Sales of gas-sipping smaller cars jumped 5 percent in February as more buyers selected crossovers and small SUVs, which go much farther on a gallon of gas than mid-size cars and full-size SUVs. Sales of the Toyota Prius were down 13.5 percent in February but are up 4.5 percent for the year with 17,812 of the gas-electric hybrids sold last month.
The Prius was the best-selling vehicle in California in 2012.
Infiniti adding another hybrid
Nissan's luxury Infiniti brand is adding a hybrid version of the seven-passenger QX60 crossover to the mix at the New York International Auto Show.
The 2014 QX60, formally known as the JX35, is scheduled to make its debut at the Jacob Javits Center March 29 as one of three Direct Response Hybrid models for 2013. The three-row crossover, which goes on sale this summer, pairs a 15 kW electric motor with a 2.5-liter supercharged, four-cylinder gasoline engine to generate a combined 250-hp.
The $42,000 hybrid will be available with either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive with a continuously variable transmission, and expected combined city/highway mileage of 26 mpg, the best for any large luxury SUV.
Infiniti showed the all-new Q50 hybrid and Q70 hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Infiniti is rebranding all its sedans and coupes with the letter "Q" and crossovers with the letters "QX."
The New York Auto show runs through April 7.
Ford sued over hybrid mileage claims
Two California law firms have consolidated lawsuits accusing Ford Motor Co. of "false and misleading" claims about mileage of 2013 C-Max hybrids and Ford Fusion hybrids.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates both of the vehicles at 47 mpg, but some owners say they've averaged 10 mpg less in real world driving. Consumer Reports said it got 37 mpg during testing of both vehicles.
"There's a lot of really unhappy people," attorney Rich McCune of McCuneWright in Redlands, Calif., told The Detroit News. "We've received hundreds of calls from the few newspaper stories that have been around."
The law firm, which previously filed suits accusing South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. of exaggerating mileage of some of its vehicles, is consolidating hundreds of lawsuits with Robbins, Geller, Rudman and Dowd of San Diego in a class-action.
Treasury continues to divest GM stock
"Government Motors" was less owned by the federal government at the end of February.
In a report to Congress, the Treasury Department said it raised $489.9 million last month when it sold some 17.2 million shares of General Motors Co. stock it has held since the 2009 auto industry bailout after selling at least 22.6 million GM shares in January.
Treasury reported it had recouped $29.8 billion of its $49.5 billion bailout of GM so far. The government still owns about 19 percent of the company, down from 61 percent. Citicorp Inc. and JPMorgan Chase are managing the sale of the government's common shares.
At current prices, Treasury would lose about $12 billion on the GM bailout.
Tesla delays Model X crossover
U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors confirmed that it has pushed back production of its all-wheel-drive Model X crossover until late 2014.
The company based in Palo Alto, Calif., said it would bring the crossover to showrooms this year when it introduced Model X in February 2012.
Tesla has a hit on its hands with the Model S sedan and has ramped up production. The company reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $81.5 million but said it expects to become profitable this year, The New York Times reported.
The Model X crossover is built on the same platform as the Model S sedan and features "falcon doors" that open upwards like wings.
Prices of the Model X are expected to be similar to pricing of the sedan with a 60 kW hour version for $69,000 and a 85 kW hour model for $79,900.
Tesla said in its annual report it has approval to complete repayment of $65 million in loans to the U.S. Department of Energy by the end of 2017, five years ahead of schedule.