The pending sale of Chrysler Group, the difficulties of U.S. carmakers and domestic-brand dealers, and the hunt for fuel-efficient cars in an age of $3-a-gallon gasoline drove us online for sites about the auto industry.
Automotive Digest. This site profiles industry leaders, examines seat-belt-enforcement laws, and covers specific slices of the industry, including auto parts and advanced research. The insider news is comprehensive, and a lot of material is presented in digestible nuggets. Registration is free but requires you to sign up for at least one newsletter.
Dealer coverage on the site gets into the larger economic troubles that can batter car sales, even including the hits many consumers are taking on expensive subprime-mortgage loans.
Auto channel. Car lovers can get 2,000 streaming videos of car reviews, auto-show presentations, and our personal favorites - detailed crash-test-dummy films from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Ward's auto. Ward's publications covering the auto industry trace their history to the 1920s. As with Automotive News, most of its content is restricted to premium (that is, paying) subscribers, yet the Ward's Web site still provides a wealth of free car-company news articles. Reports last week covered not only the Chrysler sale, but also executive comings and goings at GM, talk of a Ford family stock sale, and Nissan's need to step up production of a crossover-utility vehicle in Europe.
GM blogs. Here's an example of the use of blogs by companies to promote products and corporate image. The General Motors blogs, which have names such as FastLane and FYI, showcase cars, big orders, and a YouTube video that features a GM exec's auto-show news conference with bloggers.
Electric car. A 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car, explored the fate of a quirky plug-in GM car, the EV1. Information about the movie, the car - and critics of both - is compiled in this Wikipedia entry.