Picking The Next Humvee, What GM Ought To Say, And Keeping Dad Out Of Jail

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1st Gear: Toasty Days At Toyota
The Associated Press reports that Toyota assured shareholders today that it is dealing with power shortages that are plaguing Japan in the wake of last year's earthquake. All of the nation's nuclear reactors are now off line due to safety checks, and Toyota has been asked by regional utilities to cut its power usage by 5 percent. It's doing so by raising office thermostats to 82.5 degrees Fahrenheit, switching to LED lights, and generating more of its own power. Profits have heated up since the earthquake: Toyota expects to earn $8.9 billion in the coming fiscal year, compared with $3.5 billion for the year just ended.


2nd Gear: Six Candidates To Replace The Humvee
AOL Autos reports that the U.S. Army will whittle down its Humvee replacement list later this month. The Humvee is set to be replaced in 2015 by a new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). There are six semifinalists, and three will make it to the finals. Each finalist will get $65 million for the next phase of engineering. There aren't any mass market car companies on the list, but there are some familiar names including AM General, Navistar and Lockheed Martin. Who knows, maybe someday Arnold will be behind the wheel of the winner.


3rd Gear: You Can Now Spend $60,000 On A Hyundai
Edmunds Inside Line reports that a $250 price hike has officially put the base price of the Hyundai Equus above the $60,000 mark. The Equus Signature starts at $60,150, including destination charges. And if you opt for the top of the line Equus Ultimate, that will run you seven grand more. Some buyers will still consider that to be a bargain, since Equus competes with the Lexus LS and BMW 750i. But it's also more proof that Hyundai is setting its sights higher.


4th Gear: Honda Pumps Up The Pace
Bloomberg says Honda has raised its North American production this year by the biggest percentage of any carmaker. Its output rose 67 percent in the first five months of the year, including vehicles built in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Toyota is right behind, with a 64 percent. The push comes as both companies are trying to make up for production they lost last year to the Japanese tsunami and earthquake, and floods in Thailand. Among Detroit companies, Chrysler is up 23 percent, GM is up 5.5 percent and Ford is up 4.4 percent so far this year.


5th Gear: What If GM Wrote This Letter To Shareholders?
Investor Place has a little fun imagining what would happen if GM's Dan Ackerson wrote the letter to shareholders that he'd really like to write. "Are you people kidding me? You're worried and upset about the stock price? Hello? Be happy we have a stock price." And a dividend? Fuggedaboutit. "We need to keep the money in the company."


6th Gear: Playing 'Cool' Dad Can Land Dad Behind Bars
Find Law cautions all you dads out there not to get carried away this Father's Day. Some "cool dad" behaviors that might seem funny at the time could land you in big trouble. That includes playing chicken with passing motorists, chugging beers with your kids at a ballgame and then getting behind the wheel, and letting the kids go with you to the mall and then driving off without them. Instead, this weekend, let them wait on you.


2012 24 Hours Of Le Mans: The Grid Is Set With Audi On Top [SpeedSportLife]

Toyota Park Debt Is Bleeding Chicago Suburb Dry [Chicago Tribune]

Opel, Union Hope For A Deal By November {Automotive News, sub. required]

7-Eleven Downsizes Double Gulp Because It Won't Fit Cupholders [The Daily]

Quebec Supplier Adds Jobs Due To GM Work [San Francisco Chronicle]

Zombie Infrastructure And What It Means To Detroit [Atlantic Cities]

Euro Cars To Tow Your Trailer [Telegraph]

Today in Automotive History

On this day in 1986, driving legend Richard Petty makes the 1,000th start of his NASCAR career. Guess where? Why, it came in the Miller American 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Petty became the first driver in NASCAR history to log 1,000 career starts. He didn't win that afternoon: Bill Elliott took home the victory. But Petty's start is what people remember. [History]


Photo Credit: Zerin Dube/SpeedSportLife


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