News Briefs: Feb. 27, 2012

Ford dealer

Here's what we have our eye on today:

  • Ford is beefing up its certified pre-owned warranties, according to Automotive News. Every CPO Ford vehicle now gets a 12-month, 12,000-mile comprehensive warranty, up from three months or 3,000 miles. The powertrain warranty was also bumped to seven years or 100,000 miles, up from six years or 100,000 miles. The warranties took effect earlier this month.
  • Ford is also sweetening its loan assistance and vehicle allocation programs for dealerships that agree to upgrade store facilities, according to Automotive News. Dealers that commit to a $350,000 to $700,000 renovation plan will get architectural help from Ford and will get the loan to do the renovations from Ford Credit with the ability to defer payment on the principal for up to two years. Ford will also pay the interest on the loans on the dealer's behalf for up to two years, too, says Automotive News. Dealerships that commit to the upgrade will also get additional vehicle allocations of up to 50 extra cars for a year.
  • As Mazda prepares for its biggest net loss in more than 11 years, the carmaker remains committed to increasing its advertising budget in the U.S. for 2012. Mazda says it will increase ad spending by 25% this year to assist with the launch of its new CX-5 crossover. Mazda is also looking for an alliance partner to help share development costs in the future. The Japanese automaker lost nearly $1 billion in the third quarter and is expected to lose $1.31 billion in the quarter ending March 31, according to Automotive News.
  • Volkswagen is expected to acquire the rest of Porsche and fully integrate the carmaker soon, according to Bloomberg News. VW may announce the plan in the coming weeks, and it includes buying the remaining 50.1% of outstanding Porsche shares. The two German carmakers have sought a merger since 2009, when Porsche failed in its hostile takeover attempts to absorb Volkswagen, which ultimately led to Porsche piling on more than $10 billion worth of debt, says Bloomberg News.
  • Panasonic says it would supply Ford with the lithium-ion battery cells it needs for the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Fusion Energi, Ford C-Max Hybrid and Ford C-Max Energi, according to a Panasonic press release. Panasonic is the same company that supplied Ford with nickel-metal hydride battery cells for its Ford Escape Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Toyota and Panasonic also work together to provide the Japanese automaker with batteries, including the one in the current-generation Toyota Prius.



What is hurting Mazda is putting happy faces on their cars.

I have a 2004 Mazda3 and would definitely consider another Mazda, but the styling out now leaves me cold. Overall, the vehicles look good until you get to the grille.

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