Blogs

Wrong move for Cadillac -- the creative vibe is in Detroit, not New York

Posted 11:28 am U.S. ET, Sept. 29
blogs KC Crain is executive vice president and group publisher for Crain Communications Inc.
 
DETROIT -- On Sept. 23, we had our Automotive News Marketing Seminar in New York and I listened to Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln marketing, talk about how Ford moved the operations of the Premier Automotive Group to California many years back. That was when Ford owned Aston Martin, Volvo and Jaguar/Land Rover. He said the biggest issue was that the move ended up being the same people r ...
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How to drive dealers back to Washington, D.C.?

Posted 2:03 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 26
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Martens Volvo-Volkswagen were the first car dealerships in Washington, D.C. – and the last. The stores have been sold, and Martens Volvo is now Euro Motorcars Volvo of Bethesda. It moved to Chevy Chase, Md., on Sept. 1. Its counterpart, now called Ourisman Volkswagen of Bethesda, is still in D.C. But not for long. It also will relocate to a Maryland suburb soon, leaving the city without on ...
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Why climate change could stall growth in emerging markets

Posted 6:51 am U.S. ET, Sept. 25
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
TOKYO -- Auto executives have long salivated over the huge future sales possible in emerging markets as their teeming, upwardly mobile masses migrate from motorbikes to cars. So imagine the irony behind a new economic forecast that says surging greenhouse gases, spurred partly by auto emissions, will throw cold water on that once-anticipated development boom. The problem: Climate change will dis ...
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Automakers battle in annual Texas truck showdown

Posted 12:45 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 25
blogs
One out of every five Ram trucks sold comes to Texas, a spokesman said.
RICHARD TRUETT:  General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota are rolling into this weekend’s Texas State Fair in Dallas with guns blazing -- at each other. Around 3 million pairs of cowboy boots visit the fair each year, which makes it ground zero in the truck and SUV marketing wars. No state comes even close in sales of trucks and SUVs than Texas, with its 803,721 registrations in 2013, according to IHS Auto ...
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Auto finance industry still paying for past sins

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 24
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulators seem to have a caricature of a plaid, polyester sport coat-wearing car salesman in mind when they talk about auto retailing. (Picture the salesman in the movie Fargo who won’t take no for an answer from an angry customer who refuses to buy “Tru-Coat sealant.”) CFPB Director Richard Cordray, in opening remarks at a hearing last week ...
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How Mazda survived the atomic bomb, by a split hair

Posted 10:30 am U.S. ET, Sept. 23
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News.
 
Editor's note: This story has been amended to better reflect the number of estimated casualties resulting from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.  HIROSHIMA -- Mazda Motor Corp., the most famous company from Hiroshima, may have survived the city’s infamous atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, quite literally by only a split hair. It’s a story not often told by M ...
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Hyundai's hubris -- $10B land deal backfires

Posted 4:08 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 22
blogs Gabe Nelson is a staff reporter for Automotive News.
 
SAN FRANCISCO -- Chung Mong-Koo sought to imbue Hyundai with Gangnam style. Instead, Hyundai Motor Group’s $10 billion bid for a 19.6-acre plot in Seoul’s prestigious Gangnam district backfired on the company that Chung has elevated into a global powerhouse. It should serve as a warning to the industry: Using profits to build a Babel-like headquarters, instead of reinvesting that mon ...
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Why Detroit is a small town, big city for auto dealers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 20
blogs Jesse Snyder is editor of the opinion page at Automotive News.
 
On Thursday night, I watched dealer Karl Zimmermann officially dedicate his refurbished George Matick Chevrolet building in Redford Township, Mich. Like every grand opening, it was highly predictable: food, drink, balloons, local performers, extra shiny vehicles and some speechifying. Like every grand opening, it was unique. Highly personal to all gathered. Pick a day, some U.S. dealer somewher ...
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Why the UAW will strike in 2015 -- no matter what's offered

Posted 10:22 am U.S. ET, Sept. 19
blogs Larry P. Vellequette is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
Here is something that will happen in 2015 upon which you can bet serious money: The UAW will strike one -- and likely all three -- Detroit automakers before reaching a deal on a new labor agreement. And here’s the thing: There is nothing that any of the automakers could offer that would avoid that inevitability. The 2015 strike(s) will not be long. They will not be violent or confrontatio ...
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2015 Mustang is a hit on LA streets

Posted 11:50 am U.S. ET, Sept. 19
blogs
The 2015 Ford Mustang at Mel's Diner in Hollywood. During the drive, we noticed people filming us out car windows, and lowering their windows to stick out their hands in the thumbs-up position.
BRADFORD WERNLE:  LOS ANGELES -- No sooner had we left our hotel and hit the streets in West Hollywood when we began to notice people noticing us. Granted, it was hard to miss our 2015 Ford Mustang painted in Competition Orange -- seemingly bright enough to be picked up by a satellite orbiting above. As we sat and waited at a traffic light, a man in the next lane lowered the window of his work van and signaled us ...
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Why Cadillac's forthcoming 'LTS' could get another name

Posted 2:46 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 19
blogs Mike Colias covers General Motors for Automotive News.
 
DETROIT -- We've known about Cadillac's plans for a big, rear-wheel drive, range-topping sedan for more than two years now. For most of that time, we've been referring to it by its internal codename, LTS. But here's a bet: When the wraps come off the car sometime in the first half of next year, it won't sport an LTS badge. Here's my thinking. First, the basics. The first letter of each Cadillac ...
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Why Toyota punted on a V-6 in the Tundra for '15

Posted 11:58 am U.S. ET, Sept. 18
blogs
Toyota, citing consumer buying habits, is going with V-8 engines only on the Tundra pickup for 2015.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Editor's note: The horsepower and torque ratings on the Ford F-150 with V-6 engines were incorrect in the chart accompanying earlier versions of this story. DETROIT -- It’s rare when Toyota admits defeat and folds -- especially when it comes to engines and fuel economy. But that’s what happened last week when Toyota introduced the 2015 Tundra pickup and revealed that its big truck w ...
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The case for casting a wider net with credit apps

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 17
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
Auto lenders complain they hate it when dealership F&I managers send them credit applications outside their preferred range of credit scores. Yet Greg Goebel, CEO of DealerStrong, a dealership training and consulting firm, advised finance managers to do just that at last week’s Industry Summit in Las Vegas. According to an analysis Goebel did with a database of some 200,000 transactions ...
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Scrap Nissan's Leaf battery plant? Hardly

Posted 3:23 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 17
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
News broke this week that Nissan and Renault are debating the future of their electric-vehicle battery technology sourcing. Frankly, it would be bigger news if the two automaker partners weren’t debating it. According to the news reports, Nissan purchasing leaders believe Nissan and Renault can be most competitive continuing to source EV battery technology from Japan. But Renault’s t ...
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Strike shows restless UAW is going after two-tier wage system

Posted 3:30 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 16
blogs David Barkholz is a reporter for Automotive News.
 
Well, well. The word “strike” has returned to the UAW lexicon. The union struck on Saturday at a Lear Corp. plant in Hammond, Ind., that makes seats for Ford Motor Co.’s Chicago Assembly Plant. By Monday, the 760 Lear workers of UAW Local 2335 were back on the job. In hand was a tentative contract that met their primary demand: an end to a two-tier wage system that pays new hir ...
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Incentives prop up sedan-heavy strategies

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 13
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News.
 
NASHVILLE -- Take a look at who’s been increasing incentives lately and you will see a larger trend in U.S. vehicle strategy. The guys who stepped up their incentive spending last month are brands that are counting on strong sedan strategies in an era of crossover growth. Honda, one of the most powerful brands in the American market, raised its incentives-to-transaction price ratio by 14 p ...
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Smart dealers can make big bucks through smartphones

Posted 2:50 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 12
blogs Jamie LaReau covers the automotive retail beat for Automotive News.
 
Car dealers are sitting on a gold mine: their idle inventories.  The tool to turn that gold mine into gold is the smartphone. Increasingly, people are using their smartphones to solve their transportation needs rather than relying on traditional personal car ownership. Ride-summoning services such as Uber and Lyft are slowly replacing the need for taxis in some major cities -- and in some ...
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How two old friends made the AutoNation-Barrier deal happen

Posted 11:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 11
blogs Amy Wilson covers retailing for Automotive News.
 
Jimmy Barrier’s decision to sell his Seattle-area luxury-brand dealerships to AutoNation Inc. was more than 30 years in the making. That’s how far back Barrier goes with AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson. They met at manufacturer meetings in the 1970s, when Barrier was a partner in stores in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., and Jackson was managing partner of a dealership group in Bethesda, ...
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Montezemolo's magic touch

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 11
blogs
Montezemolo has led Ferrari to record-breaking success both on and off the racetrack.
LUCA CIFERRI:  When Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo officially steps down next month the supercar maker will lose its No. 1 salesman. During his two decades in Maranello, he was the main reason why Ferrari always sold out its high-margin limited-edition supercars even before they were unveiled to the public. He did this -- and a whole lot more -- by enhancing Ferrari’s magical place as  ...
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F&I wait times have virtual repercussions

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Sept. 10
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
LAS VEGAS -- Dealerships know that customer satisfaction suffers if car buyers spend time sitting outside the F&I office. But there’s another reason why dealerships should slash F&I wait times: 63 percent of customers who use their mobile devices at dealerships use them to shop online for other vehicles and better deals at other dealerships. That’s according to Steve Braskamp ...
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Regulation forecast calls for rain, former CFPB exec says

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Sept. 10
blogs Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.
 
LAS VEGAS -- Rick Hackett, a former assistant director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who was the bureau’s liaison to the auto finance industry, predicted the bureau would probably unveil a long-awaited rule next week, defining which nonbanks fall under the CFPB’s jurisdiction. “Supervision is coming, and soon,” Hackett said Tuesday at the Industry Summit her ...
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The connected car -- circa 1956

Posted 1:30 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs
The swoopy, titanium-body, bubble-top 1956 Firebird II was GM's vision of what driving could be like 20 years in the future. (Dave Versical)
RICHARD TRUETT:  DETROIT -- It turns out that the dream of self-driving connected cars is an old one. Back in the 1950s, GM futurists envisioned a highway system that included a “Safety Autoway” that contained metallic strips embedded in the road. Those strips would be read by cameras and sensors on the road and be used to help control a car’s speed and direction. Drivers would use a radio to c ...
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The self-driving car may be guided by emotion

Posted 5:46 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs Gabe Nelson is a staff reporter for Automotive News.
 
No matter how mind-blowing the idea of the self-driving car might be, and no matter how huge its potential to change the world, it is still a product like any other. It needs a strong value proposition, not just a wow factor, to enter the mainstream. This week’s demonstrations at the ITS World Congress in Detroit show the auto industry’s emerging strategy for conveying this value: pla ...
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How Jim Harbour and David Power improved the U.S. auto industry

Posted 6:39 am U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs James B. Treece is news editor for Automotive News.
 
Jim Harbour, who died Saturday at age 86, was one of two men who dramatically improved the American auto industry at a time when Detroit was deeply in denial about how far short of world class it was. You won’t find two men more dissimilar in personality than Harbour and J. David Power III. But what they shared was an absolute insistence on data and facts. Power faced skepticism when the v ...
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Get trucky, get lucky

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 3
blogs Jesse Snyder is editor of the opinion page at Automotive News.
 
What a bubbly month August turned out to be. Good news pretty much anywhere you look. U.S. auto sales up. Lotsa folks won big percentage gains. Average transaction prices rose more than incentives. And a Labor Day surprise pushed the month beyond merely matching last year’s blowout August into the best monthly selling rate since January 2006. But forget the normal scorecard of unit sales. ...
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