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Automotive News – June 29, 2010

Tesla lives! Mercury dies!  GM grows!  These and other stories from the auto industry in this week’s Automotive News.

Tesla Launches first U.S. Carmaker IPO in 54 Years.

Tesla RoadsterOn Tuesday, June 29, Tesla Motors Inc. launched the first Initial Public Offering (IPO) by a U.S. automaker in 54 years. The Silicon Valley-based maker of high-performance all-electric cars garnered $226 million from stock sales above its forecast price range. Tesla share prices rose even as the broader Nasdaq market fell, indicating investor confidence in the upstart company’s long-term prospects. Currently selling its niche $109,000 Roadster to celebrities like George Clooney and Brad Pitt, Tesla’s first mass-market product will be the all-electric Model S sedan, which is plans to launch in 2012 with a starting price of $57,400.

Ford Officially Kills Mercury.

Mercury Logo

After years of speculation, Ford Motor Co. has made it official: the Mercury brand is dead. Founded in 1939 by Edsel Ford, the Mercury division has been floundering badly in recent years with a mere 0.8 percent share of the U.S. auto market. Ford has been eliminating Mercury models for years and has been offering few new models to replace them. Ford says it will cease production of all Mercury automobiles in Q4 2010, but will continue to service the brand and honor existing warranties. Killing the Mercury brand should have little impact on dealers; there is only one stand-alone Mercury dealer in the country.  All other Mercury dealers carry a variety of Ford lines, including the increasingly popular Lincoln brand.

GM Increasing Production.

GM LogoThings are looking up for the once-beleaguered Detroit-based automaker, with GM announcing it will increase 2010 production by 56,000 vehicles. To meet rising customer demand, GM plans to keep most of its U.S. plants open through its traditional summer shutdown period. Most of GM’s American stamping and powertrain operations will also keep humming to support assembly operations, according to company spokespeople. GM’s U.S. sales roles 16 percent between January and May compared to the previous year, prompting the production increase.

Ford F-150 Pickup Rated #1 by Kelly Blue Book.

Ford F-150Kelly Blue Book has rated Ford Motor’s F-150 pickup as the top pickup truck in America for 2010. Kelly called the best-selling F-150 “strong and refined in every aspect” from its exterior styling to its towing capacity. The Top 5 picks on Kelly’s 2010 survey are:

  • Ford F-150
  • Ram 1500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Toyota Tundra
  • Nissan Titan

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