NEWS IN THE 4-WHEELED WORLD


Ford sales, down 19% this July. You’re not surprised to hear bad news coming from Dearborn. A 22.3% plummet? That’d be General Motors, and that may surprise you somewhat. 22.3% lower than last July really sucks. The Chrysler Group mourns a measly 8% descent. Surprising you may be Toyota’s triad, whose sales dropped for the first time since 2004. The Japanese monster’s 3.5% drop seems like terrific news in light of the individual Toyota brand facing a 10% decrease in July vehicle sales. Mazda sold 3’s at a 27% higher rate this July versus last. BMW and one of its old groupies, Ford-owned Land Rover, saw gains somewhere around 20%. The automotive industry put an average of $2,524 in incentives on the hood of cars at American dealerships in July.

What to take from this story: renaming the Five-Hundred with the ‘hallowed’ Taurus nameplate isn’t rescuing Ford from financial ruin……

Germany’s Manager Magazine says BMW, caretaker of British baby Mini, can’t make money on the One, Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper D, their convertible equivalents, or the upcoming Clubman. But BMW’s CFO had a great line, especially in light of Mini’s soaring 18% improvement in the second quarter. Said Stefan Krause, “The only thing that is not mini about Mini is its profit.” Right on, my German friend. GCBC just recommended your car……

One more thing about BMW. Audi, the one time runt of Germany’s premium car litter, saw worldwide sales increase 9.8% in the first half of this year. Better news was found in the financial results, however. Profits rose 12.4%. BMW’s recent struggle is increasing profits with its booming sales. All its investment into research – especially efforts to increase fuel efficiency – has decreased BMW’s profit margins a whole 2% when comparing the first half of this year with the first half of 2006……

In Japan, the car that may become North America’s Toyota Matrix has been equipped with a 3.5L V6. Punching out around 276 bhp (likely closer to 300) from a car the size of a Corolla is a wonderful thing. The Matrix has always been a GCBC recommendee, but can you image the fun you’d have in a better-looking Matrix/Vibe with that kind of power? Toyota calls the car the Blade Master G in Japan. Curious, that……

Ford could save a barrel of money by sticking with its own proposed plan for the next Fusion/Lincoln MKZ/Mazda6/Ford Edge/Mazda CX-7 & CX-9 et al. Base these vehicles on Ford of Europe’s Mondeo. GCBC has rated the Mondeo favourably before……

Didn’t you always want a Saab-badged Chevrolet Trailblazer? With a previous generation Corvette engine? 20 inch wheels and abysmal fuel economy? For $45,690 USD? Nope, neither did I. It’s called the 9-7X Aero. If you see one, email [email protected] Take a pic if you can. That’d be a rare photo, indeed……

General Motors continues the methodology you just read about. Already applying stupid horsepower to cars few people care about at Saab, GM then puts its terrific 3.6L V6 into the Pontiac Torrent. Call it the Torrent GXP, place the same engine in the G6 coupe and sedan. Name them GXP as well, but detune them to the tune of -11 horsepower. What’s up with that? Just make the cars good, and you won’t need a re-shaped hood and super-chrome wheels, big exhaust tips and too much horsepower to sell your cars. Like you will do, Pontiac, with the G8. So hurry up with that car already……

Foreign brands outsold the three American-owned conglomerates in July. For the first time. Ever. In the 70’s, General Motors; Ford; and Chrysler had 84 percent of the market. Last year they had 52%. In July of 2007, the once big ‘Big Three’ held just 48.1 percent. Sucks to be them.