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Dodge Charger, F-250 popular with car theives

Auto thefts decline because of technology, but statistics conflict

img-1The most theft-prone vehicle in America might be the Dodge Charger. Or it might be the Ford F-250 pickup truck.

Those are the contradictory conclusions of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the insurance industry-funded Highway Loss Data Institute.

Still, the government agency and private group agree that the theft of late-model vehicles is on a rapid decline in the United States. One reason: automakers’ increasing use of ignition immobilizers, which stop thieves from hot-wiring cars. Nearly 90 percent of 2012 models are equipped with them.

In a report released on Monday, NHTSA said the car stolen most often during the 2011 calendar year was the Charger, with 4.8 thefts for every 1,000 cars produced in 2011. It was followed by the Mitsubishi Galant, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet HHR among vehicles with more than 5,000 units produced that year.

Pickup trucks took the top [...]

img-2Global sales of BMW Group’s core brand rose faster in June than at Audi and Mercedes-Benz as demand from China and the United States helped the premium carmaker to extend a lead over the two rivals in the first six months of the year.

Sales at the brand were up 9 percent last month to 153,075, the group said today, compared with growth of 5 percent to 140,300 and 8 percent to 131,609 at Audi and Mercedes respectively.

Six-month sales at BMW brand rose 8 percent to 804,000 cars, expanding the lead over runner-up Audi to 24,000 from 11,000 after five months. Half-year sales at Audi and Mercedes rose 6 percent each to 780,500 and 694,000 respectively.

“BMW has stronger momentum than Audi and Mercedes, that won’t change in the second half,” said Hanover-based NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. “Design of their cars has improved and they’re ahead [...]

img-3Tesla Motors Inc., the world’s best-performing automotive stock this year, will join the Nasdaq-100 Index next week, filling the spot vacated by Oracle Corp., which is moving to the New York Stock Exchange.

The electric-car maker will be added to the gauge, which tracks the biggest companies on the Nasdaq, before the start of trading on July 15, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. said in a statement Monday. Oracle, which last month said it will join the NYSE, is the biggest company to jump between the competing exchanges.

Shares of Tesla, the carmaker headed by billionaire Elon Musk, have more than tripled this year as the popularity of its new Model S sedan helped the company turn its first quarterly profit. Gaining entry to benchmarks tracked by investors is attractive to public companies because it provides a guaranteed shareholder base.

“It’s a coming of age, recognition that a [...]

img-4The Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic, the top-selling mid-size and compact cars in the U.S., face risks of reduced production as inventories of the models rise, an RBC Capital Markets report said.

Toyota’s Camry exceeded its seasonal historical average inventory by more than 15 days supply in June and Honda carried about 25 days more Civics than usual, Joseph Spak, a New York-based analyst for RBC, said in today’s report. Camry and Civic were the only models identified as at risk for reduced output among 16 of the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. market. General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC all added U.S. market share in the first six months of 2013, the first time that all three gained first-half share in 20 years. Models such as GM’s Chevrolet Cruze compact and Ford’s Fusion mid-size sedan, leading Detroit’s most competitive set of [...]

Fiat exercises option to buy additional 3.3% of Chrysler shares

Purchase brings closer a merger of the two automakers

img-5Fiat today exercised an option to raise its stake in Chrysler by 3.3 percent.

The move is part of CEO Sergio Marchionne’s step-by-step purchases intended to lead to full control of Chrysler and the creation of a merged company that would be able to compete better with industry leaders Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen.

Fiat has been exercising options since mid-2012 to buy holdings of about 3.3 percent from the VEBA, a medical-benefits trust for the U.S. carmaker’s retirees.

Including today’s purchase, Fiat has exercised three of its six-monthly options, increasing its stake to 68.49 percent.

Fiat has said it wants full control of Chrysler, which would give it access to some of Chrysler’s cash flow for investments in new models.

Chrysler has become Fiat’s most reliable profit generator as the Italian company struggles to end losses in Europe that totaled 704 million euros ($903 million) in [...]

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