A generous helping of GM food:
- Dealers say GM customer anxiety rising, sales may take hit – Reuters: An ignition switch defect linked to deadly crashes and mounting recalls are raising anxiety in General Motors Co showrooms, according to dealers who increasingly are fielding calls from customers concerned about the safety of GM cars.
- Despite hurdles, Delphi’s liability in GM recall could be tested – Reuters: Delphi Automotive’s name does not appear on the outside of the 2.6 million vehicles recalled by General Motors Co since February, but the company is getting drawn into a mounting wave of litigation for its role in producing the faulty ignition switch that prompted the recalls.
- G.M. Chief Faces Ire of Senators in Hearing – NY Times: Setting the tone for Wednesday’s questioning of Mary T. Barra, the chief of General Motors, Senator Claire McCaskill said the company had a “culture of cover-up” that discouraged quick action to fix a defective part.
- Senators accuse GM of illegally hiding ignition-switch flaw – Washington Post: Lawmakers on Wednesday bluntly accused General Motors of illegally hiding evidence of a deadly ignition-switch flaw for much of the past decade, as GM chief executive Mary T. Barra endured a second day of combative hearings on Capitol Hill.
- The Lede: Senators Question What G.M. Chief Knew About Defects – NY Times: General Motors’ chief executive, Mary T. Barra, faced tough scrutiny from lawmakers during a hearing on the automaker’s failure to fix a faulty switch linked to 13 deaths.
- G.M. Secrecy on Crashes Adds to Families’ Pain – NY Times: Relatives of people killed in accidents involving recalled General Motors cars find it hard to get information partly because of how G.M. defines victims, and the technology of “black boxes.”
In other news:
- Beijing Auto looking to acquire a brand in U.S. or Europe – Automotive News: China’s Beijing Automotive said it wants to buy a “mid to high-end brand” in the United States or Europe to boost its global presence and it already has candidates in mind.
- Report – BMW to showcase 9 Series concept at Beijing Motor Show this month – Indian Autos Blog: Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport magazine claims that BMW will showcase an all-new 9 Series concept at the upcoming 2014 Beijing Motor Show which commences on April 19. The concept will be more of a design study, to judge the business case for a flagship model positioned above the 7 Series, yet below the Rolls.
- Energy Dept. dangles low-interest financing for suppliers – Automotive News: The U.S. Department of Energy wants auto suppliers to know that it still has $16 billion in low-interest financing available to support efficient-vehicle programs, and it wants them to step forward for a share of those funds.
- SPAIN/ITALY: Southern Europe’s big markets up in March – Just-auto: There were signs in March of a further thawing in Southern Europe’s frozen car markets with both the Italian and Spanish markets turning in positive growth.
- AUSTRALIA: March sales flat – Just-auto: Australians bought 97,267 new motor vehicles in March, down fractionally on March 2013’s tally of 97,400. Year to date volume was 266,370 versus 273,048 a year ago.
- NEW ZEALAND: New vehicle sales rise 18% in March – Just-auto: New vehicle registrations in New Zealand rose 18% year on year to 11,238 in March 2014 which was the strongest March since 1984. Year to date, sales were up 15% to 30,879.
- TAIWAN: Sales jump 25% in March – Just-auto: New vehicle sales in Taiwan jumped by close to 25% to 34,307 units in March, from a depressed 27,475 units in the same month of last year, according to local industry sources.
- THAILAND: VW to build cars locally – Just-auto: Volkswagen group is planning to build a new vehicle in Thailand, according to sources close to the negotiations with the government – and other separate local reports.
- New Mercedes B-class facelift spotted ahead of October debut – Autocar: Refresh for Mercedes-Benz MPV; new look B-class will be revealed in full at the Paris motor show later this year.
- Report – Honda applies to patent Honda Mobilio MPV in China – Indian Autos Blog: Honda has applied to patent the Brio-based Honda Mobilio in China. A report on Chinese portal auto.sohu says that the Honda Mobilio MPV is meant only for the Asian markets.
- Ally Financial CEO Carpenter won’t get pay hike, U.S. Treasury says – Automotive News: The Obama administration is holding the total compensation unchanged this year for the head of bailed-out auto lender Ally Financial, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.
- ATS plans sports car return and De Tomaso comeback – Autocar: Historic Italian car brand returns with two new road cars, but also plans to bring back the De Tomaso name next yearATS, the 1960s Italian car maker and Formula 1 entrant, is planning to return to sports car manufacturing with two new road cars.
- New Land Rover Discovery family previewed with Vision concept – Autocar: Official images give the closest look yet at Land Rover’s new Discovery family, which will launch next year.
- Tesla to Appeal Changed New Jersey Car Regulations – NY Times: Electric-car company Tesla Motors has filed notice it intends to go to court to appeal New Jersey’s ruling that would stop it from selling its vehicles in the state within two weeks.
- Tesla appeals N.J. ruling on direct-sales ban – Automotive News: Tesla filed an appeal Wednesday in New Jersey Superior Court to overturn last month’s ruling that banned the electric-vehicle maker from selling its cars directly to consumers through factory-owned stores there.
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