Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ford Duo Heads South for Marathon Cyprus Test Challenge

CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 1: Jari-Mat...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and fellow Finns Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila have completed one of the team's longest test sessions in recent years in Sardinia as preparation for the forthcoming Cyprus Rally (12 - 15 March).

The successful six-day test took place on roads around the town of Cagliarito the south of the Italian island, with each driver taking to the wheel of their Ford Focus RS WRC test car for three days. The long test is as a result of the Cyprus Rally this year being run as a mixed surface event – one day on asphalt, two days on gravel. FIA regulations state that teams are required to compete on all three days in gravel specification cars, giving the 20-strong test team a new challenge.

In order to find the right set-up, the test car ran in gravel specification with a lower ride height, similar to that of an asphalt car, and with stiffer suspension springs.

Latvala was the first of the pair to test the car on asphalt: "It's been a very good test and I'm satisfied with what we achieved. I've even had the chance to test the car on asphalt in dry and damp conditions because it rained on Thursday afternoon. This made the test road very slippery where I'd been cutting corners, but it could rain in Cyprusso that could be a positive for me," he said.

"I've learned that I'm going to have to brake much earlier because there isn't the same grip level with the gravel tyres on asphalt roads and the brakes are smaller. You also have to drive in a very straight line and be very neat and precise. It's been very hard on the brakes but the tyres have lasted well. We completed a surprising 240km on asphalt.

"We also had the opportunity to drive on gravel for 370km on two very different roads, one very rough and similar to Greek conditions and one very slow and technical and more like Cypriot roads. I feel confident that we're going to Cypruswith a good setup," he concluded.

Team-mate Hirvonen was second to get behind the wheel: "The test has been really positive for us. The temperatures in Sardinia were perhaps not as high as we're going to experience in Cyprusbut everything felt really good. The Pirelli tyres worked well on the asphalt roads which was encouraging. It's not the nicest feeling driving like this, but it's going to be a new challenge for everyone and interesting to see how fast we all are on Day 1. It's going to be hard on our brakes, but I feel we've done all we can do to prepare for it.

"We did a total of 650km in three days and 430km on some fairly rough and twisty gravel roads. The second road we drove on two years ago and we're a lot faster now. It's great to see how much we've improved. I'm really looking forward to the challenge we've got in two weeks," he added.

Limassol is the host town for the rally, third round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

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GM Reports Preliminary Fourth Quarter and Calendar Year 2008 Financial Results

DETROIT - OCTOBER 4:  General Motors Chairman ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

General M otors Corp. (NYSE: GM) today announced its fourth quarter and calendar year 2008 financial results, which were affected by the dramatic deterioration in global economic and market conditions during the year, declining consumer confidence and a 50-year low in per-capita auto sales in the United States.

For the 2008 calendar year, GM reported an adjusted net loss, excluding special items, of $16.8 billion, or $29.00 per diluted share. This compares to an adjusted net loss of $279 million, or $0.49 per diluted share in 2007. The 2008 results were driven by the impact of the U.S. recession and subsequent global contagion. Including special items, the company reported a loss of $30.9 billion, or $53.32 per diluted share, compared to a reported loss of $43.3 billion, or $76.52 per diluted share in 2007, which included a non-cash special charge of $38.3 billion in the third quarter related to the valuation allowance against deferred tax assets.

“2008 was an extremely difficult year for the U.S. and global auto markets, especially the second half, ” Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said.“ These conditions created a very challenging environment for GM and other automakers, and led us to take further aggressive and difficult measures to restructure our business.

“We expect these challenging conditions will continue through 2009, and so we are accelerating our restructuring actions. At the same time, we are continuing our commitment to exciting, fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and the leadership in advanced propulsion technology .”

GM total revenue in 2008 was $149 billion, compared with $180 billion in 2007. GM’s core automotive business generated revenue of $148 billion in 2008, down from $178 billion in 2007. The revenue decline was predominantly due to the precipitous drop in sales amid record low consumer confidence in the U.S. and sharply lower sales across all of GM’s operating regions due to economic turmoil in the global markets. Global industry sales in 2008 were down 5 percent, or 3.6 million vehicles, versus 2007 levels, and U.S. industry sales fell by 18 percent, or nearly 3 million units.

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2009 Lincoln MKS photographed at the 2008 Wash...Image via Wikipedia

  • Strict Ford engine “boot camp” testing regimen ensures quality and durability as the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine is introduced on the 2010 Lincoln MKS and MKT and Ford Flex and Taurus SHO
  • EcoBoost is one of Ford’s key initiatives to deliver significant fuel economy advancements of up to 20 percent without sacrificing the performance feel customers want
  • The new 3.5-liter engine is the first in a wave of EcoBoost engines coming as part of Ford’s strategy to bring affordable fuel efficiency improvements to millions. By 2013, more than 90 percent of Ford’s North American lineup will be available with EcoBoost technology

DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 27, 2009 – The arrival of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine is eagerly anticipated by customers who want power without sacrificing fuel economy. Arriving in the 2010 Lincoln MKS, MKT and Ford Flex and Taurus SHO models this summer, the twin-turbocharged, direct-injection 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine delivers the horsepower of a normally aspirated V-8 with the fuel efficiency of a normally aspirated V-6.

To ensure the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine delivers quality performance, a team of engineers subjected it to an extensive battery of tests as part of the company’s engine “boot camp.”

“EcoBoost was engineered with a relentless, disciplined focus on quality that required a zero-defect mindset from engineers and our supplier partners,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development. “The finished product will represent the best combination of production-ready engine technologies of today, poised and ready to deliver the performance, fuel efficiency and value that customers expect.”

The extensive testing to prove out the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine was accomplished through three avenues – using computer aided engineering models (CAE), in the lab with dynamometers and on roads in the real world. Between testing on the dyno and in the field, EcoBoost engines have racked up the equivalent of more than 1 million miles of customer driving.

“EcoBoost is undergoing extensive durability and reliability tests,” said Brett Hinds, Ford’s Advanced Engine Design and Development manager. “The performance we are seeing shows that the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine is a high-quality, top-performing engine that meets or exceeds all our reliability targets.”

EcoBoost System Testing
The rigid testing includes 20 individual dynamometer-level tests designed to push the engine to its limits. The testing protocol verifies the reliability of the complete engine system under maximum engine speeds and loads, coolant and oil temperature and customer driving patterns.

The Road Cycle Durability test, for example, is designed to replicate real-world customer driving and vehicle maintenance patterns. For this test, engines with EcoBoost technology were subjected to 1,000 cold starts, followed by sustained operation at peak torque and peak power. During the course of the test, engine coolant temperatures ranged from 12 degrees Celsius (about 53 degrees Fahrenheit) to 95 degrees Celsius (203 degrees Fahrenheit).

In total, this single test required 1,000 hours of extreme engine operation, representing more than 60,000 miles of customer driving.

“This was a critical test for us, and the EcoBoost fleet passed with flying colors,” Hinds said of the Road Cycle test. “We’re confident that EcoBoost is ready to provide consistent performance in varied conditions.”

Component Testing
Individual components undergo rigorous proving as well. EcoBoost’s twin turbochargers, for example, are designed to run at a very high temperature – up to 950 degrees Celsius (1,740 degrees Fahrenheit). Ford engineers proved out the turbochargers by running them at 950 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes and then “shocking” the turbos by running them at room temperature for 10 minutes. The tests were repeated at maximum boost continuously for hundreds of hours, under far more severe conditions than customers are expected to dish out.

“Our testing is far harsher than could be achieved in the real world,” said Hinds. “We test at peak power for hundreds of hours to ensure we can reach our durability and reliability goals.”

Designed for a life cycle of 150,000 miles or 10 years, EcoBoost’s turbochargers feature water-cooled bearing jackets. This architecture is designed to prevent oil “coking” that could occur in previous-generation turbochargers. The new design means that EcoBoost drivers don’t need to observe special operating precautions, such as idling the engine before switching it off.

EcoBoost also endured Ford’s standard engine durability test signoff running at maximum revs and turbo boost for the equivalent of 15 straight days or 360 hours.

As the first Ford EcoBoost engine makes its production debut, it has earned its stripes in Ford’s engine boot camp. It uses that same grade of 5W20 engine oil specified by Ford for gasoline engines, and oil changes are scheduled at the same 7,500-mile intervals.

About EcoBoost
The EcoBoost system is part of Ford’s commitment to deliver the best fuel economy in each new vehicle. For example, the new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine provides the following:

  • The 2010 Ford Flex boasts a projected 22 mpg highway, equaling the highway fuel economy of the 2009 Flex with all-wheel drive with more horsepower < (355 projected vs. 262) and more torque (350 ft.-lb. projected vs. 248 ft.-lb.)
  • 2010 Lincoln MKT leads its segment in fuel economy, exceeding the V-8-powered Audi Q7 by 4 mpg highway;
  • 2010 Taurus SHO generates an estimated 365 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 350 ft.-lb. of torque at 3,500 rpm;
  • The new Lincoln MKS will deliver more power and better highway efficiency (25 mpg) than the 2009 Lexus GS460 (24 mpg) or 2009 Infiniti M45x (20 mpg).

The new 3.5-liter engine is the first in a wave of EcoBoost engines coming as part of Ford’s strategy to bring affordable fuel efficiency improvements to millions. By 2013, more than 90 percent of Ford’s North American lineup will be available with EcoBoost technology.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2010 Cadillac SRX Advance AWD System Delivers High Stability in all Driving Conditions

  • 2010 Cadillac SRX Overview
  • Haldex system offers class-leading performance – up to 100-percent front-to-rear torque transfer
  • Pre-emptive engagement of the rear wheels to optimize traction at take-off
  • Electronic Limited Slip Differential (eLSD) transfers up to 85 percent of torque between rear wheels
  • New rear sub-frame and suspension geometry
  • Available summer 2009

DETROIT – Using cutting-edge technology, the 2010 Cadillac SRX is launching with an advanced all-wheel-drive system (AWD) that delivers best-in-class levels of driver control. The intelligent, active system continuously distributes engine drive torque between the front and rear axles, delivering optimum handling, stability and grip in all driving conditions – from fast corners to slower curves, in dry or wet weather.

“The 2010 SRX will deliver excellent, balanced driving dynamics in all types of weather,” said Bob Reuter, SRX global vehicle chief engineer. “The all-wheel-drive system with electronic limited-slip effectively transfers torque not only from front to rear, but also along the rear axle. This system sets a new benchmark for all all-wheel-drive systems, giving the driver control and confidence on any road surface.”

In honing the integration and performance of the system, Cadillac engineers completed more than 600,000 miles of testing in all weather conditions across some of the most challenging roads in Europe, as well as test tracks in Italy and Spain and the famed Nürburgring circuit in Germany, where Cadillac has developed and validated new vehicle features in recent years. The result is an active, all-wheel-drive system specifically tuned for the SRX. It fully exploits the power of the vehicle’s new, 3.0L direct injected V-6 engine that delivers 265 horsepower (198 kW) at 6,950 rpm and 223 lb.-ft of torque (302 Nm) at 5,100 rpm.

To optimize traction at take-off, the system incorporates an innovative, pre-emptive engagement of the rear wheels. Unlike conventional all-wheel-drive systems, this system eliminates the need to detect front wheel slip before rear drive is activated and sets a new benchmark in all-wheel-drive performance.

Perfect balance

On the road, the AWD system operates seamlessly and is programmed to help the driver keep the car stable, splitting drive torque to counteract oversteer or understeer situations when cornering.

The electronic control unit receives data inputs 200 times every second from more than 20 sensors in the vehicle, including those for the ABS and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) systems. The data processed includes vehicle speed, wheel rotation speeds, lateral acceleration, throttle setting, engine torque, yaw rate and the steering angle. Those inputs are used to continually adjust the torque distribution in response to the driver’s input of steering and throttle, the traction that is available at the individual corners of the vehicle or the intended versus the actual path of the car.

For example, on dry pavement during wide-open throttle, 50 percent of the torque is delivered to the rear, providing acceleration with no wheelspin. On slippery surfaces, torque is delivered to the tires with traction, up to 100 percent in cases where one end of the vehicle is on glare ice. Highway cruising conditions will reduce torque delivery to the rear to 5- to 10-percent, decreasing driveline drag and optimizing fuel economy. In most other driving conditions, the torque varies between 20 percent and 50 percent to the rear axle.

While offering sure-footed handling in low-grip conditions, the SRX AWD system also rewards the enthusiastic driver. The precise balancing of the drive torque reduces ESC throttle and braking interventions, providing smoother and more predictable performance.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this system, however, is the addition of an active rear limited-slip differential (eLSD). The eLSD can transfer up to 85 percent of maximum rear torque between the rear wheels, to whichever has more grip. Under hard cornering, or when completing a high-speed maneuver, such as a lane change, the application of more or less torque to either wheel helps the rear of the car more closely follow the direction of the front wheels.

The new 2010 SRX’s AWD system is integrated with completely new chassis settings and revised self-leveling rear suspension geometry that delivers a 50-percent increase in camber stiffness. Springs, dampers and the steering system have been specifically tuned for pleasing ride dynamics and good feedback. In addition, the 2010 SRX features tires with a higher speed rating.

How it works

The SRX all-wheel-drive hardware consists of a power take-off unit (PTU) in the front final-drive that transmits engine torque through a prop-shaft to the rear drive module (RDM) that includes a torque transfer device (TTD) and the optional eLSD. Both are wet, multi-plate clutch units from Haldex.

The TTD is activated as soon as the vehicle is placed in gear. RDM clutches are applied and ready to transfer torque before acceleration begins. This pre-emptive function leapfrogs many current technologies that require the detection of wheel slip or driveline rotation before the rear drive is activated. The enhanced functionality provides maximum traction immediately for smooth, strong acceleration from a standstill without the possibility of any drivetrain hesitation. During driving, torque delivery between the axles is varied by a valve in the TTD, which increases or reduces the hydraulic pressure on the wet clutch plates to progressively engage or disengage rear drive. The degree of slip determines the amount of torque transmitted. The eLSD, located alongside the RDM, operates on the same principle as the larger TTD. The electronic control unit functions in concert with the engine, transmission and ABS/ESC control modules.

The 2010 SRX’s AWD system requires the factory installation of a specific rear sub-frame to carry the RDM, as well as the revised rear suspension geometry and new wheel hubs for the drive shafts. The three-piece prop-shaft runs through two bearings with constant velocity joints for smooth running with minimal “wind up.” With the AWD system, the SRX’s wheelbase and rear track dimensions are unaltered from FWD models.

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NEW YORK - MARCH 19:  Ford design chief J Mays...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

  • Transit Connect is rated at 22 city, 25 highway EPA miles per gallon, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer, starting at $21,475, including destination
  • Ford fills an unmet U.S. commercial business need with new Transit Connect, an industry-exclusive vehicle specifically developed to be a smart new choice for small business owners
  • Low operating and ownership costs, 135 cubic feet of cargo space and a 1,600 pound payload make Transit Connect a smart solution

Dearborn, Mich., Feb. 24, 2009 – Ford today confirmed EPA fuel economy for the 2010 Ford Transit Connect at 22 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles per gallon on the highway.

“No other vehicle on the road in the U.S. today delivers the combination of fuel economy and useful space as the Ford Transit Connect,” said Rob Stevens, chief engineer. “It’s a unique package, offering a 1,600 pound payload, 135 cubic feet of cargo space and superior fuel economy.”

To deliver a more fuel efficient commercial vehicle, Ford is tapping its global portfolio of products to meet the unique needs of American small business owners with the 2010 Transit Connect. It represents a spacious new alternative to larger commercial vehicles and is ideal for navigating congested cities.

Transit Connect arrives with a global reputation for durability and toughness dating back to its 2003 launch, when an expert jury of European commercial vehicle journalists named it International Van of the Year.

Transit Connect: It’s Durable
Ford Transit Connect is a purpose-built commercial vehicle, built on a dedicated commercial vehicle platform in an exclusive commercial vehicle production facility. It is designed, engineered and manufactured by Ford of Europe to beat tough, light commercial vehicle durability standards.

The Transit Connect is powered by a proven Duratec 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 engine, featuring four valves per cylinder and an aluminum block and head. Sequential multiport electronic fuel injection provides precise fuel metering for smooth and economical performance. This engine, delivering an estimated 136 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 128 ft.-lbs. of torque at 4,750 rpm, has proven American market durability.

This efficient engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transaxle with overdrive. A final-drive ratio of 4.20 to 1 is specified to give Transit Connect pulling power for the long haul and fifteen-inch steel wheels with P205/65R-15 black sidewall tires put it in contact with the road.

The Transit Connect was developed at the outset to be durable, with a boron steel front crossmember, a high-strength steel reinforced body shell, twin- side cross members and side-impact protection. Several areas of the body structure are double-skinned for additional strength, increasing resistance to the minor scrapes inherent to urban delivery situations.

“Transit Connect will be a useful small business tool,” said Chief Engineer Stevens. “It drives like a car, works like a van and is engineered to be as tough as a truck.”

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GM Confirms Engine for Chevy Volt and Cruze Will Be Built in Existing Flint, Mich. Plant

Chevrolet VoltImage by Jason Yoder via Flickr

General Motors has confirmed today that it will still invest approximately $250 million to bring the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder Family 0 engine production to Flint, Mich. The engine capacity for the Chevy Volt and Cruze will be allocated to existing and available floor space in the company's Flint South engine plant located on Bristol Road.

Preparations to the Flint South plant for installation of new machinery and equipment will begin this Spring. Production of the 1.4-liter engines is targeted to begin in December 2010.

Production of Family 0 engines at Flint South will be GM's most flexible and competitive engine manufacturing lines in the world, with approximately 150 highly flexible stations that will allow production of multiple 4-cylinder engine families without retooling.

This means that GM will not invest in new floor space at this time due to current capital expenditure constraints and available floor space in existing facilities.

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2007 Shelby GT500 at the Los Angeles Auto Show.Image via Wikipedia

  • The 2010 Ford Mustang features a more sculptured muscular exterior, an upgraded world-class interior, a host of must-have technologies and unsurpassed fuel economy of 26 mpg on the highway, all for the best value at a starting price of $20,995
  • The Mustang offers the broadest range of available power in its segment from the 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 to the GT featuring a 4.6-liter V-8, delivering 315 horsepower, up to the Shelby GT500’s 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 pumping out 540 horsepower
  • Mustang and Shelby GT500 are available as a coupe or convertible. An optional factory-installed glass roof is offered on the V-6 and GT premium models

DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 19, 2009 – The fast, fun and affordable legacy that has defined America’s favorite muscle car for nearly a half century lives on in the new 2010 Ford Mustang, which incorporates an expert blend of design leadership, performance and technology at an exceptional value.

“More than 9 million customers have made Mustang one of the world’s most beloved automotive and cultural icons,” said Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president of U.S. Sales and Marketing. “Making sure this modern legend lives up to their expectations has been our driving force to create the best Mustang ever. Not only is this the best Mustang ever, it’s also the best bang for the buck for our customers.”

Available this spring, the new Mustang features a new exterior and interior design, upgraded materials and a long list of must-have technologies and standard safety equipment – such as Ford’s AdvanceTrac® Electronic Stability Control system, all-speed traction control, anti-lock brakes and front and side air bags – for an affordable starting price of $20,995 (excluding destination and delivery) for the V-6 coupe and $25,995 for the convertible. The V-8 powered GT coupe base price is $27,995; the GT convertible starts at $32,995. The Shelby GT500 Coupe has a MSRP of $46,325, while the GT500 Convertible starts at $51,225.

Contenders Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger sport base sticker prices ranging from $1,000 to $2,600 more than Mustang.

Unparalleled Design
The new exterior of the Mustang delivers more muscular, athletic styling, with new sheet metal except for the roof, including a refined powerdome hood, new front fenders, a sweeping beltline and a new decklid design. Other exterior notables include new grille and fascia differentiation between the V-6 and GT models, new front and rear fascias, higher wheel arches and new LED sequential taillights.

Mustang’s interior is in a class all by itself, from the new one-piece soft touch instrument panel, chrome encircled gauges and a center console design that pampers the shifter for that perfect feel and level of control. Subtle or high-profile, all interior elements are defined by precise ergonomic accuracy and a faithful devotion to craftsmanship that even the most discerning performance car enthusiast will appreciate.

“Attention to detail is the bedrock of the new interior and what sets Mustang miles apart from the competition,” said Mustang Design Manager Gary Morales.

Industry Leading Technologies
Mustang further distinguishes itself from the pack with an all-inclusive list of standard and optional industry-leading technologies and safety features, including:

  • Ford SYNC® with 911 AssistTM, Vehicle Health Report (VHR), and new Traffic, Directions, and Information services
  • Voice-activated Navigation with SIRIUS® Travel LinkTM
  • Next-generation ambient interior lighting
  • Reverse Camera System
  • SOS Post Crash Alert System

Mustang comes standard with Ford’s AdvanceTrac® Electronic Stability Control system, which complements the car’s standard all-speed traction control and anti-lock braking system. A Sport Mode, available on the GT Premium and Shelby GT500, incorporates a unique calibration of the new AdvanceTrac system, letting the driver enjoy a wider range of Mustang’s performance capabilities.

Options Galore
Mustang is America’s best-selling convertible, thanks to features like a three-layer weatherproof power top. Mustang V-6 and GT models are available with convertible tops for an additional $5,000.

For a no-matter-the-weather “open” experience, Mustang also offers a factory-installed glass roof option for $1,995 on the V-6 and GT models.

The fixed glass roof is made of two layers of tinted privacy glass with a layer of transparent vinyl in between, which reduces vehicle cool-down time as well as infrared energy and ultraviolet (UV) rays. The roof, for example, filters 90 percent of the sun’s heat-generating infrared rays and 96 percent of burn-causing UV rays. A thick polyvinyl butyral layer further filters UV rays and helps muffle wind and traffic noise by as much as five decibels. For added privacy and protection, a manually retractable mesh sun shade comes standard.

Mustang also offers a wide selection of personalization options from the factory as warranty-friendly Genuine Ford Accessories, from exterior stripes to interior appearance features, wheel selections, communication and entertainment systems and more.

Plus, Mustang enthusiasts can now add Performance Packs available from Ford Racing, including a Power Upgrade Pack, Handling Pack, or SuperPack – all under warranty when installed by a Ford dealer.

Fuel Facts
The 2010 Mustang is jam-packed with unprecedented content, yet it weighs approximately 300 pounds less than the competing Camaro and Challenger. This leaner curb weight gives Mustang a competitive leg up in agility and contributes significantly to Mustang’s unsurpassed 26 mpg.

Mustang’s available engines, including the GT’s beefy 4.6-liter V-8, also are designed to use regular 87-octane fuel, allowing customers to save even more money at the pump, without sacrificing performance. Both Camaro and Challenger recommend premium grade gasoline.

Mustang also makes fill-ups more hassle-free with its standard Easy Fuel™ Capless Fuel Fuller system, a segment exclusive.

The Shelby GT500
For Mustang lovers who prefer the highest performance, the 2010 Shelby GT500 offers a 5.4-liter supercharged four-valve V-8 engine that pumps out 540 horsepower and 510 ft.-lbs. of torque. Thanks in part to a cold-air intake system, lower-restriction exhaust, new engine calibration and revised gearing, the 2010 Shelby GT500 delivers more power while also increasing fuel efficiency. The GT500 improves its fuel economy by 2 mpg on the highway for a rating of 14 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway. Power is sent to the ground through a short-shift six-speed manual transmission with a limited-slip 3.55 rear axle gear ratio.

New suspension tuning and aerodynamic improvements give the 2010 Shelby GT500 sharper handling, improved body control and better overall vehicle dynamics while still maintaining a good ride and handling balance. Forged and machined 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear F1 Supercar tires, combined with the revised suspension, gives the car a high level of grip.

New standard features for the 2010 Shelby GT500 include high-end items such as Alcantara® on the heavily bolstered sport seats, steering wheel, shift boot and hand brake; leather stripes stitched into the seats that coordinate with the exterior stripe color; Q-ball shift knob and aluminum interior trim that enhances the Shelby GT500 driving environment.

Both the 2010 Mustang and Shelby GT500 arrive in dealerships this spring.

2010 Mustang Reference Materials
Pricing Guide
Packaging Guide

Standard Equipment on 4.0-liter V-6:


  • 4.0-liter V-6 Engine
  • 5-speed Manual Transmission
  • Power Vented 4-wheel Disc Brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Remote Keyless Entry System
  • Rear-window Defroster
  • Easy FuelTM Capless Fuel Filler System


  • LED Sequential Taillamps
  • LED High Mounted Stop Lamp
  • 17-inch Painted Aluminum Wheels
  • Convertible Top (Convertible Model)
  • Mini Spare Tire
  • Stainless Steel, Single Exhaust
  • Complex Reflector Halogen Headlamps
  • Dual Power Black Mirrors
  • Rear Quarter Mounted Antenna


  • Manual Air Conditioning
  • AM/FM Stereo with Single-disc CD Player and Clock
  • Audio Input Jack
  • Floor Console with Full Armrest and Locking Storage
  • Two Covered Cup Holders
  • Black Front Floor Mats
  • Driver Footrest
  • Chrome Accent 4-gauge Instrument Cluster and Register Vents
  • Dome Lamp (Coupe Only)
  • Lighted Bezel (Convertible Only)
  • Two Map Pockets, Back Side of Driver and Passenger Seats
  • Cloth Bucket Seats, 4-way Manual Driver, 2-way Manual Passenger (Split-fold Rear Seats on Coupe)
  • Tilt Steering Wheel with Cruise Control
  • Power One-touch-up/down Driver and Passenger Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Interior Trunk Release

Safety & Security

  • Dual-stage Front Airbags
  • Front-seat Side Airbags
  • Illuminated Entry
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren)
  • SecuriLock® Passive Anti-theft System
  • Personal Safety System®
  • AdvanceTrac® Electronic Stability Control
  • SOS Post Crash Alert System

Optional Equipment on 4.0-liter V-6:

  • Security Package
    • Active Anti-theft System
    • Wheel Locking Kit

Optional Equipment on 4.0-liter V-6 Premium: Exterior Sport Appearance Package

  • Lower Tape Stripe
  • Decklid Spoiler

V-6 Pony Package

  • 18-inch Polished Aluminum Wheels
  • Body-color Exterior Mirrors
  • Unique Grille
  • Fog Lamps
  • Pony Fender Badge
  • Auto Headlamps
  • Premium Floor Mats with Embroidered Tri-bar Pony Logo
  • Decklid Spoiler
  • Unique Lower Tape Stripe
  • Unique Chrome Exhaust Tip

Electronic Package

  • Voice-activated Navigation System with SIRIUS Travel Link™ (Includes 6-month Complimentary Subscription)
  • Dual-zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control

Comfort Package

  • 6-way Power Passenger Seat
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Auto-dimming Rearview Mirror with Compass

Security Package

  • Active Anti-theft System
  • Wheel Locking Kit
  • 18-inch Painted Aluminum Wheels
  • HID (High-Intensity Discharge) Headlamps, Late Availability
  • Glass Roof
  • Convertible Boot
  • Tape Stripe Delete
  • Reverse Camera System

Standard Equipment on GT:


  • 4.6-liter V-8 Engine
  • 5-speed Manual Transmission
  • Brakes – Power with 4-wheel vented discs
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Rear Window Defroster
  • Engine Cover
  • Easy Fuel™ Capless Fuel Fuller


  • LED Sequential Tail Lamps
  • 18-inch Wide Spoke Painted Aluminum Wheels
  • Black Chrome Pony in Grille
  • Auto Headlamps
  • Rear Spoiler
  • Fog Lamps
  • Dual Bright Rolled Exhaust Tips
  • Mirrors – Body Color, Dual Power
  • Rear Quarter Panel Mounted AM/FM Antenna


  • Air Conditioning – Manual
  • Audio – Premium AM/FM stereo w/ Single CD & Clock
  • Audio Input Jack
  • Console – Full armrest with locking storage
  • Two covered cupholders
  • Footrest – Driver
  • Instrument Cluster – Chrome accent four-gauge cluster and register vents
  • Lamps – Center High Mounted Dome (Coupe Only)
  • Lighted Bezel (Convertible Only)
  • Power Points (2)
  • Seats – Cloth Bucket, 2-way Manual Passenger, 4-way Manual Driver
  • Steering Wheel – tilt w/ speed control
  • Windows/Locks – Power 1-touch Up/Down Driver and Passenger Windows
  • Interior Trunk Release

Safety & Security

  • Dual Front Air Bags
  • Driver/Passenger Side Impact Airbags
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children) System
  • SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft (PATS)
  • Personal Safety System for Driver and front Passenger
  • Advance Trac® with Electronic Stability Control® (ESC)
  • SOS Post Crash Alert System

Optional Equipment on GT:

  • Security Package
    • Active Anti-Theft
    • Wheel Locking Kit
  • 3.73 Rear Axle Package (GT Coupe with Manual Transmission only)
    • Performance 3.73 Axle Ratio
    • Dual Piston Front Calipers with Performance Brake Pads
    • Recalibrated Electronic Stability Control® (ESC)

Optional Equipment on GT Premium:

  • Security Package
    • Active Anti-Theft
    • Wheel Locking Kit
  • Comfort Package
    • 6-Way Power Passenger Seat
    • Heated Front Seats
    • Auto-dimming Mirror with Compass
  • Electronics Package
    • Voice Activated Navigation
    • SIRIUS® Travel Link™ with complimentary 6-month subscription (N/A in AK & HI)
    • Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control
    3.55 Rear Axle(GT Premium Coupe with Manual Transmission only)
    3.73 Rear Axle Package(GT Coupe with Manual Transmission only)
  • Performance 3.73 Axle Ratio
  • Dual Piston Front Calipers with Performance Brake Pads
  • Recalibrated Electronic Stability Control® (ESC)
  • 18-inch Polished Aluminum Wheels
  • 19-inch Bright Machined Aluminum Wheels
  • 19-inch Premium Painted Luster Nickel Aluminum Wheels
  • Spoiler Delete
  • Rear Video Camera (Requires Decklid Spoiler)
  • HID Headlamps (Late Availability)
  • Req. Security Package, N/A with Daytime Running Lights
  • Glass Roof (N/A with Stone Interior)
  • Shaker 1000 (N/A with Electronics Package)

Standard Equipment on Shelby GT500:


  • Brakes – Power 4-wheel discs with ABS (Brembo four-piston Front Calipers)
  • Engine – 5.4-liter Supercharged 4V V8 w/cold-air intake system and low restriction exhaust
  • Transmission – Tremec 6-speed Manual w/3.55 rear axle ratio

Safety & Security

  • Personal Safety System™ (seat belt pre-tensioners, load limiting retractors, dual stage front air bags, driver seat position sensing & crash severity sensing)
  • AdvanceTrac® Electronic Stability Control
  • Airbags – Dual Stage Front
  • Airbags – Side Impact
  • Keyless Entry – Remote
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children) system
  • Lighting – Illuminated Entry
  • Anti-Theft Perimeter Alarm (incl. perimeter inclination & intrusion alarms)
  • SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft (PATS)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Advance Trac® Electronic Stability Control® (ESC)


  • Badges – “Shelby GT500” badging on faux gas cap & "SHELBY" badging on rear decklid
  • Exhaust – Dual Stainless Steel with 4-inch Tips
  • Headlamps – Quad Reflector w/integral park/turn lamps
  • Hood – Aluminum hood (w/ large single heat extractor)
  • Fog lamps
  • Power Mirrors
  • Over-the-top “racing stripes” and “GT500” side stripes
  • Rear Spoiler – SHELBY rear decklid
  • 18 X 9.5-inch Aluminum Wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar Tires (P255/45ZR18 Front & 285/40ZR18 Rear ) Convertible Only
  • 19 X 9.5-inch Aluminum Wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar Tires (P255/40ZR19 Front & P285/35ZR19 Rear) Coupe Only


  • Center Console – Armrest with Locking Storage
  • Climate Control – Manual
  • Two Covered Cupholders
  • Door Locks – Power
  • Floor Mats – 1st Row w/ Silver perimeter stitching and "GT500" embroidered logo
  • Lighting – Ambient Lighting w/MyColor™ 125 color gauge backlighting
  • Seats – Leather sport buckets w/ racing stripes coordinated to exterior stripes and Alcantera® accents. Also 6-way Power Driver's Seats with Power Lumbar and adjustable headrest
  • Steering Wheel – Tilt Leather and Alcantera® w/ Unique Thumb Pads
  • Windows – Power, Driver & Passenger Global Open Controls
  • Shifter – Short-throw with unique Q-ball shift knob


  • Shaker 500 System with 8 speakers (AM/FM Stereo/CDx6 MP3 Capable) & Audio Input Jack
  • Ford SYNC™
  • SIRIUS® Satellite Radio
  • Cruise Control
  • Easy Fill Capless Fuel Filler
  • Auto Headlamps
  • Instrument Cluster: 6 gauge instrument cluster SVT graphics; brushed aluminum accent cluster and air registers. Also includes message center with compass
  • Pedals: Bright Clutch, Brake and Accelerator
  • 2 Power Points
  • Interior Trunk Release
  • Rear Window Defroster

Optional Equipment on Shelby GT500:

  • Voice Activated Navigation – Dual Zone Automatic
  • Temperature Control – Integrated audio and data
  • Satellite radio – Park & Play (plays/reads audio and video discs) – Music Jukebox (CD "ripping" capability)
  • Shaker 1000 Audio System – AM/FM Stereo w/In-Dash CDx6, MP3 & 10-Speakers (Not available with
  • HID Headlamps (late availability)
  • Tape Stripes Delete – Top and side stripe delete
  • Weathershield Full Vehicle Cover, w/Shelby Script & Cobra Logo

Check out and their large inventory of Late Model Mustang Parts
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General Motors Names Karl Chevrolet Certified Used Vehicles' National Sales Leader

General Motors CorporationImage via Wikipedia

General Motors announced today that Karl Chevrolet of Ankeny, Iowa, is the country’s best-selling dealership of GM Certified Used Vehicles for the third year in a row. The honor comes just four years after joining the program in 2004.

Annually, the GM Certified Used Vehicles Program honors its national sales leader. Out of the 3,800 GM dealers in the program throughout the country, Karl Chevrolet came out on top selling 1,631 vehi cles in 2008.

The GM Certified program adds credibility and value to the pre-owned cars we sell because our sales people are selling a reliable product,” said Carl Moyer, owner Karl Chevrolet. “The GM name carries a lot of weight with consumers and its new 12-month and 12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, in addition to the 100,000 mile or five-year limited powertrain warranty, is synonymous with value and peace-of-mind.”

GM Certified Used Vehicles sold an industry-leading 422,114 units in 2008, finishing as the nation’s top-selling manufacturer-certified brand for the seventh consecutive year.

“The success of the GM Certified Used Vehicles program has become a bright spot for GM during these uncertain economic times,” said Ed Peper, GM North America vice president of Chevrolet. “The Certified program allows dealers, like Karl Chevrolet, to become more profitable and establish additional relationships with great customers.”

Since Karl Chevrolet opened in 1978 in Ankeny, the dealership has also been named six time consecutive Chevrolet dealer of the year and has earned the mark of excellence for eight years in a row.

“Karl Chevrolet’s position as the national sales leader demonstrates that even in challenging economic times, it is possible for GM Certified dealers to continue to shine in sales and customer service,” said Paul Pejza, manager, GM Certified Used Vehicles. “As the certified used leader in the market, we believe our customers should get the best vehicles and the best value whether they buy new or used.”

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Ford Motor CompanyImage via Wikipedia

  • Fresh new look for Ford's popular Ranger pick-up
  • "Tough Truck" capability and seating for up to five
  • Renowned driving dynamics and high build quality
  • Best-in-class towing capacity
  • Choice of fuel-efficient 2.5 or 3.0-litre TDCi turbo diesel engines
  • Available with automatic transmission paired with the 2.5-litre TDCi engine
  • Four-wheel-drive or two-wheel-drive, on sale in the UK late 2009
BRENTWOOD, 24 February, 2009 — A new Ford Ranger pick-up, on sale later this year, makes its first public appearance in Europe at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
Designed in Australia and built in Thailand, the new one-tonne pick-up boasts a contemporary design inside and out.
"The Ford Ranger nameplate is already established in more than 100 markets around the world," said Henrik Nenzen, Ford of Europe's Director of Commercial Vehicle Marketing and Sales. "The new model delivers even more style, comfort and features, making it an ideal choice."
Bold New Ranger Face and Profile
Exterior design features include a large horizontal three-bar grille at the front, large headlamps that wrap around each front corner and bigger door mirrors for better visibility. At the rear the Ranger debuts a new clear tail-lamp design
With a contemporary new exterior the new Ranger is available with 10 high quality paint choices, five of which are new: Highland Green, Winning Blue, Lagoon Blue, Copper Red and Desert Bronze.
Style, Space, Craftsmanship and Comfort
The interior offers car-like comfort thanks to ergonomically crafted seats, climate control and MP3-compatible audio and a bodyshell engineered to isolate road noise from the cabin.
Clever stowage solutions include a centre stack sunglass binnacle and a front door stowage bin. A pull-out sliding tray above the glove compartment is ideal for use as a work surface.
New Ranger’s large centre console features a two-level design. Its top bin is ideal for accommodating smaller items such as a mobile phone, while its lower bin can house larger objects, including up to 10 CD cases.
Ranger Power and Capability
Customers will have a choice of four-wheel-drive or two-wheel-drive models. Powertrains available include fuel-efficient 2.5 and 3.0-litre TDCi turbo diesel engines with five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions. The new Ranger offers class-leading towing capability. With either the 2.5-litre or 3.0-litre TDCi Duratorq engine, loads of up to 3,000kg can be towed.
With three body styles – Regular Cab, Super Cab and Double Cab, the new Ranger also has a comprehensive choice of trim and equipment levels, from the entry-level XL to the range-topping Thunder and Wildtrak.
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Saturday, February 21, 2009

GM Canada Delivers Plan for A

General Motors CorporationImage via Wikipedia

GM Canada today delivered an achievable, transformative Restructuring Plan to the Canadian and Ontario Governments and asked for their support to complete the Plan. Despite further North American market deterioration, the Restructuring Plan will achieve long-term viability and enable GM Canada to repay Canadian taxpayers.

The Restructuring Plan has three key components:
  1. Implement further "self help" cost reduction actions and adopt a new, beneficial "Contract Manufacturer" business model
  2. Obtain the CAW’s agreement to achieve legacy cost reductions and align active worker wage and benefit levels to benchmark levels
  3. Complete Canadian and Ontario Government Support Agreements for sufficient financing to sustain operations and restructure GM Canada’s balance sheet to address unsustainable legacy costs
Restructuring Plan Highlights:
  • Maintains GM Canada’s share of Canada / US production which is expected to range between 17% and 20% between 2009 and 2014. GM Canada remains one of Canada’s largest automobile manufacturers
  • Embraces the Federal and Ontario Governments' Principles for proportional production / proportional support vis-a-vis GM in the US
  • Requires Agreements with the Canadian and Ontario Governments and the CAW to be completed in March 2009
  • Enables the launch of five new vehicles in Oshawa and Ingersoll including new hybrid vehicle production, new flexible transmission production in St. Catharines and significant advanced environmental R&D for next generation electric car systems, with suppliers and universities in Canada
  • Adopts more conservative market assumptions
  • Retains GM Canada customers, dealer network and new vehicle line-up as the company’s top strength and priority
  • Contemplates no further GM Canada plant closures at this time, reflecting restructuring actions already announced
  • Enables GM Canada to remain Canada's top selling automaker and offer more 2009 hybrid models than any competitor
  • Includes shared sacrifices such as a 10% reduction in executive salaries and reduced benefits and pay for salaried workers
  • Secures pensions for GM Canada retirees and would establish a "VEBA-like" structure for health care benefits
  • Fully consistent with GM's loan conditions with the US Department of Treasury and GM's Viability Plan as submitted to the US Treasury on February 17, 2009
  • Meets viability requirements by establishing GM Canada as a sustainable, stand-alone enterprise.
To view the complete Restructuring Plan visit

The GMCL Restructuring Plan should be read together with GM’s Viability Plan submitted to US Treasury on February 17, 2009. GMCL has conducted extensive due diligence and shared comprehensive financial and competitive information with the Canadian and Ontario governments under appropriate non-disclosure agreements.

General Motors of Canada (GMCL) is headquartered in Oshawa Ontario and employs 12,000 people nationwide. GM of Canada manufactures vehicles, vehicle powertrains, and markets the full range of General Motors vehicles and related services through approximately 700 dealerships and retailers across Canada.
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Ford of Europe's Cologne assembly plant in Germany is playing a key role in an initiative to introduce the New Fiesta to consumers in North America, in advance of Ford's exciting new small car which goes on sale there next year.
As part of an extensive pre-launch awareness campaign, a specially-selected group of consumers from across the USA will have the chance to sample for themselves the outstanding performance and ownership experience of the award-winning Fiesta.
Under its “Fiesta Movement” programme (, Ford will select 100 customers to drive the new Fiesta and then relate their experiences through social networking sites such as Facebook, FlickR and YouTube.
The 100 five-door Fiestas involved in the programme have been built at the Cologne plant, alongside European versions of the car. The “Fiesta Movement” cars feature the acclaimed 1.6-litre Ti-VCT petrol engine (88kW/120PS).
The new Fiesta has been in production in Cologne since August 2008.
When new Fiesta goes on sale in North America in 2010, the cars will be built at the Cuautitlán plant in Mexico.
The “Fiesta Movement” initiative will give Ford the opportunity to learn more about consumer requirements in the expanding small car segment in North America.
“It’s one thing to talk about the vehicle, but it’s another to put people into it and let them experience it,” said Connie Fontaine, brand content and alliances manager, Ford Motor Company. “This is a way to give people an early hands-on opportunity to get excited about the Fiesta while providing valuable feedback to our engineering team.”
North American 'Agents'
Beginning in late spring, the chosen consumers, or “agents,” will be asked to complete “missions” in their Fiesta on a monthly basis and capture their experiences digitally and share them with Ford and other consumers. The missions take them to new places, to meet new people and to experience new things in their Fiesta Agents will be encouraged to take their friends along for the ride to share the experience and pass their comments on to Ford.
Unlike any other pre-launch programme, this one is uniquely focused on using social networking media to connect consumers in the Fiesta discussion.
“It embraces the way people communicate now, and gives them the opportunity to talk to each other about Fiesta instead of a one-way dialogue from us,” said Fontaine.
Along with the agents sharing their vehicles with their network on a day-to-day basis, consumers across the country will also get hands-on experience of the Fiesta. Test drives –the goal being 100,000 in all – will give consumers the opportunity to drive the model in advance of the US launch.
Outstanding Performance, Design and Value
In Europe, the Fiesta name has long been synonymous with outstanding performance, design and value. The New Fiesta takes that three-decade heritage to a new level with eye-catching styling and exemplary driving dynamics.
Since it was introduced last August, sales of the new Fiesta have totaled more than 89,000 units across the main European markets. That success continued into 2009, with January sales of more than 28,000 vehicles.
The model is continuing to win awards, as well as orders. In Britain it was recently named Car of the Year 2009 by the authoritative What Car? magazine. In Germany, readers of Guter Rat (Good Advice) and SUPERillu presented the Fiesta ECOnetic with their renowned Auto der Vernunft 2009 trophy for value for money, economy and sustainability.
The Fiesta ECOnetic is the latest addition to the Fiesta range in Europe. Powered by a specially-calibrated version of the 90 PS 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi engine, combined with coated Diesel Particulate Filter (cDPF), it is Ford’s most economical Fiesta and can travel 100 kilometres using just 3.7 litres of fuel*, on the EC Combined Cycle. That impressive fuel economy is matched with class-leading CO2 output of only 98 grams per kilometre.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Ford Motor CompanyImage via Wikipedia

The United Auto Workers union and Ford Motor Company have reached a tentative agreement to modify certain operating provisions of the 2007 UAW-Ford National Labor Agreement, which if ratified would help Ford operate through the current economic downturn without accessing a U.S. government bridge loan and continue to invest in the company’s ONE Ford product-led transformation.

The agreement, reached Sunday afternoon, includes modified provisions on labor costs, benefits and operating practices that allow Ford to reach competitive parity with foreign-owned automakers’ manufacturing operations in the U.S.

A final settlement agreement is contingent upon the UAW and Ford reaching agreement on funding issues associated with the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) retiree health care trust.

The final agreement would cover approximately 42,000 UAW-represented employees in the United States and would be subject to ratification by the active UAW-Ford membership.

As we are still in discussion regarding the VEBA, Ford will not discuss additional details at this time.

While we have more difficult work to do, I would like to thank the entire UAW leadership and national bargaining committee – particularly UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and UAW Vice President Bob King – for their leadership during these important discussions.

All of us at Ford will continue to work with all of our stakeholders to participate in the current industry restructuring and improve our company’s overall competitiveness.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

GM Presents U.S. Government Updated Plan for a Viable, Sustainable Company

General Motors CorporationImage via Wikipedia

* Updated plan demonstrates GM's viability, despite further deterioration in global economy
* Accelerated cost reductions
* GMNA EBIT breakeven level lowered to U.S. industry levels of 11.5-12.0 million units
* Additional government support requested in U.S., Europe and Canada
* 'Fewer, better' products and brands, continued commitment to segment-leading fuel economy and advanced propulsion technology
* Aggressive and bold plan that demonstrates significant progress

WASHINGTON - General Motors (NYSE: GM) today presented the United States Department of Treasury with an updated plan that boldly responds to the weaker global auto market conditions and details the company's long term viability. The plan, which provides a comprehensive review of key aspects of GM's restructuring, is the first of two status reports required by the loan agreement signed by GM and the U.S. Treasury on Dec. 31, 2008.

The plan submitted today addresses the key restructuring targets required by the loan agreement, including a number of the critical elements of the turnaround plan that was submitted to the U.S. government on Dec. 2, 2008. Among these are: U.S. market competitiveness; fuel economy and emissions; competitive labor cost; and restructuring of the company's unsecured debt. It also includes a timeline for repayment of the Federal loans, and an analysis of the company's positive net present value (NPV).

The plan also details the future reduction of GM's vehicle brands and nameplates in the U.S., further consolidation in its workforce and dealer network, accelerated capacity actions and enhanced manufacturing competitiveness, while maintaining GM's strong commitment to high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles and advanced propulsion technologies.

GM's viability plan actions result in a projected GM North America (GMNA) earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) breakeven point of 11.5-12.0 million units in the U.S., compared to the 12.5-13.0 million unit range indicated in the Dec. 2, 2008 plan. The operating and balance sheet improvements outlined in GM's viability plan are forecasted to result in a significant enterprise value and positive net present value, positive adjusted EBIT in 2010 and positive operating cash flow for its North American operations in the same year.

Overall adjusted operating cash flows are expected to approach breakeven levels in 2011, and improve to more than $6 billion in the 2012-2014 period, reflecting both the full effect of GM's global restructuring initiatives and recovering industry volumes.

GM's need for government support was driven by the global financial market crisis, dramatically weaker economy and the resulting precipitous decline in vehicle demand. These conditions have impacted the entire auto industry, which in the U.S. is down approximately 40 percent from its peak in 2005, to the lowest per capita sales rate in 50 years. Though the impact has been most severe in the U.S. and Western Europe, automakers around the world are reporting large losses, with many seeking government assistance to weather the downturn.

Following the steep decline in U.S. industry sales in December 2008 and January 2009, GM responded by further lowering its forecast for 2009 U.S. industry sales to 10.5 million units (57.5 million units globally) for viability planning purposes. These industry planning volumes are more conservative than those being used by most other industry sources.

"The U.S. and global auto industries are facing times of unprecedented challenge," said GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. "These conditions dictate that we must take very tough actions to accelerate GM's restructuring efforts. We've made a lot of progress since the plan we submitted on December 2, 2008, and we have more to do before March 31. The plan we delivered today to the U.S. Treasury is aggressive but achievable. It provides a clear pathway for GM that continues to support American manufacturing and technology innovation, which are vital to the future of our nation's economy."

Since the original plan submission on Dec. 2, 2008, GM has made significant progress in a number of areas, including the following:

Dealers and Brands

* Evaluating Hummer sale options
* Completed strategic review of global Saab business and sought buyers for the business
* Saturn review complete; sale or spin-off possible; if not, phase out the brand at the end of current product lifecycle
* Further reduction in model nameplates
* Accelerated consolidation of GM's dealer network

Cost Competitiveness

* Further reduction in U.S. manufacturing capacity beyond Dec. 2 targets
* Significant progress with the UAW to address labor cost competitiveness
* Special hourly attrition program, salaried employment reductions
* Canada restructuring discussions advancing
* Engaged with European labor partners to achieve $1.2 billion in cost reductions

Balance Sheet

* Term sheets exchanged with UAW and bondholder committee advisors
* Initiated bond exchange negotiations with bondholder committee advisors
* UAW and bondholder committee advisors conducting extensive due diligence

Building on progress GM has already made, the company is taking a number of additional actions to reduce costs, streamline its business and improve its competitive position.

Marketing and Revenue Improvement

In the U.S., GM will focus on its core brands; Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. Pontiac will serve as a focused brand with fewer entries, within the Buick-Pontiac-GMC channel. GM will have a total of 36 nameplates in 2012, down 25 percent from 2008 levels. The plan also provides additional detail on the Hummer, Saturn and Saab brands.

GM expects to make a decision to sell or phase out the Hummer brand by Mar. 31, with a final resolution expected no later than 2010.

GM has conducted a strategic review of the global Saab business and has offered it for sale. Given the urgency of stemming sizeable cash demands associated with Saab operations, GM is requesting Swedish government support prior to any sale. The company has developed a specific proposal that would have the effect of capping GM's financial support, with Saab's operations effectively becoming an independent business entity Jan. 1, 2010. While GM hopes to reach agreement with the Swedish government, the Saab Automobile AB subsidiary could file for reorganization as early as this month.

Saturn will remain in operation for the next several years, through the end of the planned lifecycle for all Saturn products. In the interim, if Saturn retailers or other investors present a plan that would allow a spin-off or sale of Saturn Distribution Corporation, GM would be open to any such possibility. If a spin-off or sale does not occur, GM plans to phase out the Saturn brand at the end of the current product lifecycle.

GM's dealer count is also projected to be further reduced, from 6,246 in 2008 to 4,700 by 2012, and to 4,100 by 2014. Most of this reduction will take place in metro and suburban markets where dealership overcapacity is most prevalent. The result will be a smaller, but healthier GM dealer network.

Technology/Regulation Compliance

As indicated in the Dec. 2, 2008 plan, GM is moving ahead aggressively with plans to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicles and develop a broad range of advanced propulsion technologies. The company is investing significantly in alternative fuel and advanced propulsion technologies in the 2009-2012 timeframe, supporting the expansion of GM's hybrid offerings and development of the Chevrolet Volt's extended-range electric vehicle technology.

For example, GM in January announced construction of a new U.S. manufacturing facility to build lithium-ion battery packs for the Volt. Lithium-ion batteries are an essential technology for advanced hybrids and electrically driven vehicles, and an important energy storage technology for other applications. GM has also committed to increasing its number of hybrid models to 14 by 2012, and to making more than 60 percent of its fleet alternative-fuel capable.

The investments in this restructuring plan will allow GM to become a long-term global leader in the development of fuel efficient and advanced technology vehicles. In doing so, the company will contribute to the development of this country's advanced manufacturing capabilities and support the growth of "green" industries in the U.S.

Cost Reduction and Operational Actions

In order to improve capacity utilization and cost competitiveness, GM has consolidated its manufacturing footprint considerably by closing 12 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. between 2000 and 2008. Given the current very difficult market conditions, GM will close an additional 14 facilities by 2012, five more than were included in the Dec. 2, 2008 plan.

Agreements with the UAW concerning several items have been completed and are now being implemented. First, a special attrition program has been negotiated to assist restructuring efforts by reducing excess employment costs through voluntary attrition of the current hourly workforce. Second, the UAW and GM's management have suspended the JOBS program. The program provided full income and benefit protection in lieu of layoff for an indefinite period of time. In addition, GM and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement relative to additional wage and benefit changes.

GM's management estimates that these competitive improvements will further substantially reduce GM's labor costs and represent a major move to close the competitive gap with U.S. transplant competitors. In addition, GM and the UAW have agreed to improve competitive work rules, which will also significantly reduce labor costs.

While these changes materially improve GM's competitiveness and help the company realize a substantial portion of the labor cost savings targeted in the financial projections, further progress will be required to achieve the full targeted savings. GM plans to report these changes to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, who must certify GM's competitiveness relative to the U.S. transplants.

Outside of the U.S., GM has accelerated restructuring plans for its Canadian, European and Asia-Pacific operations, all of which will be funded from sources outside the U.S.

Canada - Discussions are well advanced with the Canadian Federal and Ontario governments regarding long-term financial assistance to execute the restructuring actions necessary for long-term viability and with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union on achieving competitive labor costs. The CAW has committed to achieving an hourly cost structure that is consistent with what is ultimately negotiated with the UAW.

Progress has also been made with the Canadian Federal and Ontario governments toward an agreement focused on maintaining proportional levels of manufacturing in Canada and on providing GMCL with a level of long-term financial assistance that is proportional to the total support provided to GM by the U.S. government. GMCL is continuing dialogue with its unions and the Canadian government with a target to finalize both agreements in March 2009.

GM remains optimistic both agreements can be completed by that time, which would enable GMCL to achieve long-term viability and enhance the value of GM. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached, GM will be required to reevaluate its future strategy for GMCL since it would not be viable on a standalone basis.

Europe - Europe is a highly competitive environment that is unprofitable for many vehicle manufacturers, and has a relatively costly restructuring environment. GM has engaged its European labor partners to achieve $1.2 billion in cost reductions, which include several possible closures or spinoffs of manufacturing facilities in high cost locations. In addition, GM is restructuring its sales organization to become more brand focused and better optimize its advertising. GM is also in discussions with the German government for operating and balance sheet support. A sustainable strategy for GM's European operations may include support from partnerships with the German government and/or other European governments. The company expects to resolve solvency issues for its European operations prior to Mar. 31, 2009.

Asia-Pacific - In light of current market conditions, GM is reconsidering the pace of its expansion in the Asia Pacific region. As such, some of the proposed capacity expansion projects and product programs in the region are no longer financially feasible and will not proceed without financial support from either the respective governments or from other partners. GM is holding discussions with its stakeholders to address the required support.


As outlined in the GM viability plan, approximately $27 billion in unsecured public liabilities currently on the company's balance sheet will be converted to a combination of new debt and equity, for a net debt reduction of at least $18 billion.

Negotiations are progressing with advisors of the ad hoc bondholder committee. Term sheets have been exchanged and due diligence regarding GM's restructuring has commenced. The company anticipates that the bond exchange offer will commence in late March, consistent with requirements in the U.S. Treasury loan documents. Under the term sheet proposal, a substantial majority of the pro-forma equity in GM would be distributed to exchanging bondholders and the UAW VEBA.

Discussions with representatives of the UAW VEBA have also been progressing, and due diligence is also proceeding with respect to reaching agreement to convert at least half of future VEBA payments to equity. A draft term sheet has been provided to the UAW, and they have indicated their desire to discuss the VEBA situation with government officials prior to signing any such term sheet. Closing of the conversion of VEBA obligations and unsecured debt to equity should be complete in May of this year.

Government Funding

To complete its aggressive restructuring and fund its ongoing operations amid an uncertain economic environment, GM is requesting the U.S. government to consider funding the company with a combination of secured term loans, revolving credit, and preferred equity.

In the Dec. 2 submission, GM indicated that under a U.S. downside volume scenario, the company would need funding support of approximately $18 billion. In addition, GM assumed that the $4.5 billion U.S. secured revolver credit facility would be renewed when it matures in 2011.

In the current baseline forecast, near-term industry volumes are similar to the December 2 downside scenario, and so GM's forecast indicates the company will need the $18 billion that was requested in December. In addition, based on current credit market conditions, it cannot be assumed that the company will be able to rollover the $4.5 billion revolver in 2011.

Therefore, GM is requesting federal funding support of $22.5 billion under its current baseline industry volume scenario. If the U.S. industry deteriorates further, a scenario depicted in the company's new, lower downside volume scenario with U.S. industry volume of 9.5 million units in 2009 and 11.5 million units in 2010, GM would require further federal funding, estimated currently at an additional $7.5 billion, which could bring total Government support up to $30 billion by 2011. Under the company's baseline outlook, repayment of federal support is expected to begin in 2012.

Additional financial support might be required in 2013 and 2014 if GM has to make contributions to our U.S. pension funds. In an update to the Dec. 2, 2008 submission, recent valuations indicate that GM's U.S. pension plans are currently under-funded as of Dec. 31, 2008. At this point, it is premature to conclude whether the company will need to make additional pension contributions, as the funded status of the pension plan is subject to many variables, including asset returns and discount rates. GM is currently analyzing its pension funding strategies.

During 2009-2014, GM also is requesting funding support from the governments of Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Thailand, and has included an estimate of $6 billion in funding support by 2010 to provide liquidity specifically for GM's operations in these countries.

Finally, the plan submitted today discusses the issue of bankruptcy as a potential option for restructuring, concluding it would be a highly risky, extremely costly and time-consuming process. This reaffirms management's position that bankruptcy is not in the best interests of GM or its stakeholders. The overriding risks are the significant impact a bankruptcy would have on the company's revenue stream and the resulting huge debtor-in-possession funding support that would be required from the government, as such funding is not available from traditional sources in today's market conditions. Accordingly, accomplishing GM's restructuring out of court remains by far the best approach for all constituents.

"Our viability plan requires significant sacrifices from all GM stakeholders: management, employees, unions, suppliers, dealers, investors and bondholders," Wagoner said. "But these are the kind of actions we need to take to survive the current industry crisis, and position GM for sustainability and success. This plan, in effect, signifies the reinvention of General Motors for the 21st century. We are working non-stop to put this plan into action, and we greatly appreciate the support and encouragement we continue to receive as we take these important steps toward viability. "

GM's leadership team will continue to work with its key stakeholders and the newly formed Presidential Task Force on Autos as it proceeds with its restructuring. In accordance with the loan agreement, GM will submit its second progress report to the U.S. Treasury on March 31. This progress report will be the basis for the Task Force to issue a 'Plan Completion Certificate' to Congress, which confirms GM's long-term viability.
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Publicity shot of the Ford Escape Hybrid, kind...Image via Wikipedia

* Editors of Kelley Blue Book’s today named the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid one of its “2009 Best New Family Vehicles.”
* editors praised the 2009 Escape Hybrid’s improved – more powerful and more efficient – gas-electric powertrain and its fuel economy rating of 34 mpg in the city.
* In addition to five-passenger seating and plenty of cargo storage, the 2009 Escape Hybrid offers families a host of safe, smart and green technologies.

Dearborn, Mich., Feb. 17, 2009 – Editors of Kelley Blue Book’s today named the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid one of its “2009 Best New Family Vehicles.”

“After undergoing a major overhaul for the 2008 model year, the Ford Escape Hybrid is improved again for 2009 with a more powerful and more efficient gas-electric powertrain,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book and “Its fuel economy rating of 34 miles per gallon in the city is even better than that of the Toyota Camry Hybrid.”

According to Nerad, the editors considered factors such as resale value, capability and kid-friendliness when choosing this year’s list of the top 10 best cars for families, but extra emphasis was placed on fuel economy.

“Gas prices have dropped sharply from their record highs, but the sluggish economy is now dictating smart spending with a focus on overall value,” he said. “Given the current state of the economy, parents want to get even greater value for their money while buying a new vehicle that also will accommodate their family’s lifestyle and needs.”

Not only is the Ford Escape Hybrid the most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet, it also offers families the perfect combination of value and versatility, says Ford Hybrid Marketing Manager David Finnegan.

“The Escape Hybrid offers the convenience and flexibility that many families need in an ultra fuel-efficient vehicle,” he said. “You can fit five passengers plus a lot of cargo, such as sporting and camping equipment. It’s a fully functional SUV that happens to be a hybrid as well.”

Safety – an important consideration for families – comes standard on the Escape Hybrid.

All vehicles are equipped with AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control®; Safety Canopy™ side air curtain technology which offers protection for the first and second seating rows; Personal Safety System®, which includes new dual-stage front air bags for the driver and front-seat passenger, side air bags and a front passenger sensor system; tire pressure monitoring system; and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system for rear seating positions.

“Entertainment and connectivity also are important factors for families to consider,” said Finnegan.

Along with SYNC, the Escape Hybrid offers features such as SIRIUS® Satellite Radio and Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS® Travel Link™.

In addition to being kid-friendly, the Escape Hybrid is environmentally friendly, meeting strict Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV II) and Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standards.

The 2009 model features new comfort-designed seats with soy-based foam that substitutes for petroleum-based products to conserve limited resources and reduce CO2 emissions.
Eco-friendly seat fabrics made from post-industrial 100 percent recycled materials also are offered on the Escape.

“Customers can be environmentally responsible and still have a vehicle that provides the utility of an SUV and is fun to drive,” said Finnegan.

Earning a spot on’s exclusive list of “2009 Best New Family Vehicles” is not the only accolade the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid has received. Ward’s Automotive Group named Ford’s redesigned Escape Hybrid engine to its “2009 10 Best Engines” list. The vehicle also was recognized as “Best Crossover/SUV Value Under $28,000” by, a leading source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis.
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ford secures double podium in classic Norway snow spectacular

Jari-Matti Latvala driving his Stobart's Ford ...Image via Wikipedia

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team claimed a double podium finish in Rally Norway today after a gripping final day's action in the frozen forests near the Olympic city of Lillehammer. Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished second in a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car after an enthralling battle with arch-rival Sébastien Loeb that was only decided in the final kilometres. Team-mates and fellow Finns Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were third in another Focus RS WRC.

Hirvonen's second podium in the opening two rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship season places the 28-year-old second in the drivers' standings, with Latvala fifth. Ford lies second in the manufacturers' table.

Norway is enjoying a spectacular winter and temperatures nudging -30ºC ensured the ice-packed roads were in perfect condition for a classic snow rally. Bone hard and lined by large snow banks, they encouraged drivers to attack. The tungsten-tipped studs in Pirelli's Sottozero tyres provided amazing grip as they cut into the deep ice base and Hirvonen clocked speeds of more than 200kph through the picture-postcard countryside.

Hirvonen led for much of the opening leg but could not shake off Loeb, who moved to the front and built a lead of 15.0sec by the end of the second day. Hirvonen retaliated during today's final leg and four wins from the first five speed tests reduced the margin to just 7.7sec ahead of the final 19.74km special stage. However, the deficit proved just too much and Hirvonen had to settle for second at the finish in Hamar, 9.8sec behind after 23 stages covering 360.90km of competition.

"This was the best winter rally I've competed on – and I have driven many," said Hirvonen. "It was fantastic to drive on the edge in snow and ice for three days, and to be involved in such a great battle. To be split by less than 10sec after more than 360km of competition says it all. The line between making a small mistake and being perfect at those speeds is so tiny and I couldn't have done any more. I took so many risks but we both had to do that because the competition was so close.

"I'm disappointed to be second. I lost the rally yesterday because I couldn't respond to Loeb's speed then. It wasn't the result I wanted but I'm glad that we went down fighting and it was a hugely enjoyable battle," he added.

Latvala claimed third early on the first morning and while the 23-year-old was unable to match his team-mate's pace, he was comfortably faster than anyone else and finished more than two minutes clear of the fourth-placed Focus RS WRC of Henning Solberg. During both the opening two legs Latvala could not find a good feeling with his car in the morning, but after softening the suspension settings in the afternoon, his pace increased markedly. With third place virtually assured, he adopted a risk-free policy through the final leg, but still overshot a junction on the last stage.

"I'm happy to score a podium but at the same time disappointed not to be able to fight for victory," said Latvala. "They are good points for myself and the team but my chances really ended on Saturday morning. I should have softened the suspension settings earlier so I can look in the mirror and see the reason why I didn't challenge the top two drivers. If I could start this weekend again, I would redo the mornings. The grip level was good then and I should have trusted that and taken greater advantage. I wasn't in a hurry today because there was no competition. I relaxed and enjoyed the driving."

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on 'a great team performance'. "Mikko gave it everything, and for the result to be as close as it was is an indication of how hard both were trying. Jari-Matti had a solid weekend, and his pace yesterday afternoon when he won two stages, was encouraging. Both cars ran faultlessly all weekend and Focus RS WRCs won 11 of the 23 stages, so we can go away from here feeling confident," he said.

Ford of Europe motorsport director Mark Deans said: "On just its second appearance in the WRC, it has the makings of a classic and the close finish owed much to the great organisation. It was a thrilling spectacle for the thousands of fans who braved numbing temperatures in the forests and the small margin between the two drivers throughout the weekend augurs well for the year," he said.

News from our Rivals

Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) held off Hirvonen's determined challenge to claim his 49th victory. Behind the BP Ford Abu Dhabi duo, Stobart driver Henning Solberg (Ford) claimed fourth ahead of Dani Sordo (Citroen). Petter Solberg (Citroen) held off Stobart's Matthew Wilson (Ford) to take sixth. Sébastien Ogier (Citroen) lost more than two minutes after sliding into a snowbank but the Frenchman retained 10th. Five Focus RS WRCs finished in the top 10 with Stobart driver Urmo Aava completing the quintet in eighth. There were no major retirements today.

Next round

The championship's next stop is Cyprus, where Limassol hosts the Cyprus Rally on 12 - 15 March. This will be a mixed surface event, with the opening day on asphalt and the final two days on gravel.

Final positions

1. S Loeb/D Elena FRA Citroen C4 3hr 28min 15.9sec

2. M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 28min 25.7sec

3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila FIN Ford Focus RS 3hr 29min 37.7sec

4. H Solberg/C Menkerud NOR Ford Focus RS 3hr 31min 49.4sec

5. D Sordo/M Marti ESP Citroen C4 3hr 32min 07.9sec

6. P Solberg/P Mills NOR Citroen Xsara 3hr 34min 41.3sec

7. M Wilson/S Martin GBR Ford Focus RS 3hr 34min 51.5sec

8. U Aava/K Sikk EST Ford Focus RS 3hr 35min 05.0sec

9. M Østberg/O Unnerud NOR Subaru Impreza 3hr 38min 16.4sec

10 S Ogier/J Ingrassia FRA Citroen C4 3hr 41min 05.7sec


1. S Loeb 20pts

2. M Hirvonen 14pts

3. D Sordo 12pts

4. H Solberg 10pts

5. J-M Latvala 6pts

6. C Atkinson 4pts


1. Citroen Total 32pts

2. BP Ford Abu Dhabi 22pts

3. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford 16pts

4. Citroen Junior Team 8pts
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