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Automotive News – August 20, 2009

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/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Auto World NewsHere’s the latest news from the automotive industry:

American Auto Sales Up for 1st Time Since ’07. Projections for U.S. auto sales in August strongly suggest year-to-year sales will be up approximately 10 percent, according to the Ford Motor Company. The increase, propelled by the recent federal Cash for Clunkers program, will represent that first-time American car sales have climbed since October 2007, when they were up just 1.2 percent. While this is good news for dealers, the increased sales volume is likely to be short-term as the Cash for Clunkers program is due to terminate shortly.

Chrysler Drops Lifetime Powertrain Warranty. Chrysler Group, having only recently emerged from bankruptcy, is abandoning the lifetime powertrain warranty it introduced in July 2007 in favor of a more conventional five-year/100,000-mile coverage plan. The lifetime plan proved unpopular with buyers as it only applied to original owners, whereas the new five-year/100,000-mile warranty will be transferrable should buyers choose to re-sell their vehicles. The change is effective on all 2010 model-year vehicles, including SRT performance vehicles and the Viper sports car, which were not covered under the previous plan. However, it does not cover Dodge Sprinter commercial vans or Dodge Ram diesel-powered trucks.

World’s Cheapest Car Passes EU Crash Tests. The Nano, the world’s cheapest car that sells in its native India for just $2,500, has just passed the European Union’s official crash tests, qualifying it for sale throughout the EU. Because the EU’s safety standards are similar to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s, experts expect the Nano to make it stateside in just a few years Even with the modifications necessary to make the Nano roadworthy in the U.S., the four-door, four passenger subcompact is expected to sell here for just $3,800—about the price of an average motorcycle.

Cadillac Ties Lexus for Customer Satisfaction. Cadillac and Lexus share the top spot in the University of Michigan’s annual customer satisfaction survey. According to the just-released results, the Top 5 spots are occupied by Cadillac/Lexus (tied for first), and Lincoln-Mercury/Buick/Honda (tied for third). As a group, European carmakers scored best with an average score of 86, Asian automakers were second with an average score of 84, with American car companies a very close third with a score of just less than 84. Ironically, Detroit’s lower sales may be responsible for its improved showing; although fewer people are buying American cars than in years past, those who are tend to be more loyal.

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