The Week: Most Recent Auto Industry recent posts.en-usFri, 18 Jan 2013 16:30:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent Auto Industry from THE WEEKFri, 18 Jan 2013 16:30:00 -05007 imaginative attempts to improve the DeLorean<img src="" /></P><p><iframe width="660" height="398" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p><p>In&nbsp;<em>Back to the Future</em>, Doc Brown builds a time machine by inventing a flux capacitor that powers a time-cruising&nbsp;DeLorean DMC-12 sports car. And ever since the film came out in 1985, the DeLorean has had a cult following, with many fans daydreaming about some awfully impressive ways to improve the sports car. From hovercrafts to monster-trucks, take a look at some of the most out-there ideas:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>1. The DeLorean hovercraft:</strong>&nbsp;Spotted by a YouTube user, this modified DeLorean was converted into a hovercraft. Yes, it <em>actually</em> floats on water while you cruise around. Unfortunately...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elena-scotti" ><span class="byline">Elena Scotti</span></a>Fri, 18 Jan 2013 16:30:00 -0500The new Corvette Stingray: Worth the wait?<img src="" /></P><p>"It's finally here, folks," says Nelson Ireson at <em>The Christian Science Monitor</em>, "and it looks great." General Motors on Monday officially unveiled the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at Detroit's North American International Auto Show. It's the seventh generation of the iconic American sports car, and the first new version in eight years. (See a close-up of the new Corvette and a vintage one below.) The look and the resurrection of the Stingray subtitle, which dates to 1963, "hint at the past of the Corvette," while some other cues &mdash; the old round tail lights are gone, the hood is vented...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Mon, 14 Jan 2013 14:25:00 -0500The government's plan to get out of General Motors: Too soon?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Critics of the Obama administration won't have "Government Motors" to kick around anymore. The Treasury Department on Wednesday announced that it would <strong>sell its entire stake in General Motors</strong> within 15 months, bringing to close a controversial $50 billion bailout that saved more than 1 million jobs. GM will buy back 200 million shares for $5.5 billion, or $27.50 a share, an 8 percent premium on GM's closing share price on Tuesday. That will leave the Treasury with 300 million shares, equivalent to 19 percent of the company, which the government plans on selling in small batches.</p><p class="p1">The deal is part...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Wed, 19 Dec 2012 13:53:00 -0500Time for the government to sell its stake in GM?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">General Motors, sick and tired of being mocked as Government Motors, is putting pressure on the Obama administration to sell its 26.5 percent stake in the car company, say Jeff Bennett and Sharon Terlep at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. GM says the government's ownership stake, part of a $50 billion bailout in 2009, "is a drag on its reputation and hurts the company's ability to recruit talent because of pay restrictions." In addition, GM executives aren't happy about government rules that limit their use of corporate jets. Mitt Romney has pledged to immediately sell the government's GM shares if he...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 18 Sep 2012 14:55:00 -0400The Chevy Volt's $89,000 production cost: A waste of money?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">"General Motors sold a record number of Chevrolet Volt sedans in August," say Bernie Woodall, Paul Lienert, and Ben Klayman at <em>Reuters</em><em>.</em> "But that probably isn't a good thing for the automaker's bottom line." Even though the environmentally friendly Volt's base price is about $40,000, says <em>Reuters</em>, production costs per vehicle run a stratospheric $89,000 &mdash; given the car's pricey lithium-polymer batteries, hybrid gas-electric engine, and next-age electronics. That means GM is losing $49,000 for each Volt it sells. Worse: GM has been offering two-year leases for a mere $5,000 to get customers...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 11 Sep 2012 17:12:00 -0400Why is GM barring Obama and Romney from its plants?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">"Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive." That's the message Vice President Joe Biden is hammering home as the campaign barrels toward November &mdash; and there's no easier way to make politics-averse "GM executives cringe," say Nathan Bomey and Todd Spangler at <em>The Detroit Free Press</em>. Of course, the auto giant probably wouldn't be here if it hadn't received billions of dollars from the government in 2009, making GM a hot topic on the campaign trail. Indeed, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate, caused a huge controversy&nbsp;when he suggested that President Obama was to blame for...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 31 Aug 2012 16:00:00 -0400Will GM go bankrupt again?<img src="" /></P><p>General Motors CEO Dan Akerson reportedly plans to reorganize the struggling automaker, hoping to make it more efficient by replacing regional "fiefdoms" with global marketing, purchasing, and product development efforts, according to a <em>Bloomberg </em>report. GM reclaimed the global sales crown from Toyota last year, but its stock has slid by 35 percent since a 2010 IPO following a $25 billion federal bailout and government-backed bankruptcy restructuring. The company's net income dropped by 50 percent in the first half of this year as its U.S. market share slipped and it lost money in Europe. Is GM...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 17 Aug 2012 13:35:00 -0400GM's 'love it or return it' offer: Desperate move?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">In a radical move "that makes car buying akin to shopping for shoes at Nordstrom," says Jerry Hirsch at <em>The Los Angeles Times</em>, General Motors this week launched a "love it or return it" program that allows consumers to return their new Chevrolets if they're dissatisfied. The deal, which promises a 60-day money-back guarantee, applies to all of Chevy's 2012 and 2013 models, as long as the cars are returned undamaged and with fewer than 4,000 miles on their odometers. The promotion also comes with "no haggle" low prices that are intended to clear Chevy's 2012 inventory. GM's offer is an attempt to...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 12 Jul 2012 13:40:00 -0400The 'smart headlight' that makes raindrops invisible<img src="" /></P><p>Your car's old headlights may be getting a makeover. A new "smart headlight" invented by the brainiacs at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute purportedly has the ability to make even the thickest rainstorm or snowfall look like a light drizzle, drastically improving visibility. Here's what you should know about this innovative new technology:</p><p><strong>How does it work?</strong><br />When you're driving a car equipped with conventional headlights through the rain, their steady beams hit water droplets and reflect light back at you, making it harder to see. But this new headlight mounts an intelligent camera...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 11 Jul 2012 12:38:00 -0400Ford's 'Traffic Jam Assist': Are we close to a driverless car?<img src="" /></P><p>Ford Motor Company is joining the race to develop a hands-off system that would let motorists relax while cars drive and park themselves. At an event showcasing the automaker's 2013 models on Tuesday, Ford unveiled a a new tool called&nbsp;Traffic Jam Assist, which will give drivers the option of handing over control to the car in slow, heavy traffic. Is this a leap toward the dream of kicking back while a Jetsonian driverless car takes you where you want to go? Here's what you should know:<br /><br /><strong>How does Traffic Jam Assist work?</strong><br />The system uses radar and cameras to keep track of all surrounding vehicles...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 27 Jun 2012 15:20:00 -0400Honda's Segway alternative... that you steer with your butt<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The video:</strong> Fancy the mobility of a Segway but don't like standing? Honda's new project, the UNI-Cub, might be right up your alley. At first glance the "personal mobility device" looks like a motorized unicycle&nbsp;&mdash; and we've all seen how "easy" it is to ride a unicyle. But Honda says the UNI-Cub is quite nimble, allowing users to maneuver with a large front wheel to control horizontal and forward movement while a smaller rear wheel helps pivot through turns. (Smartphone controls are optional.)&nbsp;The device has a max speed of 3.7 miles per hour, and is designed for both indoor and outdoor...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 21 May 2012 07:31:00 -0400Team Romney claims Mitt saved GM: 'The height of hypocrisy'?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Mitt Romney's campaign has news for you: It was Romney, not President Obama, who saved the U.S. auto industry. This week, Romney's campaign manager, Eric Fehrnstrom, said the reason General Motors and Chrysler survived the recession is because Obama followed Romney's prescription to put the automakers through a "managed bankruptcy process." That means "the only economic success that President Obama has had," Fehrnstrom said, "is because he followed Mitt Romney's advice." Fehrnstrom is referring to a <em>New York Times</em> editorial that Romney penned in 2008, in which he called for a "managed bankruptcy...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 01 May 2012 12:20:00 -0400Dan Akerson's $7.7 million salary: Is the GM boss underpaid?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">General Motors had a historically successful year in 2011, posting a record $7.6 billion profit. It's a robust turnaround for the once-enfeebled company, which needed a hefty cash injection from the government to avoid going under, and is still partly owned by Uncle Sam. But GM is less sanguine about a new government pay freeze on bailed-out companies, and in announcing its pay package for CEO Dan Akerson, who received a cool $7.7 million in compensation, GM complained that the restrictions "do not permit us to reward our senior executives in a manner reflecting the level of achievement of our...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 27 Apr 2012 11:35:00 -0400The Ford Mustang's new European look: A big mistake?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Few things are more classically American than a Ford Mustang, the Pony car that spawned dozens of imitators after it was launched in 1964. And today's Mustang still bears strong resembles to the original, part of a years-long attempt by Ford to ride a retro trend that saw baby boomers buying Volkswagen Beetles and Chevrolet Camaros. But all that is about to change, says Mike Ramsey at <em>The Wall Street Journal</em>. Ford is planning a sleeker, "European" look for its new Mustang, in a bid to attract younger consumers who have less affection for muscle cars of yore. The new Mustang will reportedly launch...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 17 Apr 2012 12:50:00 -0400Coming soon: Self-driving cars?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>When will self-driving cars take to the road?</strong><br /> </span><span class="s2">They're already out there. For the past two years, Google has been testing computer-controlled cars in California. Its self-driving Toyota Priuses have so far clocked more than 200,000 miles on busy highways, mountainous roads, and congested city streets with only occasional human intervention. (There are always two human drivers onboard, ready to take the wheel in case of a malfunction). "This car can do 75 mph," said Google engineer Chris Urmson. "It can track pedestrians and cyclists. It understands traffic lights. It can merge at highway speeds...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 30 Mar 2012 12:03:00 -0400Petty controversy: Newt Gingrich vs. the Chevy Volt<img src="" /></P><p><strong>The story:</strong> Newt Gingrich was all up in General Motors' grill this week. The Republican presidential candidate branded&nbsp;GM's hybrid Chevy Volt an "Obama car" because "you can't put a gun rack in a Volt." His remark, clearly intended to tap into the Right's aversion to subsidizing green technology, prompted GM spokesman Selim Bingo to shoot back that you <em>can</em> equip the Volt with a gun rack. "The real question is, 'Why would you?'" he asked. "Seriously, when is the last time you saw a gun rack in <em>any</em> sedan?" To prove GM's claims, one enthusiastic Volt fan even created a video demonstrating the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 23 Feb 2012 11:47:00 -0500