'HotWheels' Blog

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BTG Motoring Adds Xenon Kits for 2005 Mustang

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 11:24 am

Our sister site and online store, BTG Motoring, has just added the complete line of 2005 Mustang Xenon body kits and GTS™ light covers for the 2005 Mustang and 2005 Mustang GT.

2005 Ford Mustang Xenon body kits

This is in addition to the great New Mustang Borla exhaust systems that we have been selling for some time.

If you have an ‘05 Mustang, check it out!


GM’s Game Plan – Bob Lutz Reveals All . . . Well, Not Exactly.

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 3:15 pm

In his latest post at the GM blog, Fastlane, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz gives us as much information as possible in a frank look at the General’s upcoming game plan for getting out of its current troubles.

A good and fair question. Let’s start by saying there’s no magic bullet for our issues, at least none that we’ve uncovered. The truth is we’ve spelled out in several forums and in several media interviews what we intend to do to address the challenges we face. What we won’t tell you is exactly how we intend to do those things.

I can tell you this: First and foremost, our recovery is riding squarely on the back of our new product programs. There has never been a turnaround in this industry that didn’t happen because of hot-selling cars and trucks.

Fair enough. At least it’s clear that they understand that no amount of corporate money jockeying or aquisitions or sell-offs is going to fix GM. It’s all about the product! And we mean ALL about the product: the actual physical entitiy itself, the dealership experience, the warranty experience and the long-term service. But first, they do have to get the vehicles right.

My wife and I just “bought” an ‘05 Envoy, 2WD short wheelbase with the straight 6. Interesting SUV, great motor. We were able to buy instead of lease due to heavy incentives and a great interest rate from our federal credit union (cheaper payment than using the free GM money due to the additional $3K in rebate). Being able to get a total of eight grand off the MSRP on a vehicle that was manufactured less than three weeks before its purchase indicates that GM knows they are not pricing vehicles correctly. I hope that they figure this out fast, and fix it. What a marketing coup they would have if the Envoy would have stickered closer to what we actually paid for it!

Also great would be a no-haggle pricing policy for all GM brands, like now exists with Saturn. They almost lost the Envoy sale to a Chrysler Pacifica due to our LA CarMax dealer and its no-haggle policy. Most people just hate that part of car buying, and if you didn’t feel like you were getting hosed everytime you bought or leased a vehicle, I’m betting folks would be willing to do it more often. I know that we would.

The A3 – Audi Gets It Right!

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 8:56 am

Dan Neil’s “Highway One” column this week in the LA Times (reg. req.) reinforces this author’s opinion that Audi has a winner in its new A3 model, just released this month for the U.S. market.

Audi’s timing couldn’t be better. The German prestige brand is bringing the five-door hatchback version of the A3 — a compact premium car, for the purposes of pigeonholing — to the U.S. market just as our Rabelaisian appetites are starting to get the better of us.
The Europeans learned long ago not to measure prestige by the yard or ton. What I propose, in a time of general belt-tightening, is that there is a certain cachet in appropriateness.

The Audi A3 is everything you might want in a premium car, only less.

There’s lots between those opening and closing lines, so register (it’s free) and read it all. Congrats, Audi! A job well done. Ford has nothing like it . . . Poor old GM, this is what the G6 should have been.


Give Chrysler Its Due

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 7:56 am

MSNBC News tells the story of how the Mercedes half of Daimler Chrysler is faltering but Chrysler is now red hot in the market.

(…) In the United States, former money pit Chrysler is hot. After years of red ink, including an incredible 5.3 billion loss in 2001, Chrysler is lean and healthy. As rivals Ford and GM lose market share, Chrysler has gained for six consecutive quarters, and earned more than 250 million from January to March. Last week it reported a sizzling 9 percent rise in April sales, led by popular new models like the 300 sedan and the Dodge Viper. While the rest of Detroit lives off the SUV, Chrysler is now the only member of the Big Three automakers that makes even one popular car in the U.S. market.

Meanwhile, DaimlerChrysler’s flagship German brand and erstwhile cash cow, Mercedes-Benz, is in deep and serious trouble. (…)

And Mercedes is saying it’s not concerned about trying to be a the top of the J.D.Power’s Initial Quality Survey? OK . . .

But what’s up with Chrysler? What a difference a model or two or three makes! 300C, Magnum, Viper – got to give them credit where it’s due. Except for Cadillac, there are no other domestic rear-wheel-drive sedans to compete with those first two, and the ‘Vette and Viper don’t seem to actually compete in the same market segment, one being a brute and the other a gent.

So, congratulations, Chrysler on a job well done. Wonder how long it will be before Deter gets called back to the Fatherland to work some magic on the Mercedes half of the family?


First Chrysler – Now General Motors

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 9:29 am

Automotive News [reg. req.] tells of a new Kirk Kerkorian stab at buying up a piece of the automobile industry, this time his target is GM.

“The vultures are now flying over the carcass,” said Richard Steinberg, president of Steinberg Global Asset Management, a Florida asset management firm that owns debt issued by GM and and its finance unit GMAC. “I think he’s trying to wake up management. I don’t get the sense that Kirk Kerkorian wants to control General Motors.”

Interesting. GM stock is rising on the news, and dragging the whole market along with it. Maybe this will be the kick-in-the-pants that the union needs to renegotiate the whole retiree health care disaster that is crippling the world’s largest automaker.

Irregardless, if the General doesn’t speed up the release of world-class new product, it won’t matter in the end.


BMW’s 1st Qtr. Profit Falls, 3-Series Changeover Part of Cause

Filed under: — GM Guy @ 5:30 am

According to Reuters, the slide in BMW profits this first quarter of ‘05 is less than was expected, so things at the home of the Roundel are actually looking up, a little. Everyone on the Old World side of the pond are hurting from the strength of the Euro and at BMW, the actual cost of rolling out and promoting the new 3-Series is still not known. (Now that’s odd. Over here the marketeers would know that number to the second or third decimal point!)

BMW’s first-quarter pretax profit fell 4.6 percent, the world’s largest premium carmaker said on Tuesday, as the weak dollar and the changeover in its key 3-Series car dragged on its core automotive result.

BMW reaffirmed though that it expects earnings this year to roughly match its record 2004 result, helping soothe investor fears after rumors of a profit warning surfaced last week.

Earnings before taxes declined to 812 million euros ($1.05 billion), compared with an average Reuters poll estimate of 834 million and 851 million euros for the first quarter last year.

“Significantly higher raw material prices, currency factors and increased competitive pressure all had a negative impact during the first quarter 2005,” the company said in a statement.

Even though “BMW remains one of the most fundamentally solid companies in the industry", world stock markets have not gone out of their way to reward BMW’s stock. As per Reuters, even though BMW stock trades at 10 times estimated earnings, it is still surpassed by Audi, Mercedes and Volkswagen stock.

Another thing that BMW, and the rest of the world’s automakers need to fear – the Audi A3. I just took a good look at that product and it is fantastic. Hot Avant styling, a really well integrated version of the new Audi grill, tons of room and space utility inside and a TT inspired interior design theme. At $30K fully equipped, what’s not to like? To graduates of ‘05, the hot tip is A3!

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