Week in Review: Recalls, Villains, and Loan Programs

Having monthly sales numbers released on the same day as a holiday filled with jokes and pranks may make it hard to take serious news stories at face value. Especially when one of those stories features a lawnmower that is more powerful than some cars on the road today. Giving that same lawnmower a Guinness World Record? Yeah, that has to be a joke. Even with all the laughs, the week let us know that we haven't heard the last of the GM recall. But luckily, it was all bad news after that. Automakers took full advantage of April Fool's Day, giving us some ridiculous press releases, which had our sides aching with laughter. Jaguar gave us more incentive to cross over to the dark side, while Obama reinstated the green car loan. Friday revealed that John Krafcik, former Hyundai Motor America President and CEO, has joined TrueCar's board of directors. Read below to catch up on the best stories of the week.

Monday, March 31

We thought we were done hearing about General Motors and recalls, but not yet. The battered automaker has recalled even more vehicles, including nearly 500,000 trucks and 172,000 compact cars. This brought the total recall count to about 5 million vehicles in the first three months of the year. Not to mention another 1.3 million cars recalled for power steering problems, an issue that was announced shortly after. While GM may have a strong brand and image, the barrage of recalls has caused its reputation to suffer. Although it's true that strong brands can rebound more easily from so much bad publicity like Toyota did with its unintended acceleration allegations, GM is not only facing a mass recall but also criminal charges and coming back from bankruptcy. Only time will tell if the company can come back from this mess. But if sales are any indication, these issues haven't had too much of a negative effect. Yet.

Tuesday, April 1

Tuesday was filled with serious, hard-hitting news stories that had us glued to the edge of our seats. Yeah, right. Automakers took full advantage of the jokester holiday and released fake press releases, and while some of them didn't have much effort put into them, some were pure genius. Toyota released sketches of a new Tercel model. The boxy, ugly, and utterly undesirable vehicle was featured with lime green wheels, making us cringe. Next up, Acura announced its 28 years of Alphabetic leadership. When an automaker is able to laugh at itself, it makes the joke that much better. And rounding out the top three was the Honda Fit "Fit Kit." With over 180,000 mechanical parts, who wouldn't want to build their own subcompact vehicle? That's a video you should definitely check out.

Wednesday, April 2

It's good to be bad, and doing it in style makes it that much more enticing. Throw in a British accent, and we're sold. Jaguar continues with its "British Villains" campaign in the latest video featuring Tom Hiddleston, who plays the infamous Loki in the Thor and Avenger movies. Hiddleston goes over just what it takes to be the perfect villain, from staying a step ahead, paying attention to detail, and having a distinct and powerful presence. Huh. Those features all describe the new 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. The new two-minute video, "The Art of Villainy," portrays the Jaguar F-Type as the villain's car, and we don't see anything wrong with that. It's edgy and exciting, and gives you that thrill that will make you think having that much fun is illegal. Where do we sign up?

Thursday, April 3

The Obama Administration has decided to reinstate the green car loan program, which has helped to promote production of not only more fuel-efficient vehicles, but cleaner models as well. The program, which was abruptly suspended back in 2011, plans to make it easier for suppliers of green engines, lightweight materials, and even fuel-efficient tire manufacturers to secure money. According to the government, almost $16 billion is left over from when the program was suspended, which is "good news for drivers who want cleaner cars, faster and cheaper," said Roland Hwang, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. The program previously invested $14 billion into cleaner cars and created 35,000 jobs across the country, and helped Nissan build the plug-in Leaf. The program was also instrumental in getting Tesla Motors off the ground.

Friday, April 4

Closing out the week, former President and CEO of Hyundai Motor America John Krafcik has joined TrueCar's board of directors to promote transparency in the auto industry. TrueCar, known for displaying actual purchase prices of current vehicles, believes that customers should always be informed and know real-world values on their vehicles. Krafcik, during his tenure with Hyundai, was responsible for boosting sales and increasing the company's market share over 50 percent. He is also a proponent of trust and transparency, and said that it is a "better business model" and that he wants to "help retailers in automotive and other industries build a bridge of trust with consumers."
 
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