By David Phillips, Automotive News
Chrysler Group posted an operating profit of $239 million in the third quarter and raised its outlook for the balance of the year in anticipation of stronger sales and improved operating performance.
The results, released Monday, marked the automaker's third straight operating profit. Chrysler's third-quarter net loss was $84 million, down from $172 million in the second quarter. It was Chrysler's smallest quarterly net loss since emerging from bankruptcy 17 months ago.
Revenues rose 5.2 percent to $11 billion during the July-September period.
Chrysler said it benefited from improved product mix and rising unit sales while being hurt by higher costs tied to seasonal plant changeovers.
By Charles Plueddeman
(Editor's note: This piece is a bit of additional reporting from Charles Plueddeman's 2-part story on the on-road relationship between long-distance truckers and noncommercial drivers. You can check out the truckers' perspective here, and the other view -- from the car drivers -- here. Below, Plueddeman explores those "How am I driving?" stickers on big rigs, and whether they have any impact.)
“You bet trucking companies take those calls seriously,” says veteran driver Dennis Kutz, an owner-operator who has logged more than 2 million miles in a 22-year driving career.
“I’ve had the dispatcher call me in the cab while the person making the complaint is still on his phone, driving alongside me,” says Kutz, who admits to getting reported two or three times a year, usually for speeding or tailgating. “I have bad days, and I get behind and need to push it sometimes. And after a week of driving a truck on the Chicago freeways, I might be frustrated with traffic. I don’t think I’m an unsafe driver, but people have called. Once a car was weaving all over and the driver is obviously distracted, so I gave him a blast on the horn to get his attention and let him know I was going to pass, and he called to complain. If that makes me a jerk, oh well.”
By Mark Rechtin
General Motors Co. is studying whether to revive brands for performance vehicles to improve its image among go-fast car shoppers.
The debuts signal that the company's new performance vehicles and motorsports division--launched eight weeks ago--is looking harder at performance brands, said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing.
Midterm elections could signal changed industry outlook.
With Republicans rolling through midterm elections on their way to regaining the House and restoring some of their political clout, the reversal of political fortunes has raised many questions -- but I haven't heard the one I'm interested in. What does this mean for the auto industry? Considering the bailout and rescue of GM and Chrysler, the Democrats might seem to be Detroit’s bosom buddy. But David Cole, director of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said that Detroit always has a place in its heart for the business-first mindset of the GOP.
“The election may signal a movement to a stronger market focus and less aggressive regulations,” Cole said. “The message was that many Americans want smaller government, and the auto industry would usually say 'amen' to that.”
From GM to Toyota, every automaker is on path to meet new fuel-economy rules, enacted under President Barack Obama, that will require a fleetwide average of 35.5 mpg by 2016.
Weird looks, low sales make the premium crossover a target for Automotive News writer Kranz.
He is correct in calling the crossover-sport-hatchback mash-up an "odd duck." It's a weird-looking vehicle, no doubt. It has also posted sales figures low enough to live up -- down? -- to the title of "most disappointing": 79 sales late last year, when it hit dealerships; only 2,850 sold in total. Acura expected to sell more than double that -- 6,000 -- this year and 10,000 next year.
OK, it's weird-looking and doesn't sell -- not to mention it's priced at about $46,000 to start. It's a strong contender. So I'll post the same question to our commenters as Kranz did to those at Automotive News: Are there other candidates for this dubious distinction?
By Jake Lingeman
It was a fitting farewell to one of the most audacious Lamborghinis ever built.
A group of the most iconic V12 cars ever to put rubber to asphalt gathered at the factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, for a special exhibition before escorting the last Murcielago, an LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, out of the Lamborghini Museum in a symbolic last ride.
The 350GT was in attendance at the event, as was the futuristic Miura, a Countach and the fire-breathing Diablo, among others.
Jalopnik talks to the hosts of the upcoming 'Top Gear U.S.'
You know who else thinks the show is going to be awesome? The three hosts. Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood and Adam Ferrara all say the show will be a hit, which they made very clear to Wert when he sat down with the trio.
By Greg Kable
BMW has thrown its hat into the eco-supercar ring by confirming plans to place the Vision EfficientDynamics concept into production.
The futuristically styled plug-in hybrid was first revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in 2009. It is set to undergo an accelerated development program that aims to place the low-slung four-seater on sale in all of BMW's key world markets, including North America, by October 2013.
With performance targets similar to the M3--0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed limited to 155 mph--the new carbon-fiber-bodied coupe won't be BMW's fastest production model. That accolade will go to next year's redesigned M5 with a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8, according to Munich sources.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5