• Mazda North America is offering national fleet incentives on eight 2011 models, ranging from $200 to $2,000.

    -CX-7: $1,000

    -CX-9: $1,500

    -MAZDA2: $200

    -MAZDA3: $500

    -MAZDA6: $750

    -MX-5 MIATA: $1,000

    -RX-8: $2,000

    -TRIBUTE: $1,500

    All Mazda vehicles come standard with:

    -Free service loaner vehicles.*

    -Free roadside assistance (also available as an iPhone app).

    -”Courtesy delivery” through Mazda’s nationwide network of fleet-minded dealers.

    -3-year/36,000-mile “bumper-to-bumper” limited, comprehensive warranty.

    -5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

    For full program details, visit http://www.MazdaUSA.com/fleet or call (949) 727-6723.

    [via Fleet Financials]

    Photo courtesy of Jeff Glucker under the Creative Commons License


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  • Mazda North America is offering national fleet incentives on eight 2011 models, ranging from $200 to $2,000.

    -CX-7: $1,000

    -CX-9: $1,500

    -MAZDA2: $200

    -MAZDA3: $500

    -MAZDA6: $750

    -MX-5 MIATA: $1,000

    -RX-8: $2,000

    -TRIBUTE: $1,500

    All Mazda vehicles come standard with:

    -Free service loaner vehicles.*

    -Free roadside assistance (also available as an iPhone app).

    -”Courtesy delivery” through Mazda’s nationwide network of fleet-minded dealers.

    -3-year/36,000-mile “bumper-to-bumper” limited, comprehensive warranty.

    -5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.

    For full program details, visit http://www.MazdaUSA.com/fleet or call (949) 727-6723.

    [via Fleet Financials]

    Photo courtesy of Jeff Glucker under the Creative Commons License


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  • Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc., distributor of low-cab-forward trucks, and Utilimaster, Inc., a manufacturer of specialty chassis and vehicles, introduced a new commercial van at the American Truck Dealers 2010 Convention & Expo in Orlando.

    The walk-in van-with a body designed by Utilimaster Corporation atop a rugged heavy-duty Isuzu NPR chassis and powered by Isuzu’s 3.0L diesel engine-will combine the functionality and design flexibility of a custom-built work truck with the styling and ergonomics of a cargo van, all while expected to achieve best-in-class fuel economy savings, meeting the latest EPA emissions standards, offering true commercial truck capability and delivering low cost of ownership.

    “This new walk-in van will be the first vehicle to fully meet the needs of today’s fleet and vocational markets,” said Shaun Skinner, executive vice president and general manager of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. “It will offer significantly more interior height and width than other commercial vans, and it will have multiple design options to maximize utility and driver productivity. Add to that a body design and powertrain that have been engineered for performance, durability and low cost of ownership, and the result is a vehicle that will truly revolutionize the commercial van market.”

    The dramatic profile of the new van demonstrates the importance Isuzu and Utilimaster designers placed on aerodynamics. The streamlined shape improves fuel efficiency while it reduces interior noise.

    Prototypes are scheduled to begin rolling off the line in the third quarter of this year, with full production scheduled for the second half of 2011.

    [via Work Truck]

    Photo courtesy of chego101 under the Creative Commons License


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  • Friday Recall Roundup

    Jun 18, 2010

    Here’s a rundown of some of the recalls issued this week by automakers:

    -BMW of North America LLC is recalling certain MY 2008-2011 1-Series vehicles because of a fire risk. There may not be enough clearance between the seatbelt tensioners and the sound insulation in the B-pillars. In the event of a severe crash, the tensioners could overheat. This poses a risk that the insulation material could catch fire. 

    BMW has notified NHTSA of the recall and halted sales of all 1 Series models. The automaker is developing a remedy. Vehicle owners can reach BMW at (800) 525-7417.

    -American Suzuki Motor Corp. is recalling more than 46,000 MY 2006 Grand Vitara and MY 2005-2006 XL-7 vehicles because of a power steering problem. The tension adjuster pulley for the drive belt that operates the power steering pump and air conditioner compressor (if equipped) has an outer portion that is made of plastic. Repeated heat stress can cause the plastic material to deteriorate, and pieces of the pulley can break off and damage the drive belt.   Dealers will replace the power steering pump drive belt tension adjuster pulley free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin this month. Owners can reach Suzuki at (800) 934-0934.

    -Volkswagen AG is recalling 15,902 MY 2009 Routan minivans because a wiring problem poses a potential fire risk. These vehicles may have been built with an improperly routed wire harness. The lower sliding door hinge bracket may contact and wear through the wire insulation. Contact with a 12V power feed circuit within the harness may cause a high resistive short circuit within the latch mechanism located inside of the sliding door. This could result in an overheated latch, posing a fire risk within the rear sliding door, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The recall is expected to begin this month. Necessary repairs and rerouting work will be performed free of charge. Vehicle owners can reach Volkswagen at (800) 822-8987.

    -Daimler Trucks North America is recalling more than 400 MY 2008-2009 Sterling 360 trucks because of an overheating and fire risk. The trucks covered by the recall were manufactured from Aug. 8, 2007 through July 31, 2008.  The ground harness connector for the ABS hydraulic unit may become corroded because of intrusion, potentially causing the ABS hydraulic motor to run continuously. As a result, the ABS hydraulic motor may overheat, potentially posing a fire risk. To remedy the problem, the ground sub-harness will be replaced with a properly waterproofed harness. The ABS hydraulic unit and the connector terminals will be inspected for damage and corrosion. If necessary, they will be replaced free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin around mid-August. Owners can reach Daimler Trucks at (800) 547-0712.


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  • Via The New York Times:

    Automakers have had a mixed history with natural gas in the United States, but General Motors Co. is betting that a new line of fleet vans can bring the technology back.

    The automaker is rolling out compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) alternatives to the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. The two full-sized vans are designed for those who must haul large amounts of equipment but don’t need to drive long distances.

    The new vans will be available for the 2011 model year. Pricing hasn’t yet been released.

    “We’re listening to our fleet customers and dealers about offering options that help them achieve their business objectives,” said Brian Small, general manager of GM’s fleet and commercial operations, in a release. “The industry commitment to expand the CNG and LPG infrastructure in key fleet markets was an enabler to allowing us to introduce these options now.”

    Details about emissions and range aren’t available yet, but the vans will meet U.S. EPA’s and the California Air Resource Board’s certification requirements, said Mike McGarry, the marketing manager for alternative fuels in fleet and commercial operations.

    Fleet vans are a good opportunity for automakers to try new technology, said Kim Hill, director of the Sustainable Transportation and Communities group for the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. Most of the vehicles don’t need to be able to travel long distances, and buyers purchase between 100 and 1,000 vehicles at a time.

    “It’s much easier and advantageous for a company to get vehicles out there at once through the fleets rather than through the consumer,” Hill said. “The Savana van is ubiquitous as a service vehicle, same with these Transit Connects. There’s a specific audience.”

    Photo courtesy of Rockershirt under the Creative Commons License


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  • HandStands, a national supplier of automotive promotional products, announced its executives and employees have taken the “No Phone Zone” pledge. The pledge – part of a nationwide campaign recently championed by Oprah Winfrey – is part of a movement to reduce accidents caused by drivers who become distracted using a phone while driving. 

    “No phone call or text message is worth a life,” said Alan Wheatley, company president. “We are committed to making sure our HandStands employees and other drivers on the road are as safe as possible, so we are requiring our employees to sign the pledge to refrain from all cell phone use when driving.  While it may seem like a sacrifice from a business and even personal standpoint, we realize that it pales in comparison to promoting safety in and out of the workplace.”

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 25-percent of all auto accidents last year were caused by a distracted driver using a cell phone.

    HandStands No Phone Zone awareness efforts have been endorsed by Jennifer Smith, founder of Focus Driven, a non-profit organization dedicated to building awareness of the dangers of mobile phone distracted driving and champion of the No Phone Zone movement.

    [via Fleet Financials]

    Photo courtesy of Mike “Dakinewaramon” Kline under the Creative Commons License


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  • Chrysler’s eight-speed transmission, set to premiere in 2013, will help boost fuel economy and reduce emissions, according to the automaker.

    More and better-designed gears help the engine run at a more efficent RPM, which contributes to fuel economy and reduced emissions, explained Paolo Ferrero, senior vice president – Powertrain, Chrysler Group LLC.  

    “This is a totally redesigned transmission,” Ferrero said. “All of the fuel economy (improvements) of this transmission come from better design of internal components and a wide-spread gear ratio that allows the engine to run at lower RPMs.”

    In January, the company set a goal to increase fuel efficiency 25 percent by 2014 across the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram Truck product lineup.

    Chrysler announced plans to invest $300 million into the company’s existing transmission manufacturing facilities in Kokomo, Ind., to make the new transmission. Chrysler Group licensed the manufacturing rights from Fredrichshafen, Germany-based ZF Group to build the transmission. After working with ZF, Chrysler Group Powertrain engineers benchmarked the industry’s leading automatic transmissions and set functional goals as they designed the new eight speed.

    [via Automotive Fleet


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  • Auto Remarketing has some information on the rebound of the used car market, which has been suffering with the effects of economic recession.  Now it seems that things may be on their way back up:

    Certified pre-owned and used-vehicle prices gained ground once again in May, reflecting the movement seen over the last few months in the midst of tight supply and a healthier auto market, according to AutoTrader.com. In fact, the asking prices of all of the 20 most-viewed used vehicles on the site climbed year-over-year in May, while 18 of the top 20 CPO units moved forward in price, as well.  

    “Average asking prices for new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles listed for sale on AutoTrader.com in May continued the upward trend that began several months ago as auto inventories tightened and the auto market improved,” officials noted.

    The Ford F-150 was AutoTrader.com’s most popular used model again, and its average asking price was up 12.32 percent from a year ago. The biggest climber among the most popular used vehicles on the site was the Jeep Wrangler — ranked No. 7 for total views. This vehicle’s asking price jumped from $17,509 to $20,576 (up 17.52 percent). As far as CPO models, the BMW 3-Series was the most-viewed vehicle, and its prices were up 2.69 percent. Moving ahead the farthest in asking price on top 20 certified models list was the F-150, whose prices climbed from $22,212 to $26,693 (up 20.17 percent)

    If you are looking for used vehicles for your business, now may be a good time to buy before prices rise any higher.  And to save even more money, don’t forget that you can always save up to 15% on fuel for your new vehicles with FleetCardsUSA.

    Photo courtesy of PinkMoose under the Creative Commons License


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  • First Toyota, then Ford… now certain Dodge and Jeep vehicles are being recalled for having accelerator pedals that could become stuck in the down position and cause vehicles to accelerate out of control.

    Chrysler LLC is recalling more than 25,000 Dodge and Jeep vehicles in the U.S. to fix sticking gas pedals manufactured by CTS — the same supplier involved in the recall of 2.3 million Toyota vehicles for the same problem, the Detroit Free Press reported. 

    Because the 25,263 MY 2007 Dodge Calibers and 71 Jeep Compass models came equipped with brake-override software, Chrysler said it does not consider the problem a safety risk. Nonetheless, the automaker has decided to conduct a voluntary recall to remedy the issue. 

    Chrysler said the problem is a result of a manufacturing defect at CTS that caused the bearing housing to be made too large. This was a problem CTS corrected in March 2006. According to Chrysler, an estimated 30 percent of the vehicles covered by the recall would actually have the defect. 

    In addition to the U.S. vehicles, Chrysler’s recall also covers 5,572 cars in Canada, 2,260 in Mexico and 1,536 elsewhere.

    [via Automotive Fleet]


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  • A new and far-reaching vehicle safety bill that has garnered support from both automakers and consumers was passed by the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, sending the bill for a vote on the floor of the full Senate.  The bill is expected to pass sometime during the summer and is also expected to be signed into law by the President.

    “This is a critical public safety bill that will affect the lives of millions of Americans on the road every day,” said U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va.

    The bill, which closely resembles a bill making its way through the House, would require brake override systems and event data recorders in new vehicles (due in part to Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems this year).  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would also be required to consider changes in pedal placement, performance standards for electronic systems, and standards for push-button ignition systems and transmission labeling.  Maximum fines for safety violations would also be raised from $16.4 million to $200 million.

    In addition, the NHTSA would be given the authority to issue immediate recalls in the event of any “imminent hazard.”  The agency would also receive double its current funding.

    To read more about the provisions of these bills, check out the full article at Automotive News.

    Photo courtesy of James & Vilija’s under the Creative Commons License


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