Auto News Updates: Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) & Politics, General Motors Company (GM) on Pensions, Ford Motor Company (F)’s Production

Editor’s Note: Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)

Politics And Money Kept Tesla Out Of Texas (Gas 2.0)
While Elon Musk and Tesla Motors has seemingly rolled from one easy victory to the next, there is one place the electric automaker was soundly trumped; Texas. Despite winning legislation in most other states, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) was sent packing when both bills it sponsored failed to even come up to vote. It’s the legacy of a deceased dealer lobbyist and the familiar story of money in politics. Dealer lobbyist Gene Fondren was key in helping draft the tightest dealership protection laws in America. Despite Elon Musk making $7,500 in campaign donations and spending between $255,000 and $565,000 on lobbying efforts, the car dealer lobby donated $2.5 million to election campaigns, and spent another $750,000 on lobbying.

Will Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) CEO make Ford Motor Company (F) CEO Jealous with this Payout?

US told GM to selectively fund pensions: Rattner (
The former head of President Barack Obama’s auto task force acknowledges that he instructed General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) not to commit money to a pension fund for some former employees during the automaker’s 2009 bankruptcy. “We concluded it was not commercially reasonable,” Steven Rattner, who directed the bailout of the auto sector during the height of the nation’s financial crisis, told a House hearing Wednesday. Republican lawmakers have criticized the decision as an example of overly deep meddling by the Obama administration in private business.

Ford increases production of SVT Raptor off-road pickup to meet surging demand (Equipment World Magazine)
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is selling so many SVT Raptors that it’s having to increase production of the popular off-road pickup. According to a report from the Detroit News, sales of the Raptor are up 14 percent so far this year, achieving sales records in eight of the past 10 months. Because of that, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has increased production on the truck by 67 percent at its Dearborn Truck Plant. The plant is now churning out five Raptors per hour. It’s not so surprising to hear that the Raptor is doing well. The most recent model, the 2014 SVT Raptor Special Edition, boasts a 6.2-liter V8 pushing 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque standard.

Tesla opens supercharger station in Waco (
Some drivers traveling between Austin and Dallas can now fuel up for free. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) held a ribbon-cutting to officially open its new supercharger station in Waco on Tuesday. Drivers can now pull up and plug in and they don’t have to pay a dime. “This car will revolutionize the planet and is more fun to drive than a car that runs on gas,” said Austinite Matt Holm, one of the 700 people in Texas who own a Tesla. Holm predicts when Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s $35,000 model is released it could be the death of the internal combustion engine.

Awaiting GM’s big reveal (

GM reveals redesigned 2015 SUVs (Detroit Free Press)
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) today revealed redesigned large sport-utility vehicles — Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL — which are among the company’s most profitable vehicles. The 2015 model-year SUVs, which will hit showrooms in the first quarter of 2014, share the same vehicle architecture with GM’s recently redesigned full-size pickup trucks. Separately, GM is expected to reveal the redesigned Cadillac Escalade Oct. 7 in New York. Large SUVs represent about 7% of GM’s annual U.S. sales volume. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) said it holds 74% of the fullsize SUV segment, including 27% for Tahoe, 23% combined for Yukon and Yukon XL and 17% for Suburban.

Ford wins Ohio retrial on truck dealer discounts (Albany Times Union)
A jury has rejected a claim by commercial truck dealers that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) overcharged them over 11 years by offering discounts to other dealerships. The jury returned the verdict Wednesday in the class-action lawsuit filed by Westgate Ford Truck Sales of Youngstown in 2002. Dealers had won a nearly $2 billion award on the first trial in 2011. Last year, an appeals court threw out the ruling and said Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s defense must have more leeway. No decision has been made on an appeal, attorney James Lowe, representing dealers, said Thursday. “It has been a long fight and I suspect that it’s not over,” he said.

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