17 posts categorized "Auto industry"


Chevrolet introduces CNG-capable bi-fuel Impala

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General Motors said it will sell a version of its well-received Chevrolet Impala that runs on both gasoline and also compressed natural gas. The car has a separate CNG tank mounted in the truck, and drivers can switch, well, from gas to gas, by pushing a button on the dashboard. It's expected to be in showrooms next summer as a 2015 model. In an unveiling Wednesday in Washington, D.C., GM CEO Dan Akerson said "there will be nothing like it on the road." He said the sedan can go 350 miles on gasoline and 150 miles on natural gas. It's expected to find a place in corporate and government fleets, but it will also be sold at dealers -- but not a lot. GM said it would be happy to move 750 to 1,000 units the first year, according to Automotive News

Akerson said the bi-fuel approach is a nod to its Chevy Volt, the plug-in electric that comes with a small gasoline engine to extend its range. No word on pricing. CNG vehicles can carry steep costs, generally thousands more in conversions and special engine equipment. Ford announced a CNG-ready engine for its popular F-150 pickup truck in July, but the after-market conversion adds an extra $7,500 to $9,000 to the price tag.

-- Jim Fuquay


Arlington-built 2015 Cadillac Escalade makes debut

Cadillac unveiled its 2015 Escalade Monday night in New York, making it the last of General Motors' next generation of full-size sport utility vehicles to be introduced. The automaker previously debuted the 2015 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and the GMC Yukon. All are built at GM's Arlington assembly plant, which is running three shifts, expanded its body shop and is nearing completion of a new stamping plant, investments that have meant about 1,500 new jobs at the big facility. Production of the 2015 models is set to begin next spring.

-- Jim Fuquay


Frank Kent auto dealer adding Hyundai to its brands

Frank Kent Motor Co. Wednesday added Hyundai to its family of brands.

Will Churchill and Corrie Watson, Frank Kent Motor owners, have partnered with Brad and Lance Fenton, owners of the family-owned FentonMotors.com, in the venture, being called Frank Kent Hyundai.

The business will take over the former Manual Hyundai facilities on 19 acres on Interstate 30 between Las Vegas Trail and Loop 820. About $1 million will be spent to renovate the property, including a complete showroom and service center remodel, the company said.

The dealership will have 20 employees.

"Our approach to business is very similar to Frank Kent’s, along with our like-minded values," said Lance Fenton. "We couldn’t have found a better partner to embark on this venture with."

The late Frank Kent founded Frank Kent Motor co. in 1935. The dealership is now run by his great-grandchildren.

_ Sandra Baker


GM Financial earnings dip to $91 million on Ally-related charge

Fort Worth-based GM Financial, formerly AmeriCredit, earned $91 million in last year's fourth quarter, including a $20.4 million expense related to its pending acquisition of Ally Financial's international operation. That net profit compared to $104 million a year earlier for GM Financial, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors Co. The lender originated $1.2 billion in auto loans, unchanged from a year earlier, and $265 million in leases, down from $299 million a year earlier.

General Motors in November said GM Financial would buy Ally's operations in Europe, China and Latin America. The $4.25 billion deal will double GM Financial's assets, to about $33 billion. GM acquired AmeriCredit in 2010 for $3.5 billion

-- Jim Fuquay


Tarrant auto sales way up in October

Sales of new cars and trucks in Tarrant County jumped 44 percent in October, putting them up 14 percent for the year, according to vehicle registrations counted by Freeman Publishers in Dallas. For North Texas' four biggest counties -- Tarrant, Dallas, Denton and Collin -- combined sales were up 24 percent in October and up 18 percent for the year. Dallas County sales were up 12 percent in October and up 18 percent for the year, Collin County was  up 25 percent in October and up 26 percent for the year, while Denton County slipped 1 percent in October and was up 17 percent for the year.

-- Jim Fuquay


Women employees of GM plant to hold Arlington car show Saturday

Women employees of General Motors Arlington assembly plant will host their own car show Saturday to raise funds for cancer research.

The Heels N Wheels Car Show will be from noon to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of the GM plant at 2525 East Abram Street. Visitors can enter at Gate Six, the closest Abram Street entrance to Highway 360.

Attendance is free to the public. Last minute car, truck or motorcycle entries are welcome. Day-of-event vehicle registration fee for the car show is $30. Availability is limited and first-come, first-served. Prizes will be awarded in seven categories. There will be children’s activities.

Some new GM vehicles, including the Chevy Spark subcompact and Buick Verano compact cars, will be available for test drives.

GM spokeswoman Donna McLallen said the group, GM Arlington’s Women in Manufacturing, will donate all proceeds from the show to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer. For additional information contact McLallen at 972-849-8208.

-Bob Cox


New York investment firm buys Nissan of Fort Worth property, leases back to owner

FORT WORTH — The Nissan of Fort Worth property off of W. Loop 820 in southwest Fort Worth has been sold in a $66 million portfolio sale to an entity of the New York-based investment firm W.P. Carey & Co.

The portfolio included nine car dealerships totaling about 380,000 square feet and was sold by RLJ-McLarty Automotive Holdings. The facilities are being leased back to RLJ-McLarty for 16 years, W.P. Carey said.

In addition to the Fort Worth property, sold were three properties are in Alabama, two in Missouri, and one each in Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The dealers sell and service Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Chevrolet, Toyota, Scion, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. The deal closed in September.

According to W.P. Carey, the acquisition is the first investment completed through a partnership with CapRocq Automotive, formed for the purpose of executing real estate sale-leaseback transactions in the automotive dealership industry. CapRocq is led by founders Franklin McLarty and Beau Blair.

McLarty bought the Fort Worth property in 2009 and moved its Nissan dealership to there after Frank Kent Honda and Dodge moved out last year.

"The formation of our relationship with CapRocq provides us with the opportunity to acquire commercial real property owned by operators of multi-site, multi-franchised automotive dealerships located in attractive markets throughout the United States," said Jason Fox, W.P. Carey’s managing director, in a statement.

W. P. Carey said it manages a global investment portfolio of about $12.7 billion.

_ Sandra Baker


Classic car buffs, especially those with lots of money to spend, may want to head to the Gaylord Texan next Saturday.

A collection of 175 automobiles, owned by longtime Texas car dealer and Houston Rockets basketball team owner Charlie Thomas, will be auctioned.

The collection includes many classic convertibles, muscle cars from the `60s and premier names from the glory days of the American auto industry.

Thumbing through the catalog, here’s a sample of what will be on sale: a 1953 Ford Crestline Sunliner convertible and a 1965 Mustang convertible; a 1956 Chevy Bel Air Nomad station wagon and a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 Coupe; a 1946 Chrysler Town & Country roadster and a 1953 Mercury Monterey station wagon.

Preview of the vehicles is Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and again at 8 a.m. Saturday. The auction will begin at 10 a.m.

For more information on the auction, to preview the collection and to register to bid go online at: http://www.rmauctions.com/Default.cfm?SaleCode=CT12

- Bob Cox


Service King to buy Mansfield collision repair center

Service King Collision Repair Centers, a Richardson-based operator of collision repair facilities, said it is buying Collision Specialists of Texas in Mansfield.

The deal is expected to close Oct. 12.

Collision Specialists, 1580 Highway 157, with 40 employees, becomes Service King’s 51st Texas location and its 24th center in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The Carlyle Group bought a majority stake in Service King last month.

_ Sandra Baker


Auto dealer CarMax hiring for DFW area outlets

CarMax is hiring! The retailer of used cars and trucks says it plans to hire people to fill more than 50 positions at its four Dallas/Fort worth area stores, including the one at I-30 and Eastchase in east Fort Worth.

The dealerships will be hiring sales consultatns, auto detailers and technicians. CarMax will conduct initial reviews of applications and will then contact applicants and set up interviews. Technicians require previous automotive repair experiences. 

- Bob Cox




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