Auto sales hit 13.6 million in 2011 [Bloomberg] While the top number was about what analysts expected, the real surprises came in the details. Here's three: Volkswagen sold 150,000 Jettas in 2011 despite widespread panning by auto critics; the Chevy Volt had more retail customers than the Nissan Leaf in December, even with the federal fire probe; and 270 brave souls gave Saab a Viking funeral by buying one, and possibly setting their money on fire. For the record, America's best-selling vehicle remains the Ford F-Series pickup, which has held that title since 1982.
BMW, Mercedes sales figures mysteriously delayed [DriveOn] Every so often, the end-of-year sales battle becomes so heated between two automakers that scenes from "Glengarry Glen Ross" get re-enacted in their executive suites. BMW and Mercedes were battling for the title of top luxury carmaker in the United States (thanks to Lexus' annus horribilis) and while the rest of the industry reported yesterday, BMW and Mercedes execs were yelling in German about how coffee is for closers.
Fiat hits mileage goal, raises stake in Chrysler [Detroit News] Fiat announced this morning it had met the final milestone set by the U.S. government in the 2009 bailout of Chrysler -- beginning production of a car that gets 40 mpg in the United States. That car? The new Dodge Dart, which will be revealed next week at the Detroit auto show. Hitting the milestone means Fiat can raise its stake in Chrysler to 58.5%. If you think 40 mpg sounds impressive, it is -- but Dart buyers won't get that mileage. That's due to a clause allowing Fiat to hit the milestone with the unadjusted test mileage of the Dart; the figure on the window sticker will be up to 30% lower, as it is for all vehicles.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Freedom Group Names Bob Nardelli CEO [The Truth About Guns] Speaking of Chrysler's collapse, handmaiden of financial disaster Bob Nardelli has bounced on to his next CEO gig at Freedom Group, the parent of Remington Arms. Think of it as his second chance to build a proper Caliber.
Homeowner's parking spot is valued at $287,000 [Daily Mail] A downtown Pittsburgh condo owner received a nasty surprise in his property taxes when Allegheny County reassessed the value of the underground parking space he owned from $5,000 to $287,000 — some $50,000 more than the condo itself. Hey, someone's gotta pay to keep those stadiums open.
Top shot: Speed TV and Hagarty will give away this Shelby GT500 as part of the Fantasy Bid game. Details? Right here.