VW Extends Warranty on Passat, Audi
Volkswagen has sent letters to about 425,000 and owners saying it has extended its warranty coverage for the 1.8 liter, turbo four-cylinder engine that powers 1998 to 2004 Passats and 1997 Audi A4s because of certain problems relating to oil sludge, which can cause engines to falter, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The company sent the letters after receiving reports of engine-component problems relating to oil sludge, a buildup of old, dirty engine oil which can deter engine lubrication, the story said.
Volkswagen told customers in the letter that it has extended the warranty on oil-sludge-related repairs to a fully transferable, eight-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. Volkswagen is offering the warranty in addition to the existing five-year, 50,000-mile warranty that generally covers the vehicles. News of the situation was reported this week by Automotive News, a trade publication.
First Nissan Pathfinder Rolls Off U.S. Line
The first North American-produced sport-utility vehicle rolled off the production line at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing plant.
"The addition of the Pathfinder to the Smyrna plant roster is another step in the continuing growth story for this manufacturing plant and all of Nissan," said Dan Gaudette, Nissan's vice president of manufacturing and quality assurance, in a news release.
The Pathfinder increases Smyrna's annual production capacity to 550,000 vehicles and increases the plant's product roster to five, including the Xterra SUV, Frontier pickup, and the Maxima and Altima sedans.
The Pathfinder will be available as a 4x2 or 4x4. It uses a fully-boxed, all-steel frame, independent double-wishbone front and rear suspension, standard 4.0 liter V-6 engine rated at 250- horsepower and 270- lb-ft of torque, and a standard 5-speed automatic transmission based on the Armada's. The Pathfinder's engine will come from Nissan's powertrain assembly plant in nearby Decherd, Tenn.
BMW Sees Rosy Future for Auto Industry
Passenger vehicle sales should increase by nearly 20 percent, to about 70 million vehicles annually, by the end of the decade, Reuters reported, citing BMW Chief Executive Helmut Panke.
Global vehicle sales grew above 60 million last year from 36 million in 1990 and 56 million in 2000, Panke told reporters at a Detroit Automotive Press Association luncheon.
"There's growth not just in developing markets, but in Europe and the United States," he said.
In the United States, the number of vehicles total about 900 for every 1,000 people, well above the rate of fewer than 500 vehicles per 1,000 people in Europe, and 10 vehicles per thousand people in China, he said.
"The difference between the U.S. and the rest of the world means that there is considerable market potential for our industry," Panke said.
Industry sales in the U.S. market will grow by 8 to 10 percent over the next decade, he said and BMW's U.S. market share will top 2 percent within three to five years, up from about 1.7 percent currently, Panke later told reporters.
Record Labor Day Traffic Forecast
AAA estimates 34.1 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 2.2 percent increase from last year's record-matching 33.4 million travelers.
Approximately 28.7 million travelers (84 percent of all holiday travelers) expect to go by motor vehicle, a 2.0 percent increase from last year. Another 3.9 million (11 percent) plan to travel by airplane, up 4.0 percent from last Labor Day weekend. A projected 1.5 million vacationers (5 percent) will travel by train, bus or other mode of transportation, about even with a year ago.
Improved consumer confidence, widespread discount airfares and increased confidence in travel security have helped spur the strong summer travel, according to AAA.
Research for Labor Day travel is based on a national telephone survey by the Travel Industry Association of America, which conducts special research for AAA.