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Automaker News Moves to Edmunds.com

By Jeff Hester December 14, 2011
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Thank you for your interest in Edmunds.com's coverage and analysis of carmakers. AutoObserver.com is being integrated into a new area of Edmunds.com. Coverage of carmakers now can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/. To stay connected via social media as well, please follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan... more

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Honda Recommits To Fun, Frugal Path

By Paul Seredynski December 10, 2011

The 2011 Tokyo Auto Show punched up its glitz factor this year, but the real pageant for major Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. Ltd. took place the day before the show. Gathering the international press at its Twin Ring Motegi racetrack, Honda – for some time under fire for losing its powertrain-engineering edge – previewed a salon-season’s worth of advanced-drivetrain technologies. The well-choreographed demonstration acknowledged a Honda that may have strayed a bit, but one that is re-correcting with gusto. Via a sneak peak at a bevy of new technologies, the tech tour-de-force message was crystalline: Honda products will more

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Volt Spokesman Says Battery Reports Off The Mark

By Scott Doggett December 10, 2011

Since the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a statement Nov. 25 announcing that it would investigate the risk of fire in crashed Chevy Volts, numerous contradictory reports have appeared in the media relating to the problem and to General Motors' response to it. In an interview with AutoObserver this week, Rob Peterson, the model's top spokesman, went to lengths to set the record straight, beginning with a description regarding what is and what isn't known concerning sparks and/or fire that originated in three Volt batteries following laboratory crash testing. more

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Nissan Expands Leaf Sales To Seven More States

By Danny King December 8, 2011

Nissan North America Inc. expanded availability for its battery-electric Leaf to seven additional U.S. states this month, bring the total market to 30 states, adding the electric vehicle would be available nationwide in March. Nissan, which has sold 20,000 Leafs globally, in December added Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island to the EV’s U.S. marketplace, the Japanese automaker said in a statement Tuesday. With the expansion, Nissan made good on its July goal for the Leaf to be available in 30 states by the end of the year. Nissan started selling the car on the West more

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Why Nissan's Disaster Recovery Bested Rivals

By Peter Nunn December 5, 2011

There's no doubt that 2011 is turning out to be one of the toughest years on record for Japanese automakers. They have contended with two major natural disasters, a supercharged yen, strong and increasing competition from rivals in the United States and Korea, and sales in their perpetually moribund home market continue to shrink. How Japan's “Big Three” – Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. – have reacted to address the challenges has put them at center stage, working overtime to overcome. Japan is no stranger to adversity, from '80s-style trade conflict, to more

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Chevrolet Volt Tops Owner-Satisfaction Survey

By Michelle Krebs December 1, 2011

White-glove treatment of Chevrolet Volt owners paid off as the extended-range plug-in hybrid earned the top spot in Consumer Reports’ (http://www.consumerreports.org) latest car owner-satisfaction survey. The annual survey showed that 93 percent of Volt owners who responded said they would buy the car again. more

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Toyota Raises Prices For Toyota, Lexus Hybrids

By Danny King November 30, 2011

Toyota raised prices on one Toyota hybrid model and two Lexus hybrids for the 2012 model year. The largest maker of U.S. hybrids hiked the price on the Toyota Highlander Hybrid by $400, and by $500 each for the Lexus CT 200h Premium hatchback and Lexus LS 600h L luxury sedan, the company said in a statement this week. The new prices mark an 1.1 percent increase to $38,540 for the base Highlander Hybrid, a 1.6 percent increase to $31,750 for the CT 200h Premium and a 0.5% hike to $112,750 for the LS 600h. The price on the more

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GM Offers Loaners to Concerned Chevy Volt Owners

By Michelle Krebs November 28, 2011

General Motors Co. will provide free loaners of conventional vehicles to Chevrolet Volt owners who have concern about their plug-in hybrid-electric cars in light of fires that occurred in Volt battery packs following crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), GM executives told the media in a conference call Monday. At the same time, GM senior engineers, as they have been for the past six months, will continue to work with NHTSA to determine the specific cause of the fires, which have occurred anywhere from a week to up to three weeks after the battery pack initially more

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Thai Floods Prolong Honda's Uphill Recovery

By Lacey Plache November 28, 2011

Honda's recovery from the Japanese earthquake gained momentum the past couple months, but now more production disruptions from flooding in Thailand threaten to cause another setback. The threat comes as Honda increased month-over-month sales from September to October, accounting for its first year-over-year increase since April. But limited production caused by the Thai floods could constrain sales of Honda’s redesigned 2012 CR-V, which is due to launch December 15 and is expected to be a key contributor to Honda's market share recovery. As a result, Honda must fight an even greater competitive disadvantage to recover lost share and make more

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Chevy's $26K Malibu Eco Challenges Hybrid Formula

By Bill Visnic November 22, 2011

General Motors Co. has been down the “mild hybrid” road before – and crashed through the guardrail, with its less-expensive take on the hybrid-electric vehicle formula losing out to Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius and its higher-cost, higher-efficiency design. But the post-recession worm has turned in several different directions. Now Toyota’s floundering, the comparative high cost of hybrids of its ilk isn’t expanding the market and the nation seems to have calmed down about $4-a-gallon gasoline. Against this context, GM sees the time as right to launch another, better generation of mild hybrid and gambles the combination of price and more

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