperiling jobs.

“The Chinese duties in question cover more than 80 percent of U.S. auto exports to China, including cars manufactured in Toledo and Marysville, Ohio, and Detroit and Lansing, Michigan,” said Carney. “The duties disproportionately fall on General Motors and Chrysler products because of the actions that President Obama took, as you know, to support the auto industry during the financial crisis.”

China cites Obama’s 2009 taxpayer-funded bailout of U.S. automakers GM and Chrysler to claim that the companies received an unfair advantage in the global marketplace, akin to subsidies that are forbidden by WTO rules.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GM Recalls 400,000+ Chevy Cruzes for Fire Risk

General Motors (Model may differ from recall)(DETROIT) -- General Motors is recalling 413,418 Chevy Cruzes to fix a problem the company says could cause a fire in the vehicle’s engine.

The recall covers all Chevy Cruzes model years 2011 and 2012 built in Lordstown, Ohio, and sold in the U.S. and Canada. An additional “several hundred exported to Israel are affected” by the recall, the company said Friday.

“All Cruzes with manual and automatic transmissions built in the United States from September 2010 through May 2012 are included in the engine shield modification,” GM said in announcing the recall.

“Improper engine oil change procedures on these vehicles can result in the spilling or dripping of oil,” the company said. “If oil contacts hot engine or exhaust system surfaces, and the engine shield, the shield may ignite and burn, resulting in a possible engine compartment fire.”

GM said it is unaware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities in relation to the issue.

Customers with an affected vehicle can take it to a Chevy dealership service department for what the company says will be a free 30-minute fix.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GM Pulls Ads Off Facebook

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Just about everyone is excited about Facebook's initial public offering scheduled for Friday that could value the social networking site at a whopping $105 billion.

Somehow, that doesn't impress the folks at General Motors, who pulled all its advertising off of Facebook.

While the $10 million GM spends annually on Facebook might seem like a drop in the bucket compared to what analysts say the company is worth, it could convince at least a few potential investors that Mark Zuckerberg's empire may be built on sand.

GM, which already spends $4 billion annually on worldwide advertising, says research found that its ads on Facebook just weren't effective.

The world's largest automaker says it will retain a presence on Facebook on the so-called fan pages.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls Romney's Auto Bailout Claim an ‘Etch-a-Sketch Moment’

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Wednesday roundly dismissed GOP rival Mitt Romney’s claim to credit for the resurgence of the U.S. auto industry as “one of his Etch-A-Sketch moments,” in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.

During a visit to Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday, Romney said the idea of a managed bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler had been his idea at the height of the economic crisis in 2009.

“So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back,” Romney said.

Obama has argued that the managed bankruptcy could not have been possible without his decision to authorize a multi-billion dollar infusion of taxpayer cash to keep the companies afloat.  Romney opposed federal government aid.

“I don’t think anybody takes that seriously,” Obama told Roberts of Romney’s claim.  “People remember his position, which was, ‘Let’s let Detroit go bankrupt’ and his opposition to government involvement in making sure that GM and Chrysler didn’t go under.”

“And I -- every businessperson and economist out there understands that at the time I had to make the decision, there was no private sector option.  Nobody was opening up their wallets to lend money to GM and Chrysler,” the president said.

While a few conservative economists have rejected the notion that government funds were required, the consensus of leading economists is that the situation was so dire that the companies could not alone acquire necessary funds to proceed through the process.

“The companies would have shut down and the bondholders would have been wiped out,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.  “Nearly all analysts at the time felt at the time that without government bailout -- GM and Chrysler would have been liquidated.”

Obama, who has made the revival of the auto industry a cornerstone of his re-election campaign, said a President Romney would have allowed the companies to succumb.

“We would have lost probably a million jobs throughout the Midwest,” he told Roberts.  “So the people who are in the Midwest -- you know, you go take a poll of folks in Detroit who buy that argument -- I don’t think they’re going to be persuaded.”

Romney has argued that had the companies been pushed into managed bankruptcy without government assistance, they would have restructured and returned to profitability more quickly than they have.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio