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BusINess » Auto Industry

Posts Tagged ‘Auto Industry’

Ford targets social media

A Ford F-150 is displayed Wednesday during the 2011 Chicago Auto Show media preview at McCormick Place in Chicago. Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday it will focus on social media and other new advertising strategies for 2011 vehicles. (Photograph by Thomas Quinn/The Times.)

A Ford F-150 is displayed Wednesday during the 2011 Chicago Auto Show media preview at McCormick Place in Chicago. Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday it will focus on social media and other new advertising strategies for 2011 vehicles.
(Photograph by Thomas Quinn/The Times.)

Ford Motor Co. announced Wednesday it will focus on social media and other new advertising strategies for 2011 vehicles.

Jim Farley, marketing chief for Ford, told the crowd at the Chicago Auto Show media preview that the only media that grew in 2009 and 2010 was online and mobile, and that information is changing Ford’s marketing campaigns.

“With 500 million people on Facebook, we can reach more potential customers in a more personal way,” Farley said.
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Meet the Rookies!

A host of all-new vehicles hits the market for 2011 with names that may be unfamiliar to the uninitiated. Meet the new kids.

Since it’s hard to tell the players without a scorecard, here’s a rundown of the brand new models with never-before-seen nameplates that are making their major league debuts at dealers’ showrooms for the 2011 model year:
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New Explorer takes on crossover look

The fifth-generation 2011 Ford Explorer joins the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS built at Chicago Assembly bringing with it an additional 1,200 jobs to our region. (Photograph by Dan Lyons/Special to The Times.)

The fifth-generation 2011 Ford Explorer joins the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS built at Chicago Assembly bringing with it an additional 1,200 jobs to our region.
(Photograph by Dan Lyons/Special to The Times.)

Santa’s Workshop takes a back seat this season to the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant with the production of the 2011 Ford Explorer.

For 2011, the midsize Ford Explorer moves away from the typical truck-based construction to a unitized style akin to a crossover vehicle for greater comfort and larger dimensions than the outgoing model.

“We’ve had a number of previous Ford Explorer owners asking about the new Explorer,” says Dan DeYoung, general manager of Smith Ford in Lowell. “There’s strong customer loyalty to Explorer with interest that spans the spectrum of buyers in their late 20s to past middle age.”
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First cars roll out of N. Ind. electric car plant

A northern Indiana plant owned by a Norwegian company that makes electric cars has finished work on its first fully-electric cars.

Fifteen cars rolled out of THINK North America’s Elkhart plant on Wednesday, bound for Indianapolis. The cars will be used primarily by the state Department of Natural Resources as part of its fleet of vehicles.

Gov. Mitch Daniels was scheduled to accept the vehicles Thursday. WSBT-TV reports that the cars are part of the state’s “Project Plug-In” that’s intended to make Indiana a leader in making and using plug-in vehicles.

THINK opened its plant in an empty plant in Elkhart in October. Company officials plan to roll out 300 electric cars from the plant by the end of the year. The plant currently employs more than 25 workers.

Information from: WSBT-TV, 22wsbt.com.


Local Pontiac lovers lament loss of iconic brand

Richard Orelup, of Valparaiso, will miss Pontiac. Orelup owns a 1999 metallic blue Firebird Trans Am and an orange 2005 Vibe. GM's agreements with Pontiac dealers ended Oct. 31. It decided to kill the brand last year. (Photograph by John Luke/The Times.)

Richard Orelup, of Valparaiso, will miss Pontiac. Orelup owns a 1999 metallic blue Firebird Trans Am and an orange 2005 Vibe. GM's agreements with Pontiac dealers ended Oct. 31. It decided to kill the brand last year. (Photograph by John Luke/The Times.)

As Pontiac died a lonely death, it gave Rick Orelup time to think about his one final wish: Buckle him in and bury him in his metallic blue 1999 Firebird Trans Am.

“I told my parents there’s a spot in the backyard where they can bury me in it,” said Orelup, 31, of Valparaiso. “It will be my coffin. I’m never going to get rid of that car. That’s my baby. That car will never leave my possession.”
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Ford Explorer begins rolling off line at Chicago Assembly Plant

A Ford employee installs parts on the new Explorer on Wednesday at the Chicago Assembly Plant. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

A Ford employee installs parts on the new Explorer on Wednesday at the Chicago Assembly Plant. (Photograph by Heather Eidson/The Times.)

Ford Motor Co. opened the doors of its Chicago Assembly Plant on Wednesday to display what union and company leaders said will be the flagship SUV for the industry.

The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker has started production of the 2011 Ford Explorer in Chicago, and the plant is buzzing with activity after receiving a new vehicle to build, a multimillion-dollar infusion of equipment and a boost of about 1,200 employees.
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How GM’s return played in 3 cities with a stake

Traders gather near the post where General Motors Co. stock trades at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Traders gather near the post where General Motors Co. stock trades at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

General Motors returned to Wall Street with the satisfying roar of a muscle car’s engine, embraced by traders at the New York Stock Exchange who stood in a crowd eight deep for the chance to buy a piece of a resurrected American icon.

Elsewhere, the moment was more complex.

The White House walked a fine line, stressing that the government was eager to get out of the automotive business while also taking credit for a taxpayer bailout that helped save the industry, not to mention tens of thousands of jobs.
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Auto industry’s return to ‘normal’ boosts steel

A Chicago Assembly Plant employee works on the assembly line. A bevy of challenges remain in the auto and steel industries as lower operating rates, high unemployment and reduced levels of consumer demand are expected to temper short-term performance expectations. (Photograph by The Times.)

A Chicago Assembly Plant employee works on the assembly line. A bevy of challenges remain in the auto and steel industries as lower operating rates, high unemployment and reduced levels of consumer demand are expected to temper short-term performance expectations. (Photograph by The Times.)

Improvements in the domestic auto industry will be a key driver to the economic recovery for steel production, analysts and company executives said.

However, a bevy of challenges remain in both industries as lower operating rates, high unemployment and reduced levels of consumer demand are expected to temper short-term performance expectations.

At a steel conference in Chicago earlier this month, Kim Korth, president of auto research firm IRN, said the recent recession seemed worse than prior ones because the automotive industry sustained a lot of damage in a short time. The 43 percent drop in overall light-duty vehicle production between 2007 and 2009 happened in half the time than the last precipitous decline in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to IRN’s data.
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RV companies digging out

Employees work on a recreational vehicle at a Jacyo manufacturing facility. (Photograph by The Times.)

Employees work on a recreational vehicle at a Jacyo manufacturing facility.
(Photograph by The Times.)

Armed with spreadsheets and sales projections, Derald Bontrager and key executives at Jayco huddled in fall 2008 to figure out how their recreational vehicle manufacturing company could reduce costs enough to survive the depths of the recession.

Again and again they met during the next several months, each time realizing more jobs held by local workers had to be eliminated. And in a family owned business like Jayco, which is based in Middlebury, laying off people is personal.

“That was the most difficult and challenging part of the downturn,” said Bontrager, president and chief operating officer at Jayco.
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Refinancing? Rates on auto loans are falling too

The zero percent interest rate available is posted on the windshield of an unsold car at a dealership in Lakewood, Colo. Car owners often pay far more than necessary for financing. The good news is that auto loans, like mortgages, can be refinanced. (Photograph by David Zalubowski/The Associated Press.)

The zero percent interest rate available is posted on the windshield of an unsold car at a dealership in Lakewood, Colo. Car owners often pay far more than necessary for financing. The good news is that auto loans, like mortgages, can be refinanced.
(Photograph by David Zalubowski/The Associated Press.)

It’s easy to overlook the cost of auto loans with mortgage rates grabbing all the attention.

Yet rates on auto loans have edged lower as the cost of lending has gone down for banks. And car buyers who didn’t get the best terms in the past year or so can capitalize by refinancing their loans.

The option should be of particular interest to anyone who obtained a loan from a car dealership. That’s because dealers are a middleman in the transaction. They typically mark up the interest rates they get from lenders to make money. Another reason to check how much you’re paying? Dealers are leaning more heavily on auto loans for profits as shoppers get savvier about researching car prices online.
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