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Archived Auto News and Events for November 2009

Nissan Pioneer Wakatsuki Dies at 81
More than half a century ago Nobushige Wakatsuki, known within the company as "Crazy Nobe," suggested Nissan sell its vehicles in the United States. The executives said no, but Wakatsuki would not be deterred, finally going ahead without corporate permission and starting a solo marketing effort in California.
GM's Planned Sale of Saab Collapses
General Motors' hopes of closing the sale of its Swedish luxury brand Saab by the end of December have collapsed with the withdrawal of Koenigsegg Group AB, a Swedish supercar maker that had been backed by Bejing Automotive Industrial Holding Ltd.
Kia Phases out Amanti in Favor of Cadenza Sedan
On Tuesday, November 24, 2009, Kia unveiled its new model, the Cadenza, as a replacement to its Amanti sedan. The new five-seat luxury sedan will begin sales in North America in 2011.
Revamped Lexus GX 460 Coming in January
In an effort to bolster sales of the mid-sized 2010 Lexus GX 460, Toyota Motor Corp. is sending out twenty specialist teams for a month-long tour of dealerships to teach salesmen how to create a buzz over a vehicle the company feels has never been fully appreciated.
As Volt Nears Production, Reviewer Tests Performance
In a hands on review of the Chevrolet Volt for an article in Lindsay Broke discussed the major fear most people face about owning an electric vehicle; how the machine will perform when its electrical charge has been expended.
Mercedes-Benz Unveils New mbrace System
On Monday, November 16, Mercedes-Benz announced an innovative telematics platform to improve the company's navigation system with information on traffic and weather and to allow drivers to unlock their vehicles with their iPhones or BlackBerries.
Insurance Institute Names Top Safety Picks
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made the requirements for its Top Safety Pick Award more stringent for 2009, resulting in a third fewer vehicle recipients this year than last.
Nissan LEAF Going on a National Tour
Speaking to a crowd at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Friday, November 13, 2009, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn pronounced the automaker's electric offering, the LEAF a "real car" not a "golf car." In the emerging EV genre, the LEAF, which has quietly evolved alongside the more-hyped Chevrolet Volt, has a number of attractive features.
GM Posts Loss, Cites Progress, Sets Loan Payment
Although General Motors posted a loss of almost $1.15 billion in the third quarter after completing bankruptcy proceedings in July, the company announced on Monday, November 16, 2009 that it can begin to repay its government loans.
Ford Fusion Best Selling Domestic Car
In another victory for Ford, the 2009 Fusion has climbed to the ranks of the top ten best-selling vehicles in America and is the best-selling domestic car in the country.
Buick Going for Brand Revitalization with 2011 Regal
When the new Regal launches in 2011, Buick hopes to benefit from name recognition with models whose history of high performance and consumer satisfaction was established over three decades from the 1960s through the 1980s.
eBay Auto Listings to Include Experian Vehicle Histories
Beginning on November 11, 2009, all vehicles listed for sale on eBay will be accompanied by an Experian Automotive vehicle history report at no cost to either the buyers or the sellers.
Reilly Appointed Interim Head of Opel
General Motors has named Nick Reilly, international operations chief, to act as an interim overseer of its Adam Opel GmbH division in Europe, an arm of the company undergoing serious reorganization in a quest for profitability.
Chrysler Scraps Electric Vehicle Development
Although Chrysler used its program to develop a range of electric cars as partial justification for receiving $12.5 billion in federal aid, the company has now disbanded the engineering team dedicated to that endeavor and dropped its sales target for battery-powered vehicles.
Prius May Become Brand, But Not Volt
Unlike rival Toyota, that may launch a line of hybrids associated with the Prius name, General Motors has no plans to create a Volt brand of rechargeable vehicles after its much-anticipated plug-in sedan launches in 2010.
Chrysler Unveils Planned Models on Fiat Platforms
According to a product plan unveiled on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 by Chrysler vice president of product and planning, Joseph Veltri, approximately 56 percent of the vehicles sold by Chrysler in 2014 will be based on Fiat platforms.
General Motors Opts to Retain Opel
After months of negotiations with a group of European buyers led by Magna International of Canada and backed by Russian investors, General Motors has announced that it will not sell its Opel brand after all.
Reviewers Take 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour to Task as Plain Ugly
In a review for Automotive News Mark Rechtin calls the 2010 Honda Accord new Crosstour "visually jarring" and unattractive, suggesting the vehicle looks worse in person than in photographs.
Ford Posts Unexpected 3Q Profit
In a most-welcome surprise for the industry and for investors, Ford posted a $997 million 3Q profit with improved cash reserves that have the company on the road to being "solidly profitable" by 2011.
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