Blogs

E-contracting needs standard definition

Posted 12:15 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 26
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
Although electronic contracting has gained traction, it’s still not widely embraced by dealers. Why? Confusion is standing in the way. Companies define e-contracting differently. It won’t be desired or embraced until the industry develops a standard definition. To get dealers on board, the industry needs to use the same dictionary. There has to be a “common language” wh ...
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Will another Fiat Chrysler star, or two, bow in Vegas?

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Aug. 25
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The Jeep Gladiator concept at the 2005 Detroit auto show. Nearly all of the roadblocks that have kept a Wrangler-based pickup from becoming reality may soon disappear as Fiat Chrysler weighs its options for expanding Wrangler output.
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  If you’re a Fiat Chrysler dealer, chances are you were sitting -- or soon will be sitting, depending on when you’re reading this -- in a Las Vegas ballroom today checking out some models. Except these models gliding across the stage of the Mandalay Bay hotel -- and, FCA executives hope, attracting eyeballs -- have first names like Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge. Today is the third time in ...
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Why the Chinese market rout is hitting global auto brands

Posted 5:04 am U.S. ET, Aug. 21
blogs Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
 
The Chinese economy, albeit slowing, still grew 7 percent in the second quarter. But passenger vehicle sales in the country started declining in June and have shown no signs of immediate recovery -- July deliveries dropped 6.6 percent year on year. What has caused the new-car market to severely underperform China's economy? It is the sharp fall in domestic stock prices and indexes, as indicated ...
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Why industry's trudging tech rep no longer applies

Posted 12:15 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 19
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
Auto dealers and lenders have a reputation of resisting change, especially when it comes to technology. But maybe that reputation is undeserved now. The march toward digital operations in the F&I space is picking up, with electronic contracting and starting the F&I process online. E-contracting grows For years, e-contracting has been on the horizon without much movement. Now it’s ...
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How to solve global emissions rift, without dealing in reality

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Aug. 18
blogs

RICHARD TRUETT:  Chris Grundler, who heads the EPA’s office of Transportation and Air Quality, the agency’s top automotive regulator, doesn’t hold out much hope for harmonized global emissions standards for the auto industry. Grundler isn’t opposed to one global set of clean-air standards, a move that could save automakers billions in product development costs. But the reality of the situa ...
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Why Mazda's Jim O'Sullivan is big on new subcompact CX-3

Posted 6:52 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 16
blogs

RICHARD JOHNSON:  MONTEREY, Calif. -- Classic Car Week on the Monterey Peninsula is always extra-special for Mazda, what with the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca being a main attraction. Jim O'Sullivan, dean of U.S. import brand CEOs, seems to relish every minute of it, especially watching his guys Robert Davis, Jeremy Barnes and Weldon Munsey on the track. But the other thing that has O'Sullivan excited is the fact ...
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Autonomous cars will crash and be hacked ... and that's OK

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 15
blogs Dustin Walsh covers suppliers for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.
 
Last month, security researchers Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller remotely hacked a Jeep Cherokee. The pair disabled the SUV’s transmission. On the highway. At highway speeds. The headlines were, and are, everywhere. Cybersecurity and the threat of chaos is a new reality in the age of connected and autonomous cars. The key word in that last sentence is "reality." This is the reality we liv ...
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Another car-hack issue to ponder: In-car eavesdropping

Posted 12:11 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 14
blogs Dave Guilford is a news editor at Automotive News.
 
So I was driving an unfamiliar car with a telematics voice-communications system, and I accidentally brushed my hand against a control button on the steering wheel. That turned off the music I had been listening to. Involuntarily I blurted out, “Oh, [bleep]!” Next thing I knew, a voice came into the car, giving me a canned, Siri-like rebuke for funky language. Realizing what I had do ...
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Tesla strikes while the iron's hot

Posted 1:11 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs Gabe Nelson covers four Korean and Japanese brands, plus Tesla and automotive technology, from Automotive News' bureau in San Francisco.
 
At certain points in their lives, even obsessive billionaires like Elon Musk must come to terms with the fact that some things are beyond their control. No matter how talented their people, and no matter how well those people execute on the business plan, everything can be ruined by something unpredictable: a stock-market collapse, a natural disaster, a failing supplier. With today’s annou ...
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Sales legend rings up with advice on cars, marriage, cars

Posted 10:03 am U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
It was just another day here in the newsroom when my phone rang. Caller ID said it was J. Girard. Mr. Girard was a reader calling for clarity about a story I’d written. I answered him and was about to sign off, when he asked me if I knew the name Joe Girard. I vaguely recalled his name from past Automotive News stories. He proceeded to refresh my memory. From 1966-77, Girard won the annual ...
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A case for using single staffer for sales, F&I

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, Aug. 12
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
One employee per customer. That’s the way that Barry Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep- Ram does it. At the Ephrata, Wash., dealership, the sales staff handles financing. Store owner Denver Morford wants his customers to work with the same employee throughout the entire transaction to build a relationship and customer retention, he says. The practice zeros in on the salesmen’s role as “the ...
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Audi's 605-hp S8 Plus dials the power up to 11

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Aug. 11
blogs
The S8 Plus has a few distinguishing elements on the outside, including a redesigned rear diffuser and carbon fiber-accented fender inlets. (Audi)
JAY RAMEY:  Is the performance of the Audi S8 not enough for you? The German automaker is introducing an even more powerful version unimaginatively dubbed S8 Plus. The stock Audi S8 already produces 520 hp and 481 pounds-feet of torque courtesy of its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, with power sent to all four wheels via Quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission; it's not exactly lac ...
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CTS-V sticker reflects shift in Cadillac pricing

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Aug. 11
blogs

MIKE COLIAS:  If you squint hard at the label on the Cadillac CTS-V high-performance sedan that hits showrooms soon, you will see a subtle but telling shift in Cadillac’s pricing strategy. The sticker starts at $83,995, including shipping. That’s about $11,000 below BMW’s M5 and about $9,500 less than the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. In recent years, Cadillac has tried to price its new entries at ...
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For Honda, technology isn't just for the young

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Aug. 11
blogs
Honda's 2016 Accord lineup allows smartphone users to plug their phones into the car using a USB cord, and to access some of the phone's apps through a new seven-inch touch screen in the dashboard. With a second display screen above it, users can access two functions at once, such as the phone's navigation system and the car's music system.
DAVID UNDERCOFFLER:  When it comes to the changes Honda made to its freshened 2016 Accord, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Look past the chrome-ier grille and LED taillights and you’ll notice Honda has integrated both Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto into the dashboard. This makes the new Accord -- which goes on sale next week -- one of the first few vehicles on the market to offer comp ...
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CarMax dodges a bullet, thanks to NADA, NIADA and NAAA

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 8
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing and used cars.
 
CarMax Inc. owes the National Automobile Dealers Association, the National Auto Auction Association and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association an enormous thank you. Those associations last week helped CarMax dodge what could have been a devastating bullet. Oh, that wasn’t their objective. The associations’ goal was to scuttle the so-called Blumenthal Amendment. The ...
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When Johanna Quandt turned an ambitious Henry Ford II down

Posted 5:45 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs
Johanna Quandt, right, in 2010, once politely turned down Henry Ford II's offer to buy BMW.
RICHARD JOHNSON:  Her hair tied up in a tight bun, Johanna Quandt looked like a character out of The Sound of Music as she greeted Henry Ford II at her home in Bad Homburg, Germany, in the summer of 1987. The billionaire widow, whose late husband acquired the struggling BMW in 1959, died this week at 89. The meeting in 1987 took place just a few weeks before Ford died of complications from pneumonia in Baden Bade ...
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Sergio is right, but industry avoids consolidation

Posted 2:07 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs Bradford Wernle is a supplier reporter for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne set the industry on its ear recently when he said it has a dangerous problem: a chronic addiction to burning capital at an unsustainable rate. A panel of analysts at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars here wouldn’t argue with Marchionne’s assertion. But they’re not so sure the industry can change its ways any time soo ...
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Why Hyundai sticks by its warranty offer

Posted 5:30 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs

KRISHNAN M. ANANTHARAMAN:  With Hyundai racking up awards for its quality and reliability, could the brand get away with watering down its industry-leading warranty coverage? Extra-long warranties are handy marketing tools for challenger brands or those that have become tarnished by questions about reliability. They were Chrysler’s ticket back to respectability in the late 1980s and drove Hyundai’s comeback in ...
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Back when Detroit had to learn efficiency from Japan

Posted 9:26 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief in the U.S. for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Here at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars, people are talking about the urgency to embrace new information technologies to run better factories, reduce wasteful practices and empower workers to make processes work better. I’d like to point out how easy these ideas and tools are to come by today. Especially in contrast to a moment 30 years ago when the North Americ ...
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Chris Grundler and the EPA hot seat

Posted 11:25 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- You think your job is tough? Try walking in Chris Grundler’s shoes. As director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, nothing his department proposes goes unopposed by an assortment of well-funded trade groups who don’t want their business models disrupted. Dramatically reducing the sulfur content, first in diesel fuel and then in gasoli ...
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Bill limiting CFPB has long road to becoming law

Posted 12:30 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs Hannah Lutz is a staff reporter covering finance and insurance for Automotive News.
 
The U.S. House Financial Services Committee last week moved a bill that would limit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s guidance over auto lending. But dealers and lenders should hold off on the celebrations. The bill has a long way to go before it could become law. The bipartisan bill would revoke the CFPB’s 2013 auto lending guidance bulletin, which suggests that auto lenders ...
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Mel Farr still wows Detroit

Posted 5:00 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 4
blogs
Mel Farr's dealership group comprised 11 franchises and once generated annual revenues of $596.6 million and at its peak touted Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Toyota, Volkswagen and Mazda franchises.
ARLENA SAWYERS:  Mel Farr hasn’t sold new cars in Detroit for more than a decade, but his passing this week was breaking news in the city, topping many local TV newscasts Monday night. I ran into him about a month ago for the first time in more than a decade at the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers conference in Orlando. Besides being a former Detroit Lions football star, Farr was known a ...
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The race to find the perfect aluminum alloy

Posted 12:00 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 4
blogs
GM will use advanced mixed-material manufacturing techniques to build the Cadillac CT6 sedan. Techniques include material joining processes such as aluminum laser welding. (GM)
RICHARD TRUETT:  KENNESAW, Ga. -- Tom Boney, who runs the automotive business for aluminum giant Novelis, sees a steady migration to the lightweight metal as fuel economy standards get tougher in the years ahead. If he’s disappointed that Jeep didn’t choose aluminum for the entire body of the next-generation Wrangler, he doesn’t show it. If he is concerned that Chevrolet, GMC, Ram, Toyota and Ni ...
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Is a 400-hp, quad-turbo diesel engine in BMW's future?

Posted 12:15 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 4
blogs
The new BMW 7 series is expected to feature a quad-turbo 3.0-liter straight-six diesel on the menu next year.
JAY RAMEY:  Tri-turbos are sooo last season. Aiming to keep up with fashion BMW is reportedly working on quad-turbo engines, according to Autocar. The company already fielded a tri-turbo design in the X5 xDrive50d M Performance and the M550d, adding an electrically driven turbocharger for extra low-end boost pressure. The quad-turbo design could follow that with another electrically driven turbo, or BMW coul ...
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Honda's formula for recruiting assembly workers

Posted 10:46 am U.S. ET, Aug. 4
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief in the U.S. for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Jeff Tomko is one of the CAR Management Briefing Seminars speakers who got deleted from the program by the chaos of the local power outage. That’s too bad, because he would have been a good counter-point to some of the comments heard here about the difficulty of recruiting manufacturing workers. Tomko is president of Honda’s light-truck and engine subsidiary in ...
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