Blogs

Searching far and wide for service techs

Posted 9:30 am U.S. ET, Aug. 20
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing.
 
How far is your dealership willing to go to get well-qualified service technicians? General Motors dealers in the Mideast went all the way to the Philippines. On Aug. 7, a group of technicians graduated from the GM Advanced Technician Training Center in a ceremony held at the Lourdes High School Complex in Angat, Bulacan, north of Manila. The center is sponsored by GM Middle East Operations in ...
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Why Honda's John Mendel wants customers to buy a Treasury bond on wheels

Posted 3:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 19
blogs Nick Bunkley is an enterprise reporter for Automotive News.
 
Shaky stock market got you jittery? It may be time to take your money out of Google, Apple and Tesla -- and put it in Hondas. Not Honda stock. Actual Hondas. They’re like Treasury bonds on wheels, with cupholders. That’s basically how John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, described the company’s products today. Mendel was responding to news stories saying Ho ...
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The Rolls-Royce that took 8 months to build

Posted 1:56 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 19
blogs
The Wraith is the first Rolls-Royce to appear in a video game.
VINCE BOND JR.:  Turn 10 Studios needed extra time to digitally translate the Rolls-Royce Wraith’s craftsmanship into “Forza Motorsport 5” on the Xbox One. It took around eight months for developers to build the super-luxury fastback coupe -- two months longer than average. The Wraith -- the first Rolls-Royce to appear in a video game -- presented unique design challenges that separated it from ...
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Why Korea could be next to crack down on foreign brand pricing

Posted 8:55 am U.S. ET, Aug. 19
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
TOKYO -- Could China’s crackdown on perceived price gouging by foreign automakers trigger a domino effect next door in South Korea, where sale of overseas brands are heating up? Authorities there are already getting tough on the pricing of auto parts. And public opinion in Korea apparently supports China’s ongoing probe and favors sterner measures at home. Pressure on foreign brands ...
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Why Americans are rediscovering Italian cars

Posted 8:52 am U.S. ET, Aug. 16
blogs
Automobili Lamborghini unveiled the Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo racecar to journalists and guests Friday at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
LINDSAY CHAPPELL:  MONTEREY, Calif. -- Fiat aside, Italian cars live in a rarefied world of the very rich and the very few. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Pagani, Zagato -- those luminary brands barely add up to a percent of a percentage point worth of sales in America. But oh, the mystique. Oh, the power of the Italian design -- the curves of the Italian body and the seductiveness of their bold ways ...
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Court ruling on telecommuting could affect dealerships

Posted 1:23 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 14
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
What does a former Ford Motor Co. employee with irritable bowel syndrome have to do with car dealerships? Potentially, a lot. That’s because the case surrounding this employee could lead to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission broadening the Americans with Disabilities Act’s definition of offering a “reasonable accommodation” for an employee’s disability, said ...
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Toyota redresses FT-1 concept

Posted 3:29 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs

MARK VAUGHN:  It’s the second coming of the Toyota FT-1. Toyota pulled the cover off of a second concept version of the FT-1 super sports car in Monterey, Calif., on Wednesday. Both versions of the FT-1 were shown, squeezed between classic supercars and big business jets. Showing off both the first and second FT-1s in California is a good way to gauge popular reaction to the car among people who might b ...
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Is this the next-generation MX-5 Miata roadster?

Posted 1:32 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs
The MX-5 Miata is expected to go on sale in the U.S. market next summer. (Instagram)
RYAN BEENE:  Ahead of its media reveal next month, an Instagram user in Japan may have snagged an early glimpse of the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster. A Miata fan snapped a photo of a roadster wrapped in line-blurring camouflage, but the car’s proportions make it seem like a plausible sighting of Mazda’s fourth-generation roadster. Our colleagues at Autoweek say the giveaway is the rim ...
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Volvo teases XC90 that must raise the bar in luxury

Posted 3:09 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs
The shape of the XC90's headlight, dubbed Thor’s Hammer by Volvo designers, follows designs seen on recent Volvo concepts, including the Concept Estate.
DIANA T. KURYLKO:  Volvo again is pulling some of the wraps off the redesigned XC90 crossover before its formal reveal on Aug. 25 in Stockholm. The latest teaser is a photo of the front corner with an all-new T-shaped running light accompanied by an explanation of the new “scalable product architecture” that the XC90 will ride on. The headlights and grille evoke the Swedish brand’s future and its ...
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N.Y. Times' demands are misguided

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 13
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Subprime auto loans have gotten most of the attention, but an editorial in The New York Times on Saturday makes other demands dealers and lenders are sure to dislike. For instance, the Times editorial said auto dealers, like mortgage lenders, “must” be made responsible for verifying “that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans and meet their other expenses.” How ...
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Toyota, supporter of Korean culture

Posted 12:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 8
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News coverage of auto retailing.
 
Would you do a double-take if Volvo were the sponsor of the Country Music Awards? How about if BMW were the primary sponsor, and the only automotive sponsor, of a museum exhibit of Japanese samurai swords? Or if Hyundai were the sponsor of a North American tour of Germany’s hottest electronic-music band? Some pairings just aren’t that intuitive. So how in the world did Toyota end up ...
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McDonald's and the dealer franchise system

Posted 3:28 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
A decision involving the McDonald’s fast-food chain could have dramatic implications for the franchised car dealer system going forward. Or not. It depends on who you ask and their perception of what might come of a July 29 determination by the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel. Widespread labor actions in favor of higher wages for fast-food workers have raised questi ...
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Why GM is re-engineering its 'political punching bag'

Posted 2:30 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs
Mahoney: “The Volt has done what it is supposed to do." (GM)
NICK BUNKLEY:  The next-generation Chevrolet Volt will have a trunk and the word “Volt” on the back of it, according to the teaser photo that General Motors released today. I assume -- but can’t confirm from the photo -- that it also will have approximately four wheels, multiple doors and possibly an interior. The redesigned Volt will be fully unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January. Tha ...
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Self-driving cars will still need human help

Posted 10:33 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- On the way to dinner one night this week here, my wife and I spotted a large deer standing by the side of a lonely two-lane country road. It was warily watching traffic, perhaps wondering when it could try to cross. What would a vehicle with an automated driving system do if a deer suddenly appeared out of nowhere? Ask suppliers if the technology exists that enables an au ...
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Nvidia continues quest to bring computer power to cars

Posted 9:27 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs Dustin Walsh covers suppliers for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A year after opening an office in Ann Arbor, Mich., computer processor maker Nvidia Corp. continues its quest to bring modern computer power to the automobile. For good reason. The connected car market is estimated to be worth $132 billion by 2019, according to a recent study by Transparency Market Research. Nvidia is positioned to benefit as the lines blur between mobile ...
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Will Marchionne's profits grab come up empty?

Posted 5:16 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 6
blogs Larry P. Vellequette is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne today seemed like a grizzly bear standing amid a stream of happily swimming salmon. In comments to analysts, the enigmatic Chrysler boss said he was "envious" of the profit margins of his suppliers, and vowed to seek a share of their newfound wealth. Have no doubt: Profitable suppliers are the salmon in this scenario, and Marchionne is the grizzly bear in a h ...
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ZF-TRW talks mean industry megadeals are possible

Posted 3:44 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 6
blogs David Sedgwick is a special correspondent Automotive News.
 
Somehow, it always seems like a good time for mergers and acquisitions, at least as far as Wall Street is concerned. In times of recession, companies are on the lookout for bargains: wounded suppliers that are struggling to maintain cash flow as vehicle production plunges. And in times of plenty -- like now -- profitable suppliers want to put their cash to work, perhaps by expanding their produc ...
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GM Financial subpoena shifts investigation away from dealers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 6
blogs News Editor James B. Treece oversees Automotive News' coverage of auto retailing.
 
When dealers saw headlines saying the U.S. Department of Justice had subpoenaed General Motors Financial Co. last month to produce documents relating to its subprime auto loan contracts, they could be excused for worrying that this represented another threat to their arranging car loans for consumers. It appears there’s nothing to worry about on that front, at least not for now. As reporte ...
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How suppliers can gain from fuel efficiency push

Posted 11:55 am U.S. ET, Aug. 6
blogs Dustin Walsh covers suppliers for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- In the era of regulation, fuel efficiency is king. Automakers, more than ever, are relying on suppliers to innovate fuel saving technology -- even incrementally. Here is one example.  Active grille shutters are among the latest development in the industry on its quest to meet the CAFE fleet standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Chrome-plating supplier SRG Global Inc. plans ...
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Automakers to get rude wake-up call on voice recognition

Posted 11:41 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Check your pride at the door Wednesday afternoon when J.D. Power plans to lay into the auto industry for one of the most poorly executed technologies it peddles to consumers -- voice recognition. In brief, vehicle voice recognition technology is awful. It was lousy when it first emerged in the early 1990s. And after 15 years of inclusion in vehicles across the price spectr ...
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Why automakers can't beat up suppliers any more

Posted 2:00 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs David Sedgwick is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Remember the old days when automotive purchasing czars such as General Motors’ Inaki Lopez and Ford’s Carlos Mazzorin threw their weight around with suppliers? Those days are gone. At a time when suppliers are developing systems for cutting-edge features such as collision avoidance, infotainment and augmented reality, those vendors expect to be treated like par ...
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How GM missed the truck fuel economy race, and how it will return

Posted 11:17 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The pickup truck fuel economy race is between Chrysler’s Ram 1500 and the upcoming aluminum-bodied F-150 coming late this year. But the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra should’ve been contenders. Six years ago, GM was installing production machinery in its Tonowanda, N.Y., engine plant to build an advanced, 4.5-liter Duramax diesel V-8 for the light duty Che ...
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Why a squeeze is coming to auto dealers

Posted 10:28 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs Larry P. Vellequette is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Take note: there is a squeeze coming to an auto dealer near you. Two important factors to new automotive sales -- low interest rates and relatively high values for used automobiles – are forecast to move in unwelcome directions that soon will make it more expensive to buy a new car, SUV or pickup. The forecasts, delivered at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars tod ...
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Why the supplier price-fixing investigation looms large

Posted 9:40 am U.S. ET, Aug. 4
blogs Larry P. Vellequette is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- There's three dozen people in the auto supply chain who should be on the mind of everyone attending the Management Briefing Seminars here this year.  For more than three years, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and its counterparts in Europe and Japan have been working over automotive suppliers like a boxer on a heavy bag. Investigators accuse ...
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JLR still tops when it comes to aluminum

Posted 1:25 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 4
blogs Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- With total global sales of 425,000 vehicles last year, Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover is well behind German rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. But there is an asterisk next to the sales figures for luxury car companies. Today, no one makes more aluminum-bodied vehicles than JLR. Its latest, the Jaguar F-Type sports car, is a global hit, as are the Range Rover and Rang ...
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