Judging by the destruction the Oklahoma City area experienced earlier this week, residents are going to need a lot of help in coming months. Fortunately, a number of automakers - including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Honda and Toyota - have stepped up to donate money, supplies and vehicles to aid in the recovery and rebuilding processes.
Here's a quick rundown of which automakers have pitched in and what each contributed so far:
- Ford Motor Company has donating $250,000 and a Transit Connect to the American Red Cross, and it will match all other donations made to the Red Cross (up to $250,000) using a special URL tied to the latter's website (link here). Additionally, its local Oklahoma dealers have thrown in an extra $150,000 for the United Way and the automaker will be offering an extra $500 toward the purchase of a new Ford vehicle.
- GM has given $50,000 and a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado to a Detroit-area charity called Forgotten Harvest, which has set up a campaign called "Help 4 Oklahoma" to bring food, medical and hygiene products to the area.
- Chrysler is donating $100,000 to First Response Team of America - a nonprofit that assists first responders and helps with disaster cleanup.
- Toyota has announced that it is donating $250,000 to restore food service to the area, small businesses revitalization and home rebuilding, and in addition to this amount, it will also be matching employee contributions.
- The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Honda is donating generators to the Red Cross - a big advantage of having a power equipment division.
- Volkswagen says it made a $250,000 donation to the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, but it isn't clear if that was a combined donation or that much was given to each organization. VW is also matching the funds of its employees.
In the same week that Audi said "not so fast" to some claims from Tesla, Chrysler has responded to a new press release from the California-based EV-maker by saying "not exactly, Tesla." The statement, released through the company's blog, comes in response to Tesla claiming it was "the only American car company to have fully repaid the government." Chrysler notes that it, too, recently paid back Uncle Sam from its 2008 bailout. Similar to Audi's recent press release, which was eventually and mysteriously deleted from the German automaker's site, Chrysler is both right and wrong in its statement.
Tesla specifically said that it had paid back the Department of Energy loans that many automakers received - including Fisker and VPG Autos - while Chrysler's retort argues Tesla is "unmistakably incorrect" since it repaid the government in 2011 a full six years early. Technically, the statements from both automakers are correct, but Tesla's startup loan originated from the DoE, while Chrysler's loan came in bailout form from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Further, as The Detroit News notes, Chrysler's loan still cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars after all was said and done - those negative assets tied to "old Chrysler" in the bankruptcy did not require repayment.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Automotive News reports Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has issued a written apology for his comments regarding his decision to stick with an Italian engine for the upcoming Alfa Romeo 4C. As you may recall, back in January, Marchionne was quoted as saying, "I cannot come up with a schlock product, I just won't. I won't put an American engine into that car. With all due respect to my American friends, it has to be a wop engine." The CEO penned an apology to the Italian American ONE VOICE Coalition for using the racial epithet, saying that he made the comment in jest. Marchionne also said he realizes his remarks were unacceptable.
ONE VOICE, an organization aimed at fighting discrimination and stereotyping of Italian Americans, thanked Marchionne, Chrysler and Fiat for the apology. Marchionne is an Italian-born Canadian citizen, and he's gotten in trouble for other comments in the past. In 2011, he called high interest rates Chrysler was paying to the Canadian government "shyster rates." He apologized a day later.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Most domestic automaker assembly plants traditionally take a couple of weeks off during the summer. The shutdowns give each plant time for much needed repairs and maintenance, and in some cases, help better align production with demand. Not this year, though, as demand for many models is outstripping what Ford, Chrysler and General Motors plants can produce.
Ford has announced that it will shorten its annual summer shutdown for most North American plants from two weeks to one. The shorter shutdown will increase the carmaker's annual North American production by 40,000 units on top of the 200,000 extra units that it was already planning to produce this year versus last. Automotive News reports that Ford produced 2.8 million vehicles on this continent in 2012, and that output this year has already increased 13 percent through April.
Chrysler, meanwhile, is also operating at full tilt and plans to run some plants through the summer with no shutdown at all. Those not getting a break include Jefferson North where the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are assembled, Toledo North that will assemble the new Cherokee, and Conner Avenue, home of SRT Viper production. Other assembly plants will be down for a single week, while all of Chrysler's engine and transmission plants except one in Indiana will continue operating with no shutdown this summer.
Lastly, GM is keeping its cards closer to its chest. The automaker declined to comment to Automotive News about its summer production plans, instead saying that the company "does things a bit differently" now compared to the past, tying plant shutdowns to model life cycles and market demand rather than traditional annual timetables.Permalink | Email this | Comments
A monstrous supercharged V8 engine could be in store for Chrysler and SRT products, if recent rumors are to be believed. Allpar is reporting that the forced-induction V8 - Chrysler's first, if this goes down - could make its debut this summer.
The story goes that the Hellcat would be based on a 6.2-liter Hemi engine, rather than on the existing 5.7- or 6.4-liter versions of the company's vaunted mill. In any case, the general consensus is that the motor will have gobs of power. Modest estimates call for between 500 to 570 horsepower, with some outliers predicting a figure as high as 600 hp. That figure would put the output of the Hellcat awfully close to that of the 640-hp V10 in the SRT Viper, too. Allpar contends that a slightly less powerful version would allow Chrysler to keep costs below that of the more powerful Ford Shelby GT500, which might be a sweet spot.
The Hellcat could debut in a number of SRT products. SRT versions of the Charger, Challenger and 300 are all up for grabs, as is the rumored SRT Barracuda.Permalink | Email this | Comments
While monthly sales figures might be an easy way of tracking the progression of the auto industry and individual automakers, looking at market share might be more indicative of how each company is actually standing up against its competitors. For the Detroit Three automakers, they have collectively lost almost 30 percent of the market over the last 20 years, but now, for the first time since 1993, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have each posted market share gains at the same time.
According to Automotive News, Ford's share increased the most by 0.7 percent, GM was up 0.5 percent and Chrysler rose marginally by 0.2 percent, giving the Detroit automakers a total market share of 45.6 percent. As for the Japan's Big Three, the article reports that Toyota is up by 0.7 percent, Nissan is down the same amount and Honda has seen "little change."Permalink | Email this | Comments
Preliminary first-quarter results from 2013 have been announced by Chrysler, and the company is reporting a net income of $166 million on revenue of $15.4 billion. Compared to this period last year, net income is down $307 million and revenue has dropped $1 billion.
Chrysler says that its quarter was negatively affected by the costs associated with launching its 2013 Ram Heavy Duty, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and preparation for the return of the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee pictured above. The launches should provide a strong second half of 2013, says the automaker. "We remain on track to achieve our business targets, even as the first-quarter results were affected by an aggressive product launch schedule," said Chrysler Group LLC Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne.
On a positive note, the automaker says worldwide vehicle sales are up 8 percent from one year ago, a number pushed by a 12 percent bump in U.S. retail sales. In addition, domestic market share has risen slightly, up to 11.4 percent from 11.2 percent last year. Read more in the official statement below.Permalink | Email this | Comments