AD #1382 – GM Issues New Recall, SRT Hellcat Challenger, Top 5 U.S. Dealer Groups

May 21st, 2014 at 11:47am

Runtime: 8:56

- GM Issues New Recall
- SRT Hellcat Challenger
- Top 5 U.S. Dealer Groups
- Extended Range i3s Sitting in Port
- Fuel Cell Tucsons Arrive In U.S.
- Record Recalls in U.S.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily, I’m Sean McElroy but let’s look at today’s top stories.

Another day, another GM recall. Yesterday the company announced that it’s recalling another 2.4 million vehicles which pushes its total to 13.5 million so far this year in the U.S. The new recall involves 1.3 million of its full size crossovers for a seat belt issue, just over a million previous gen Malibu’s and Pontiac G6’s equipped with a 4-speed automatic because a shift cable may wear out, about fourteen hundred 2015 Cadillac Escalades due to a potential airbag issue and about 60 2015 Silverado’s and Sierra’s because of a potential fire issue. GM said it would take a charge of $200 million this quarter for the recalls it announced last week but has bumped that by another $200 million for this current set. And we’ll have more about recalls in the second half of the show.

Dodge just revealed a few more facts about the SRT Hellcat Challenger. The special edition muscle car gets the first supercharged V-8 ever offered by SRT. The blower is made by IHI, a company better known for its turbochargers, yet Mercedes-Benz’s AMG uses IHI superchargers, as well. So far, they’ll only say the 6.2 liter engine generates over 600 hp and more than 575 pound feet of torque. And there’s no word on pricing, either. So we’ll have to wait for that. One other interesting tidbit. The coefficient of drag is rated at point three eighty three (.383). And as you Mopar enthusiasts know, that’s a very special number. Check out the link in today’s show notes for even more details.

We like to show you the top selling brands and cars every month but do you know who the most successful dealers are? Wards Auto put together a list of the top 100 dealer groups in the country and here are the top 5. The number one dealer, based on total vehicles sold, is Carmax, with over 780,000 in sales in 2013. But despite being number 1 in sales, Carmax is just third in revenue among dealers at $10.9 billion. AutoNation is #2 with close to 572,000 vehicles sold but it’s the top dealer group based on revenue, coming in at $17.5 billion. Next on the list is the Penske Auto Group which sold 442,000 vehicles which helped push its total revenue to $14.7 billion. Number 4 on the list is Group 1 Automotive with over 305,000 cars sold, its revenue hit $8.9 billion last year. And rounding out the top 5 is the Van Tuyl Group with 294,000 vehicles sold and revenues of $7.9 billion.

Recently BMW delivered the first i3 electric car to the U.S. but you’ll have to wait for the extended range version. Apparently it’s a law that no vehicle can be released from a port without an EPA certified window sticker, which the extended range i3s are currently missing. BMW has received the test data from the EPA, but there’s still more to the process of getting the EPA certification and the labels. The automaker expects the labels to be ready by the end of the week, but we’ll have to keep our eye on this story to see if that happens.

The first fuel cell versions of the Hyundai Tucson arrived in Southern California yesterday. The CUVs will go on sale in the next couple of weeks but will only be available in the LA area to start. Customers can lease the vehicle for 36 months at $500 per month but it also includes free unlimited hydrogen refueling and a valet maintenance program if the vehicle requires any service. The fuel cell Tucson will expand to other markets once there are enough refueling stations in place.

Could the number of recalls double this year compared to 2013? We’ll take a look into that, right after this.

Stericycle, an organization that helps companies manage recalls, just released a report on automotive recalls in the first quarter of the year. John talked with the Vice President of the company, Mike Rozembajgier, to find out the details of the study.

(John’s recall interview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

And before we go, just a reminder to join us for Autoline After Hours tomorrow night starting at 6 pm eastern time. Join John and Gary Vasilash for some of the best insider information in the business.

But that’s a wrap for today, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.

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31 Comments to “AD #1382 – GM Issues New Recall, SRT Hellcat Challenger, Top 5 U.S. Dealer Groups”

  1. Rob G Says:

    What hasn’t GM recalled? Have you been to the dealer recently? They have no parts and they have no idea when they will be arriving. It is a guessing game as to when you can get your new 2014 model fixed!

  2. Ron Paris Says:

    So is a drag coefficient of .383 for the Hellcat Challenger a point of pride for SRT? Isn’t that the aero equivalent of pushing a large brick through the air?!

  3. dcars Says:

    I can understand why GM is having so many recall issues. The company was technically dead long before the bankruptcy. A company lacking cash is going to do a lot of things to cut corners and we are seeing the fruits of these efforts now.

  4. Chuck @ GM Says:

    Roger Penske aka Midas. That boy either strikes out or most likely hits a home run. Seems like anything he touches turns to gold.

  5. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @1, 3 – Just my opinion, but I think after the last fine a lot of companies are running for cover and recalling first, asking questions later, so to speak.

  6. MJB Says:

    I know a lot of folk on this board are down on the Challenger, but regardless of it’s porky curb weight, it’s always been my favorite of the three pony cars. The lines of the exterior body styling are simplistic without being understated. Very simple, and strong design language on this car.

    It has a much more commanding road presence than a Mustang. And as aggressive looking as the Camaro is, I think a bit too much is going on with the sheet metal and tail lights.

  7. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Ron #2
    Same thoughts on the .383; nothing to brag about; also not mentioned in the show, the Challenger will have two fobs for two performance calibrations (like the Mustang of a year or two ago).

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    For the most part, yeah, Penske seems to know how to make money. I don’t think importing smart worked out so well for him, though. I think he basically gave the smart marketing to Daimler for free, or something like that.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6, The Challenger is my favorite too, styling-wise. They need to scale it down about 20%, and keep the styling the same. I don’t see that happening, though, because there no Fiat platforms available that would be suitable, unless Maserati has one, but that would be too expensive.

  10. Chuck @ GM Says:

    @8 – yea and the K-Mart auto Service thing didn’t work out so well either, but it seems like for every one of those, there are 5 that are smash hit money makers.

  11. Drew Says:

    “I could have been someone”, said the Challenger. I loved the orginal Challenger, but Chrysler saddled its reincarnation with the wrong architecture (Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum/Charger). The proportions are just hideous… too tall for its width. Then, they installed the same pedestrian instrument panel from the Magnum. Yuk. And fixed quarter windows?!?!?! Where is the convertible!?!?!?!

    The Camaro is beautiful on the outside, but unlivable on the inside — acres of plastic, small windows and gauge packs in stupid places (nostalgia be damned).

  12. Jon M Says:

    The point about a .383 coefficient of drag is that classic Mopar enthusiasts recognize that number as a once upon a time big block V8 option. Not as ubiquitous as a 440 six pack or 426 Hemi, but still a big block from the no replacement for displacement days. I’m sure most would rather see that number under the hood and not on a spec sheet.

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The drag coefficient of .383 is a play on the 383 ci big block base performance engine that was available on the chargers and the roadrunners.

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    back in the 60′s.

  15. Ron PaRIS Says:

    Yes, yes! I realize what the .383 number was referencing. I just think it’s real significance is how poor a coefficient of drag it actually is for a modern car.

  16. Bradley Says:


    Yes, that was exactly my thought. What a poor Coefficient of Drag.

    On a positive for Fiasler (Fiat/Chrysler), is I followed a white Dodge Dart today. I really liked the rear end, but the front doesn’t reflect the same style. I still think Neon would have been a more appropriate nameplate. I am sure we can all guess why they didn’t use it though.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Today in the news, GM is recalling Aveos made in the last few years cause the DRL module could overheat and catch fire, if they were smart, they would junk all these Aveos and give the customers new Sonics and perhaps in a few years no one will remember that they had the worst car sold in America for many years.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11, They used the 300/Charger/Magnum platform, because that is what they had. It’s too big, but to me, the proportions are fine. I liked the old Challenger too, but if you are behind one now, it looks like the track width is about 6 inches too narrow for the width of the car.

    To me, the Camaro is “overstyled” on the outside, and as you say, the interior is underwhelming, putting it mildly. I’m looking forward to the next Camaro, to be built on the ATS platform. It will be smaller and lighter, and should drive very well, but we’ll have to wait to know what it will look like.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A drag coefficient of .383 is unusually high for a car, but as others have said, they like the number for its nostalgia cred. My parents had a 1971 Plymouth Satellite with a 383.

  20. Drew Says:

    Kit, the Challenger freshening has segmented (instead of full width) taillamps which worsens the perception of being too narrow.

    Hey, Ford did not base the 2005-2014 Mustang on the Grand Marquis platform. So, Chrysler did what Chrysler does… extends too many products from the same platform — just recall the K-car platform which spawned the 93.3″ short wheelbase TC by Maserati to the 131.3″ stretched wheelbase Chrysler Executive Limo. Mercifully, the gravitational center of the paltfrom was in the 97-104.5″ wheelbase range. Even the 104.5″ wheelbase vehicles (New Yorker and Imperial) looked too narrow.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, the front drive NY and Imperial certainly looked too narrow.

    Ford didn’t build the Mustang on the Panther platform, because they had the Fox, and then, for several years, used bits of the LS et. al. platform, spending lots of money to cheapen it. Chrysler has neither smaller rear drive platforms, nor the money to develop new ones.

  22. Dave Foley Says:

    I hope that the Cd of the Challenger at .383 was just sort of discovered on the spec sheet, and not something that the PR department bragged about. It’s an interesting coincidence, but not something anyone should be really all that Proud of.

    For those that even have a clue what it is, it’s pretty obvious that the number isn’t exactly stellar. Even my 04 Concorde has a Cd of around .29 or .30.

    Now, as for the Ram Air intake that is in the centre of the inside headlight, THAT’s cool!

  23. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Not to ‘pick nits’ but the 383 Mopar was the ubiquitous engine of the time (more widespread); the 440 and 426 (big blocks) were the upscale (more limited production) engines.

    I think Chrysler should have just let lie the fact of the coincidence (of the number “383″); thank goodness the drag coefficient wasn’t .426 (that would be a notorious mention) then. :D

  24. XA351GT Says:

    If the Challenger is .383 it would be interesting to know what the Ram truck’s is. That is pretty damn poor for a modern car ,but it is retro styles which was more form over function.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23, The 383 was the standard engine in Road Runners, and most of them had one.

  26. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Kit, exactly, that’s why I used the word ubiquitous in that context; the 383′s were the workhorses of the Chrysler clan of mids and large cars.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Chrysler “B block” was made in 350, 361, 383, 413, 426, and 440 cid displacement wedge versions, plus the 426 hemi. If I remember right, it started life in the 1958 model year.

  28. C-Tech Says:

    For those of you who are complaining about the drag coefficient of the Challenger, please note its main competition, Camaro and Mustang comes in at .380 and .370 respectively from what I come find. The Camaro ZL1 is lower than he regular Camaro.

  29. C-Tech Says:

    I believe Autonation benefits in revenues because they do have a number of high-end luxury dealerships. It should be noted that Carmax primarily sells used cars. If I am not mistaken they have sold off most or all of their new car dealerships. Does anyone know for sure?

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The 440 was standard equipment on the Plymouth GTX.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …and Coronet R/T